Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Public workers do not deserve punishment

    On Oct. 2, Fox Business host Stuart Varney explained why he thought the federal government shutdown, now in its second week, is a great thing. All those federal workers, he said, deserve to be “punished” for “living on our backs.”
    Varney certainly has the Constitutional right to say whatever he wants and Fox has given him a megaphone with which to say it. The inexplicable shutdown, however, is a pretty dangerous way to act on such vitriolic sentiments.
    It is still hurricane season in the North Atlantic. Last October, Superstorm Sandy flattened much of the Jersey shore and nearly drowned lower Manhattan. Last month, Hurricane Karen looked threatening. Due to the shutdown, however,, the website everyone looks to when a weather disaster threatens, is unavailable. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists and the tech workers who support their web operations are now too busy being punished to provide information for those who might find themselves in the path of another killer storm.
    Apparently, the furloughed researchers at the National Institutes of Health deserve punishment during flu season as well. And how about the men and women of the Federal Emergency Management Agency who leave their own families to help others in a disaster? Perhaps they have been punished enough, however, because they have been called back to work.
    Perhaps the architects of the government shutdown will next devise some kind of scale to determine which employees deserve more punishment and which do not. Are those who process veterans’ benefits virtuous and deserving of employment while those who process welfare benefits are not? Department of Agriculture employees who take in applications for food stamps are probably on Varney’s back, but those who process applications for crop subsidies likely are not.
    Frankly, we are sick and tired of commentators who earn a great deal of money doing nothing more than running their mouths on television belittling hard-working, decent, honest people who do their best at the jobs they have that are paid for by taxpayers. We are tired of commentators claiming to be worried about our interests when they are just being mean and nasty.
    So go ahead, Mr. Varney. Insult, malign, slur, smear, disparage or defame government workers to your heart’s content. But don’t expect us to listen.

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