Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Commentary of the Day

David S. Mazel, on Jennifer Rubin:

I have worked at government sites, sitting next to government employees. And I now work at a private company. I can tell you that Jennifer is dead-on about the incentives and forces that managers see in these two very different settings.

Government managers are hamstrung and often have little control. Sure, they can approve time cards, monitor contracts with non-government companies (i.e., private companies) but they have little control over employees. (Once, I was directed to work with a government analyst by her manager. This analyst told me that she wouldn’t do the work, no matter what her manager said. And he, the manager, could not do anything about that.) What’s more, the incentives for government managers have nothing to do with profit or product. The incentives have everything to do with simply pleasing your boss or finding a position with a higher pay grade.

In a private company, the situation is quite different. Profits are of utmost importance, spending is kept low, and costs are always reduced, as much as possible anyway. The money belongs to the company so saving money is good for the company and, therefore, good for the employees. There’s an incentive to work to save.

What’s more, managers in private industry consider the bottom line constantly. It’s how they are graded. Managers will fire employees who don’t perform or demote them. That is a rarity in the government.

So, technocrats, as Jennifer notes, are trained differently from private industry managers.

That leads me to Chrysler and GM. It seems here Jennifer is spot-on again. The unions have made these companies too much like government employment. Unlike the government, the companies can’t tax people and force them to pay money. People, customers!, have a choice, unlike taxpayers. Unfortunately for GM and Chrysler their customers are deciding to spend their money elsewhere.


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.