Minnesota shutdown has far-reaching consequences

July 7, 2011

Could there be a silver lining to the Minnesota shutdown for government employees? Some GovLoop members think so.

“Part of me is in agony to think that this could actually happen, as the impact is so far-reaching and dramatic,” said one Minnesota government employee, who wished to remain anonymous. “Another part of me thinks this needs to happen, to remind a lot of people exactly how much government does that needs doing.”

Others did not think the potential for increased awareness was worth the cost to government employees and members of the public -- the people who really suffer during political stalemates.

Amelia Brunelle, an intern at the National Institutes of Health and graduate student at the University of Minnesota, called the current situation “ridiculous for those that are out of work (20,000 Minnesotans, many of which spent the last two weeks working long hours in preparation for a shutdown), those who live in and visit Minnesota (public parks shut down on a holiday weekend -- great way to take in revenue, guys!) [and] businesses who run in Minnesota.”

Several members resented officeholders who score political points by suggesting government is the problem and its employees overcompensated.

“I am embarrassed and angered by our esteemed ‘leaders’ who have chosen to pout in their respective corners rather than reach a budget agreement,” said Dory Dahlberg, a web communications specialist for Stearns County, Minn. “This group knew there was a deadline for their work and chose to ignore it.”

Minnesota resident and CollegeRecruiter.com founder Steven Rothberg agreed: “Both sides claim a mandate from the public but both are delusional.”

Some commenters say government is guilty of overreaching, placing the blame for shutdowns like this one on lawmakers and elected leaders who, they say, fail to rein in spending.

“]It] would be great if we could distinguish between government’s purpose to offer basic services and the bells and whistles that, over time, have been added to government’s responsibility,” said one Environmental Protection Agency employee and GovLoop member. “The sooner politicians become able to say no, and the rest of us become able to suck it up and stop depending on government to do everything, the sooner we will get back into budgetary balance.”

While Lesser is not alone in voicing dissatisfaction with the growth of government, his is, unsurprisingly, a minority view on the website.

Minnesota Department of Transportation employee Jim Byerly offered a different explanation for our budget woes: “I believe that the waste is not in government, but rather a system where the corporations and the wealthy are not paying their fair share of taxes,” he said.

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