"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." ~~Thomas Jefferson

"Who will protect us from those who protect us?"

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. ~ Thomas Jefferson

"None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free." ~~Goethe

24 January 2016

Non-essential government employees...


Perhaps "hundreds of thousands" is an exaggeration? 

I know there are about 2.4 million Federal, non-military, government employees in the US.  (That makes the Federal Government the largest single employer in the US)  There are another 19 million state, county, and local government employees across the US.  What does that mean?  It means that there is 1 non-military government employee for every 12 and a half or so citizens in the US.  (Seems like a lot, eh?  Well, it is.  And it isn't going to change anytime soon.  Why?  Because their Unions help fund political campaigns that elect a lot Democrats.)  There are about 1.4 million people in the military, I believe.  


A member of "The Old Guard" stays with the Tomb of

These guys are still working in D.C. ...


Adrienne said...

I didn't know they got to wear snow hats.

Blue said...

It gets cold, Dear Adrienne... ;)

Steve said...

When I was active duty and we had one of those 'non-essential' personnel stay home days, I'd always turn to the rest of the essential personnel I was working with and say - - -

Those are all the people who could be fired yesterday, and the mission would still get done. All they do is 'make work' and suck much needed monies away from the mission.

Robert Fowler said...

I know the Tomb Guards aren't Marines, but Semper Fi. Some of the most dedicated service members there is.

genericviews said...

Oddly enough, the tomb guards are the best example of "non essential" government employees. There is not a single thing they do that is "essential". The tombs do not need to be guarded. There is no religious or cultural imperative being served. No other tombs are guarded. It is a cost that has no benefit. It is a performance art, for the sake of tourists to gawk at, on a day when there won't be any tourists.

My other thoughts are here: https://genericviews.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/thoughts-on-snow-pocalypse/

Blue said...

genericviews... I always enjoy your comments. I think we all know that the Tomb Guards are non-essential. And I do agree that the purpose they serve will be null today without tourists. They do serve a purpose, though. They show us that there is a part of our government that will never shut down, a part of our government that is above the politics of the day, every day. I think that is good for our emotional well being and that it has some value.

genericviews said...

I'm not trying to pick a fight. I will likely say this inartfully. It adds zero to anyone's emotional well-being. No one sees it happen. The only witnesses there are will be those poor saps holding the rifles and I can tell you they are not enjoying the experience. They really could be replaced by robots. They could be replaced by video cameras and bright lights. They could not be replaced by anything and get the same effect. If anyone is deriving emotional balance from this pointless display, they need to examine themselves, and maybe get a hobby.

You cannot have a blog that day after day complains about wasteful government and then say... "but not this part", just because there is a uniform involved.

If you think it really needs to be done, I have some alternatives:
1. Let the parks Department or the VA control it and let then hire contractors to wear uniforms and do solemn marching. A whole lot cheaper than using troops.
2. Disband the walking toy soldier routine. Let the tombs be guarded by a rotation from the field army. Real troops, in real Army uniforms, carrying real, loaded (modern) guns. Make it a month-long temporary duty that troops earn as a reward for killing ragheads or saving their buddies from an enemy sniper, instead of a duty given to men who are hand selected because they are tall and skinny.

Blue said...


I never even considered that you might be trying to pick a fight. You are entitled to your opinion and I appreciate that you take the time to share it. I may not always agree with you, but I do respect your opinions. That isn't "picking a fight", in my opinion.

I know that you were an Infantry officer. I was an Infantry NCO. We have that in common. I have walked a post and I know that it is a lot of mindless tedium. The first time I visited DC was when I was TDY from Ft. Hood to Ft. Eustis for school back in the mid 70s. I went and watched the guards walk their post at the Tomb. I watched the changing of the guard and was amazed at the solemnity of it all. I heard and watched people in the (small) crowd quietly shussh other visitors who were being disrespectful. I was impressed.

