Posted 6 months ago on Oct. 4, 2013, 8:39 p.m. EST by GirlFriday
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My partner, a federal worker, is locked out of his job because the Tea Party Caucus wants more spending cuts. By stranding 800,000 federal employees without pay, the billionaire-backed fraction of Congress’s extreme right wing is sending a clear message: they are not accountable to any working Americans, and they are coming for all of our jobs.
Rather than assuming that federal workers and their families will recover quickly from the lockout, other working families would do well to sit up and pay attention to what is happening to us during this shutdown. Cutting off wages to federal employees and their families, shuttering national parks and halting routine workplace safety and mine safety inspections—all these comprise merely an opening gambit. Because the Republicans' likely next move is to refuse to raise the nation’s debt limit, the struggle to make do with less will impact everyone in much more permanent ways if we don't take action now to resist the lockout of federal workers.
As we have seen from the sequester, which prompted budget cuts to Head Start, Meals on Wheels and other programs that help a wide range of vulnerable Americans, the Republicans are prepared to injure a large number of people to get what they want. And what they want is what the corporations and individuals who funded their campaigns want: austerity spending cuts, tax cuts for the rich, perks for fossil fuel industries, cuts to women’s health care and food stamps, and the like. (ThinkProgress helpfully rounds up the full list here.)
An example of one family they don’t mind hurting is my own. My husband works full-time at a federal agency; I work part-time as a freelancer and parent our two kids. We own our home and have health insurance, but we live paycheck to paycheck and we come up short in paying bills more often than not. Without his paycheck, we will likely have to apply for a modification on our mortgage loan, or cut back on paying for the child care that allows me to do my work.
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