Posted in: American politics, Government, Musings, Political, Uncategorized. Tagged: backbone, blame, border wall, chaos, civil servant, closed-minded, compromise, Democracy, Democratic Party, Democrats, devil, Donald Trump, federal employees, federal government, furlough, GOP, government shutdown, Greedy Old Party, guilt, ignorance, incapable, incompetence, leader, mission essential, moral compass, perspective, ploy, politicians, Republican Party, Republicans, selfishness, shutdown, soul, stupid, truth, United States of America, Washington D.C., work ethic. Leave a comment
It goes without saying how deeply disappointed, and disgusted, I am that once again our “leaders” in Washington D.C. failed at their jobs and allowed the United States Federal Government to shut down. Not only is a federal government shutdown a complete embarrassment, it is a testament to how completely inept our current elected officials truly are and how dysfunctional our federal government truly has become.
What makes this shutdown even more despicable is the fact it has occurred over differences regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program “allowed undocumented immigrants who came to the US under the age of 16 to apply for protection from deportation.” In this status, approximately 800,000 “undocumented immigrants” who came to the U.S. ILLEGALLY as minors, can be protected from immediate deportation for a period of two years, which is subject to renewal.
So…let’s cut through the “political speak” and political correctness. Basically…the United States Federal Government shut down over differences regarding ILLEGAL immigrants living in this country. The federal government shut down over differences regarding NON-US citizens living in this country.
It absolutely floors me that as of midnight this Saturday, mission essential LEGAL civilian federal employees (many of whom are military veterans) will report to work and basically work for free until this shutdown is over. LEGAL, US civilian federal employees (did I mention many of whom are military veterans…you know, that have sacrificed for and served their country), will keep this nation’s infrastructure operating, without getting paid until the shutdown is over. Just so that ILLEGAL, NON-US citizens can continue to live in this country?
Am I the only one that sees the irony in this?
The finger pointing has already started and more than likely the Democrats will take it on the chin for this shutdown. The reality is though everyone in Congress is to blame for this, regardless of party affiliation. The reality is they had a job to do, once again they failed miserably, and none of them deserve to be in the position that they are in. None of them deserve to earn the six figure salaries that they will continue to earn during the shutdown…even though they too are civilian federal employees.
Am I the only one that sees the irony in that as well?
Enough is enough. Our federal elected officials are inept and our federal government is broken. Drastic changes are needed, but that’s another rant for another day. This current federal government shutdown is an embarrassment all by itself. But the fact it occurred due to differences over ILLEGAL, NON-US immigrants, at the expense of LEGAL US citizens, makes it that much more despicable.
It’s only fitting and proper that on my first furlough day I take the time to thank those responsible for taking away from me. Thank you Congress for taking 20% of my paycheck. Your irresponsibility and indifference regarding sequestration will go far towards negating my efforts to maintain my quality of life. I appreciate you adversely impacting my current financial stability.
In addition, since the amount of money going towards my retirement is based on a percentage of my base pay, your ineptness will also adversely impact my future financial stability. Since I will no longer have any “disposable” income to speak off, I will also no longer be able to contribute to the additional Roth IRA I established. Unlike you, I planned responsibly for my future. Thank you for negating my efforts.
Despite your efficiency in adversely impacting both my current and future financial stability, I will sleep well at night knowing each and every one of you, my “leaders” in Washington, will continue to draw every penny of your six-figure salary.
I’d also like to thank you on behalf of the local businesses I will no longer be able to frequent due to my furlough status. Thank you for taking away from those small business owners who’s every dollar means the difference between success and failure.
Rest assured though, since I have to put gas in my vehicle for the days that I am not furloughed, feed and clothe myself, and pay my mortgage, I will continue to support the big business, “Capitalist Masters”, that fill your re-election coffers.
Thank you Congress! Thank you for taking from me…your constituent. Thank you for taking from my local small business owners…so much for that whole “job creation thing” you talk so much about. Come Election Day, you better believe I will remember. I will remember those that took from me!!!!
Civil Servant, Veteran, Your Constituent
Like many federal civilian employees, I’m keeping a leery eye towards the future. Sadly, the sequestration that was never supposed to happen appears more and more likely with each passing day. Once again words cannot describe the overwhelming disappointment I have towards our “leaders” in Washington D.C. They have yet again blown an opportunity to step up and do the job that they get paid (and get paid well) to do. To add insult to injury, it seems most have made the decision to purposely allow the sequestration to occur rather than actually put forth the effort to reduce this nation’s deficit rationally and responsibly.
