The first major one that affected me was in 1995 when I had two kids and a wife to take care of. I made decent money, but a single income in a full house goes fast. That one was scary, but we survived ok. This one is different for us. No kids, just the wife and I, and we have savings. Most people don’t.

The majority of people affected by this furlough are in the same position I was in back in 1995. But this one is worse. And while civil servants are affected, so are many, many more contractors and the businesses that rely on those employees spending money. There are many aspects of shutting down any part of our government and as this goes on, they are becoming more visible.

Please understand the failure of providing funds for our government is a fundamental failure of our government. And it is on-going. Since the Federal Budget Act was passed in 1974 on 4 budgets have been passed and implemented on time. That’s a 90% failure rate. Thank about that.

I’ll answer any questions I can from how I personally deal with this to governmental process, but I will admit I’ve never worked in DC.

Comments: 1289 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

54H60-77736 karma

There's a lot of wisdom in your post and I can appreciate that. How do you feel about the fact that the same folks who are responsible for this shutdown are still receiving paychecks?

How would you feel about legislation that penalizes Congress for allowing a shutdown? What I mean is, not that they don't get paid but that they are penalized. Like half months pay X2 in the same way DoD penalizes servicemembers for failing to do their jobs?

Stoptheshutdowns1291 karma

I hate the fact our politicians have the ability to pay themselves, even give themselves raises, while employees go unpaid and government services stop. It's not right.

I fully support such legislation.

54H60-77433 karma

Cool. If I'm not mistaken, in Canada, when a shutdown occurs, it automatically triggers an election

Stoptheshutdowns509 karma

The budget process was established in 1974. Since that time only 4 budgets have been established before the start of the fiscal year. That is a 90% failure rate. Imagine running a company like that.

Keep this in mind next time you vote! (and please vote)

54H60-77134 karma

Given that statistic and the fact that we've had both parties in office I'd say the problem might not lie with the party, or even the people but with the current legislation. With that said, it may take a politician to have this issue as one of its core campaign initiatives before it changes.

Stoptheshutdowns201 karma

It is a process problem and an acceptance of incompetence on our part. It is not a party problem. They all do it. If it becomes important to the voter, maybe they will listen.

binarycow20 karma

If a new budget is not approved, the previous years budget should continue.

Stoptheshutdowns14 karma

True, but they have to appropriate funds. That has not happened.

Egalogalis40 karma

I believe it is the same in the UK, if a budget isn't agreed then a general election must follow.

Stoptheshutdowns45 karma

I'm not familiar with the politics of the UK or Canada. Maybe if this issue came up often enough, and required voter intervention, something would change.

Zoefschildpad665 karma

Why isn't there a big strike going on? Why don't people say "You refuse to pay us, we refuse to work"? That seems like the obvious response from a European perspective. They wanted a shutdown, they can have a real one.

Stoptheshutdowns1515 karma

Civil Servants are prevented by law from striking. And think about that, do you really want a government that could be partially shut down by a group of employees where were upset? Oh..... I guess that is what we call our leaders. Anyway, employees can't strike.

jackanapes822 karma

What happens if you or a large group do? Arrest? Fines?

Stoptheshutdowns72 karma

A Civil Servant who refuses to come to work when directed may be removed for cause.

ancientflowers430 karma

Are you going to work now? Do you still have to work with just no pay?

Stoptheshutdowns605 karma

Kinda. I am not in a pay status. However I am an exempted employees which means I am doing work from home on an "as needed basis". I am also a manager of about 30 civil servants and 70 contractors, with some ongoing operations inside and outside the country.

ancientflowers193 karma

So are you still getting paid?

Stoptheshutdowns450 karma

No. Even if you are required to work full or part-time, we are not getting paid.

ancientflowers228 karma

I'm sorry you have to deal with that.

How does it make you feel knowing that the people who got you in this situation are getting paid?

Stoptheshutdowns586 karma

Pissed. Demoralized. Most employees like their jobs and want just do their work. In this case, we are being used as pawns in a political fight. Nobody wins. I feel worse for those lower earning employees and contractors who can't afford to miss paychecks.

blindfoldedbadgers124 karma

Do you get paid for the time worked during the shutdown once the government is running again?

Edit: I can’t spell

Stoptheshutdowns264 karma

It depends. Congress has to pass legislation to provide back pay. It is likely they will do this. We won't know until this is resolved and the Bills are signed.

