January 19, 2019

Reagan left office three decades ago

I don't have the time or ability to read the blogs and delve into politics as I did in the days I worked from home. It is not that I goofed off so much more, but I had more access to the interwebz, I had no commute, I had far fewer meetings and conference calls. An extra fifteen minutes here and there spread through the day and you have an hour or two of spare time.

My interest in politics was flagging a bit anyway. I quit listening to political talk radio years ago, instead tuning in to sports talk when I toiled in my little bedroom office and history-based podcasts when on the road.*

I think my political philosophy is an anachronism in today's world. Who represents me? Certainly no Presidential candidate in the past couple of decades. I cast my vote far more often against as opposed to for. I don't think that is the way it is supposed to work.

I look at the current shutdown fiasco and I cannot help but think that the government workers still on the job should be paid. They are doing the work. Certainly it is hyperbole to view the situation as slavery as one of the government employee unions has argued, but one should get paid for his labors.

On the other hand, the government is doing right now during the shutdown the stuff I think a government should: protecting the borders**, keeping planes from flying into each other, making sure the foods we eat are food, not Soylent Green, keeping the military at ready. Frankly, things are running pretty well without those hundreds of thousands of idled government employees. Maybe we ought to take a hard look at stuff and not recall a significant portion of the furloughed workers. You know, get a little more lean as we say in the private sector.

Businesses have cut and automated their workforce, especially the indirect labor force over the past few decades. The job filled by three or four people in 1990 is now done by a single person. We read about how automation is, and has, decimated the factory floor. Let me tell you, that scythe cut through the front office with terrible effect starting in the late eighties. It struck the white collar community like the bubonic plague in the Great Recession of 2008-2010. Those jobs are gone, and they are not coming back. And no, they didn't move to China or Mexico, or anywhere else.

Maybe it is time we cut the fat from the public payroll. Maybe politicians should start looking at the bottom line like shareholders and management-types do their private businesses. The boss at your work has a financial stake in the company running well. Your elected pol doesn't care, he is spending your money.

And those kind of thoughts are what makes me the political anachronism I described at the outset of this way-too-long post. And I'll be damned if I can find very many office-seekers who understand they are spending money taken forcibly from their fellow citizens, at any level of politics - local, state or federal. I'm starting to give up trying.

And that attitude just may be what our elected officials hope for.


* Hardcore History, Revolutions, The British History podcast, History on Fire, to name a few.
** in general terms

3 comments:

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I've read conflicting reports as to whether or not the President can order affected agencies to RIF anyone still on furlough after a period of time. The question seems to be whether the furlough is because there is no work for the people on furlough (in which case they can, by law, be RIFfed), or due to a failure by Congress to appropriate money for the agency (in which case it's claimed they can't, but nobody is really sure of that). I'm sure there will be plenty of lawsuits filed one way or the other. But see also the "senior Trump administration official" implying that the next step is to start firing federal workers from the unfunded offices in order to rid the bureaucracy of the sabotaging, useless deadwood who are hindering Trump's agenda. I say go ahead -- drain the swamp.

FWIW the claim continues to be that people who are working without pay will be fully caught up once the shutdown ends. The fact is that Congress did not appropriate money for their salaries, so legally they cannot be paid, regardless of "feelz". My attitude is that they work for the government for (generally) inflated salaries, so they ought to have had the sense to put money away for rainy days and shutdowns -- therefore I cannot be moved to care about the suffering of soi-disant "public servants". If you don't like the uncertainty, try working in the private sector where those of us working for "at-will" employers who are subject to the vagaries of the marketplace live with it every day.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I said:

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FWIW the claim continues to be that people who are working without pay will be fully caught up once the shutdown ends. The fact is that Congress did not appropriate money for their salaries, so legally they cannot be paid, regardless of "feelz".

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I meant this means only that they can't be paid RIGHT NOW. They can certainly be paid back wages owed once the funding is appropriated. I don't think I made that clear. Sorry for any confusion, it's hard to edit in these little boxes. :)

Barbara - said...

Except of course, that much of the government is in fact not working properly right now, at least some areas thatwhich most of us care about. Food is not being inspectin. Federal courts will shortly not be seeing cases or cutting down to only those life or death type cases. While I'm not a huge fan of the TSA I would consider flying less safe than normal right now.Three people have died in national parks with one being the direct result of a lack of care. EPA inspections have pretty much come to a half. The national weather service is barely functioning, as is the IRS during a new tax law season. Those are just off the top of my head. While some of those could be privatized I suppose, it wouldnt necessarily save the government money, because contractors make more than government employees on the average. Just saying.

I won't even get started on the idea of working for no pay.

Of course, that doesn't addrss the trickle down effect. The small day care center who isn't getting paid because parents arent working the guy who started his food truck and parks it near the Denver Federal Center at lunchtime. There are a few thousands of non military people suffering.

And it has to be said, that it irritates me to no end that department and cabinet chiefs and congressment and women are the face of the feds. Instead of the day care center worker,the file clerk, the nurse's aid, the janitor, the comissary cashier and bagger, the person who takes your cash at the natiol park entrance, the guy who washes the government vehicles in the motor pool at the end of the day, and the entry level guy at the security gate. All of whom don't get inflated salaries (albeit good benfits BECAUSE they don't get great salarie).

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