Perhaps it is ironic that as someone with a federal pension based on 25 years of service with a federal agency, I identify myself as a Libertarian. Maybe registering to vote as a Libertarian all these years was a defense mechanism against the soul-crushing experience of being a nameless cog in the bureaucracy.
One experience in particular stands out. During my career I worked in regional and field locations, only occasionally serving on detail at HQ in Washington, DC. The first two of those four-month HQ stints weren't too bad as I was working on projects where I didn't require much direction from above and where I felt there was actual accomplishment at the end. However, on the third detail starting in August 2010, I was designated as the liaison between my division and the IT division, which was developing an update to the most important software package used by our field personnel. Very quickly I discovered that I had absolutely no power over IT division personnel and its contractors. That is, unless you consider being annoying to be a power. My job was to pester the IT people endlessly about their status in regard to various deadlines, and report back to my bosses about why those various deadlines were not being met. I had responsibility to keep the project on track, but no way to compel the people I was dealing with to do a damn thing. My predecessor still had a permanent job within the office and helped me get started, but in short order he made it clear he was busy with his new responsibilities and it was my headache now.
As November and the holidays approached, it concerned me that my temporary bosses hadn't given me a definite end date for my detail, so eventually I told them that my permanent bosses needed me back in my field office, which may or may not have been true. I'm not embarrassed to say I was happy to get out of there after 3.5 months even though it meant some other poor sap got stuck with the impossible task of keeping the IT people on track.
I'm not complaining about my agency, which is actually one of the better places to work in the federal government if you believe the surveys. I think it is just the nature of a bureaucracy. What are the consequences of missing a deadline? If you are an IT specialist in a private company, you are going to get fired eventually. If you are an IT specialist in a government agency, you'll probably get promoted. (I saw it happen.)
After that experience, I never went back to DC on detail. I didn't volunteer and they didn't ask for me, so I may have burned a bridge there. I officially retired 2.5 years later, although I worked part-time for the next several years on projects unrelated to what I described above. Now as a retiree, I get frustrated when dealing with federal government employees, whether it's the personnel department at my old agency, OPM regarding my pension, or Social Security regarding something as simple as changing my mother's mailing address. It has been my experience that each of these do a bad job dealing with the public because they have minimal incentive to do a good job. But there are those Progressives in our country who want to create a socialist utopia where the government has even more power. Do they really believe that the employees who will be needed to serve in the new bureaucracies will have an incentive to provide great customer service? I don't think it is out of line to say that these people learned nothing from that great socialist experiment called the Soviet Union.
Yes there are private companies that do bad things to their customers. The company run by the evil Mark Zuckerberg comes to mind. Now Zuckerberg is reaping the whirlwind for his nefarious deeds. Worst case, Facebook becomes increasingly irrelevant, the stock price plunges, and Zuckerberg gets thrown in jail. (Or maybe we should call that "best case.") But what happens when the IRS misbehaves? Maybe one or two senior appointees lose their jobs, but for the most part the nameless minions march on, making life miserable for middle-class Americans. None of those minions have the power to make any real changes, even if they wanted to. So they put in their years trying to keep their heads down, compartmentalizing their work life and their private life, and making it out at the end with a government pension. Yes please, we want more of these people and not so many in private industry.