I love this country. I am honored to be able to serve it.
But I can not serve it for free.
Don't get me wrong, I love my job. Getting paid to study language, and then to live in Europe and help spread our message to the world is pretty awesome.
But I am getting really tired of all of the folks out there talking about how we federal employees live high on the hog. How we get paid too much and do too little. How our salaries or even our jobs should be cut. Speaker Boehner said it just last week, that if the cuts they make cost federal jobs, "so be it." He wants to grow America's economy, not Washington's.
Because all federal employees are in D.C. (Except of course those who aren't, like the ones at every airport, every national park, every border crossing...) And we aren't real Americans. And because those aren't real jobs. We don't have real families, real bills, real mortgages. We don't pay real taxes. And cutting those jobs won't add real numbers and human beings to the rolls of the unemployed.
Of course, when it comes to cutting jobs in HIS OWN district, well that is a non-starter. So he'll vote to keep a fighter engine being built that even the Department of Defense doesn't want or need to save those jobs, mainly because those people vote for him.
And now we have some of the fringe on the Hill just jonesing for a government shutdown. Because apparently those newly elected folks don't recall how well that worked out for the Republicans last time. Or the damage it does to people's lives.
When my wife and I bought our home, we picked something that was smaller than what we would like but within our budget. Not the amount the bank said we could afford but the amount we felt we could afford given our income.
And we can still afford our home. But not if they stop paying us.
You see, we are real Americans. We work real jobs. And let me tell you, most days, you get more than your nickle's worth out of all of us. Even in language study, I put in my time, because the government needs me to be able to speak this language to effectively serve our country overseas. And in my last two assignments, those eight hours you paid me for each day were much more like 14-16. But I don't get overtime because I am a salaried, not hourly, employee. And I am fine with that.
The truth is that most federal employees are hard workers who are not overpaid. True, those who are in blue collar federal jobs may make more than their private sector counter parts. But those of us who are not blue collar typically earn 25% less than our private sector counterparts. Our reward for that, in addition to the honor of serving, is supposed to be job security.
And now they want to take that away.
Even if they eventually pay us the back pay for the time we are furloughed, I wonder whether it will be soon enough? For me and my wife, probably, because we don't have kids and are fairly frugal. But what about those with kids and more expenses? Are they going to be able to bounce back from that?
And are you going to be happy that your grandmother doesn't get her social security check or that you can't get a passport in the interim? How much of what we do is taken from granted until it isn't there any more?
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