About those “non-essential” government employees…

The current partial government shutdown showcases one of my hot-button issues.

Best that I can tell, about 1 million government employees are impacted: about half of them are “essential” employees who must report to work and will be paid when the budget is resolved.

The other 500,000 are classified as “non-essential” … they get to stay home for the duration … and, will also be paid when the budget is resolved.

That raises 2 questions:

(1) why should non-essential employees get a better deal than essential employees (who have to work for their pay)?

(2) Why do non-essential employees ever have to report to work, and why do they ever get paid?

As I’ve said, I’ve been on this issue for awhile … and the shutdown gives me an opportunity to reprise a post on the subject from last winter … when you read “snow storm”, simply substitute the word “shutdown”.


It’s snowing in DC … “non-essentials” need not report.

It’s snowing in DC today … err, kinda.

Not much on the ground … temp is 34 degrees … roads are clear … but those AccuWeaterher folks are saying more snow is coming.

Good enough for the Feds … to shut the government down.

Archive photo … not from today!

* * * * *
Just heard my absolute favorite public service message on TV:

Due the inclement weather, non-essential Federal government workers do not have to report for work today.

Maybe the Feds can use the snow storm to solve the budget bruhaha … here’s how.

As Team Obama liked to say: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

I say, never let a good snowstorm do to waste.

The snow announcement raises a fundamental question: why do non-essential Federal government workers ever have to report for work?

The Feds should use the next snow day to good advantage.

Today, why not change the locks and pass out new badges to people who self-selected as “essential” and trudged through the threatened-snow to come  to work.


The non-essentials are gone … and they don’t have much of a case since they self-selected as non-essential.

It’s as easy as that.

* * * * *
How many non-essentials?

During the 2011 budget showdown, there were prospects of a government shut-down.

At the time, CNN-Money reported:

There are two kinds of federal workers right now: the essential and the non-essential.

Most don’t know which group they’re in.

The budget stalemate between Congress and President Obama has raised the specter of a shutdown.

If they don’t reach a deal, the government will shift to performing only “essential operations.”

It’s likely that more than 1 million essential employees will be asked to come to work.

But workers deemed non-essential won’t be allowed to come to work or work from home.

They won’t even be allowed to turn on their BlackBerries.

The official estimate from the White House is that 800,000 non-essential workers would be asked to stay home.

There you have it: 800,000 non-essentials.

Let’s price that out.

The Cato Institute estimates that an average Federal employee hauls in $126,141 in pay and benefits.


800,000 times $126,141 is more that $100 billion.

That’s more than the Sequestor’s $89 billion.


Just pray for snow … and then change the locks.

Problem fixed.

* * * * *
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