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Federal IT Will Survive the Budget Deal 104

jfruhlinger writes "Like most people in America — and like most government workers in particular — federal IT staffers are wondering how the recent budget deal will affect them. It seems they won't suffer much, for two reasons: there was already a major tech consolidation effort underway, and everyone involved is hoping IT initiatives will result in cost-savings in other areas of government operations. In particular, federal moves to the cloud — which can yield considerable savings, despite a need for up-front investment that deters some shops — will continue."
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Federal IT Will Survive the Budget Deal

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  • What didn't survive the 'budget deal'?
    • That separation of powers thing, where Congress (and only Congress) is authorized to borrow money.
      • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

        Care to point at some sources? Last I checked, congress still has that exclusive power, though there was talk that if congress failed, an executive order might be used to save the country.

        • Exclusive power was designed out at the time of the constitution - it's a checks and balances thing.

          The Constitution is openly ignored now, of course, but if any branch has any exclusive power, it's definitely not the legislature and definitely not over the budget.

        • by Seumas ( 6865 )

          Congress was once a part of a separate branch of government to counter balance the power of the other two. Long ago, they essentially just turned into a timid lapdog of the sitting president. They'll bitch and moan and showboat for a few weeks or months, when when it comes down to it, they'll mostly do what the president wants them to do.

    • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

      What didn't survive the 'budget deal'?

      The stability of this nation and my faith in humanity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mr1911 ( 1942298 )

      What didn't survive the 'budget deal'?

      Any meaningful deficit reduction.

    • I'm guessing some education funding and some scientific research funding. But don't worry, I'm sure congress will do their best to make sure only the ineffective educational programs get cut, and that the most important research projects will be adequately funded.

      Oh wait..."their best" isn't really a comforting thought...
      • Not even that. If you look at the deal, all they have agreed to is to not increase spending by as much as they had planned on...and even that they won't start for a couple of years. They are hoping that by then this fuss will be safely forgotten and they can increase spending not only by as much as they had originally planned, but by even more. There is no spending cuts in the "debt deal". When Washington "cuts spending" it means they won't increase spending by as much as they said they would. What they usu
      • Next years spending increases. I really, really, REALLY wish the media didn't go long with the spin that is included with baseline budgeting. Here is, as of my quick glance before posting, a description of the atrocity known as baseline budgeting. [] []

        In short, next years budget will be bigger than this years budget. In 2011, we spent about 3.8 Trillion (3,800,000,000,000) (We'll ignore the fact we went most of 2011 without a budget) and had a defi

    • The US dollar.

    • Next years spending increases. I really, really, REALLY wish the media didn't go long with the spin that is included with baseline budgeting. Here is, as of my quick glance before posting, a description of the atrocity known as baseline budgeting. []

      In short, next years budget will be bigger than this years budget. In 2011, we spent about 3.8 Trillion (3,800,000,000,000) (We'll ignore the fact we went most of 2011 without a budget) and had a deficit for the y

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Possibly the use of the $US as the global currency and thus the main thing stopping the $US going the same way as the $Zimbabwe. Inflation hasn't hurt it much because the US economy has not been the only thing keeping the $US stable, but as the US economy affects it the $US becomes a lot less attractive for international resource deals and multinationals may start using other currencies instead.
  • Any effort to "save money" by "cutting budget" that affects Corporate Persons (esp important ones) will not be affected. Anything else is "fair game".

    Welcome your new corporate overlords, "citizen".

  • I;ll clue you in: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @05:56PM (#36978000) Homepage Journal

    Government workers are always under pressure to cut costs, and do more.
    If you look at the actual numbers* and compare them to any corporation of equal size as the specific government group,. there is substantial less waste in government then corporations.

    Oh, be people just point and say 'government waste' and everyone nods there head like a bunch of brainwash Scientologist at a 'retreat'.

    Ask for evidence, data, comparisons and they got nothing except for the rare cherry picked item. Most, as in over 98 percent, of government work is at or slightly below the initial requirements.
    Corporation can only dream to get the kinds of numbers most government agency get.

    *you wont, but I can hope

    • I would like to look at the actual numbers. How can I find them?

    • by XanC ( 644172 )

      Corporations are in business because they offer a good deal for their customers. "Waste" isn't something that the customers have to worry about, but they will select the least wasteful company, since a wasteful company will soon have a less wasteful competitor.

      Government, well, we have no choice. We're all their "customers" whether we want to be or not. Since there's no voting with the wallet possible, there has to be stringent oversight.

      You may point out wasteful corporations that continue to survive wi

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Have you ever SEEN the inside of a corporation? I'd be amazed if even half the stuff they burn money on has anything to do with delivering a product to the customer.

