President Trump made it abundantly clear today that he cares little about the government shutdown and the hundreds of thousands of federal workers going without pay due to it when he abruptly stormed out of a meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-CA) after they refused to cave to his demand to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on a pointless border wall.
It’s clear to anyone familiar with his past behavior that the president is playing petty politics here. He wants to appear like he’s fighting for the wall so that his core supporters don’t turn on him for failing to deliver his central campaign promise.
At the same time, there’s no way for him to actually get money for the pet project now that Democrats control the House of Representatives. He’s lost the fight but refuses to admit it, and in the meantime, innocent federal employees with families to feed are suffering for his vanity.
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Now, The Washington Post has revealed just how bad things have become for some of these workers. Since the U.S. Coast Guard falls under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security rather than a traditional military branch, its employees are affected by the shutdown and are not receiving pay.
Of the Guard’s 8,500-person civilian labor force, 6,400 people are furloughed while the remaining 2,100 are forced to work without pay due to their designation as “essential workers.” On top of the civilian employee numbers, 41,000 active-duty Coast Guardsman are still serving without getting paid.
As financial hardships pile up for these innocent Americans, the Coast Guard has resorted to telling employees to hold garage sales, find babysitting gigs, or work as temporary dogwalkers as a means of surviving and providing for their families for the duration of the federal furlough. The last option, the five-page sheet of tips provided by the Coast Guard Support Program explains, is for the employees to simply declare bankruptcy.
Not surprisingly, the “suggestions” didn’t go over well with many people.
“Doing odd jobs and selling items we don’t need anymore is a temporary fix. It’s not going to help us pay the rent,” Jacqueline Esparza, the wife of a Coast Guard, told The Washington Post.
The Post adds that after they reached out to the Coast Guard to inquire about the tip-sheet, it was promptly removed from their website. A spokesman for the Guard said that the tips did not “reflect the Coast Guard’s current efforts to support our workforce during this lapse in appropriations. As such, this guidance has been removed.”
While it’s fair to criticize the tips as unrealistic or unhelpful, the Coast Guard cannot really be blamed here. All of this is President Trump’s fault. If he were more concerned about the country’s welfare and less about pandering to his supporters, he would give up on his idiotic wall and reopen the government.