When George Washington took the oath as president, public service was an honored obligation. Today, most Americans associate honor with military service but tend to view those who enter civil service as "feds," "bureaucrats," and a necessary evil.
Whether they are on the staffs of senators or congressmen, or work in the myriad halls of cabinet departments and federal agencies, a large number find themselves on the short end of the stick with little recourse.
The IRS needs more resources -- people and money. Congress has strangled their funding for over ten years, to the point that they cannot update computers and software, yet alone hire civil servants to replace the ones that retire.
Mitt Romney recently let his potential federal workforce know that he thinks they are overpaid. Any executive who took the CEO's job after announcing that his entire workforce was not worth much would not create the conditions for high performance.
The lingering global crisis is forcing us to rethink the objectives and the tools of social policy. Past meltdowns in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin-America provide us with some good hints on what to expect and how to respond.
When Victoria Delong, who served in the U.S. Cultural Affairs Office in Port-au-Prince died in Haiti during its devastating earthquake last January, it was left up to her agency to decide whether and how to honor her.