The major component of the sympathy spin for the federal employees who will be staying home during the government shutdown is that it is Christmas. What a terrible time to put workers off their jobs. The media paints Dickens-like vision of no goose on the holiday table. No gifts under the tree. Oh, the sorrow of it all. How will they survive this crushing blow?
Spare the empathetic agony, folks. because all that pitiful commentary may fit in a Dickens novel, like the Christmas Carol but it is wasted in terms of the reality. Let’s look at a few facts.
First of all, the government shutdown only affects 25 percent of our massive federal bureaucracy. All essential services will be functioning as usual. Ninety-nine percent of all Americans will not ever be aware of the government shutdown as they go about their normal daily lives. Our soldiers will still be fighting our enemies. ICE will still be apprehending MS13 gangsters. Our border patrols will be doing the best they can to minimize illegal border crossing and keeping felons, terrorists and drug cartellians from entering your neighborhood. Veterans will still have access to the VA hospitals, seniors will still be getting their Social Security and Medicare. Even the Mueller probe will continue without pause.
Keep in mind that government shutdowns occur at midnight on a Friday. That means that the first two days – and they rarely last longer than that – are non-working days for all those non-essential employees anyway. Furthermore, it runs into the normal Christmas holiday. This means that the actual next working day for all these employees is Wednesday, December 26 – and after three days, another long holiday weekend. There are only three working days between now and the New Year’s Day holidays – making January 2 the first day that any real impact can hit workers.
This means that in the first 10 days of the shutdown, there are only three full working days – and that does not take into account the thousands of federal workers who have scheduled 10-day or two-week vacations bridging the two holidays.
In addition, for the impact to be felt by any individual federal employee, he or she would have to be scheduled to receive their monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly paycheck on the first working day of the shutdown – and that is almost no one. Soooooo … if this shutdown ends any time before the second of January, they will not even miss ONE paycheck because all those federal employees WILL get paid for all those non-working days when the government is officially funded.
When the media plays Dickens with specious and mendacious spin of the hardship befalling all these paycheck-to-paycheck workers, we should remember that more of these furloughed non-essential federal workers are in the well-paid middle and upper ranks of the government workforce. The vast majority can withstand a skipped payday or two with no problem – and even that will not happen. And as a footnote, we should also remember that these federal workers are among the best paid working class in America.
For sure, the media will find one of those needles in a haystack – one unfortunate soul who may actually suffer a bit of a financial problem because of the layoff — but they are VERY few, if any.
This makes the Christmas season layoff a gift – a paid vacation during the holidays. That is worth saying again. These folks are getting a paid extended vacation over the Christmas holiday. AND … that is not uncommon since tens of thousands of federal workers take unauthorized extra days or time off during the holiday season – as do state and municipal employees, and millions of private sector workers. For our federal workers, there is no better time for a shutdown than during the primary American holiday season.
To heap woe upon woe, the media cries croc tears for contractors whose checks MAY be delayed. Like the federal employees, they are likely to miss a check from Uncle Sam, which often does not pay them on time for very long periods, anyway. They will not notice any change in policy and practice.
Every day, federal employees work when the government lacks the money to pay them. How can that be, you say? It is because we borrow more than 40 percent of the money the government spends every day on those workers. We pay them with money that we are expropriating from our grandchildren and beyond. They are the Tiny Tims upon whom we heap a Scroogian financial burden – literally taxation without representation.
So, if you forgot to wish your federal worker neighbor a MERRY CHRISTMAS, do not feel bad. They are already having one. And from this commentator, God bless you every one.
So, there ‘tis.