I got my first big check when selling software hardware solutions.. it was going to be $1200.. except, it wasn’t. It was closer to $800. Not too horrible but it got me thinking about taxes.. A few years later I got my second monster check, Biggest ever in my life, over $23,000, except it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,500 after taxes. I knew there would be a hit but wow.. it was a huge hit. At that exact moment I made up my mind forever.. I’m a conservative republican!!!! Rush was right!! $^!@!! those damn democrats!! they are all socialist! They steal my money and give it to people who are lazy and just sit on their rear ends and the system useless government employees to sit on their butts and collect fat paychecks!
Flash forward ten or 15 years.
I wanted to teach. Instead I secured a position working for a federal grant program at a college helping people get jobs. You would think at this point I’d be saying.. Those damn Republicans!! Heartless capitalist pigs!! They fire people as quickly as looking at them. They never treat people right, and they pay nothing to those not smart enough to ask for what they are worth! I could also fall into the trap of complaining that business never pay their fair share.. I could lament that Government employees work countless long hours for significantly less pay than people with our skills get in the private sector.
I have an excuse for my earlier opinion because I was younger and inexperienced and I believed hard work would get anyone the success they want. I don’t believe that anymore. Actually, technically I officially don’t have an opinion anymore. It’s Taboo. Working in government there is a unwritten rule. You don’t have a political opinion. We are servants of the people. Obviously everyone does have a opinion and as a population it skews to the side of the isle that tends to support government more… but that’s also an oversimplification.
So this is what I have learned. There is truth to everything, both sides of the argument. Too much government = too much bureaucracy. Most government programs are very expensive for the outcomes and the system is simply not as effective as private industry. Even bureaucratic and lethargic private industry is much more effective at it’s mission than government. The thing your not told is that the bureaucracy is built in by design, and not for the onerous reasons the private sector thinks.. it’s there because the money is public money.. it’s your money. So transparency and accountability, especially accountability, is at the core of all operations. Accountability is expensive. It’s not easy in a government program to say “We tried something, blew a ton of money, and it didn’t work” and be celebrated for it. It’s easier in the private sector, almost mandatory in parts of the private sector like tech.
Also, on the other side of the spectrum.. It’s true, employers want to employ only as few people as they can, for as little as they can, to make as much profit as they can. That’s the whole point of going into business. At it’s core private industry will never care about people, only the widget or service they offer. But business need people, so they can’t – often – get away with saying “your only here because absolutely need you, otherwise you’d be gone in a heartbeat”
Ultimately most modern societies have developed a balanced system where the pendulum slowly swings back and forth between employers and labor, demand and supply. It’s influenced by heavily by world events, culture and economic cycles. Yes, government is bureaucratic but it’s supposed to be that way. Yes, the private sector is challenging, but not nearly as it could be. No your opinion, no matter how much you pontificate won’t really change the direction.
So what is a professional to do? Generally speaking private sector professionals tend to be more right in their thinking, and public sector professionals tend to be more left in their thinking. You’ll rarely find an outspoken democrat in a group of professional sales people and you’ll rarely find an outspoken republican heading up a government funded organization. No surprise there.
So without going down the rabbit trail of political lamenting, maybe it’s the third way of no politics is the best way. Our personal opinion can’t sway things much and there is so much more in our lives that we need to focus on. Your personal position and trajectory at work. Your family. Your Community. Improving the structure of your life. These challenges that are immediate and much more real than anything happening in Washington DC.
So i’m putting politics on the shelf. But I better not tell anyone about it.. you know, because it’s taboo.