Memorial service for the shutdown

Thursday - 10/24/2013, 2:00am EDT

The general rule of obituary writing is that you usually bury the bad stuff. Say only nice things.

For instance the deceased maybe had room-clearing bad breath. Or maybe in life he or she was universally hated by the neighbors. Or was suspected of poisoning cats. In that case you cut to the chase and say he was a pillar of the church, or she kept a well-stocked bird feeder. Something positive. Let it go.

The exceptions to the be-nice-in-the-obit rule include dictators, certain celebrities, really nasty or crooked politicians and serial killers. It is OK to kick them when they are down. Way down.

So what to say about the Great Government Shutdown of 2013? How to write what many people hope and pray is its obit? Where's the good stuff? Other than shutting down parts of the government, eliminating services to many taxpayers and costing billions of dollars — like for wages paid for work not done — what did the shutdown accomplish? Well, it delayed the Labor Department's monthly jobs report which excites the media and sometimes the stock market. And it also delayed, until the end of the month, release of data which will show what the 2014 cost-of-living adjustment will be for Social Security, federal and military retirees. That COLA's been estimated at around 1.5 percent which, if correct, will be even less than the 1.7 percent increase retirees got this year

Fallout from the shutdown may make life miserable for some politicians — from both parties — who represent districts where, even with gerrymandering, it is possible to lose if enough voters get ticked off and actually vote.

Fallout from the shutdown has made some citizens even more suspicious of government and the political process. And it has pushed Congress even lower in public opinion polls.

What did the shutdown do to people who had to work vs. those who were ordered not to work? Both groups got or will get paid. So what was the point? Did it damage employe morale or create a rift-in-the-office between the exempt and the non-exempt? Here's how some see it:

  • "I'm already assuming the government will be shut down in January. The Congress Critters didn't learn anything from this one and they got a lot of free air time, so why shouldn't they shut it down again…

    "My question is: If the shutdown/furlough in January lasts past the end of the month, what will be done about providing us with our W2s for 2013? They are supposed to be in the mail to us by the end of January, but if the government is shut down, does that mean we'll have to wait until after it is over before they can be sent to us?" — Dave S.

  • "I just wanted to let you know in response to today's column, my morale is dragging a little, but I didn't think about resentments between employees until I read your article (much). Most people at our place seemed to accept that no one here is responsible for the mess.

    That's why I was so shocked to read the quote in Jack Moore's "After The Shutdown" article. It quoted a Social Security employee who said:

    'How is that fair? I came to work every day and was told not to leave since I might not get paid ... They reward the lazy workers at the expense of the hard workers.'

    "It's a good thing you didn't publish his name. I find it hard to believe any government employee would say that kind of thing about another, when none of us had any choice in the matter. The last time around I was "excepted," this time I was not. It didn't make much difference. It was actually easier being at work than sitting around at home yelling at CNN (which is what I did for the three days I was actually furloughed then.) This time around it was the Internet.

    "I hope you let that employee know that his comments were not appreciated. If he wants to yell at someone, yell at Congress, or at whoever decided he was essential and the rest of us were not." — Kay


    NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

    Compiled by Jack Moore

    Every film that Italian-American character actor John Cazale appeared in earened an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Among his credits are The Godfather and The Deer Hunter.

    (Source: Mental Floss)


    MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

    After the shutdown: Federal employees cite drain on morale
    Eighty-three percent of respondents to a Federal News Radio online poll said morale at their workplace is now worse than before the shutdown. Another 5 percent of respondents said they didn't feel personally affected but the morale of their co-workers had worsened. Federal workforce experts and employees, themselves, say the the two-week government shutdown has opened up a rift of resentment between groups of federal employees which, in part, is fueling the morale drain.

    House GOP presses OMB for details on its oversight of Healthcare.gov
    Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairmen want documents and information on whether the program went under a TechStat review and whether the White House made decisions that impacted the use of federal IT best practices.