Working without pay is completely nonsensical. The relationship between the employee and employer has been broken.
If I were in some of these guys shoes I'd be working odd jobs to make ends meet.
At least some are already doing this.
Civil service rules are quite troubling. I can see the idea that it shouldn't be easy to make everything political, but the problem is that this goes only one way. If the president's predecessor hired a few million hostile partisans, what is he supposed to do? Is he just supposed to continue down that path, hiring tens of millions of his own partisans in order to win back control? Maybe the next president can hire a hundred million people, and then we're one president away from the entire population working for the federal government. There needs to be a reasonable way to toss out the partisan troublemakers who are undermining the will of the voters.
Another troubling rule is that layoffs must be done according to seniority and veteran status, not performance. Performance is considered last! This is an absurdity; you couldn't run a normal non-monopoly software firm that way. The only reliable way to eliminate low-performing employees is to eliminate everybody in a given agency.
No, it doesn't, there are rules protecting against patronage hires to civil service positions; they aren't perfect, but the protections aren't one sided.
> If the president's predecessor hired a few million hostile partisans
Not gonna happen, since it would take not only an unprecedented politicization of hiring but also a President getting to fill half the current federal workforce.
> Is he just supposed to continue down that path, hiring tens of millions of his own partisans in order to win back control?
Uh, no, the President is not supposed to have partisan control of the federal civil service workforce.
> There needs to be a reasonable way to toss out the partisan troublemakers who are undermining the will of the voters.
If they aren't doing their legal duty competently, federal civil service workers can be fired for cause. Not being a partisan of the President, isn't cause, and that's a feature not a bug.
> Another troubling rule is that layoffs must be done according to seniority and veteran status, not performance.
I don't see that as troubling at all.
> The only reliable way to eliminate low-performing employees is to eliminate everybody in a given agency.
No, the reliable way is to set performance standards at the appropriate floor and then fire people who don't meet them for cause; civil service rules do allow for performance standards and do allow firing people who don't meet them. You know the practice of PIPs in private employment? That's directly modelled on what is required for performance-based termination in civil service employment.
Layoffs fill a different purpose.
[Edit: No long as clear cut. Now both parties are voting against each other's ending bills.
A fair few people don't have a lot of savings, as in will end up with no cash at all if they're not paid.
Even if you wanted to keep working for deferred pay, if you're in that situation you'd need to do something quite soon.
I suppose modern day loansharks are also having a great time.
If the employees are currently paycheck to paycheck, and even considering a loan then chances are they would not be eligible for a loan.
>Trump, Congress Reach Tentative Deal to Reopen Government for Three Weeks
I’m not even in the US, but my inbox has been flooded with emails from various financial institutions offering interest-free loans to government workers.
Here is a question: How can al lthe employees of the IRS for a collective to say "fuck the IRS - here is a new way of doing things based on our inside knowledge"
Now - you may say "well thats a stupid thing to imagine"
But lets take it to the private sector: Imagine that Facebook stopped paying its employees - they have 1.5 billion customers to handle...
Don't you think the employees couldn't just walk away and say "let start a new thing based on the information we collectively know"
Certainly they could - but I imagine the average FB salary is much higher than the collective IRS salary...
but still - if you wanted to affect change in the world for decades to come - it could come from a giant group of IRS employees doing something that disrupts the opacity of taxes. (Fuck you H&R Block, BTW)
Sure, they could make something that would compete with Intuit and H&R Block, etc, but it wouldn't be the IRS, and we would still need the IRS.
Pascal, as a teen, essentially invented the calculator (albeit a very slow version) for his father; the device was called a Pascaline , and he built it because his father was a "tax collector" in 17th century France.
In those days, tax collector meant that you would buy the right to collect 'x' in government taxes (and keep for yourself), for 'x - $discount', where $discount was the balance of 1) what the government believed was worth them avoiding collection themselves, 2) what the tax collector believed they could still reasonably profit from the difference of.
The government has had a hard time as it is to keep positions filled as they are competing with better pay in the private sector. Who would ever want to work for the government if whether or not you're getting paid is constantly up in the air.