If the sequestration occurs, I like many federal civilian employees, will be furloughed. This means that I will be forced to take an unpaid “vacation” one day a week until the “Dolts in DC” pull their heads out of their anal orifices and actually make the decisions they have been elected to make. My elected representatives will be responsible for a loss of income which accounts for almost a third of my monthly paycheck. Contrary to seemingly popular belief regarding federal civilian employees, I’m not a millionaire. I make approximately 35K/year. While I’ve taken responsible steps to help mitigate the effects of potential furlough, this loss of income will adversely impact my standard of living.
I’m sure there are some that have read this far and are thinking “blah, blah, blah, whining and bitching”. For those that feel this way and lack the ability to think beyond their immediate self, I’d like to put things in perspective. First of all, can you afford to lose a third of your monthly paycheck? Probably not! If the shoe were on the other foot you too would be up in arms over the degradation to your standard of living. In addition, you’d probably also be rather indignant that no one cares about your plight.
I imagine there are also some that are reading this thinking “well if you want to make more money, get a better paying job”. Brilliant!! Why didn’t I think of that! However, I’m not asking for anything more than what I already receive. I don’t want more money. I simply want to receive the full amount of money I currently make! I feel I get paid well for what I do. Through responsible decision making, my current income enables me the ability to live a rather comfortable standard of living. In addition, I thoroughly enjoy what I do. Do you want to walk away from what you enjoy doing? Probably not! To expect me to do so because of the ineptness of others is simply idiotic.
Ultimately, there are those that may be thinking “well it could be worse, at least you have a job.” I couldn’t agree more! It could be worse. I could be unemployed or I could be furloughed for more than one day a week and lose even more income. I am quite thankful I have a job. I recognize there are others that are not as fortunate. Yet those that take this “be thankful for what you have” approach, as well as those that feel I’m whining and bitching, are missing the ultimate point.
We pay (to the tune of six figures a year) our elected officials to make decisions that are in the best interest of this country. Our “leaders” are simply NOT DOING THEIR JOB and the sequestration is yet one more example of this unwillingness to perform the duties they have been elected to do. If I don’t do my job, I get “written up”. I will ultimately be fired if I continue to shun the responsibilities I was hired to do. What price do our elected officials pay for blatantly thumbing their noses at their responsibilities? What price do our elected officials pay for putting the interests of their Super-PAC’s, special interest groups, and political parties ahead of their constituents’ issues? Absolutely nothing…with a pretty good chance for re-election at the end of their term!! The ultimate point is our elected officials are not doing their jobs and we are not holding them accountable for their inactions.
To add even more insult to injury, I recently learned that Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) introduced bill H.R. 273. This bill effectively aims to eliminate the 2013 statutory pay adjustment for Federal employees. Not surprisingly, this bill passed the Republican Tea Party controlled House and is now up for Senate consideration. While it is uncertain whether or not the Senate will approve the measure, in light of the current political climate, it’s reasonable to assume at this point it will.
So it’s not good enough to steal the money that federal civilian employees currently make. No, let’s make sure federal civilian employees receive less in the future too!! If only Rep. DeSantis and the rest of the 48 obstructionist Republican Tea Party members that co-sponsored this bill could be as thorough when it comes to actually introducing and passing responsible legislation!
While many will view my words as nothing more than bitching and whining, the reality is we have a huge problem. The “Dolts in DC” are not doing their job and we are not holding them accountable for their inaction. This has got to change!! We as citizens CANNOT continue to simply make do with what is given to us. As citizens, it SHOULD NOT be expected that we continually accommodate the ineptness of our elected officials. The free ride is over! Our Senators and Representatives MUST BE held accountable for their actions…or more importantly, their inactions. As citizens we have a RESPONSIBILITY to become more aware and more involved in what our elected officials do. That way come Election Day, we ensure those that have not been living up to their responsibility are finally held accountable and unseated! Perhaps a good place to start is a certain Representative from Florida.
I decided to make this a new post rather than keep adding onto the original (Federal Employees, the Latest American Scapegoat). My hope is by creating a new post more people will notice and take action. My original post highlighted a bill (HR 270) sponsored by Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo which would require most federal civilian employees to take two weeks of unpaid leave in fiscal year 2012. This bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law on 14 Feb 1, where it still remains today.