Im_Cynical-6 karma

Who are you assigning blame to? Trump? Democrats? Republicans?

Stoptheshutdowns7 karma

Personally, there is enough blame to go around. Over the years both parties have used this process as a weapon. We need to remove the ability to do that.

houdin654jeff213 karma

First off all, thank you for your many years of service.

Second, do you think shutdowns contribute to the phenomenon called "brain drain,' where less people seek government positions because they feel they're less stable?

And finally, what do you think can be done to prevent future shutdowns? From my point of view, this is a fundamental flaw in the system that hasn't gotten better without changing some part of the system. Do you think any change could be made that could help us avoid this?

Stoptheshutdowns308 karma

Yes. The ongoing threat of having your paycheck held hostage does not help in recruiting or retaining high caliber personnel. And we want good people in our government.

The only way to prevent this is to have a budget in place. The only reason a lapse in funding can be weaponized as it is is that the lapse exists. Congress needs to do their job.

HappyTimeHollis55 karma

Congress needs to do their job.

As an outsider, it really looks to me that they actually are doing their job. Isn't it their job to fight against things their constituents don't believe in? Isn't it their job to fight with all means necessary against legislature they believe to be ethically or economically wrong?

It seems to me the real issue is that civil servants don't have enough workers rights. They should have the right to strike and they should have the right to be paid during a government shutdown.

Stoptheshutdowns141 karma

Yes, they should have these discussions and debates. But they seem to now have them long after the budget deadlines, which result in the current situation of a lapse in funding. These issues should be resolved in the preceding months, not months after they fail to provide a budget and stop funding operations.

Regarding rights, I think the Civil Servants have plenty of rights as it is. The issue here is the failure of our elected officials. I think we should be working and paid at all times. To send people home and do nothing for days or weeks at a time is ridiculous. To pay us after the fact just makes it worse. We don't like this. It's not a vacation.

Onepopcornman155 karma

I am of the opinion that some elected officials have run on the premise that the services federal employees provide are not worthwhile and therefore they don't see it as a huge problem to lock them out.

Do you think that people have an understanding of what federal employees do? If you could help people to learn about that work what would you show or tell them?

Stoptheshutdowns192 karma

They know not of what they speak.

If this were true, then all those Border Security, Federal Courts, TSA, FAA folks who are currently working while not being paid would simply not show up tomorrow.

How do you think that would go?

ancientflowers114 karma

Do you think we should build a wall just so we can get the government going again?

Stoptheshutdowns565 karma

Good question. My personal answer is no, and it has nothing to do with the wall. If any branch of government finds it can be successful by holding funding to part, or all of the government, where does that leave us? We have three equal branches and the intent is to prevent any one of them from being too strong. Right now the Senate is holding things up and I see that as the logjam which may break this week. If enough Republican Senators start publicly saying they want to open the government up, and they have enough to override a Veto, that puts McConnell in an impossible position. At that point, he alone owns this.

ancientflowers90 karma

Interesting. Thanks for the response.

I agree with what you said about the wall. I find it so strange that that's what's being talked about as for what's holding this up.

Stoptheshutdowns310 karma

Unfortunately, the wall is the media story, but the real story is how dysfunctional our politics are becoming and the long term effects of this. If we continue to degrade into two camps with no ability to compromise, life will get ugly. I can only imagine what our government response would be today to a real-world issue such as a major natural disaster or other crisis.

TistedLogic97 karma

I can only imagine what our government response would be today to a real-world issue such as a major natural disaster or other crisis.

Oh, you mean like the Camp fire?

Stoptheshutdowns121 karma

The Camp Fire is an excellent example.

ancientflowers30 karma

You're responses make me feel like you'd be an ideal politician. Like the kind we need.

We have had some real-world issues and the response from our leader was basically to ignore it. From Russia to the hurricane, the response has basically been to just say that we are doing a fantastic job and to move on, despite how many people are hurting. It's sad. And I'm afraid it's only getting worse right now.

Stoptheshutdowns90 karma

I appreciate the words but know I don't have the patience for it. I'm hoping we have reached a tipping point with the new Congress. New blood, new ways of thinking and seem to want collaboration instead of conflict. However, time will tell. Democracy gets to adjust every 24 months with elections. Vote. People tend to forget that.

Wolfling21726 karma

People who have the ability to deal with issues honestly don't have the skills to make good politicians. So as much as I'd love to have real people in office, I don't see it happening.

