RSN Fundraising Banner
He Can't Afford His Insulin Because of the Government Shutdown. How Workers Are Hurting
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=47534"><span class="small">Annie Nova, CNBC</span></a>   
Thursday, 03 January 2019 09:15

Nova writes: "Some 800,000 federal workers across the country find themselves in financial uncertainty as the government shutdown crawls into its 12th day."

A U.S. Park Police officer patrols the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday, January 1, 2019, while most National Park Service employees are furloughed during the government shut down. (photo: Bill Clark/Getty)
A U.S. Park Police officer patrols the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday, January 1, 2019, while most National Park Service employees are furloughed during the government shut down. (photo: Bill Clark/Getty)


He Can't Afford His Insulin Because of the Government Shutdown. How Workers Are Hurting

By Annie Nova, CNBC

03 January 19

 

s a result of the partial government shutdown, Leo, a tax examiner for the IRS in Ohio, has been out of work for 10 days now.

He cannot pick up his more than $200 insulin prescription because he doesn’t know when his next paycheck will come.

“I have to save every penny right now,” said Leo, who asked to use his middle name only because he’s not permitted to speak about his job with the media.

If the stalemate in Washington perists, he expects to rely on his credit card to get by.

“But will the government pay the interest I accrue?” he said.

Adding to Leo’s frustration is the executive order President Donald Trump issued on Friday that froze federal workers’ salaries for 2019.

Some 800,000 federal workers across the country find themselves in financial uncertainty as the government shutdown crawls into its 12th day. Some 420,000 employees are considered “essential,” and are working without pay, while another 380,000 have been ordered to stay home, according to calculations provided to CNBC by Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University.

The shutdown’s reach also fans out to contractors for the federal government, who are unlikely to be included in any legislation Congress passes to make sure federal workers are compensated for the period the government was closed.

There were some 4.1 million government contractors in 2017, according to Light. “These workers are vulnerable,” he said. “If there’s no work on Monday, they don’t go in and they don’t get paid.”

Julie Burr, an administrative assistant on contract for the U.S. Department of Transportation in Kansas City, Missouri, has been forced to deplete her savings. The single mother was gearing up to bring her 14-year-old son to Florida this summer on vacation. “My son has never seen the ocean,” Burr, 49, said. “It’s not likely now.”

Burr has started a GoFundMe account to raise money and said if the shutdown continues much longer she won’t be able to make her February rent. In the meantime, she’s discontinued her Netflix subscription and is cutting back on grocery shopping.

“I wake up every day hoping this will get resolved,” Burr said. “I just want to get back to work.”

The uncertainty around when the government will reopen is the most taxing, said David Arvelo, a health communications specialist at the Food and Drug Administration. He’s been out of work since the shutdown began. “It’s very difficult to figure out how long we can survive with the savings we have,” Arvelo, 55, said.

He and his husband, Ian, have avoided eating out in the Dallas area and are using the food supply they have already.

“Very fortunately my mother got us for Christmas Omaha Steaks and a bunch of food,” he said. “We’re trying to go through those things.”

Doreen Greenwald, a revenue officer at the IRS, is scrambling to figure out how to pay her mortgage this month. “Mortgage companies don’t accept an IOU,” Greenwald, 52, said.

She’ll either borrow money from a family member or go into debt, she said. “I have small savings, but it’s not going to make a difference in this mess.”

She’s now considering picking up a part-time retail job until the government reopens.

“People think you’re not working, it’s a vacation,” she said. “You don’t have money. You’re just waiting.”

Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said the group had heard from hundreds of frantic federal employees. “They’re scared,” Reardon said. “They don’t know how they’re going to put food on the table.”

He received an email Wednesday from a man who works for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, asking if he should take out a loan. The man has few other options — since he was deemed an “essential” employee, he’s had to continue working throughout the shutdown.

“It’s not as though these people can go out and get any job,” Reardon said. “They’re working.”

Email This Page

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-03 12:32
While I don't know any of the facts of this case, I just find it hard to believe. This is someone trained as an accountant and who looks at how other people manage money for his job -- and yet he does not seem to have budgeted his own income so that he can afford his life saving drug no matter what happens to his income.

And doesn't he have health insurance from the federal government, some of the best policies available? Why does it not pay for the drug?

Federal government salaries are higher than salaries for private businesses. So why is he living from paycheck to paycheck, like many of us often do.

The government shutdown is a stupid and unnecessary thing to do. This is power politics; both sides think they can use it against the other. All it shows is that no one in government gives a shit about people. It is all about power for them: Nancy versus Donny. Who has the hardest head. There are many ways their disagreement over the Wall could have been resolved without a shutdown.
 
 
0 # DongiC 2019-01-04 05:21
Notice how the people that don't count get squeezed in the mighty power struggle between Trump and his Democratic opponents. Does Trump favor anyone beyond his own billionaire friends and family? I don't think so. He has no empathy for the sufferings of the federal government workers caught in a terrible bind. How very, very sad.