Officer P is a corrections officer for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and has been for almost 6 years now. Throughout the years I have often heard many an opinionated person spouting off a lot of misinformation about government employees and I always took it in stride. I tried to educate where I could and just let it slide when I couldn’t.
I want to remind everyone that the majority of government employees are your “Average Joe”, just like the rest of us. They are not driving around in luxury vehicles drinking champagne on the tax payers dollar, like many seem to think. They are going to work to support their family, just like everyone else. They pay taxes, just like everyone else, and they pay for their benefits, just like everyone else. That’s right, the government subsidizes our benefits, just like companies in the private sector, and we pay for and hold private insurance policies. We do NOT get “free government insurance” as I have been told time and time again from those who assume that to be true.
I get that most people think of the elected members of congress as “the government” and they don’t realize it’s the everyday people who work for the government that are actually being impacted by the shutdown. This is why reading meme after meme and blog after blog telling me that the government shutdown doesn’t mean anything in the real world and that the media is just trying to “sensationalize” it it really upsets me.
I’ve seen some military wives claiming all federal employees are still getting paid so what’s the big deal?? Well, of course this is false. Military personnel are getting paid, yes, but the majority of government employees are not. Yes, furloughed workers will receive back pay, even though they didn’t work, but on the flip side “essential” employees like officer P have been working without pay for the last 2 weeks.
Nobody is talking about people like him in the media. The TSA agents, who make less money then most of you, and are responsible for YOUR safety when flying, are not being paid at all right now. Officer P is busy keeping YOU safe from the hardened criminals of the world, at the risk of his own safety, going without pay. The Customs and Boarder Protection officers working to keep you safe from international threats are also going without compensation and the government shutdown isn’t affecting the real world? I’ll let you decide that one on your own.