Stoptheshutdowns27 karma

It does make you think to yourself if you should dive in and try to fix it. And then people see what politics can really be. It makes one question our process.

BarnabyWoods14 karma

While the Senate Republicans, especially McConnell, are certainly complicit, let's not kid ourselves. Responsibility for this shutdown rests squarely on Trump.

Stoptheshutdowns45 karma

I agree today. As more Republicans decide this is a bad idea, McConnell could bring the Bills to the floor. If they pass, they go to the President. Should he Veto them, the Senate can override. Until there is enough pain to ensure the ability to override a Veto, I suspect nothing happens.

Total_HD98 karma

Do you eventually get the money that hasn’t been paid?

Stoptheshutdowns196 karma

Likely, but it depends on Congress. Currently, there are proposed bills to ensure back pay for civil servants. Contractors likely will not get paid.

HeadlineINeed62 karma

That's BS and I hope contractors get paid too.

Stoptheshutdowns77 karma

It is not a good process, but again, if budgets were passed on time the situation could not exist. Regarding contractors, the government has no control over how they deal with their employees. Some contractors will pay their employees, or maybe offer them other work on other contracts to keep them employed. However, I have seen some contractors who turn their employees off as soon as possible and put them on unemployment. I've also seen contracts that get a full or partial payment for periods where funding was turned off by the government, but the contract was fully funded and some work was performed. Sometimes a company will only use some of that funding for payment of employees and pocket the rest. It depends on the company.

HeadlineINeed17 karma

Am I getting this right? Company A has employees, Company A is hired by the Govt to do work and Govt pays Company A which pays employees?

Stoptheshutdowns22 karma

There are no contracts let to deal with work needed during a shutdown, or during a lapse in funding. However, for contracts already in place, each one is evaluated for the work that contract is hired to perform. Sometimes the work must continue and those contracts are requested to be allowed to perform. This request goes through the agency to the Administration. The same process is used for individual Civil Servant employees. As time goes on, we have to adjust what we request to be "exempt" from the shutdown in order to get critical work performed. However, the Civil Servants are not paid, and the contractors can only use funds already on their contract, or "work at risk".

Duke_Newcombe48 karma

Some politicians and their hangers-on are using this same line of reasoning to make the shutdown seem to not be a big deal.

A federal employee might get paid their back pay, if legislation is passed to do so. Contractors might get paid for past unpaid work, if the prevailing contract states that they will.

If no such provision is made for contractors, work stops when the shutdown starts. Although they may not have to work without pay, they're not getting paid--at all.

I don't know about you, but my landlord, car finance company, or energy company don't usually take "I'll pay you when I get it" very well. I can't just work out a deal where I shovel snow or babysit in exchange for groceries from the supermarket.

Stoptheshutdowns95 karma

I'm sure Wells Fargo wants my mortgage payment as well. From a debt standpoint, it makes no difference if you are a government employee, a contractor, a vendor, or a business that has a large number of government employees. Think about a local restaurant near a federal installation, the small business who has the contract for vending machines in that installation, the direct contractors who rely on their direct paycheck. And I suspect if people could routinely and reliably make more money babysitting or shoveling snow, they'd be doing just that.

The comment I saw last night from an Administration representative stating federal employees are "better off" because they are getting a vacation speaks volumes for the mindset of some folks in DC right now.

MultiSurfaceKenobi91 karma

How do you feel about the stereoype of a "lazy government employee?"

Stoptheshutdowns227 karma

It is a false stereotype. We DO have them. They should be removed. I will say as a supervisor for decades, the horror stories you hear regarding how hard it is to fire a Civil Servant for poor performance are true. However, it can be done. I've done it.

The vast majority of civil servants are very good and hard working people.

MultiSurfaceKenobi36 karma

I agree. But this is an AMA, and I was curious.

Stoptheshutdowns87 karma

It was a good question. I hate that stereotype.

ApexAlexandria63 karma

If you could speak to the politicians causing this, what would you say to them?

Stoptheshutdowns237 karma

They need to do their job. Furloughs are the result of not having an approved budget, which they have failed to do for decades. They shouldn't have the option. I'd also ask them why they think it is fair to weaponize this action, and why it is OK for them to be paid while failing to do their job.

redditorspaceeditor61 karma

Are you allowed as a federal employee to contact your representatives and tell them it is affecting you? The hatch act seems to make things all muddy.

