'We're barely getting by': Federal workers look for second jobs, cut costs, and worry

As their paychecks don’t come, federal workers are doing what they can to get by. That means applying for unemployment, looking for temporary jobs, taking out loans, and scrimping and saving every way they can. It seems that they don’t share Donald Trump’s top economic adviser’s view that “in some sense they’re better off.” To the contrary:

“We’re barely getting by,” said [furloughed IRS worker Tiauna] Guerra, mother of two small children. “We are not able to pay a lot of our bills. We’re having a hard time trying to buy gas, food.” 

Guerra has looked for work during the shutdown, but employers aren’t eager to hire someone who’ll be gone when the government re-opens. At least one school district is looking to take advantage of that situation, holding a hiring fair for substitute teachers.

The wife of a federal worker in Illinois cried as she told an AP reporter that she’d have to miss her son’s basketball tournament, because tickets and gas for the car cost too much to spend during the shutdown. A FEMA adviser in Maryland said that she’d arranged to defer payments on some key bills and applied for unemployment, but “I just don’t see how this is going to end.”

This shutdown is destroying people’s lives—and the longer it goes on, the more likely it is that it does irreparable harm to the government, too.

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