I recently sent a letter to Representative Coffman asking him to rescind HR 270 and strike the mandatory unpaid leave proposal. While I doubt my sole effort will do little to invoke change, I believe it is important Rep. Coffman hears from those that will be adversely impacted by his actions. I encourage everyone with a vested interest to contact Rep. Coffman, especially those within the district he represents, and make your voice heard as well. The following is general and contact information for Rep. Coffman:
Rep. Coffman’s web page:
Rep. Coffman’s “Contact” page (link for electronic contact on page):
For those that prefer to contact Rep. Coffman by mail, phone, or fax:
9220 Kimmer Drive; Suite 220
Lone Tree, CO 80124
Phone: (720) 283-9772
Fax: (720) 283-9776
1222 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-7882
Fax: (202) 226-4623
Like many civilian federal employees, I watched with great apprehension as our nation’s lawmakers came to a last minute agreement this past Friday night on the fiscal year 2011 budget. It’s difficult to put into words how disappointed, and thoroughly disgusted, I would have been had our elected officials been unable to avoid a federal government shutdown. As a federal civilian employee, I am one of the approximately 800,000 civil servants that could have been furloughed as a result of the inability of our nation’s “leadership” to reach a consensus and pass a budget that would satisfy the demands of both parties. I appreciate our lawmaker’s efforts to reach a last minute deal. However, reaching an agreement does not negate the finger pointing and partisan politics that placed undue burden and stress on so many people’s lives.
I believe that we do need to start doing things smarter. This country cannot continue to spend the way it does. I understand the need for a budget that reflects fiscal responsibility and I applaud our nation’s lawmakers for finally realizing this and trying to do something about it. However, the efforts of our elected officials come too little too late for this budget. In a few days, we will actually be closer to fiscal year 2012 than the beginning of fiscal year 2011. The end no longer justifies the means when the means paralyze government, adversely impacting the people of this country.
One bright spot in what could have been a more disastrous situation is the Tea Party movement has revealed, at least for me, its true colors. At one time, I believed the Tea Party movement was good for this country. Now, it’s clear to me the Tea Party movement is only interested in advancing its own ultra-conservative agenda. Sadly, some members of the Tea Party movement, to include lawmakers and supporters, actually advocated a federal government showdown:
“I’m not the slightest bit worried about a government shutdown,” Tea Party supporter Robin Maas said at a March 31 rally in Washington. “I think we find out that there are many things government does that we really don’t need to keep this country going. And a government shutdown would actually save us some money.” (Cohen, 2011)
Statements like this highlight just how out of touch, misinformed, and short-sighted Tea Party supporters truly are. I don’t know what Ms. Maas does for a living. Based on her lack of worry however, it’s safe to assert her livelihood does not depend on the federal government’s operation. I would love to hear how she came to the conclusion that a government shutdown would save us money. On the contrary, there exists the likelihood a government shutdown would actually end up costing more in the long run (Riley, 2011).
Those in favor of a shutdown, or those that believe they would not be adversely affected by a federal government shutdown, simply just don’t get it. They live in a world of false consciousness. We do not live in a society whose parts are separate and independent of other societal aspects. Adverse effects upon one facet of society will ultimately affect all aspects of society in some way, shape, or form. Those whose livelihood does not depend on the federal government may not be affected immediately. However, in the long term, we will all bear the brunt in some way, shape, or form, of those that will be directly impacted.
Those in favor of a federal government shutdown, as well as those that do not think they will be adversely affected by a shutdown, miss the ultimate point. We should never find ourselves faced with the prospect of a federal government shutdown, much less an actual shutdown. We expect, and pay our elected officials to make timely, difficult decisions that ensure our federal government remains in operation. When lawmakers are either unwilling, or incapable, of doing this, it will be we the people that will pay for our lawmaker’s inability to act. Ironically, while federal civilian federal employees sit at home against their will, not drawing a paycheck, the inept lawmakers that ensured a shutdown will continue to be paid.
Contrary to the popular belief of many, the average civilian federal employee is not a millionaire. Many of those that will be furloughed live paycheck to paycheck. While our lawmakers continue to draw their six figure salary, many federal civilian employees run the risk of not being able to pay their mortgages, rent, and car payment…as well as those other “extravagances”, like food. Let us not forget about our military members, who will continue to report for duty, maintaining the safety and security of this country…without pay. Now, in addition to worrying about snipers and IED’s, our combat troops incur the additional stress of worrying about whether or not their families at home have enough money to eat. While Tea Party supporter Robin Maas has the luxury of not being “the slightest bit worried about a government shutdown”, others are not so fortunate.
