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San Diego Federal Workers Want Congress To Wrap Up The Shutdown

Above: Federal employees from the National Treasury Employees Union call for an end to the October government shutdown at a press conference, Oct. 3, 2013.

About 33,000 non-military federal workers in San Diego had their third day of no work and no pay Thursday because of the government shutdown. The number of furloughed federal employees in San Diego was estimated by Marney Cox, the chief economist for the San Diego Association of Governments.

Aired 10/3/13 on KPBS News.

About 33,000 non-military federal workers in San Diego had their third day of no work and no pay today because of the government shutdown.

One group from the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents more than 25 different federal government agencies, spoke out about the shutdown at a press conference outside the Federal Building in downtown San Diego.

Nine NTEU members, who all work for the IRS, said they're struggling without their paychecks and want to go back to work.

Malcolm Gettmann, the union's president, said that during the shutdown, the IRS isn't able to answer taxpayer questions or monitor for tax fraud.

"The IRS had to effectively stop collection activities and curtail audits as well as its efforts to combat fraud such as identity theft and hiding of taxable funds in offshore accounts," he said. "So if you're a tax cheat, rejoice, we're not out there. This shutdown is the latest in a series of actions undermining the IRS's ability to do its job."

Gettmann has worked for the IRS for 33 years. He lays the blame for the shutdown squarely at the feet of House Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans in Congress.

Gerald Williams, another IRS employee and Marine Corps veteran, had both of his legs amputated after he was injured in Vietnam.

"So I'm used to cuts," he said. "But the cuts for the government, the way they're being made, it's like they're starting at the neck. And I think this is going to be tragic for our government."

Williams said he and his wife are not spending money on anything except necessities until the shutdown ends.

Furloughs of local workers was one of several shutdown impacts felt throughout the San Diego region. The Cabrillo National Monument and recreational facilities in the Cleveland National Forest are closed, military commissaries are not operating and biotech leaders say some scientific research has been stalled.

On Thursday, MCAS Miramar announced the Miramar Air Show is cancelled because of the government shutdown.

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Avatar for user 'jb1111'

jb1111 | October 3, 2013 at 6:58 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

The IRS disgusts me!!

They are still targeting people.

I have no respect for the IRS at all.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | October 4, 2013 at 11:21 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

The rabid tea party and fox "news" types not only want the government to remain shut-down, they hate the government so much they want government workers "punished".

This is a quote from fox "news" host Stuart Varney:

HOWELL: Do you think that federal workers, when this ends, are deserving of their back pay or not?

VARNEY: That is a loaded question isn't it? You want my opinion? This is President Obama's shutdown. He is responsible for shutting this thing down; he's taken an entirely political decision here. No, I don't think they should get their back pay, frankly, I really don't. I'm sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I'm not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that's what I want to do.

So now people should be punished because they work for the government?

And this virulent hate is not limited to Fox "news".

Republican activist Rush Limbaugh is spewing the same kind of hate towards any American with a government job.

And old crank Republican congressman Randy Neugenbauer yelled at a park ranger on camera telling her she should be "ashamed" of herself for doing her job.

What, exactly are these people's position?

Eliminate all government except the military?

I think North Korea uses that model.

Moderate Republicans need to get their party back, it's been overrun by dangerous lunatics.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | October 4, 2013 at 11:26 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

jb1111: "The IRS disgusts me!!"

Why, because you don't want to pay your share and they come after you if you refuse?

Do you use our roads? Our bridges? Our postal services?

Typical hypocrisy from the angry anti-government pro-corporate hack tea party loons.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | October 4, 2013 at 1:26 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Government unions are immoral.

When you can elect (or remove) your boss by a vote, you don't need a union and very immoral when you are paid with public dollars.

More immoral when you ARE the organization taking those dollars in the first place.

Even more immoral when that organization has a history of targeting groups and people they don't politically agree with.

