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Shutdown Woes – Bureaucrats Getting Real Jobs Like Driving For Uber

There’s long been a certain suspicion that we don’t need quite as much government as we actually get. Even, that we might do better if we had a little less of it. It’s also one of those things whispered about late at night that perhaps not all – each and every one – of those bureaucrats actually does something useful for the rest of us. Do we actually need quite so many pens pushed, clipboards wielded?

Fortunately we’re finding out now. For Donald Trump and Congress are locked into an intransigence over that Border Wall. The result being that we’ve not quite enough laws around to keep paying for the government. Thus we’re currently only getting perhaps 75% or so of the government we used to be blessed with before. As we have indeed all noted the sky hasn’t fallen in and it would appear that the absence of Federal peeps in the parks lowers the death rate:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]If we were to rely upon the press itself to tell us what the results of the government shutdown were, we’d have to conclude that it saves lives. For we’re being told by varied newspapers that three people have died in the understaffed national parks. Given that the average is six deaths in any one week, that would mean that 15 lives have been saved this past three weeks by there being no nonessential federal workers in those parks.[/perfectpullquote]

How many lives could we save by not paying for even more government?

That the bureaucrats are not drawing their paychecks is making some of them a little grumpy, true:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Hundreds of furloughed government workers and contractors descended on the White House on Thursday to plead to be allowed to return to work. Holding signs such as “Stop the war on workers” and “We want work, not walls,” the protesters assembled in the bitter cold outside of AFL-CIO union headquarters before making their way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. President Donald Trump wasn’t at the White House, but many of the protesters blamed him for the shutdown, which has now stretched in to its 20th day with no end in sight. Congress and the president have been locked in a stalemate over his demand for $5.7 billion to build a border wall that he’d said Mexico would pay for. [/perfectpullquote]

Well, whether your work was useful to the rest of us or not you’d still be at least a little mad when you weren’t getting paid as you thought you would be. It’s also just such a shame that the TSA workers aren’t being paid, isn’t it?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Transportation Security Administration employees would normally receive their first paycheck of the year on Friday, but the government shutdown means that won’t happen. Instead, workers are bracing for the next phase of the shutdown as they worry how to pay for gas, rent and food with no income in sight. Now, the effects of the shutdown will get a whole lot worse, the TSA employee union and several officers told HuffPost. “Morale is, I believe, close to rock bottom, and I think things will start getting really bad if this isn’t fixed by this weekend,” one TSA officer told HuffPost, requesting anonymity out of concern over repercussions at work. [/perfectpullquote]

What are they gonna do? Get rude with the traveling public? Some though are in for an even greater shock:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Federal employees say they’re getting 2nd jobs, including driving for Uber, to cope with the joint-longest shutdown in US history.[/perfectpullquote]

Imagine that. Having to take a job where you actually have to produce something, on time, for an actual live consumer. Can’t think of anything else which would be more of a shock to a bureaucrat than that.

However, there’s a vastly more important question at the bottom of this:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Of the 800,000 federal employees, 420,000 deemed “essential” are working unpaid, while the other 380,000 are on furlough, meaning they are not allowed to work their regular job.[/perfectpullquote]

If only 420,000 are deemed essential then why are our wallets ransacked to pay for the other 380,000? You know, that taxation thing is enforced at the barrel of a gun, with force and implicit violence. So the least they can do for us is make sure they only do it enough to pay for what is actually necessary. Not a restriction they seem to have imposed upon themselves.

Perhaps, given that the world still turns when we’re down 380,000 bureaucrats we should think of permanently being without all non-essential Federal workers? We could start with the government’s own definition of necessary and not so necessary, couldn’t we?

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5 years ago

It’s winter in the parks. The bears and rattlesnakes are hibernating. Fewer people are visiting. You’d expect a lower death rate in winter. So, I’m skeptical of the notion that furloughing park rangers has made the parks safer. Well, of course, there could be avalanches in some places.

Aside from that, though, we could do with a lot less government. Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana, once said something to the effect of “you’ll be surprised how little you’ll miss some government activities once they’re cut”.

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