Guest Post: Back pay doesn’t pay the bills due today

Furloughed federal workers rallied Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 outside the U.S. Custom building in Denver. (Photo by Lena Novins Montague)

I am a patriotic American. I have worked as a federal government public servant for 14 years in three different agencies providing resources and services to tax-paying Americans and communities.

Policy issues and partisan preferences aside, federal government workers, over 800,000 in number, should not be forced to work without pay, or locked out of performing their jobs that they were hired to do, not knowing whether they will be paid or not at the end of a government shutdown. Sometimes they are afforded back pay because being forced to not work is not a choice that they would make. However, back pay does not pay bills due today.

How many Americans are living month to month or several months to month who would definitely miss the paycheck they are entitled to because they are willing to do the jobs they were hired to do? To hold federal government employees hostage, as bargaining chips, to force a position forward, is debatable. All of the offices are quiet and dark. All of the services provided to all of the recipients of the services are not happening.

The taxpayers in the United States of America are paying for the services and programs provided by the federal government employees. Not only are the federal government employees not able to work, not receiving their pay for the jobs they were hired to do, but the recipients of all of the services and programs are also not receiving those services and programs paid for by the taxpayers dollars.

Speak out to your elected officials, speak your mind if you believe that this is not correct. Is this how public officials, elected officials, are supposed to negotiate over important issues, putting employees and recipients of public service programs and resources at stake? Is this an effective way to run a government based on democracy?

The Colorado Independent occasionally runs guest posts from government officials, local experts and concerned citizens on a variety of topics. These posts are meant to provide diverse perspectives and do not represent the views of The Independent. To pitch a guest post, please contact or visit our submission page