While Rome Burns

People who work directly for the United States government are understandably panicky about the shutdown. As Individual 1 fiddled around while Rome burns, they’re worried about how they’re going to pay the rent and buy groceries. There is some hope that this nonsense might not last too much longer. He’s got a notoriously short attention span, and is probably already bored with this battle. The Great Negotiator has also flinched. While he’s going to hold his breath continue the shutdown until he gets his way, he’s now apparently willing to accept $2.5 billion, half of the original ransom he asked for. Always the best deals. So tired of winning.

The thing is, many government employees could be made whole at the end of this. They’ll get back pay. As someone who has worked freelance and knows how annoying it is to not get paid on time, at least they know the money will be there eventually. Well, maybe. He’s got a history of not paying people. We know that government workers aren’t getting the raise they were promised, but at least he didn’t lie to their faces and tell them they were getting a 10% increase.

The people who are really going to get screwed are government contractors. When we hear that term, “government contractors”, you might think of people in the defense industry. Maybe efficiency consultants, or private-sector experts brought in to help with a project. Y’all watch too many movies. Most government contractors are low-wage workers. The people who work for the company contracted to run the cafeterias at places like the Smithsonian. Folks employed by the third-party cleaning company that sends in people to clean toilets and empty trash cans in office buildings. They’re not going to get back pay. No work, no money.

What bothers me most is that a percentage of the people bring hurt the worst by this shutdown won’t blame the one person responsible. They’ll blame the members of congress who wrote and passed a budget that would have kept the government up and running. The ones who would have made sure they kept getting paid. Not the sole individual — Individual 1 — who doesn’t give a damn how democracy works, the one who wants to rule by caveat, that jackass that loves himself a dictator and aspires to be one. They’ll give him a pass.

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