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | October 4, 2013 at 1:29 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Flat tax all around. Make it fair. You sir pay x percent. You business pay x percent. You non-payer enjoy jail. They should get their back pay. A janitor who is on the gov't payroll probably isn't raking in the dough. What about those who will not be able to make their house or car payment. A lot of people live check to check. This whole govt vs private sector thing has got to end. Employed is employed. Celebrate that the person is not living off welfare. The IRS ensures that you are protected, fed, and commerce keeps moving. We have come to a point where gov't is a necessary evil.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | October 4, 2013 at 1:46 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago


The US government is bankrupt and has been for a very long time. Federal employees knew that before they took those jobs and now suffer the consequences. Same goes for employees of a private company in the same situation.

Furthermore, roads and bridges are paid for by city and state taxes. So too are nearly all services we use from police to fire to water to schools to parks to sewers to libraries and the list goes on and on and on.

And you list the US Postal Service?!? It is a monument to government inefficiency and waste!

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | October 4, 2013 at 3:56 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

Wait a minute Peking_Duck_SD... back pay for NOT working? It seems so obvious that someone should not be paid when they are not working that I won't waste any more typing energy.
Regarding the Federal Union workers holding signs - Yea, I'm sure that will work. Our leaders will end the government shutdown because you are standing around holding signs.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | October 4, 2013 at 3:56 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

CADefender, the US postal service is a constitutionally stipulated part go our government.

And the reason it's in the hole is because greedy Congress has legislated dirty money grabs that funnel money from the postal service to be used for other things. It could easily pay for itself if not raided by Congress.

And I'm not sure why you would defend punishing government workers?

So if someone is a state or city employee that's fine but federal employees need to be punished?

I realize our debt is a problem, but we are still considered the most reliable government in the world for maintaining economic stability (of course give the tea part another couple weeks, that may change if they refuse to raise the debt ceiling).

There are just as much corruption and uncertainty in the free market, so I don't see how someone choosing a government job is and more irresponsible or risky than someone choosing a corporate one.

I believe in a strong central government that provides solid entitlements on things necessary for basic survival: health and welfare and security as well as education, infrastructure, and research.

Other than that, the government should stay out of morals policing, religion, and people,s personal lives.

Spending a lot of money to educate our nation and expand healthcare access is wise.

Overspending on invasive laws, prisons, pie in the sky "drug wars", and a military designed to support perpetual war is idiotic.

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Avatar for user 'mccolgan55'

mccolgan55 | October 4, 2013 at 4:20 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

CA Defender,

So I knew back in 1980 that the government was broke and should not have taken a job with them. Should not have shown up, worked, learned, contributed, and presumed that doing my job was a good thing. Should have gone somewhere else. Well maybe so, but I DID have a job, did it and according to the majority of my reviews did it well.

Based on your post, all government employees should be fired since the "company" is bankrupt. So no more military, no food inspection, no interstate roads and bridges, no social security, no medicare, no public health (CDC), nothing.

There are plenty of problems with the federal government, but just turning off all the lights and calling it a day is not what needs to be done. Oh and by the way most states, several counties and cities are also bankrupt or close to it. So I guess that means fire all teachers, cops, firemen, etc., as well

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | October 4, 2013 at 5:24 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago


I agree with most of what you said there, just from a different angle. I believe the more local government is, the better it is. That is what the Founding Fathers created but it has been drastically changed over the last 2 centuries into an all powerful central government. The exact thing they fought so hard to get away from.

I'm not suggesting federal workers should be punished. They just need to accept that their employer is bankrupt and they will not be paid during the shutdown.

It was not a surprise, something they knew might happen, and will surely happen again and again and again until it can't happen again and then they will be truly unemployed.

If I were a federal employee (shudder at the thought), I would be tightening my belt and saving every penny I could.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | October 4, 2013 at 5:46 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago


No, I didn't suggest ALL federal employees should be fired because the government is broke. Just enough until the government isn't broke, like any other company would do.

By the way, many states and cities are broke because they followed the example of Washington DC. Just look at Detroit. If we let this corrupting mentality continue, every city will be Detroit.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | October 8, 2013 at 3:48 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

These people should be happy. They are getting a paid vacation.

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