Instapundit and law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds has an op-ed in USA Today updating his idea of a tax that would slow the revolving door between federal employment and the private sector:
since it's getting more attention, perhaps I should flesh this idea out a bit more.
First, I'd apply it only to political appointees in the executive branch, at least to begin with. I'd be thrilled to apply it to congressional staffers -- and to members of Congress -- as well, but I think that such a bill would face too much opposition in, well, Congress to make it through. But if executive officials are subject to this sort of law, the pressure will grow to extend it the legislative branch as well. (And I wouldn't apply it to people who aren't political appointees because it seems unfair to slap a surtax on someone who finishes his hitch in the Marines and joins a private-security company).
Second, we might want to adjust things for people who take a pay cut when joining federal service: Perhaps if someone made more money before taking a government job, we should only tax earnings in excess of what he or she earned before. So leave a $250,000 job at a bank to take a $125,000 job with the feds, and when you leave the surtax applies only to your earnings in excess of $250K
I think exempting the career government employees (i.e, not political appointees) would be a mistake. I'm all for Marines, but the general who leaves his job supervising defense acquisitions or some new weapons program to go to work for some defense contractor working on the program he used to supervise is just as much an issue as is the career SEC lawyer or federal prosecutor who goes to work for a private law firm doing white-collar defense work.