        The real deal is that once you get big enough you can afford to do that and still come in at a decent price (compared to other wasters) by exporting jobs to the 3rd world. If you're a small company, you waste very little but you can't get pricing significantly below retail on anything so you come in slightly higher.

    • by judoguy ( 534886 )
      Efficiency isn't the issue. It's massive bureaucracies/government controls that aren't needed/wanted. The Nazis were probably efficient. If the DHS is efficient, does that make it a good thing to have around?
    • You've never worked for the DoD then. Massive amounts of waste, unwilling to fire anyone, and automatic raises for the most dubious of "masters degrees", often paid for by the government but not actually resulting in any more efficiencies. Not to mention a love affair with Windows that borders on psychotic.
    • As I am from another country, YMMV, but what I see here is while there is pressure in the middle and lower level to cut costs, at higher level the game is a little different.

      Let's say you have to build another hospital in the public network and (given that the specs are still open), the IT department asks for a place where they can put their CPD (thus being able to provide services currently outsourced at no low price). So they specify that they need so many square meters, must be able to bear a given weigh

    • You boast some impressive numbers and they disclaim any opposing views as being cherry picked yet you do not provide any citations to back your claims.

      Your talking about an organization (the US government) which is consuming nearly 25% of the GDP of the richest country on Earth that cannot balance its books. Yet you claim that it is efficient beyond the hopes of any corporation? It does not take much work to come up with your "cherry picked" counter points, government projects are notorious for over spendin

      • Well, I won't research numbers for you (if you really wanted them you would have dug out numbers to support your point and proudly posted them), but consider that much of that 25%of GDP goes either to keeping people alive at home (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) to trying to make people dead overseas. And you can call them "Entitlements" as you wish, but Social Security and Medicare are insurance that workers pay for with every paycheck. I will not argue that we are spending way too much killing people

        • Bad human nature is always a risk when massive amounts of money is flowing. I'm not saying it's right what these private contractors have done, but all the massive but decidedly "necessary" government projects that inevitably require tons of private contract work just seem to be a complete joke -- the joke being that our even MORE massive but "necessary" government can't effectively manage the real consequences of the huge projects it proposes!

          How did the government think things would go? "Hey, let's give t

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Every month, every federal project in existence has to update a series of documents called an exhibit 300. This includes milestones, earned value calculations, and risk reports. This level of reporting is FAR more detailed than anything required in the private sector. Any program caught wasting money or missing deadlines is unceremoniously cancelled. Working in the federal sector these days is like working under the spanish inquisition. These reports are public knowledge and anyone can read them at the OMB.

      • Your talking about an organization (the US government) which is consuming nearly 25% of the GDP of the richest country on Earth that cannot balance its books.

        The bulk of that money is not "consumed," it is simply paid back out to pensioners, as you said, and other people who return it to the economy almost immediately.

        Historically we take in between 18 and 20% of the GDP with the spending close to that, yet now we are at less than 19% because of the weak economy and nearly 25% out because of reckless spen

    • by MyFirstNameIsPaul ( 1552283 ) * <> on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @06:51PM (#36978742) Homepage Journal

      I'll share evidence explained directly to me by the person who was involved.

      A friend of mine in the Navy was sent to shore duty to work with shipyard employees. This is a fairly common duty for people in the program I worked in.

      The small division he was working for was all civilians and tasked with rebuilding and repairing complex mechanical equipment on ships and subs. His group was tasked with the replacement of a large valve on a critical ship's system. He took the usual squid work mentality and worked long hours to complete the job in less than 3 days, sleeping on the ship one of the days to get the work done. When he reported to his supervisor that the work was complete, the supervisor was livid.

      The supervisor explained to my friend that this valve replacement was expected to take 5 people 3 weeks to complete, with the final week being 12 hour days with overtime pay. This supervisor was so angry that he told my friend never to work on another project for this division again. So my friend stopped going into work altogether. Since he was not assigned to a military base, nobody kept track of what he did or where he was. For the next two years he spent all of his time SCUBA diving and hang-gliding while making a nice salary and receiving full benefits.

