On Saturday, the House voted, unanimously, to give furloughed federal workers back-pay when the government re-opens. The 800,000 “non-essential” workers who are currently prohibited from working will be compensated for their non-work. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dismissed the measure as a “paid vacation,” although the Senate is expected to approve it on Monday.
Keep in mind, most federal workers are still on the job, working and earning a paycheck. This benefit of payment is simply being unanimously granted by the House also to those who aren’t working because the government deems them “non-essential.” Only the federal government could offer better benefits to those deemed “non-essential.”
Personally, I think a designated pool of “non-essential” workers is a good place to start for some overdue trimming of the government workforce. Government shouldn’t really be in the “non-essential” business.
Washington really does think it is different than the rest of the country. Even fallout from a dramatic event like a government shutdown can be reversed by legislative fiat. I’m not unsympathetic to those furloughed federal workers, but the whole country has suffered sharp economic blows over the past several years. Why should taxpayers be on the hook to indemnify them from any economic hardship?
Millions of Americans have been laid-off, many permanently. Does the House rush to unanimously to authorize funds to give back-pay to these workers? Of course not, nor should it. So, why are federal workers a protected class?
I heard one commentator said back-pay was justified because the shutdown isn’t the workers “fault.” Well, it isn’t the “fault” of the factory worker who is laid-off when business slumps. Often, these lay-offs, in fact, are the unintended consequences of actions taken by these very same “non-essential” workers. There are many out-of-work coal miners, for instance, whose jobs have been lost to overregulation by the EPA, where 96% of workers are deemed “non-essential.”
Perhaps if Washington had to face the same economic hardships weathered by millions of Americans each day,it would finally realize the full consequences of its actions. That not a single Congressman thinks it should goes a long way to explaining the mess we are in.