Economy & Business

Good Enough for Government Work: Federal Employees’ Porn Problem

(Nyul/Dreamstime)

It may be that because my patron saint is Thomas Becket, I am unusually sensitive to acts of violence against prelates, but, in any case, I really am going to need you federal employees to stop beating the bishop while you’re on the clock.

Seriously.

Regular readers of these columns will be by now familiar with the story: The federal government is full of people pulling in six-figure compensation packages who spend their days doing nothing but pulling their packages, which is to say, watching porn on government computers all the live-long day.

I’m pretty laissez-faire about pornography as such, but you federales are some thoroughly creepy weirdos. One compulsive porno-phile over at the EPA was watching so much porn that it caught the attention of the Office of the Inspector General — i.e., he was watching so much porn that a federal official noticed — and when the OIG investigator showed up to see what the deal was, you know what that EPA guy did? He kept right on watching porn, with the OIG inspector in his office. At the FCC, bureaucratic home of the people who enforce such obscenity laws as we have, employees routinely spend the equivalent of a full workday each week watching porn. Treasury, General Service Administration, Commerce — porn, porn, and more porn.

Of course nobody gets fired. Nobody ever gets fired.

Seriously, feds: I don’t care how much porn you watch, or even what kind of porn you like to watch: If coulrophilia is your thing, let your freak flag fly — at home.

Is that too much to ask? You’re federal employees: You’re supposed to be jerking us around. Do the other on your own time.

‘We are over $19 trillion in debt, and taxpayers are paying for federal employees to waste time at work surfing porn.’

— Rep. Walter Jones

How bad is the problem? Not only has the OIG taken note, but Congress has roused itself to act. Representative Walter Jones (R., N.C.) has introduced a bill that would mandate porn-blockers on all federal computers except for a few used by law-enforcement professionals who are obliged to keep an eye on some pornographic sites. Congress may be impotent when it comes to reforming entitlements or balancing the budget, but it is ready to come down hard on porn in the federal workplace. Jones’s bill of course should be passed, and it shouldn’t just be porn: Federal employees, according to OIG reports, also spend a great deal of time browsing online-dating sites (apparently without much success) and shopping.

(No, I don’t want to know what these creeps are shopping for. I get the feeling there is latex involved, and inflation valves.)

#share#It’s not that I’m a raging Puritan on this stuff. The porn business can be weird and ugly, but I’m no Terry Crews on the subject. I assume that as long as there are sexually frustrated human beings (which is to say, as long as there are human beings), then metaphorical simians are going to suffer metaphorical corporal punishment. I’m with Representative Jones on this one: “We are over $19 trillion in debt, and taxpayers are paying for federal employees to waste time at work surfing porn.”

You guys are at work, for Pete’s sake.

In any normal workplace, you’d almost certainly get fired for watching porn at the office, if only because management doesn’t want to court sexual-harassment lawsuits. You might get off with a warning the first time, but a second or third offense? Or eight hours a week? No way that flies anywhere except a government office.

If these guys put that much work into foreign policy, ISIS would be iced and Vladimir Putin would be running an escort service in Brighton Beach like God intended.

The federal government is a more and more corrupt and abusive organization that does less and less measurable good for the country.

The federal government is a more and more corrupt and abusive organization that does less and less measurable good for the country, and it is time that we plainly acknowledged its true character: It is a supplementary welfare state for the politically connected and the conveniently servile, the purpose of which is to pay out six-figure salaries to people who would be lucky to earn half that in private employment but whose financial well-being is dear to politically powerful people. (Oh, I’m sure Mrs. Obama was worth every penny of that $317,000 a year.) Many of them don’t do much of anything; the ones who do things mainly harass and extort us, standing between Americans and the things we desire to do, with their hands out saying, “Pay me.”

And the rest of them are watching porn all day.

There is a good case to be made for decimating the federal work force, by which I mean firing 10 percent of them rather than the more robust Roman practice of decimation. We could probably get rid of a good deal more than that and not notice any decline in public services. (“Services.”) The porn is in fact far from the most important aspect of the story: The fact that we need an act of Congress to put porn-blockers on federal computers tells us about a great deal more than the fantasy lives of bureaucrats.

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