      I have yet to see in a corporate world not only with this amount of waste (500 man-hours billed to do 45 man-hours labor) as standard policy, but also someone making a nice salary that nobody tracks any of their productivity or even knows where the employee is.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        I've seen exactly the same thing in private enterprise many times - especially during plant maintaince shutdowns or at mine sites. It's called corruption if they have an inside man or just plain ripping off the customer if they don't.
        Not all of the gangsters in the USA went into government.
        • The first ship I was on was decommissioned and I was part of the crew for the one year deactivation period. The engine room had been shutdown for months when we pulled into drydock and the shipyard workers began taking the lagging off of the steam pipes. A few of the machinists who were part of the crew were commenting on how slow the shipyard workers were at removing the lagging. They had put the ratio at something like one hour of sailor work to one week of shipyard worker work. From there they estima

          • one hour of sailor work to one week of shipyard worker work

            Are you really trying to use the example of a government sailor being faster than civilian private enterprise workers to try to make government look bad? Even if it's a government owned shipyard (is there such a thing?) you are just comparing one part of government to another, so it looks like you are just trying to see if we are paying attention or easy marks in some silly game to fool the stupid.
            I've seen far worse in a coal mine that had over 10

            • Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility []

              You're not understanding the point. You can't bust these people. They are doing what they are expected to do. No crime is being committed, other than the complete waste of taxpayer money. You know nothing about how Navy sailors work, especially sailors in the Naval Nuclear Power Program. It is clearly you who is trying to confuse people by filling a post with failed logic, conjecture, and incorrect assumptions.

              • by dbIII ( 701233 )
                YOU are the one saying government workers are bad by comparing government workers to different government workers.

                You are insulting our intelligence if you are trying to use that as an example as to why private enterprise is better.

                If you can't bust those people then their management is dead wood that should be removed and whether they are government or otherwise simply means the methods have to be different. It doesn't matter how badly fucked up the system is - there are people that theoretically have
                • Like I stated earlier, you know nothing about what you are talking about. You have clearly never spent any time working within the federal government. I'm not going to debate you because you are unwilling to see past your own ignorance. You even try to claim you know something about Naval shipyards and you haven't even the faintest clue. You are doing what I call 'bullet hunting'. You are going to throw-up different arguments to every rebuttal without addressing any of my arguments because you have no
                  • by dbIII ( 701233 )
                    I don't know about your shipyards because I'm not in the US and where I am the navy gets major work done by privately owned shipyards although under naval supervision.
                    What I do know is that comparing good government workers (navy sailors) to bad government workers (shipyard workers that can apparently get away with anything) says nothing at all about the benefits of the "corporate world".
                    While I don't work anywhere near government now I used to work for a state government owned electricity generator and tha
      • Did you just made that story up? It sure appears that way.
    • Wow, utter bullshit from yet another person feeding at the taxpayer trough.

      I'm sure he has a nice pension,too, so we can pay him not to work for 30-40 years.

    • That is an interesting take, and it is also interesting that everyone responding to your comment was quick to address the efficacy of government spending. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself what is the real role of government, specifically the role of the federal government? I think for some people when they look at waste in government spending it goes beyond efficacy and is the fact that the overreaching federal government under takes projects it should have no authority over.
  • The cloud is not always a cost saving solution and it also requires trusting someone else with your data. If you have very little in the way of IT staff, infrastructure or no specialised needs then, as long are willing to trust the service, then it can be a cost saving.

    Although you shouldn't be paranoid I would encourage you to think of the relative liability of the cloud. Like the ones made out of vapour there are no guarantees that the one you are using will there tomorrow, that you will have access to yo

  • >>everyone involved is hoping that IT initiatives will result in cost-savings in other areas of government operations The federal government is incapabale of doing anything that will result in a cost-savings.
  • Ever notice how when a politician does something that big business likes, it is received as "job creating", while something they don't like is automatically "job killing"? Yet when cuts to the federal budget can only be addressed with layoffs, that is somehow not "job killing" and infrastructure projects are somehow never "job creating"?
    • by Seumas ( 6865 )

      I don't see the point in counting a job that exists only thanks to the tax-payer's taxes as a "job" in the normal means. It's not a benefit to the country - it's a liability. An expense. A budget item.

      • I don't see the point in counting a job that exists only thanks to the tax-payer's taxes as a "job" in the normal means. It's not a benefit to the country - it's a liability. An expense. A budget item.

        So are you suggesting then that infrastructure work such as roads and highways should be done by volunteers out of the goodness of their own hearts? Feel free to try suggesting that in your own district and let me know how that goes.

  • There are no real cuts in the debt deal. All they agreed to was that they would not increase spending by as much as they had said they planned on. Further, most of the "cuts" come two or more years from now. The people who agreed to this plan may not even be in office when it comes time to write the actual spending bills involved. This is how it always happens. Every so often the voters get upset and demand that Congress cut spending. A few Congressmen take it seriously and propose to reduce how much the go
  • the government spend god knows how much money on large time share computers, to replace them with individual workstations and now to move those workstations to the "cloud" which of course is marketing bullshit for time share computers.

    how fucking dumb can these asswipes get, seriously

    • To be fair, there wasn't a real clear upgrade path from the previous generation of timeshare pcs. All the innovation happened on the workstation OS model and thin client tech languished for decades.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.