The long winter at Valley Shutdown is evidently growing more dire for federal employees. They have now missed their FIRST paycheck. Repercussions from this disaster extend all the way into Latin America. My son was browsing the Facebook page for the Swamp suburb where we live. He came across a female federal employee who was distraught because the furlough had forced her to lay off the housekeeper.
Other page members were discussing whether to organize a donation drive to supply homebound feds with gift cards for gas and groceries. It was certainly a touching message thread. It resembled an effort by restaurant kitchen staff to take up a collection for the health inspector.
Before you donate your tax refund to the Shutdown Privation Fund, I'd like to inject a note of reality. Homes in the neighborhood where the maid-less woman currently cries bitter tears have an average price of $345,000, according to Redfin. And those dwellings aren't located on the water.
The average federal salary, according to OPM, is $81,578 while the median wage is $76,131. Neither numbers include federal benefits totaling upwards of $41,791 per civilian worker. The CBO found that regardless of education, federal wages and benefits far exceed those of the private sector where wages average $44,000 and benefits average $10,589.
Never was so much paid to so few by so many.
The local WoePost, excuse me, Washington Post, has been extensively covering suffering in Valley Shutdown. On January 10th, there were so many federal sob-stories the topic almost pushed cloyingly coverage of illegal aliens off the front page. I counted a total of nine in section A alone.
My favorite was a front-page story of Dickensonian hardship headlined: "Government shutdown creates a January slowdown for businesses trying to adapt." At Swann House "a cozy bed-and-breakfast in a fin de siecle mansion a few blocks from Dupont Circle, ...impeccably decorated rooms are languishing in shutdown mode."
No one to light the in-room fireplaces or tickle the ivories in the sitting room. Tugging at our heartstrings the reporter adds, "businesses are suffering as pieces of those paychecks stop trickling down to them."
I hate to be the one who rains on Little Nell's parade, but my question is what the heck are government employees doing staying at Swann House in the first place? Rooms there range from a low of $299 in the "Parisienne Suite" to $319 for the "Regent." And that's before DC's gouge-the-tourist hotel and sales tax. When you add that the per night rate is $343 to $366.
Compare those rates with a hotel about a block away where rooms are $169 before tax. And lest you think well 'who wants to dodge dookie and derelicts on the way in the lobby', US News & World Report rates the Kimpton Carlyle the "Best Hotel in Washington DC."
This hand-wringing coverage of employees who make more than the people who pay them and stay at tony hotels taxpayers can't afford only proves how out-of-touch the Opposition Media and government 'Resistance' workers really are.
I'm waiting to read of the belt-tightening at Dean & DeLuca as truffle sales wither.
Reporters are so eager to cast blame on President Trump that industries formerly regarded as pariahs are now objects of sympathy. For example: "Government shutdown starting to burn aerospace and defense firms."
Another amusing account was headlined: "Trump is right. Unpaid federal workers are making 'adjustments' - soliciting money from strangers and taking out loans." People solicit money from strangers all the time in DC, usually at gunpoint. The idea that a total stranger could approach you and say, "I'm from the government and I need your help" is almost too rich.
Other coverage itemizes additional Shutdown havoc. The NTSB is forced to prioritize investigations, which sounds to me like a positive development. Since the weather isn't stopping the Weather Service is still issuing forecasts, only now they worry federal workers won't have enough money to clear grocery aisles of milk and toilet paper when warned of an impending snowflake.
The WoePost has also been trying to convince readers that food banks are full of GS-13s stocking up on pinto beans, but I'm not buying it.
Left out is the fact that when the feds return to what is generously called 'work' they'll get back every last dime of the paychecks they missed. Ask a construction worker or union member who is laid off if that happens in their industry.
There's a lesson in this for taxpayers. Not being able to survive missing a single paycheck - on a salary far better than that earned by taxpayers paying their wages - explains all you need to know about the people in charge of federal government financial planning.
Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of "A Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.