Shutdown Reduces Federal Workers To Bartering With The Landlord
News item: “The agency that oversees the government’s civilian workforce is facing scrutiny after suggesting federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown barter with their landlords if they can’t make rent payments, advice that it later said was posted ‘inadvertently,’” the Washington Post reported.
“On Thursday, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management tweeted sample letters to help the roughly 800,000 affected workers negotiate with creditors and mortgage companies. One letter, meant for employees to send to their landlords, discussed a temporary reduction in rent payments and suggests ‘the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments.’”
Of course this absurd situation is ripe for parody — and I’m not just talking about the fact that, in the student days when I had landlords, I assure you they did not want to take my personal brand of carpentry as any substitute for legal tender.
The worst of it is the wonderfully passive way in which the suggested Memo to Mr. Jones lays blame for the fact that Joe Bureaucrat no longer has an income. In the tweet — which by the way addresses furloughed employees by the salutation “Feds,” which is a new one to me, though we do live 3,000 miles away from Big Guv’mint — the government whose own dysfunction put these folks out of work suggests addressing creditors: “I am a Federal employee who has recently been furloughed due to a lack of funding of my agency.” As if that situation had been created by some kind of hiccup in the space-time continuum of the universe, as opposed to by a buffoonish president and his desire for thousands of miles of border wall, a caprice that will never come to pass in the real world the rest of us live in.
Or perhaps the worst of it is the suggestion in the tweet that, if Joe Bureaucrat needed detailed advice about how he should best trade his hammering duties in lieu of cash money for his rent, he should “consult with your personal attorney.”
Do you have a personal attorney? I don’t. I mean, I know attorneys. Many of my neighbors are attorneys. But I don’t have an attorney. So on what version of Earth does our mid-level manager in the Office of Personnel Management who is apparently living paycheck-to-paycheck have an attorney?
Yet this inane way of seeing the world and of dispensing advice to workers is apparently nothing new in Washington, D.C. Apologizing for the release, the OPM said it “inadvertently posted a legacy document from the 2013 shutdown” of the Obama administration. I’ve heard of legacy media, legacy rock ‘n’ roll, but legacy bureaucratese — that’s a good one.
Entirely more sympathetic to the furloughed worker than to the fat man in the ugly blue suit who caused this all to happen, I nonetheless found myself annoyed at the ways in which the workers’ woes were portrayed in the press, especially early on.
I mean, we salaried stiffs, slaving away as we do from dawn to dusk, are nevertheless not paid on an immediate basis. If you’re like me, what little remains of your scratch post-tax, post-deduction shows up by some electronic miracle not every hour or every day but every other Friday in that little ATM machine down on the corner
So when on Day One of the partial shutdown some of the employees started public hand-wringing about living on cat food now as opposed to in two weeks’ time, my heart strings weren’t plucked.
What’s that you say? Two weeks is now? My neighbor the lawyer’s free advice is to sharpen those woodworking skills, tout de suite.
Source : https://www.sbsun.com