Wednesday, October 02, 2013


We are now on Day 2 of the shutdown of the U.S. government.

Day 2 of me trying to reassure my staff.

Day 2 of spending hours turning off things it took months to plan, knowing that if the government reopens, we will have to scramble to turn them back on.

Day 2 of worrying about getting paid, of rechecking our savings, reassuring myself we can get by for a time because we have squirrelled away a bit into savings. Day 2 of wishing I still had the downpayment we made on the house in the savings account, just in case.

Day 2 of worrying about my friends who aren't "excepted," ("excepted," if you are wondering, means everyone gets sent home without pay "except" you. You get to keep working, "except" without the guarantee of getting paid), who are unlikely to get paid during this shutdown.

I would like to go on a political rant about what brought us to this point but I won't.

I will say it is demoralizing. It is no way to treat people who have devoted their lives to the service of the country.

And I will say that it is infuriating that Congress continues to get paid while the federal workforce is furloughed. Aren't they federal employees too? And I will say that it infuriates me further when they talk of "needing their salaries" when they make so much more than the overwhelmingly middle class federal employees who are not getting paid. Or when they say they will donate their salaries to charity during the shutdown. Because unless they are planning not to claim that as a deduction on their taxes, we all know they will get that money back.

I think it is time that we change the 27th Amendment, which doesn't allow Congress to change its own pay, to require that Congress not be paid during periods of government shutdown.

And I would suggest that maybe all of us federal employees should send our monthly bills to Congress, with a note saying "We could pay our bills if you would pay yours."

Or as a friend put it: #mylivelihoodisnotabargainingchip.

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