Stoptheshutdowns145 karma

Yes. And I have. The Hatch Act prevents a Civil Servant from actively campaigning for a candidate. It does not prevent one from exercising their rights as a citizen.

ApexAlexandria26 karma

Who do you blame personally for it? Trump, Congress, or both?

Stoptheshutdowns159 karma

I'll add the root of this problem really is based on how Newt Gingrich weaponized the use of a lapse in approved funding in 1995. Ever since then, it seems each time this comes around there is more of an acceptance in using it for political gain. At the expense of others.

Aruemar39 karma

Newt Gingrich

I trying to remember a certain event, or individuals, who made a certain decision of focusing heavily on fundraising to win election.

What i am trying to figure out is the moral shift during the 1990s form being "honorable" to doing whatever it took to win. Hopefully, you can enlighten me about this.

Stoptheshutdowns73 karma

I wish I could. Let's face it, if you go back in history and think about what the Founding Fathers likely thought of those who joined government service, they might not like what they see now. I doubt they considered a government that would allow some of the issues we see today. I think they had a higher moral expectation than we currently see.

However, there are a lot of good people in the government trying to do good things. Not all politicians are bad. Our government reflects our society, so what does that say?

Stoptheshutdowns48 karma

Both. And remember, the last Congress had the action to do the FY19 budget. So now we have new players with old problems, and both the White House and Congress have positions to defend. It's a broken system.

triceratropical58 karma

I don't understand how it is legal to require people to work without paying them. What would happen if groups of workers refused to work and why doesn't that happen? Also, can workers get unemployment benefits if they are still working but not being paid?

Stoptheshutdowns89 karma

It's not supposed to be this way, but yes, it is legal because we are still employees. We are not "laid off" we are not "on strike". We are unfunded. We are prohibited by law from striking.

Yes, employees may file unemployment, but that varies from state to state. And if we are paid later, the employee is responsible for paying the state funds back to the state. That process alone scares most people. And the employees never know when the shutdown ends. We watch the news like everyone else, there is no magical "behind the scenes" process we are part of. We find out when you find out.

rarelongsun6 karma

This one is simple. Since the government decides what is legal and what is not, if the government decides it is legal for the government to require people to work without paying them, then it is by definition legal.

However, it is not as bad as it might seem (while still being mighty bad). Government workers are free to quit. They just lose whatever pension rights and deferred benefits they might have worked up.

What happens if groups of workers refuse to work? Miami International Airport had to close a terminal because they have insufficient TSA people. The government if it feels like it can investigate any claims of being sick for malingering. Good luck proving that. These TSA people might lose any deferred benefits they have accrued, but something tells me they have nothing to lose.

I have no idea if workers can get unemployment benefits if they are doing unpaid work.

Stoptheshutdowns11 karma

So, it's not so simple. Myself and many, many others continue to work as directed. Some of us are part-time but many are working full time, some are working more because their coworkers are not showing up. We are still employees and directed to work. If we don't show up for work we can be terminated for cause. It makes no difference if we are getting paid or not.

Regarding the TSA example, I'd say that is a crack in the system and many more are starting to show up. Most of those folks don't make a lot of money, live paycheck to paycheck, and right after Christmas, I doubt they are flush with cash. If the mortgage is due and the current job isn't providing cash, they will find one that does.

Yes, in the situation where an employee is working but in an unpaid status, they could likely file for unemployment, but that would have to be paid back to the state if the employee was eventually paid. Each state is different, so there is no simple answer for that one.

rarelongsun9 karma

I meant the question of "how it is legal to require people to work without paying them" is really simple. It is legal, because the government makes the rules and the government said it was legal.

I do not mean to imply that it is moral, sustainable, or desirable.

Stoptheshutdowns9 karma

Yes, it is legal. But that don't make it right.

BarnabyWoods7 karma

Actually, "the government" doesn't ultimately get to decide what's legal, if you mean the Executive Branch. It's the federal courts that decide what's legal, and some federal employees have challenged this work-without-pay mandate in federal court.

Stoptheshutdowns8 karma

There are several lawsuits which were filed in the past weeks. We all await the results.

IWantToBeYourGirl45 karma

What would you think about some sort of legislation that gives government employees access to TSP funds during a shutdown? I’m thinking along the lines of being able to withdraw up to your net paycheck without penalty if you’re a contributor. It would encourage retirement savings by more people and offer some means of protection against creditors when going without pay.