Instead of using government workers keeping intact our very thin veneer between civilization and barbarity as bargaining chips at best and hostages at worst, the pain would fall squarely on the President and Congress.
That's a terrible idea. Not all lawmakers are independently wealthy. So the ones who actually need that salary to survive can effectively be told by the President or party leaders -- of either party -- "vote with us, or we have a shutdown and your family starves."
In fact if there's not already a gist of impacts from the government shutdown there should be one.
I do agree that they may be intentionally reducing the attractiveness of government jobs and decreasing the quality of government programs in an effort to shift more wealth to their already wealthy private sector buddies.
Many Republicans actually love the idea of less regulation, so a government shutdown is great!
Government "service" is just a job, and these people take a pay cut in exchange for job security (and in the cases I'm personally familiar with, fantastic health insurance).
The shutdown is nonsensical, expensive, and a pointless hardship for everyone affected, but there's no need to elevate government employees to sainthood.
My partner is a "civil servant" and I see on a weekly basis how she is consistently overworked and undervalued. But she has a mission to improve our city's infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, and you just can't do that effectively as an engineer outside of the public sector.
But I was utterly impressed at the courtesy and positive attitude of the employee who handled my call. I don't know if I could bring that much professionalism to my work if I hadn't been paid in a month.
Even if they did, such a law would be unconstitutional because slavery is explicitly illegal under the 13th Amendment. They would have to amend the constitution to make that law work and something that wildly unpopular is not going to happen.
In fact Congress passed a law stating the opposite, that even Federal employees who are not required to work will receive back pay for the time the government was shutdown.
The only people who might be leaving money on the table if they quit are those who were told not to work. They were promised back pay when they return, but it's unclear what would happen if they do not return.
I think that in the future if this keeps going there will probably be noticeable policy differences and shifts in the bureaucracy after this. Definitely a point of history that people should look to for ripple effects later down the line.
Critically think about the ripple effect of this situation:
1. It is clearly political shenanigans without a doubt, but;
2. Does this peal back the wool from the fact that, just maybe, we don't need this many government employees?
3. Reveals that senators who are both millionaires and still receiving pay, don't actually have your interests in mind
4. That taxes are wasted and a joke with respect to how they are implemented / allocated
5. that our security infrsastructure sold to us in the trillions is a 2-paycheck fragile sham (TSA) -- but the actual safety (Air Traffick Control) is in the same bucket?
6. That the media's only value is kvetching on the political bullshit of the literal moment (meaning: They teach nothing - only commentary)
7. the USA is a fealty based system beholden to literally a few hundred oligarchs
8. People have no recourse upstream.
9. People are apathetic to the entire display.
Senator Pay is $174k, which is less than senior developers around the tech world.
Your senior developer who frequents this site will make far more money than any Senator. The reason why Senators are millionares is because you need to be a millionare to even consider running for office (with all of the organization, ads, and stuff you need to buy...)
> Critically think about the ripple effect of this situation:
No. That's precisely WHY Republicans are shutting down the government. Because they want to push forward those viewpoints.
Its why Republicans are so happy to keep things shut down: the longer things are shut down, the more their point is proven ("That Government is inefficient").
Its a fundamental advantage Republicans have to shutdowns. Every shutdown "proves their point" innately.
Government workers make far less than their counterparts in the private world. A "Senator" is the leader of an entire State, but will make far less money than a typical executive at any ol company.
Want to know where all of our good leaders have gone? They've gone into corporate leadership. Any ol' executive position at any major company will make multiples over a Senator or House member's salary.
Isn't this just a stipend to cover housing/food while drumming up kickbacks, insider trade information, or cushy post-office executive positions in many (unfortunate) cases?
not sure if we can necessarily rely on base pay as being an accurate measure of income related to being a senator..
Your typical executive will have a base pay well over 200k, and then get a contract kickback based on performance. I have my doubts that any Senator actually makes as much as say... a Microsoft Executive.
And that's like, minor executive level. If you're a 3-letter executive (CEO, CFO, etc. etc.), expect $million+ paychecks with stock compensations on top of that, based on performance. Consider the Sears CEO who destroyed the company, he's making millions extra in bonuses, with a golden parachute to land safely even as the company withers and dies.
