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Government suggestion that workers should barter for rent during shutdown gets roasted
Around 420,000 federal employees across nine departments are currently on furlough because of a government shutdown triggered by border wall funding disputes.
Mike Schmid/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
The Office of Personnel Management told federal workers whose income is cut off by the ongoing government shutdown to take up maintenance work in exchange for lower rent in advice published Thursday on Twitter.
Feds, here are sample letters you may use as a guide when working with your creditors during this furlough. If you need legal advice please consult with your personal attorney. https://t.co/t6h6OzALsS— OPM (@USOPM) December 27, 2018
The tweet advises the workers to seek legal advice from a personal attorney before linking to a page on the department’s website with template letters to send to creditors, landlords and mortgage companies.
“As we discussed, I am a Federal employee who has recently been furloughed due to a lack of funding of my agency,” one reads. “Because of this, my income has been severely cut and I am unable to pay the entire cost of my mortgage, along with my other expenses.”
“I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments,” another reads.
“I appreciate your willingness to work with me and your understanding during this difficult time,” it concludes.
The internet reacted with disgust and anger that the government fell into a situation so dire that its employees be faced with trading services in exchange for leniency.
Who wrote this elitist crap?! How is a form letter going to work at a grocery store, gas station, daycare center, utility company, school supply store, pharmacist, or doctor's office? How many people who do chores to pay debts have personal lawyers😠— Devin Nunes' Black Friend Who Only Has 1 Line (@WingersSo) December 28, 2018
On day six of the #TrumpShutdown, OPM is advising govt employees to send mercy letters to creditors, consult “personal attorneys,” and barter w/landlords over rent. Americans’ lives are being upended by Trump’s temper tantrum. This is a disgrace. https://t.co/Ds7T78uIVr— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) December 27, 2018
This OPM template has federal employees bartering their services in lieu of monetary payment to their creditors!!! pic.twitter.com/tOzlQ7Z9Rx— Holly Kinnamon (@HollyKinnamon) December 27, 2018
... you're describing indentured servitude.— Andy (@trtx84) December 28, 2018
Maybe they can trade a goat for rent, or their child into servitude to cover it.— Kevin Panda McCumber 🐼 (@kvmc7272) December 28, 2018
There are around 420,000 federal employees currently on furlough across nine departments because of the current government shutdown, triggered by disputes over the funding of President Donald Trump’s desired border wall. The shutdown is currently in its seventh day and isn’t expected to end until after the new year.
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology. He previously covered civil liberties, crime, and politics for Vice.