Once upon a time the government had a scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, “Someone may steal it at night.” So they created a night watchman position and hired a person at $18,000 a year for the job.
Then Congress said, “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?” So they created a planning department and hired two people—one person to write the instructions for $22,000 and one person to do time studies for an additional $22,000 per year.
Then congress said, “How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?” So they created a quality control department and hired two people. One to do the studies for $31,000 and one to write the reports for an additional $31,000 per year.
Then Congress said, “How are these people going to get paid?” So they created the following positions: a timekeeper for a $35,000 annual salary and a payroll officer for an additional $35,000. Then they created an administrative section and hired three more people—an Administrative Officer at $155,000 per year, an Assistant Administrative Officer at $125,000 and a Legal Secretary at $100,000 per year.
Then Congress said, “We have had this operating for one year with a budget cost of $574,000 and we are $18,000 over budget. We must cut back costs.”
So they laid off the night watchman.
(Contributed by Paul Anderson, via e-mail.)