He's got enough sense to wipe out his base pay to $1. But we all know that's a fake number anyway. In any case, the amount of money a Senator makes from their position or power is tiny in comparison to positions in private companies. The fact is: the US Government is not in the business of making money. They're in the business of providing essential services to the citizens (Military, Police, Post Office, etc. etc.), of which doesn't typically make a profit.
One of my friends said that DC has never experienced a recession. I hate how negative this sounds, but DC is finally realizing what happens when the largest employer in town suddenly closes. This is something that (pro-Trump) small town America has been having to deal with for at least the past 30 years.
Even in the 90s and 00s with the DoD closing bases (BRAC), a lot of people were unimpacted or given job offers at other locations which mitigated the risk for most.
Government employees are, on the whole, underpaid for the sort of work they do compared to private sector equivalents (or where their expertise could be used if not the same job). The primary benefit has been the stability and pension system, both of which are being challenged in recent years.
Sorry but no. I worked for the government for 9 years and went through four shutdowns. I'd hardly call that rare. On NPR this morning they were interviewing people who said the same thing (so it's not just me). I was also not one of the lucky ones that got furloughed. When I was there a lot of people loved shutdowns because it was free vacation time. They knew they'd get backpay. The only thing they couldn't do was go out of town since any day they could be called back.
> This is not something most of them would have considered when signing on.
> Government employees are, on the whole, underpaid for the sort of work they do compared to private sector equivalents (or where their expertise could be used if not the same job). The primary benefit has been the stability and pension system, both of which are being challenged in recent years.
Debatable. The government is a huge industry, and over-generalizing like that is impossible to do while maintaining any level of accuracy. Remember to include benefits as well as paycheck in your analysis.
> US government shutdowns ... are rare events
not making an argument that people should have expected this (because I don't believe that. In fact I specifically agreed with that portion of the OP)
There are also resources available for people that can't go this long without a paycheck, that should help somewhat alleviate the pain .
(Technically, all outside employment by a federal employee has to be approved by their office to ensure there's no conflict and that it won't impact the quality of the work.)
And deferred pay, after 2 missed paychecks, doesn't help much. This paycheck is February's rent for many of them. Good luck in a week if they can't negotiate with their bank or landlord.
A lot of us (myself included), might work in startups and take big risks in our careers, but we're also exposed to a lot more upside. Not every other job should be like this, and lots of people don't want to work in such uncertain situations. These people thought they had a job that was largely safe, and that implicit promise has been broken.
This is the longest running shutdown in US History, and it isn't anywhere close to over yet.
I would be entirely unsurprised if this caused many professionals to leave public service, since the risk of not being able to make rent is now known. Why would anyone knowingly take a job that could suddenly and unexpectedly stop paying them a salary for unreasonable periods of time?
In a nutshell and highly simplified, but "essential" in the shutdown context means national security and transportation. It doesn't include functions that are nice to have, like quick processing of refunds.
Salary levels have nothing to do with it. Perhaps they might have to be higher if public sector employees had to have this risk, or perhaps there would be fewer people willing to work in the public sector (a win, that).
And again, if you hard to work w/o pay, you should get back-pay. This is only about furloughed employees.
> They practically cannot get fired.
> or perhaps there would be fewer people willing to work in the public sector (a win, that).
If you disagree with the size of our federal government on a political level that's no excuse to disrespect the people who work in it. Everybody is working for a pay check the virtues of the federal government have nothing to do with whether some people deserve to get what they negotiated for when they accepted a position.
Salary levels do determine risk - if you want someone to do a riskier job, you generally have to pay more - obviously there are a large number of other factors.
They mostly don't, both because the Administration has limited legal and even more limited practical political ability to do that, and because civil service rules further mitigate that risk with noncompetitive reinstatement eligibility.
They do take the risk that the political branches together decide a function is unnecessary, mitigated somewhat by civil service reinstatement rules.
The difference is they work for the oldest, singularly largest organization in the country and should, as part of that, expect some job stability.
The pay is usually marginal compared to private sector. The advantage you usually get is the government won't go bankrupt or get bought up and downsized.
