This is now the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, a threshold that was officially crossed on Saturday. As I write this, day 24 is coming to a close. Thousands of furloughed public workers have already missed one or more paychecks.

The uncertainty about how long the shutdown will go on can make it difficult to impossible to find stopgap employment, as few employers are excited about taking on and potentially having to train a new worker who could be called back by Uncle Sam any day.

As a result, a number of federal agencies and even the Coast Guard have posted sad survival "tip sheets" for furloughed workers that suggest taking on babysitting gigs or having a garage sale, among other potential humiliations. 

So much for all the great benefits of a government job. 

As my colleague Bill Murphy, Jr. mentioned last week, the dire situation has led thousands of workers to turn to crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe to solicit donations in order to pay their bills. As of Monday, searching for "shutdown" on the platform will bring up over ten thousand results.

The endless scroll is a catalog of furlough horror stories and public servants basically engaging in digital panhandling. Most have raised from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars and come from all across the country. 

Ironically, a crowdfunding campaign to fund President Trump's proposed new southern border wall also got started and went viral on GoFundMe. Funding for the wall is a central part of the legislative impasse over appropriations to re-open the government, as you may have heard.

Whatever your feeling on the shutdown and who's to blame, it's pretty clear that it's the product of a break down. This is simply not the way things are supposed to work, either in Washington, D.C. or in the homes of thousands of workers who are nothing more than innocent bystanders at a record-setting train wreck. 

Published on: Jan 14, 2019
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