When Will South Florida Media Care About You?

When will South Florida media care about you as much as they care about federal employees? 

Excerpt: Denise Benjamin is supposed to get paid on Friday, but the money won’t be in her bank account. Benjamin, who lives in Tamarac, works for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Miami and is among an estimated 13,000 federal workers in Florida who won’t get paid because of the partial government shutdown. 

Bottom Line: Every day, there’s a concerted effort to attempt to make you feel guilty for not having the status quo government operational and wasteful as usual. The national news media has been playing the woe is the furloughed government employee angle for over a week. It was only a matter of time before local media began to highlight the plight of the South Florida furloughed worker.  

As a disclaimer, and to be clear, I hold no animus towards rank and file federal employees, even the ones who work in bloated non-essential federal agencies. It’s not their fault for our government failures, it's crappy politicians. They’re the ones I blame. I’m not suggesting that what Denise and others in her position are facing isn’t challenging, and perhaps a bit scary, as she’s not certain when the next check will arrive. But guess what? That’s also called the real world where the rest of us live. 

Unlike the real world, however, you’ll likely get back pay for even the time you didn’t work when all of this is over as has been the case in every partial government shutdown previously. That means that even when faced with adversity, it’s still not the adversity that the rank and file private worker faces when they don’t know when they’ll work again. There’s no back pay for work that’s not completed or guarantee of an equitable job when adversity strikes.   

Adversity isn’t fun. When it’s your career, when it’s your family it’s real. But so is the money that every family pays to support the federal government employees as well. However, the differences are glaring. The average private sector employee earns $49,000 per year. The average federal government employee we pay for earns $90,000 per year with benefits totaling $128,000 per year. The cost per household for federal government employees is $15,200 per year while median household income is $62,000 per year.  

That’s right, nearly 25% of everything earned by every household in this country goes to pay federal employees. When was that ever communicated to you by national or local news media? Where is the news reporter interviewing federal employees when thousands of private sector employees who paid their taxes and still have to pay taxes when unemployed and unsure of what comes next? How many federal government employees were interviewed about the plight of South Floridians who lost their jobs and their homes but still paid taxes to pay for their salaries and benefits during the Great Recession?  

Don’t fall for this trick. Don’t fall for this tactic. If you had to write a check every payday for your federal taxes rather than having the money withheld would you feel differently? Would you prefer to have some of that $15,200 per year back in your pocket, and for your family, for a smaller more efficient government? Or would you prefer to continue to pay it all to maintain the federal government as it has been? What would some of that money mean to your family – the one that news media will never view as favorably as the ones that support their political agenda and status quo bloated government? You know, the one that you pay for.  

Photo by: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

 
Brian Mudd

Brian Mudd

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