Can’t you just picture it? Our tired. Our Old. Our weary. Those arthritic fingers curling in excruciating pain as the SSI Customer Service Window slams shut on them at 4:29 pm. O-U-C-H! Why the elder-abuse, you ask? Well, to quote the official press release ,
“Congress provided Social Security with nearly $1 Billion less than the President requested for the budget this fiscal year, which makes it impossible for the agency to provide the amount of overtime needed to handle service to the public as we have in the past.”(emphasis added).
But wait a minute? Everyone else is running scared of losing their jobs, retirement pensions, health insurance for themselves and their dependent kids. Surely these Federal Employees will just take one for the team, win one for the Gipper, or just go that extra mile and work another 30 minutes “on the house”? Oh that’s right… THEY CAN’T. Federal Labor Law prohibits it! What about this for a nouveau concept: STAGGER your shifts. You know, like they do in the Private Sector? That’s probably against some Labor Union Regulation as well. But enough already on the batting practice with The Social Security Administration. Let’s play ball.
This Spooky Senior Setup is just the most-recent episode of Government Bureaucracy’s favorite reality show: Scare Tactics! (That’s right, it’s not just a series on SyFi featuring that whacky Tracy Morgan anymore).
Think about it: When the US Postal Service is running low on dough, they start talking about cutting mail delivery to a meager three (3) days per Week!
When Education Funds might take a whack, do we initiate conversations about consolidating School Districts or launching Year-Round Schools as a way to save millions of dollars? Hell-to-the-no we don’t! “Teacher’s Getting Axed” and “40 Kids Per Classroom” are the Chicken Little Faves! Seriously, how many times do we hear “School District Cuts will Hit Classrooms”?
And, to use my favorite Old Testament Conjunction, LEST we forget the Department of Transportation!?! When the coffers ain’t coughing up much over there, what’s the usual drill: “Laying off State Troopers”! and “Deteriorating roads and Crashing Bridges” are the types of Mothman Prophesies most often cried out. And “lines at the DMV” –Let’s not EVEN go there!
So what do today’s abortive Federal Window Services headlines and these other matters have in common? THEY SCARE US. Does Government Bureaucracy err on the side of frightening us into submission so they can get what they want in order to continue providing us the services as they are charged to do? Are pragmatic, permanent solutions to fiscal problems often circumvented by threatening us with the things we value most: Security, Communication, Children & Safety? Just some thoughts. What are yours?
by J.L.Mann Cromer, Jr. [Former Independent House Representative from South Carolina's Eightieth District]