Stoptheshutdowns38 karma

That is an interesting approach. Why don't you approach your Congressional representative about that?

cahaseler42 karma

Have you or any of your employees reconsidered your job after this? If it was me I'd be seriously considering a private, more stable job.

I know a friend of mine who runs a dev shop is having a great time poaching unpaid feds and contractors.

Stoptheshutdowns101 karma

I have over 35 years in and I'm close to retirement, so no, I won't be leaving over this. However, I do plan on retiring as soon as I can and doing something different. If I only had a few years in I would feel different. I'll add most people LIKE what they do and WANT to keep doing it. Not everyone just pushes paper in the government. I have younger employees who are considering. In fact, we have one newly hired employee who moved over the holidays and can't even report to work and process in. How do you think he is responding to this? If I were him, I might reconsider my choice. This will make it harder for the government to hire and retain good people. And we want good people in the government. Nobody strives to be the lazy government employee who just sits around and gets paid. Every organization seems to have them, but the vast majority of government workers do good work.

PixiePooper21 karma

As an outsider (I live in the UK - with quite enough problems of our own right now thanks):

In your opinion, is the problem with the process or the politicians?

Also, as it seems almost certain (based on past shutdowns) that people will end up getting paid for the shutdown, why aren't there companies providing loans at reasonable rates which they could say wouldn't have to be paid back in the case the government doesn't provide back pay?

Stoptheshutdowns39 karma

Good question. How's the Brexit thing going? :)

I'd say both. Politicians create and control the processes.

Civil Servants will likely be paid as the political blowback would be huge. And there are several lawsuits challenging the fact we are working without pay. We all await those rulings.

Contractors and businesses are also impacted and will likely continue to be impacted. Contractors will likely not be paid for work not performed. Businesses will just take the hit.

Churquark21 karma

Why do people go to work if they are not getting paid and have uncertainty of getting back pay?

Stoptheshutdowns54 karma

If an employee is directed to work and refuses, they can be removed for cause. It's the rules. Government rules are different from the private sector. We are not laid off, we are unfunded.

Maelshevek14 karma

Honestly, how do you feel about politicians holding your jobs hostage to get their way? What do you think we should do about it? Do you think that a government shutdown is ever a viable solution?

Stoptheshutdowns21 karma

It sucks. Hold your elected officials responsible for doing this. No, I don't think shutdowns are solutions to anything.

hclewr6512 karma

How many total months of pay have you missed due to government shutdowns?

Stoptheshutdowns20 karma

One two-week paycheck so far. We are three weeks into this one.

irishgoneham10 karma

As a veteran, what was the response from you leadership at the time in how to deal with a possible financial crisis? Having served myself, I personally witnessed a lot of higher ups who were less prone to precarious financial practices than some of the newer troops tell others who were genuinely concerned that they should have prepared for this by saving, living frugally, etc. What advice would you give to them if you were in a position of authority?

Stoptheshutdowns22 karma

DOD is a slightly different animal. While many agencies can "stand down" for some areas for a short period of time, you can't do that with DOD. As such, the threat is a little different to management. This is one reason we don't see DOD go unfunded very often or very long.

My advice would be to take the threat seriously and visibly as the troops below you will likely follow your lead. The day you don't, it becomes the day it does.

curacaublue10 karma

Going on the assumption that you are in contact with other employees, are opinions shared about who is to blame for this shut down or is it not even relevant?

Stoptheshutdowns60 karma

I am in contact with my employees on an "as needed" basis for work issues only. I don't discuss politics or religion with my employees. Those conversations lead to divisions which tend to adversely affect organizations. We have work to do.

Since nobody in my organization is independently wealthy, I'm going to assume at some point they won't care who is to blame if they are facing financial problems. But I won't speak for them.

Exaggeration17A8 karma

Good evening, sir. I just completed 10 years of Federal service myself, most of it in the DC area. The only major shutdown I've had to deal with was during the Obama administration and I honestly wasn't too worried, despite the fact that I was getting paid less back then. This time, I definitely feel more uncertain.

As someone who has more experience with shutdowns (and life experience in general), do you feel this shutdown is different than the previous ones? Or just more of the same bullshit?

Stoptheshutdowns19 karma

I hope it is more of the same and ends soon. However, I have no idea. Nothing seems to be "normal" right now.

sigmabody7 karma

Hypothetical: If it were possible to identify the set of people and processes which were essential to solely "maintaining ongoing operations", and exclude all new expenditures, allocations, and new projects, do you think that if those people and processes were automatically funded, if that would cover most/all of the innocent people caught up in the weaponized politics of budgets, or am I missing a substantial set of people with that plan?

