Why Only Public Employees?

JULY 18, 2013 edition of the Sacramento News and Review    Letter to the Editor

Re “This is your American Dream ” by Sasha Abramsky(SN&R Feature Story, July 11):

I find it fascinating that the author of the story decided to highlight the certainly hard plights of two individuals who lost jobs in the government and non-profit sectors during the economic downturn of the last few years and not talk about, except in passing, the day-to-day struggles of the working and non-working poor of Sacramento.
I know from personal experience over the years that there are going to be periods of time when you are riding high and making good money, and there are going to be times you are facing unemployment with little or no money coming in. The idea for survival is to find any type of work you can and move up as the economy and your hard work allow.

Perhaps it is because these women are better able to articulate their stories than the more average individuals who face similar hard times that they were chosen as examples; perhaps it is the fact that these women move in the same circles culturally or socially as the author; or perhaps it is the fact that the author had a political/activist ax to grind against the downsizing of government jobs and monies for non-profit organizations and the sequestration of federal government funds(i.e. our tax dollars). Whatever the reason, it is clear that the author prefers looking at people who fell from middle and upper middle class comforts than dealing with the multiple factors that the working poor have to deal with on a long-term basis. Going with the subjects chosen makes it an easier story to write.

I have worked as a volunteer with many non-profit groups over the years and have been a member of the Board of Directors of some of them. What always struck me was that as much as these organizations talked about getting off the teat of government funding/grants, most did not make hard efforts to find alternative private funding sources or work to develop individual donors.

As for government work, there has been a back and forth tussle over the years between those who believe that government is there to be ‘everything for everyone’ and those who believe that government should be there to serve only certain societal needs and goals. Even in times of recession, there are those who seem to think that government jobs ‘are forever’. That, unlike the private sector, government should maintain the status quo or grow in size and not adjust to meet economic realities.

It is obvious from the story in the July 11th edition of SN&R and others in previous editions where the ownership and staff of the paper views lie.

Jeffery Cassity



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