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Thu Jan 3, 2019, 09:19 PM

Trump finds yet another way to insult federal workers [View all]

The final days of 2018 saw a perplexing trifecta of events affecting our country’s federal workforce. The government shutdown, affecting the pay of about 800,000 federal employees, headed into its third week. In the middle of that shutdown, the president bragged about giving a nonexistent 10 percent pay raise to the military during a surprise visit to service members deployed overseas. Soon after returning from that trip, the president issued an order halting automatic pay raises for civilian federal workers in 2019, noting the need to “maintain efforts to put our Nation on a sustainable fiscal course.”

The message to the furloughed government employees (as well as those whose jobs are deemed “essential” and are still required to report to work without pay) is clear: You don’t matter because you’re not in the military.

I proudly served in the military and have written about the distinct honor of representing my country while in uniform and the risks of serving in harm’s way to defend its interests abroad. But I also fervently believe that national service doesn’t require a military uniform. There will always be instances of unwise government spending — as there are in any large organization — and I encourage and applaud efforts to reduce waste, redundancy and inefficiency. But the antigovernment sentiment underlying the president’s order to not increase the pay of federal employees unjustly vilifies them as a drain on the economy, while ignoring the important work they provide to their fellow citizens.

In his book, “The Fifth Risk,” author Michael Lewis describes the importance of little-known functions of federal agencies inside the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Energy. These range from providing food aid to our neediest citizens to monitoring the disposal, storage and security of nuclear waste. It may not be particularly glamorous work, but if it’s not done, people go hungry and hazardous material can pollute our environment — or worse, fall into the hands of nefarious actors. Every other federal agency provides some form of similarly unknown yet vital function to keep the system of services flowing to the country’s citizens and residents, dutifully managed by the employees of those agencies.


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Reply Trump finds yet another way to insult federal workers [View all]
Zorro Jan 2019 OP
Ohiogal Jan 2019 #1
JenniferJuniper Jan 2019 #2
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SunSeeker Jan 2019 #4