Main reason for the question: In considering how the current situation might be improved, the best idea I could come up with was something like the above (ie: codifying how ongoing operations would continue to be funded with automatic/associated borrowing increases in the event of lack of approval of a budget on-time, but suspending all "new" expenditures and projects). Ignoring the issues with trying to get something like that passed (ie: would require the government to do something rational and beneficial, so effectively impossible), I'm wondering if you think that sort of "solution"/improvement would be feasible as-envisioned, or if I'm woefully ignorant about the real-world implications for government operation.

Thanks. :)

Stoptheshutdowns24 karma

Good insight, but the situation is very complicated and I can only speak to my area of it. I won't identify who I work for, but it is not a regulatory or "paperpushing" agency.

The budgets that are negotiated voted on and put in place are supposed to only address work that needs to be accomplished. The ranting about Fraud, Waste and Abuse are highly over-dramatized.

I will say there are very few actual positions in the government that don't need to be there. In fact, I'd say some things that have been contracted over the years should not have been. I can also say that I employ contractors that make a higher salary than I do and are responsible for much less. So the thought we save money isn't really true.

When we think of "essential operations" or "essential personnel" we don't have a good don't have a good definition that fully addresses the scope. For instance, we have Border Protection Agents, Air Traffic Controllers, Food Inspectors, either at work without pay, or being called back to work without pay. If they are essential enough to be at work, are the payroll people needed? Not if funds don't exist.

I feel I'm scratching at your question but not really answering it.....

Wolfling2171 karma

Basically you're talking about putting the entire government budget on autopilot, such that Congress only has to push through changes. So things only get frozen at current levels (+inflation potentially), and only new things get frozen.

I can see it putting a soft-lock on growth items, but at that point you're breaking momentum rather than baseline ops. That would help a lot in preventing budget fights from breaking so much stuff.

I've been wondering why it's not already set up like that myself. However, the catch I can see is reprioritizing funds. Something like the $5bil they're calling for the wall - they'd have to pull money from somewhere, and they can't pull it from other places if normal ops has already spent it. So full auto would make it hard to pivot priorities.

Stoptheshutdowns1 karma

The federal budget formulation is always a topic to be debated.

Think of a company of 1000 employees who develop and manufacture light fixtures for homes. Depending on what they are developing and building, their R&D, operations and manufacturing budgets would have to flex. Funding for employee salaries would be fixed if they maintained 1000 employees. So their overall spending would not be a straight line.

Now think of every organization within agencies and large departments like the DOD as the example above. Baselining the federal budget would be a similar exercise. There are literally thousands of similar examples across the government.

GadgetHacksaw7 karma

How is this shut down different than the shut down under Obama?

Stoptheshutdowns14 karma

From an employee standpoint, there is no difference. Not getting paid during either one. Over the years both parties have done this. That does not make it right.

I'm sure others have political views on this, but that was not the topic of this AMA.

Sophisticatedly6 karma

I want to express my gratitude for your job duties, even though I am not privy to that information. I too feel the weight of this shutdown by proxy.

There are many things I'd like to fix about our government, and once I finish college I would love to run for office as a progressive Democrat. I am still under 30 and I don't know if I could because I am studying to be an engineer, and have no political background.

For those who comment how government employees can just quit for a more stable job in the private sector, I want you to understand what a government benefit is. Just how good is government healthcare? No deductible, AND if you work at the government up until retirement, you get to keep that insurance and won't be forced onto Medicare. That perk alone is worth waiting this out even though the situation is rediculously terrible. I wish I could work for the government. I used to work for the post office, which was a federal job, however I was just a temporary "postal support employee", as they called it back then. Those people are salaried. Making livable wages, higher than poverty levels. For a person who didn't finish college, but has good work ethic and a willingness to learn? A government job is great! You can start out making "good" money, while the private sector will pay minimum wage.

Stoptheshutdowns19 karma

First of all, if you are studying for engineering I strongly suggest you continue. We need more highly educated people in the country doing great things. And having that background and education would prepare you for many things, including leadership in politics.

I will say some of your comments regarding benefits are not fully on the mark. For health insurance, I pay over $1000 a month, and yes, we have deductibles for everything. In my case, it's Blue Cross and Blue Shield, just like the private sector. And these benefits are always changing. They don't get better as time goes on. We can keep our insurance into retirement, but not forever. We fall under the same rules as everyone else.

