Punching bag hits back

Thursday - 8/22/2013, 2:00am EDT

For the past few years, federal workers have been fair game for some politicians, think tanks and a big chunk of the media who think we've got way too much government and way too many bureaucrats.

Depending on the day the press release is issued, feds are depicted as overpaid, underworked, fireproof, ingrates or all of the above.

Politicians often blame feds for carrying out stupid or incredibly complicated laws forgetting, apparently, who enacted them.

When a scandal — serious or overblown — erupts, political appointees frequently toss some lower-level career feds under the bus. Then, they appoint a task for a blue ribbon panel, which usually vindicates the politicos.

This column, — based on lots of input from readers — asked earlier this week if it was time for feds to fight back. And if so, how? Here are some reactions:

"Quick note to say, I liked what "M in Indy" had to say in Monday's column! It was so refreshing to see an article with a different tone about federal employees than the routine poke- another-stick-in-our-federal-eyes article. It was good to read from a federal employee who is saying essentially, 'where's everybody's backbone?' I work for DoD and we have been tough during the past three-and-a-half years with grin-and-bear- it resolve. However, the three-and-a-half years of verbal (Congressional threats on benefits) and financial beatings (no COLAs and furloughs that will likely continue through 2014) are wearing many down. The idea of mobilizing our collective federal voices to say stop, we can't take much more, is overdue. I hope you will consolidate the feedback you get on this article and produce a future Federal News Radio report to share with the rest of us." -T with the Navy

"M in Indy mentioned the Earned Income Credit! They are correct. It should be looked at and it should be eliminated because of the fraud alone! It is a disgrace! It has continued for too many years! It is another form of welfare." -Anon In IRS

"I will make this short. With approximately 2 million federal employees and roughly the same number of retirees — and not counting postal workers or military — a $20 a year contribution could amount to $160 million for every two-year election cycle. Yes, I know that there will not be 100 percent participation, but probably the average donation would be more than $20. Since historically, the candidate that raises the most money wins 94 to 96 percent of the time, targeted funding of key races could have a large impact in House and Senate races. Whoever gets PAC support should not be a Democrat or Republican decision, but whoever takes a stand to support federal employees and takes aim at those who do not. Federal employees and retirees who are penny wise and pound foolish have no one else to blame but themselves. We all need to get mad and do something about it. I have belonged to National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) for almost 25 years, 23 years before I retired. Now that I am retired for this very reason, — lessons learned from Reagan — I contribute to their PAC on a regular basis." -Robert Duncan

"I do believe it is time for action. I do believe that writing to Congress will yield the federal employees nothing but empty promises. How to fight back? The only true course that we as a group can take involves money. We need to target those congressional leaders that keep proposing cut after cut to our pay and benefits. We need to determine what big businesses contribute to these congressional leaders. Then, we announce a boycott. If we can manage to hold true to this cause, I do believe when the phone rings from a CEO or two, perhaps change can occur. What do we have to lose?" -Rick from the IRS


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Nicole Ogrysko

Journalists are all too familiar with deadlines, but the origin of the word itself first cropped up in 1864 — with a different meaning. During the American Civil War, a 20 foot line was drawn around the perimeter of Confederate war prisons. Prisoners who tried to cross the "dead line" were shot.

Source: Today I Found Out


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