TWENTY EIGHT HOURS
That is the time that I’ve put into my government job since close of business on Friday evening -- and the weekend isn't even over yet. Am I bragging? Hardly. I think it’s an irreligious number, literally and figuratively. But I feel compelled to disclose it for two reasons. First, for all you Empathic Rationalist readers, it explains why you haven’t seen a more substantial post than this one this weekend. And second, for all you right-wing Empathic Rationalist readers, it points out how ridiculous your theory can be that government workers are all a bunch of welfare queens who expect excellent pay for minimal work.
This past Friday night, I attended a meeting with a bunch of my fellow “welfare queens” – I mean government lawyers -- that didn’t end until after midnight. None of us collected overtime for our efforts, and you could surely find private sector attorneys who never made partner at their firms but who earn twice or more of what we earn. But on we worked.
I am the first one to say that if there are federal programs that aren’t accomplishing much, get rid of them. And if there are federal employees who don’t do their jobs at all or do them inappropriately, let’s figure out a way to streamline the process to can them too. I agree with my Republican friends in that regard. But what I hear lately from some of the GOP politicians is an out-and-out war on the civil service – a thorough disrespect for what we do, our commitment to the public, and our claim to respectable compensation. And that attitude is not only disgraceful, but dangerous. For when we lose all respect for those who draft and enforce our regulations, set our health and environmental standards, and otherwise attempt to keep this national boat on a sane keel, that’s precisely when we lose our sanity. “Anarchy in the UK” was a good album, but let’s not bring that idea to the US just yet.