Open Letter To All The Media Working The “Displaced Federal Worker” Angle

To: Most Of You In Big Media
From: Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant
Re: Perspective


I remember back in 2003, during the post-9/11 recession, when my field was in its “last hired, first fired” phase, and I – a single parent with two kids – got laid off from a contracting job after my old startup closed.

How it took me three months to get an interview. Five to earn *any* money. And 10.5 months to actually get a job – which led to 6-12 months catching up back bills, and years rebuilding credit. How we scrimped, stretched unemployment checks and a tax refund and about five weeks of contract work to cover six months.

And you know what I remember the most? How the media constantly did stories talking about all the trouble we unemployed and underemployed private sector workers were having, and how dire our situations were – even after *two missed paychecks*, and nobody saying “when you finally land a job (whenever that is), we’re going to give you all the “back pay” you would have had coming”.

That helped so much.

UPDATE: Wait – that never happened. Nobody gave a crap. To the media, private sector unemployment when there’s a GOP president is a feature, not a bug.

As far as those Fed workers go – I get the dislocation that happens when your income gets diverted (see above), and that lots of federal workers aren’t the stereotype of Big Bureaucracy fatcats with the six figure salaries and the golden pensions (although a lot more are than they like to let on) and that invincible sense of entitlement to your income.

But when this kerfuffle over the budget and wall ends, THEY GET BACK PAY. EVERY PENNY.

As a private sector worker who’ll be working until he’s 75 to pay the pensions of all these federal and state and local workers so they can retire at 55, can I just say “please stop with the &^%$# waterworks”?

That is all.

19 thoughts on “Open Letter To All The Media Working The “Displaced Federal Worker” Angle

  1. You might this amusing, Mitch. Ms Eleanor Goldberg, late of HuffPost tweeted:

    While reporting today about federal workers who can’t afford tampons, I was laid off from HuffPost. If there’s anything I can say after 7 years, it’s that I will finish the story. (Also if you’re looking to hire a reporter to cover poverty and inequality, I’m available)

    Will this suffering never end?

  2. I had a similar experience, Mitch, only it was under Obama– if private-sector job losses are a feature of a GOP president, they simply don’t happen under a Democrat /sarc.

    I was employed with a defense contractor in the Cities for about 12 years. During that time, I observed the collective gasp whenever we changed presidents. Layoffs Reductions In Force (RIF) happened soon after every inauguration. Every administration has its own vision for the armed forces, and many promising programs never see production. I got laid off in ’09 and spent 5 months hunting for a new job before scoring a contracting gig in Des Moines. Being single gave me some mobility, and I probably would’ve moved out-of-state sooner if I hadn’t had a house to make payments on and a soft real-estate market.

    Maybe the quit-crying-and-help-yourself mindset is because we don’t have a guaranteed job and income? And I raise my eyebrows at the living-paycheck-to-paycheck angle the media has also adopted with the furloughed workers– or is the failure to have a rainy-day fund a symptom of knowing you’re living off the taxpayers’ largesse?

  3. Do this.

    Pick an article out of NYT, WAPO, Strib, Slate, Salon or any other liberal rag. Toss in a transcript from NPR, MPR, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC or CNN.

    Use a yellow marker to highlight all of the things that a furloughed federal worker can no longer afford BECAUSE THEY GOT NO MONEY.

    Now use a red marker to highlight the words “credit card.”

    Guess what? Most people buy everything with credit cards. Test that hypothesis yourself by counting the number of customers who pay by card rather than cash or check at any register. Granted some may be using debit cards – but not that many.

    Now try something else…. Google “federal shutdown credit union or bank” and see how many credit unions, banks and financial institutions are allowing federal workers to skip their loan payments AT NO CHARGE.

    Gosh, you think the media is shoving a big stink’n narrative down our throats?

    Yet again…

  4. Greg, don’t forget the utter silence regarding the two (three?) attempts to pass bills that would pay federal workers which were voted down by Democrats.

  5. The fact is that Federal employees have a very different view of employment. They view employment as a right and not something that can be taken away. That’s why they’re so upset about losing a paycheck. This is the first exposure to how the world of private employment works for many of them, and they don’t like it and are howling.

    As as for the chance of them getting any understanding of the Real World out of this experience, I’d say I have a better chance of undergoing quantum tunneling and winding up on the moon in the next nanosecond.

  6. Trump has agreed to fund the gov for 3 weeks, to give the reprobates a chance to come to their senses. I was for this option a week ago; “et tu Swiftee????”


    This is a very worthwhile gambit.

