TLP: Nice Work If You Can Get It, Because You'd Have To F&%k Up Bad To Lose It

Friday, February 26, 2010 0 Comments

The Lazy Paperboy's first job was as an independent contractor. Up every morning, except Sundays – blessedly, those belonged to the kid down the street who delivered the afternoon paper – my continued employment depended on that rolled-up broadsheet making a solid fap on the doorstep before the customer came looking for it. As you can imagine, laziness was a huge obstacle in that line of work, which led to the recruitment of the younger brother.

Bottom line: the job was mine only as long as I got it done. Otherwise, the surly district circulation manager would replace me. (OK, that happened. No surprise, right?)

How much better to be a government contractor.


The Obama administration is planning to use the government’s enormous buying power to prod private companies to improve wages and benefits for millions of workers, according to White House officials and several interest groups briefed on the plan.

By altering how it awards $500 billion in contracts each year, the government would disqualify more companies with labor, environmental or other violations and give an edge to companies that offer better levels of pay, health coverage, pensions and other benefits, the officials said.

Because nearly one in four workers is employed by companies that have contracts with the federal government, administration officials see the plan as a way to shape social policy and lift more families into the middle class. It would affect contracts like those awarded to make Army uniforms, clean federal buildings and mow lawns at military bases.

Although the details are still being worked out, the outline of the plan is drawing fierce opposition from business groups and Republican lawmakers. They see it as a gift to organized labor and say it would drive up costs for the government in the face of a $1.3 trillion budget deficit.

Granted, getting caught pushing through hedges, cutting across pristine suburban lawns and winging the paper into the bushes may qualify as "other violations." Plus, my later experience at the front end of the news distribution chain proved that government has every reason to not give a shit about whether people get their papers or not.

The Obama Administration sees an overhaul of the government procurement process as a way to prevent contracting scandals involving cost overruns and no-bid contracts, Steven Greenhouse reported in the Times.

“The president made it clear that he is committed to reforming government contracts to save taxpayers money while protecting workers and the environment,” a White House spokesman, Bill Burton, said. “The administration is currently gathering data and examining the best ways to do this.”

Sounds like a bit of a clusterfuck, wrapping up efforts to improve wages, improve working conditions and enforce environmental regulations in one huge package. How about just enforcing those things on their own when they arise? A company violates employment law, it gets a hard smack. It tries to squirm out of pollution standards? Tighten the grip. It won't be long before we hear squeals.

Look, I was not a bad paperboy. Lazy is different. But still, the job didn't last forever, the newspaper found someone else to do my route and I moved on to selling sporting goods. Everybody was happy, especially me. After-school work allows for sleeping later. And do you know how long it can take to find a pair of Adidas shelltops in the stockroom?

The Lazy Paperboy

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.