WASHINGTON — OK, gridlocked politicians we’re used to. But why padlock the Statue of Liberty?
You don’t see other democracies shuttering landmarks and sending civil servants home just because their political parties can’t get along. Belgian civil servants, for example, carried on nicely for a year and a half while their politicians bickered over forming a new government.
The potential for a partial shutdown Tuesday is a quirk of American history. So if you’re bored with blaming House Republicans or President Barack Obama, you can lay some responsibility on the Founding Fathers.
Or blame President Jimmy Carter for his rectitude. Or ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich for his hissy fit over how he got off Air Force One.
A history of government shutdowns, American-style: Continue reading “Closed for business? Government shutdown history”
For more than two years, the U.S. population has heard that federal employees are the root cause of all of the government’s financial problems, and with less government, the budget crisis will be solved. It is time to stop allowing politicians to demonize federal employees and to thank them for the services they provide the public.
In early January 2012, the Census Bureau reported that the population of the United States was about 312,809,589 (with births, deaths and immigration; we have a net gain of one person every 17 seconds). At the same time, there were about 2,130,289 federal employees, including those who work around the world and in the U.S. territories. Thus, the federal workforce (many of whom are represented by the American Federation of Government Employees) makes up approximately 0.7 percent of the U.S. population. That 0.7 percent of the population cares for our veterans, maintains military equipment, protects our borders, ensures the food we eat is safe and works tirelessly to make our country the best that it can be. Continue reading “Federal employees deserve better”