    First, it puts the enemies pawns, federal workers, at ease. They’ll get their filthy lucre (back pay no one else would have gotten).

    Second, it takes the ownership of the next shutdown off Trump. It was a tactical blunder to accept responsibility for anything when dealing with reprobates. They don’t see any nobility in it; only an open wound in need of constant salting.

    Third and most important, it gives Trump the groundwork he needs to successfully use a national emergency to get the wall built. The leftist reprobates are not going to give us what we voted for. Not now, not three weeks from now, not when they’re hanging from meat hooks ever. He’s going to have to use his executive powers, and he knows it.

    By sacrificing his knight in this isolated instance, I think Trump will threaten the enemies queen; the enemy will move to protect her, leaving their king open for Checkmate.

  7. BTW, as CEO of Pinochet’s Helicopter Tours let me extend the offer to fly Nancy Pelosi off the Capital mall to safety when the filthy mob of her core constituency comes for her head.

    We’ll take a stealthy route over the Atlantic ocean…they’ll never find “us”.

  8. Stormy Daniels spanks him, Ann Coulter makes him shutdown the government, Nancy Pelosi makes him reopen it.

    What an incompetent president. These 35 days amounted to exactly nothing. We’re exactly where we would have been without the turmoil.

  9. “Emery is in make-believe-land again.”

    What’s sad is not that Emery has drifted off the beam into fantasyland, its that his imagination is populated entirely by pedestrian cliches.
    Originality counts Emery, give us something other than your purloined commonplaces!

  10. In three weeks and one day, President Trump will declare that the failure to secure the border is a national emergency so he must act.

    In three weeks and two days, a federal judge will rule the President has no authority to declare a national emergency, that securing the border is not his job, and that something Congress let slide for decades cannot be an emergency.

    None of us is stunned at this idea. Leftists view the courts as a shadow government, the go-to branch for use when the legislative branch is stopped. So why can’t Trump sound out a friendly federal judge in advance, line up a patsy organization to bring a lawsuit of his own?

    A California judge says NO and issues a nation-wide ruling. A Texas judge says YES and issues a nation-wide ruling. The President says “split decisions, no clear guidance, until the Supreme Court rules, I’m going ahead.”

  11. Option B. Three weeks and one day from today, the President exercises his authority as commander in chief to order US troops redeployed to the border, using troops withdrawn from Syria, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Chad, Niger . . . .

    Two birds. One stone.

  12. Option C: wait three weeks, shut down the government again only this time, declare TSA workers to be “essential” so they get paid. The biggest problem with this shut-down is worsening air travel. Fix that and nobody will even notice the next one.

  13. A quick timeline of the Emergency:
    January 2017 GOP majority
    January 2017 Wall not an emergency February 2017 Wall not an emergency
    March 2017 Wall not an emergency
    April 2017 Wall not an emergency
    May 2017 Wall not an emergency
    June 2017 Wall not an emergency
    July 2017 Wall not an emergency
    August 2017 Wall not an emergency September 2017 Wall not an emergency October 2017 Wall not an emergency
    November 2017 Wall not an emergency December 2017 Wall not an emergency January 2018 Wall not an emergency February 2018 Wall not an emergency
    March 2018 Wall not an emergency
    April 2018 Wall not an emergency
    May 2018 Wall not an emergency
    June 2018 Wall not an emergency
    July 2018 Wall not an emergency
    August 2018 Wall not an emergency September 2018 Wall not an emergency October 2018 Wall not an emergency November 2018 Wall not an emergency November 2018 Democratic majority elected in house
    January 2019 EMERGENCY!!!!🚨🚨

  14. Trump hater Kathleen Parker published an especially stupid column this morning:
    Wilbur Ross & Trump make comments that echo what most American workers feel about the “plight” of furloughed federal workers, and we are told by Parker that this shows how “out of touch” with most American workers.
    Meaning that Parker has has shown just how out of touch she is with American workers.
    Trump has this effect on self-styled elites. Somehow, in fighting him, all they do is emphasize their own mediocrity — as when famed lefty con law prof Laurence Tribe recently tweeted his belief that the senate appoints members of the house judiciary committee:

  15. Wilbur Ross’s comments neatly capture the divide in America today between the working class and those who lives are far removed from having to worry about a paycheck. Quite sad.

    Or the unpaid workers could just steal $120 million from their business/employer like Ross did per Forbes magazine. His professional track record is appalling.

  16. How many people who are paid by the hour, and aren’t government employees, do you count as friends, Emery?
    Please do not try to make me believe that you, somehow, know how working people think.

  17. …those who lives are far removed from having to worry about a paycheck

    AKA public sector employees.

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