Any NASA Aerospace engineer will make more at Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman. Its just the facts. Missiles and Weapons make more money than generic US Space research, even if one is more fundamentally important to the advancement of our civilization. Any IRS Tax-expert will make more money as an Corporate Accountant (who are paid to avoid taxes, instead of applying them fairly across the country).
Everyone, even people who were allowed to seek separate work, should be paid their expected wage - this would even inject a bit of consumer power into our economy and might help reduce the long term effects this is having.
Professional employees (lawyers, accountants, scientists) make less in government (usually much less), but non-professional employees usually make more in government.
There's a classical sense of professional it seems you're reaching for, but I'm having a hard time thinking of a non-professional white-collar worker which would do better in federal government than the private sector.
Eg, surveyors are clearly professionals. Software developers? IT?
I am excluding, by the way, private contractors working in the public sector which tend to be grossly over paid but lack any sort of pension benefits.
There'll be the temptation to muddy the waters with all sorts of things, like "how important" the government worker's work is. (The taxpayer's job can be perfectly well important too. You want to live without garbage collectors?) But that's all distractions. What right do they have to have such low-risk ("risk-free" is really not true, but there is certainly a qualitatively different degree of risk) jobs at the expense of people without such low-risk jobs?
This is no different then when the minimum wage rises, and people who were making what is now the new minimum wage complain that they're underpaid now. They were underpaid before, it's just more obvious to them after the policy change.
Don't be the crab pulling other crabs back into the pot. Help the other crabs get out, and consequently, helping you get out.
Wow, if this isn't straight-up communism, I don't know what is.
2/ Are people who showed up at work will get paid for those past weeks?
By the time the effects of the economic downturn are visible (such as airports cancelling flights because they have insufficient traffic control), you can expect that the damage done will take years to unwind.
Just because you get back pay in a month or two doesn't mean you return to the previous level of discretionary spending immediately. You are now a consumer with lack of confidence in the economy. You don't know when the next Presidential tantrum is going to shut down the government.
This will affect all the services that government employees used on a daily basis: cafes, restaurants, laundromats, house cleaning, gardeners, etc.
Consumer confidence may not return till long after this president is ejected, assuming the USA actually has any more presidential elections and the Tumpists don't just take over the country.
Employees of the federal government will get back pay, at least according to the NYT and others. However, they aren’t currently eligible to collect any sort of unemployment (because they’re technically “working”), and contractors who work with the government aren’t guaranteed back pay.
We are now thinking of carpooling and driving down or cancelling the event and this is just our startup. It will be impossible to quantify the damage done by this shutdown.
None of them make clear the fact that these workers will receive back pay after the shutdown whether they work or not.
The IRS.gov has a FAQ site  which says that they will get back pay, and they will have to repay any unemployment benefits taken when that happens, even if they claim a hardship exemption.
This to me changes the story. Claim the exemption and you can work in the gig economy and get paid twice. Or go back to work and wait to get paid when the shutdown is over. I can see why so many are choosing to claim the exemption.
 - https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/employee-frequently-asked-quest...
But that’s literally not what’s happened. The choice was get paid vacation or come into work. Either way they will be paid.
Any article that states the work is unpaid, without clarifying the work will be paid but late, is factually incorrect and misleading. And that’s most of them.
Then you might see people voting for a third party because their vote isn't automatically wasted.
There's plenty of both sides blame that you can assign for various problems in the country, but this is not one of them, and it is incredibly disingenuous to do so.
I suspect that a lot of republican higher ups specifically avoided funding the border wall until they lost control of the house so they could manufacture this crisis (especially as the potential to fund the border wall was offered by democrats earlier and declined by republicans, and the senate passed a "just keep it open" bill before going on winter recess).
In all serious I don't know if this was meant as sarcasm but party cohesion in the republican party is quite high, it's one of the reasons the republican minority was effective against Obama - senators would freely discard logic to toe the party line.
> But let me assure that the various law enforcement agencies are still very fully funded, and ready to arrest you if you try to steal bread to eat.
Local law enforcement, yes. Because they may use federal dollars but aren't wholly reliant on them.
But federal law enforcement is not getting paid right now. The military is, and DoD civilians. But Homeland Security did not receive a funding bill last fall so they're going unpaid.