Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Not So Fast, America!


From what I’ve been reading, it seems that there are plenty of Americans cheering the pending federal government sequester scheduled to begin this Friday.

Take a minute to think what that means not only here, in the D.C. Region but to average Americans everywhere.

In this case, sequestration will prevent federal workers from working full time or furloughing them because of budgetary constraints. In other words, many of the services Americans have come to expect and take for granted may be curtailed or delayed.

For examples, it takes millions of man-hours to manage and distribute VA benefits, health and education benefits like Medicaid and federally funded programs for childcare and education, and many other federal services that aren‘t quite as visible, like federal meat inspections. Your own finances may suffer when IRS refunds are delayed or messed-up for lack of adequate human resources. It cannot all be done by machines.

Yes, the D.C. Region enjoys a fairly high standard of living but, of course that is relative to the cost of living here. It ain’t cheap! Nevertheless, hundreds of thousands of federal workers commute long distances to labor for all of us. Often this is in somewhat rustic offices inasmuch as many federal office buildings were built before or during WWII.

So, my fellow Americans, think again before you caste aspersions on federal workers. Right now many of them are concerned about how deadlines set by law will be met when their work week is cut short, or they are furloughed. Of course rents and mortgages won’t pay themselves, either.

When you think about it, the Federal Government is the largest nonprofit in America! It is controlled by the whims of Congress and the President -- not a pleasant or easy position to be in.

I you will forgive my bastardization of a familiar quote: From a few much is expected and little is given.


[Full disclosure: I am not, nor have I ever been a federal employee. I have, however, worked in formal collaboration with many. I found them to be conscientious and devoted to their agencies’ missions. It’s too bad that the “bad eggs” get so much notice. There are far more “feds” who take their jobs seriously and deserve our respect.]

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