The pay is similar to the commercial industry. However in high tech areas such as engineering and software a person can make a lot more money in the private sector.

saugoof5 karma

I'm not American, although I did live in the US for a short while. But government shutdowns are basically unknown in the rest of the world and, if I can critique your country from a foreign perspective, really seems something that might happen in failed states, not an advanced country like the US. To me this just looks like blackmail.

In your view, what would it take to fix this so this process can't happen anymore?

Stoptheshutdowns11 karma

Shutdowns are the result of failing to implement funding by the beginning of the fiscal year. So- the fix is to have our politicians do their jobs and put the funding in place before each fiscal year. That prevents this situation from being possible.

I agree this is blackmail. I have no response for that.

urbantheii5 karma

I was supposed to start a position at the government two weeks ago but obviously, that has not happened. I know I won't get any back pay since I am not in the system and have not started, but I was wondering if you knew how long it takes for someone in my situation to start their job? Is it as easy as me showing up the day the government opens? Do I have to wait for another formal offer letter to be reissued since mine is now invalid? Is there a chance of a hiring freeze occurring and getting totally screwed before I can get another offer letter (if I need it)?

Stoptheshutdowns9 karma

I actually have a new employee in your exact situation. He was supposed to start on the 7th. I do not have the answer. I'm hoping my employee is still wanting to start when we go back to work as we need good people. Hang in there!

MattyScrant5 karma

Hey OP! I have two questions that I’ve had in my mind since this began almost a month ago:

1) When the federal government opens back up, would federal employees (including yourself) receive any kind of back-pay?

2) If you’re privy to this information; do you know the long-term effects, if any, a shutdown this long could potentially have on the economy?

Stoptheshutdowns10 karma

Civil Servants will likely be paid as the political blowback would be huge. And there are several lawsuits challenging the fact we are working without pay. We all await those rulings. However, Congress has to pass Bills to authorize that pay.

Contractors and businesses are also impacted and will likely continue to be impacted. Contractors will likely not be paid for work not performed. Businesses will just take the hit. History has proven the overall economy will take a hit. As this goes on, that hit will get worse.

LenDaMillennial4 karma

Do you think we are still getting taxes?

Stoptheshutdowns9 karma

I'm not sure I understand your question. Do you mean are taxes still being collected? If so, then yes, we all still have to pay our taxes. The IRS may not be currently staffed, but we are still obligated to pay taxes.

browneyesays2 karma

After reading through your post you seem to have a lot of knowledge and understanding of politics. Have you ever thought of getting more involved in politics?

Stoptheshutdowns2 karma

I have. I won't. My lack of patience would simply not work.

-Wyub-1 karma

Would it be any easier to start a revolution now?

Stoptheshutdowns2 karma

Let's not.

BFeely11 karma

Can the state enforce pay laws against Federal employers, or do Federal employers enjoy sovereign immunity against state labor departments?

Stoptheshutdowns2 karma

I don't believe so, but I'm not a lawyer. I'd have to think if they could, that would have already happened in past shutdowns.

AndyUY1 karma

What exactly is a government shutdown? I am a foreigner.

Stoptheshutdowns3 karma

Parts of the US Government are not fully operational due to a lack of funding. Employees are not at work.

stickben0 karma

Did you vote for Trump? If so, does this change your opinion?

Stoptheshutdowns-3 karma

I really don't want to digress into personal politics here as it is not the topic.

I will say Trump is not the problem, but he is certainly taking advantage of the situation. The problem is the inability of Congress to put a budget and funding in place before the beginning of the Fiscal Year. If we were funded, there would be no ability to have a shutdown. This situation would not be allowed to exist, much less be weaponized between parties.

justscottaustin-3 karma

Since most of the country remains unaffected in day-to-day operations, what do you think it would take for the government to realize and assess the cruft in 800,000 employees of the government being non-essential?

Stoptheshutdowns24 karma

Do you want to fly on airplanes that are no longer being inspected? That is just one example. Food inspectors are also out. Parks are being vandalized. The term non-essential does not mean what people think it means.

Stoptheshutdowns9 karma

The ripple effects are making the news. Yesterday the FAA had to call back hundreds of aircraft inspectors so the airlines can keep going. As more stories about people working without pay, and stories about people not being able to pay bills, the pressure will make the politicians move. The pain is not limited to a political party. That will make a difference.