A federal government shutdown won’t go on forever. While it may feel like forever for some, the reality is the day will come when our inept “leaders” in Washington pull their heads out of their anal orifices and come to a consensus. In doing so, both Democrats and Tea Party (formerly known as the Republican Party) will claim “victory”, they will tout their party as “the good guys”, and life will return to “normal”…or will it?
By itself, the federal civilian workforce is small in numbers. However, we are strong in voice and action. When combined with members of the armed forces and their families, we are a political force to be reckoned with. Incumbents, as well as those lawmakers currently on the Tea Party movement payroll, take heed. In the event of a federal government shutdown, we will not forget the names of those that took money from our pockets, food from our family’s plates come Election Day.
Cohen, T. (2011, April 6). Tea Party: Bring on a government shutdown . Retrieved April 7, 2011, from CNN: Tea Party: Bring on a government shutdown
Riley, C. (2011, April 7). The price of a shutdown. Retrieved April 8, 2011, from CNNMoney.com: http://money.cnn.com/2011/04/07/news/economy/government_shutdown_cost/index.htm?hpt=T2
I recently received an article from a friend which highlights Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo attempt to introduce a bill which would require most federal employees to take two weeks of unpaid leave in fiscal year 2012. HR 270 would mandate civilian federal employees take nonconsecutive furlough days until they had fulfilled their furlough requirement (Losey, 2011). While the article did not explain Rep. Coffman’s intentions for introducing this bill, it’s fair to assume he is doing so as part of the cost-cutting effort to reel in federal government spending.
In addition to Rep. Coffman’s attack on federal employees, a national Washington Post telephone poll of 1002 adults, conducted September 30 – October 3, 2010, revealed more than half of those polled believe federal employees are overpaid for the work they do (Rein & O’Keefe, 2010). In addition, more than a third of those polled believe federal employees are less qualified than those working in the private sector (Rein & O’Keefe, 2010). As a veteran, and a current federal employee, I question the sensibility and accuracy of these actions and assertions.
I can think of a 101 different places to start reshaping federal government spending. One that immediately comes to mind is cost overruns associated with new military technology development. The current Joint Strike Fighter program is $92 billion dollars over budget…and 2 ½ years behind schedule (Hedgpeth, 2010). This is simply unacceptable. Yet, lawmakers like Rep. Coffman, create an environment which allows defense industry contractors, like Lockheed Martin, to extort an incalculable amount of money from the federal government. Perhaps Rep. Coffman and the rest of his cronies in Washington would do a better job of controlling federal government spending by holding defense industry contractors libel for cost overruns, rather than steal from the salaries of those that serve the very federal government that Rep. Coffman is trying to reshape.
As a federal employee, I am not overpaid. However, I am paid a salary that I believe adequately quantifies my worth. This is not always the case in the private sector, which tends to exploit its workers as a means to maximize profitability. While the general public perceives federal workers are overpaid, it can be stated with equal conviction that those in the private sector are underpaid. It is this underpayment of private sector workers, not overpayment of federal employees, which creates the false perception that federal employees are overpaid.
I have worked in both the federal government and private sectors. When it comes to training, which directly influences job ability and ultimately qualification, the federal government is by far more thorough. This is true not only in initial training, but continuation training. In my current federal position, I received two months of initial training. While by no means completely knowledgeable, the training I received ensured my ability to better accomplish the day-to-day responsibilities of my position immediately upon the completion of my training. In the private sector however, the most initial training I ever received amounted to three days. After training, I was still expected to perform the responsibilities of my position as a seasoned pro, despite the lack of training. It is this emphasis on training that makes me more qualified in my current federal position (with more responsibility), then I ever could have been in my private sector position (with less responsibility).
As of late, it seems as if it’s fashionable to attack federal employees. Whether it’s the expectation by politicians that federal employees do their “fair” share to help the federal government control costs, or erroneous perceptions by the general public regarding pay and work quality, federal employees are the latest scapegoats for the ills of a country filled with citizens that are unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their actions or inactions.
Hedgpeth, D. (2010, 12 March). GAO Analyst Says Cost Overruns, Delays Continue to Plague F-35 Program. Retrieved January 22, 2011, from The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/11/AR2010031102462.html
Losey, S. (2011, January 13). Lawmaker Proposes Two Weeks Unpaid Leave for Most Feds. Retrieved January 22, 2011, from Federal Times.com: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20110113/BENEFITS05/101130303/1001
Rein, L., & O’Keefe, E. (2010, October 18). New Post Poll Finds Negativity Toward Federal Workers. Retrieved January 22, 2011, from The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/17/AR2010101703866.html