Shutdown: Winter vacation or financial nightmare?

Washington-based politicians can and will do some really stupid, mean things. Government shutdowns are at the top of the list. During shutdowns some people are forced to work without pay while others are forced to stay home, also without pay. Eventually everybody will get paid but it may be too late for landlords and merchants.

Non-federal members of the public can be hurt by a shutdown. In the meantime, elected officials continue to get paid on time. But if you’ve been in government awhile, you knew that.

I’m just back from a paid vacation. Going through my inbox there are a lot of interesting comments from people hit by the partial government shutdown. I’d like to hear from more of you, such as this furloughed IRS worker in Texas:

“I came to work for the federal government in the late 1980s. I was a single mom, making $15,000 a year and thrilled with the insurance, stability and career potential. I went through a background check where my high school friends and old neighbors were called. They were questioned on my honesty, drug use and reputation. I signed [an] ethics contract (re-signed every year) and gave my employer access to my tax returns, from my first job at 14 years old right up through the current day.

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“I worked hard, sometimes on weekends and without pay, to get ahead of the other eager, lower graded employees. And I moved up in an organization I am nothing but proud to work for and represent.

“I’ve had a variety of positions in my 30-year career. I’ve had to move my family for promotions. And yes, I had to pay for the move myself. I was in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001, and lost friends, family and co-workers in that attack and in [the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing]. I have built a career I am proud of in a great organization in a great country.

“I have, every day, ensured that I made the best choices to represent my organization and my country — never taking gifts from anyone, never looking up friends or family on the computer, never accepting favors or discounts, never using my credentials or position to influence anyone. I have worked hard every day to improve my organization and the life of the citizens I serve.

“Every year I participate in an ethics briefing and sign a document ensuring I understand my responsibilities. Several years ago, my tax preparer left a $500 item off my tax return. I received notification from the IRS two years after the filing year, and I immediately paid the tax in full. Eighteen months later, I received a notification from Employee Tax Compliance that I was non-compliant with my taxes three years prior. I had a warning letter placed in my personnel file for two years. This is your average federal employee.

“I give you that story as an example of what is occurring right now: Federal employees, most of whom are honest, hard-working, ethical public servants are on furlough while politicians, many of whom have neither behaved ethically nor paid taxes promptly, are being paid to continue to do nothing. These politicians waste money redecorating offices, traveling needlessly, ordering gold-plated pens and name plates, etc. Meanwhile federal employees are either bringing in money for the government or assisting citizens.

“Federal employees are on furlough because of a wall that the president assured America Mexico would pay for, then said we definitely would not pay for, then finally expressed proud ownership of the government shutdown if taxpayers don’t pay for it. Recent tweets from our president say that ‘most furloughed employees are Democrats anyway.’

“This divisiveness, this lack of leadership and wielding a cudgel over hard-working federal employees is small. It is beneath the position of the president of the United States of America. I am ashamed, for the first time, of the leadership of my country. Our elected officials — and I am certainly not talking about just the president here — have failed us. We, all of America, will not forget this.

“A continued shutdown, while not delaying Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security payments, will delay filing season. It will impact the Department of Health and Human Services, the very people who need it most. More than anything though, it wastes money that this country is already bleeding. The Office of Management and Budget said about 15 percent of the federal workforce are impacted by the shutdown, meaning it will cost about $52.5 million a day during the shutdown. OMB estimated in 2014 that the 16-day shutdown in 2013 cost more than $2.5 billion in lost productivity and pay and benefits for employees, most of which didn’t work.”

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

The original London Bridge now stands in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It was built in the 1830s across the River Thames in London, England, then was dismantled and relocated in 1967. When the City of London replaced the bridge for structural safety, it put the original up for sale. Robert P. McCulloch, the chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation and the founder of Lake Havasu City, bought the bridge as a tourist attraction.

Source: Wikipedia