How Long Can You Live Without Pay?
– by David Matthews 2
So the GOP has once again screwed over the federal government, forcing a “partial shutdown”, throwing tens of thousands of federal employees either out of work or in a financial “null zone”, where they work without getting paid.
Of course the extent of this “partial shutdown” goes far beyond what I just described. We’re talking parks and museums being shut down, certain agencies not doing their jobs, aid programs being suspended… and, of course, members of Congress still getting their cushy six-figure salaries while they sit on their platitudes.
But I want to take this time to look at the ones that are hurt the most by this shutdown: those federal employees that still have to show up at work, day-in-and-day-out through this whole mess, and yet not get paid.
The script, which has been regurgitated repeatedly, says that we shouldn’t worry about these furloughed employees, because at least they’re still working. Besides, they’ll get paid for their work when Congress gets their act together, right? Eventually.
I find this cavalier attitude very annoying, because of all the people affected by the partisan temper tantrum, these are the ones that have the heaviest burden to bear. They have to come in and work essentially for free; they have no alternative short of quitting their jobs. And before you cons and neo-cons start flatulating away about how they should do just that, I challenge you to drop your jobs and go find other work in this miserable economy! You’ll find millions of Forsaken Americans standing in line for jobs that are not there. (You know; all those people that you slanderously claim “stopped looking”.)
Think about all of the things that go into that “daily grind”. You get up, get dressed, drive to work or take public transportation, you get your morning coffee, you work, you have lunch, you go back to work, and then you go home. Simple, right?
Now think about all of the things that involve money. Getting to and from work isn’t for free. You have to pay for the gas in your car, not to mention any possible tolls or parking costs. You have to pay if you want to take public transportation. Unless the workplace provides it, you’ll have to pay for your morning coffee, not to mention your lunch.
Most folks could carry on for maybe a week or two without money. But the last time the GOP had an ego-driven temper tantrum that shut down the government, the federal employees had to work without pay for twenty-eight days. Do you think you could last that long?
You tell me… how can you pay for gas for your car if you don’t have money coming in? And if you can’t pay for gas, then how can you be expected to show up at work? Do you think the narcissistic members of the GOP would pony up for gas for those federal employees so they can continue to work without pay? Do you think the Koch Brothers will do that? Or the folks at Fox News?
How about food? Sure you can go without lunch for a while, but how about the other daily meals? How will you get groceries if you don’t have money coming in? “Food Pantry”, you say? Oh, sorry, many of those places have been depleted thanks to the Great Recession. You know, the economic disaster caused by those “good friends” of the GOP. Do you honestly expect those federal employees that have to work without pay to simply show up at the local grocery store and get food without paying for it?
And I know what some of you are thinking right now… and I have to ask you what makes you think that every single federal employee in that situation has a credit card to rely on? And even if they did, what makes you think they could afford to rely on it for any length of time? The Great Recession has put a hurt on a lot of us these past five years. If that wasn’t bad enough, the GOP has also engaged in a little game called “sequestration”, which has hurt certain departments. How many of those employees had to take a pay cut already, or been denied pay raises just so the GOP can satisfy their political egos? How many of them have already had their personal finances stretched to the limit?
Now… we’re still talking short-term here. What happens when the shutdown goes beyond the 28-days of the previous shutdown? Now we’re talking about the lack of money affecting mortgages, rent, loan payments, insurance bills, utility costs, and those aforementioned credit card payments. We’ve seen how criminally reckless the banks can be when it comes to people missing even one mortgage payment. How many federal employees have to lose their homes to satisfy the GOP?
And bear in mind these people have to still go to work with all of that on their heads! The stress of not having bills paid, of having their utilities cut off, of having to go without food or water, of possibly losing their homes, and wonder just how they will be able to get to and from work, all of that weighing on them as they are expected to continue to do their jobs essentially for free! Oh, they’ll get paid… eventually… when the politicians get their act together… but not right now.
Let’s get brutally honest here… it’s sadistically and damnably sociopathic to demand that tens of thousands of people work for nothing just because some criminally narcissistic politicians like John Boehner and Ted Cruz want to hold the government hostage for their narrow-minded agenda!
And if you’re on the side of these narcissists, then I challenge you to live like these “exempt” employees! I challenge you to go to and from work without pay for the duration of this shutdown! No money for gas, no money for food or groceries, no money for bills. How long do you think you’d hold out, huh? I seriously doubt many of you would even last a week, never mind twenty-eight days!
The only people that can afford to get by without pay in the federal government are those at the very top. The very sadists that we elected! And while some of them have “graciously” decided to forego their pay during the duration of this shutdown, they have the option of doing that, not to mention they have the option to turn this whole matter off by doing their jobs instead of playing petty narcissistic games.