I wouldn't want to be one of those "poor saps holding the rifles". I don't know what motivates them to volunteer for that duty. I know that they are all tall and skinny and probably a little bit mental. They are Infantry, after all. Above all? ;) It wouldn't be my thing, but I appreciate that they are willing to do it. I respect that they have been doing it continuously since 1948. Again, this is my opinion. You don't have to agree with it and I won't be upset with you if you don't ;) I'm just one of those Mid-westerners who, for some reason, felt an obligation to serve my country. All the men in my family before me served. It is what I always planned on doing.

Does it make me special? No, not really. It makes me different. It makes you different. We did something that the vast majority of our countrymen didn't do...

A 30 day special duty assignment for outstanding performance? Fatigues and an M16? I think that is a wonderful idea. Any branch? Any MOS?

Did I get off track? I tend to do that fairly regularly.

Ahhh well...

Our snow storm is forecast for next Tuesday and Wednesday. 12 - 15 inches. That is enough snow to slow things down quite a bit. ;) We won't shut the plant down. We will keep the presses running with the people who show up. Craziness!

Take care.

MADDOG62 said...

Even though I don't entirely agree with genericviews, and to his credit he has not only stated his objections / opinions but brought to the table some viable alternatives / solutions, I cannot help but ask, "When will we dissolve all our traditions and finally lose our heritage?" Genericview may be correct about "tourist viewing", but there is something more here. If he is prior Infantry, then he especially knows of what I mean. Without tradition - which I consider a positive reinforcement to remember what this nation did to achieve its exceptional status - we have signalled that we have given up.

Or signal that we have become extremely lazy not to remember those who gave those ultimate sacrifice.

I do agree fully that guarding the Tomb should / could be shared by all the services. After all, SOLDIER has a wide meaning - those who serve in defense of their nation. The Army has taken ownership of that duty and probably would object and not give it willingly. OK. If the Army kept it, maybe rotate it among the field divisions, as was suggested. However, I believe that Class A is the way to go for such an honor and reverent act. I don't have a problem with Soldiers traveling in fatigues as long as they maintain their appearance IAW AR 670-1. (Anyone remember the 10-19 MAC flights in Class As to Germany and Korea? Didn't you feel and look great when you got off many time zones later - greasy and with a 5 O'clock Shadow that was hours overdue?)

I am just concerned that when we discuss these dedicated Soldiers as "non-essential" we're belittling their efforts, their honor, their duty. DUTY is a word, a concept, that non-serving snowflakes and liberal rabble rousers could NEVER comprehend or understand. DUTY is a calling - 24/7 no matter where, or when. If we decide to elminate or minimize DUTY then we'll be telling the world and our population that convenience is more important than the sacrifices that are required of any great society to keep it a great society. (Ask the Marines if they consider standing Embassy duty as "non-essential". They may disagree.)

When did DUTY become negotiable? We already have a problem with our "commitment image" as a "nation at war". A nation at war is totally committed to WINNING. When the malls and Starbucks are filled with eligible men and women of serving age, who sit there criticizing those in the field - standing at the wall - then we're not totally committed to winning. We are either all in, or all out.

Those young Soldiers are living symbols of our committment to DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY. God Bless Them and all before them. It shows not all of us, or the next generation, have lost their way.

genericviews said...

When "60 years of tradition" becomes an excuse for doing the non-sensical, you should probably stop doing it before it gets to 70 years.

I used to walk with a rifle on my shoulder too. Counting the steps back and forth for hours at a time. It was punishment. Literally. That's how they punish cadets at West Point. (And I got plenty of that)

And I could write a book on Duty, Honor, and Country, so I won't touch those here. I would prefer those soldiers express their "living symbols" doing something more productive than performing arts. Like guarding our borders? Like defending our liberties? It would be a welcome change if we could get most of them to not vote for the Communist candidates in every election.

MADDOG62 said...

Genericviews - good points all. Now knowing you're WP alumni, I'm glad I didn't use the quip about the Class of '77. It would have been in poor taste. My nephew is in his third year the USMA. It has done many positive things for him. I was just a SROTC commission in ADA, but my time in the 3d ACR really influenced me and gave me the sense of DHC that I carry with me today. Keep fighting the good fight and don't let the bastards keep you down. Take care.