Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Civil Servants

At the superbowl they recognized Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since 'Nam. I always feel a sense of gratitude when I see members of the military and was predictably teary. I had to make sure my family didn't notice my sappiness. I started thinking about the many souls who serve us in non-military capacities, the people we used to call "civil servants". Surely they deserve some recognition for the things they have done for our society, the postal carriers, the government workers, the people that try to keep our food and water safe, even the IRS auditors. Yet, these people are kind of vilified right now, since "the government" is supposedly "the problem". In a strange moral inversion, it now it seems the most morally suspect among us, those that fleece themselves on the labors of others are the fabulous "job creators" and the people who quietly take care of things that need to be done are viewed almost as parasites who must face up to the "hard choices" that our supposedly broke society must make. It is very sad to be old enough to watch this moral inversion take place.

"Government jobs" used to be viewed as stable, but boring sort of dead ends that nonetheless provided decent compensation and excellent benefits. They also had a very beneficial effect on the labor market, pushing wages and benefits up a bit, setting a good example for the public sector. After a 3-decade process of layoffs, reductions in pay and benefits, and replacing salaried positions with contractors in the public sector, I think we are left with a very bleak and unfriendly employment environment. What a sad devil's bargain.


Bamball said...
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Bamball said...

And what does it say about them when they want to cut Americorps?