- Cullman, Alabama


February 21, 2013

EDITORIAL: Feds need to feel the pain

CULLMAN — American workers have faced layoffs, furloughs and stagnated salaries since the economic downturn of 2008. For many citizens, those hardships are not going away anytime soon.

So it comes with little sympathy that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta whined that automatic government spending cuts scheduled to begin March 1 would create shortened workweeks for most of his department’s 800,000 civilian workers. In plain terms, the workers would lose 20 percent of their pay for up to 22 weeks. Sound familiar?

Many private companies have wrestled with reductions in workforces and salaries in recent years, but unlike Panetta’s assertion that the nation’s security would be compromised, most of those affected companies carried on with tightened belts and timely production.

And Panetta is not talking about cutting soldiers. He’s talking about the massive tax-funded workforce that is latched on to the federal government. Maybe a little tightening would show the Defense Department how to do a better job with less.

In fact, every time sequestration comes up, the politicians and bureaucrats who live so plumply off the taxpayers’ dollar predict that the nation will come to a screeching halt. Perhaps it is time to test their warnings. And why not? States, such as Alabama, are tightening their belts in an effort to reduce waste and reduce the financial burden on the taxpayers.

Let’s all understand that we live in a large nation with large needs. Governing takes more than a handful of people to deliver services, but big government — obese government — cannot hide the fact that it gorges daily off the sweat of the taxpayers.

At this time, Americans need to have more confidence in government. That confidence could be regained by stripping government of its excess weight.

Like it or not, Americans have been adjusting to lean times quite well. If the citizens make sacrifices, the government should do the same. That’s what we expect.


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