Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dear Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Federal Government,

Dear Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Federal Government,

I write this to you at 4:30 in the morning the day after you have effectively "shutdown" as everyone seems to be calling it. I also write this to you the day after I completed my monthly reconciliation for work. I'm not going to go into the details of what that entails (I'm 99% sure that would violate one of the policies in our HR handbook) and this is relevant for a few reasons which I will get into momentarily.

First, I must express my extreme disgust at you shutting yourself down. It's childish. I live a thousand miles away from the vast majority of you but I can see when a bunch of babies are acting like a bunch of babies. Get over yourselves, go back to work and fix this. You have two jobs to do: come up with a budget and make laws. That's it.

Whenever I do monthly reconciliation for work, I am told that it must  be done that day. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. If I end up at work until 10:00pm that night (after arriving in the 6 o'clock hour that morning) then I end up at work until 10:00pm. Do you know why? Because it's something that must be done or, potentially, my job is on the line. I don't have the luxury of getting it done later. I've never missed the deadline. And, yes, that is something that I am quite proud of. I am surrounded by a great team of people who have arranged their schedule in order to help with this monthly reconciliation. And we prepare. Boy, do we prepare. We start preparing weeks in advance for this project and we prepare so far in advance so that when issues come up on the deadline we are most prepared.

My point here is this: Why haven't you prepared? You knew that a shutdown was looming. You knew that if you didn't get your job done that TENS OF THOUSANDS of people would be placed on unpaid furlough and several federal government agencies would close down or operate on significantly smaller budgets until an undetermined point in time.

For the most part, the federal government shutdown won't effect me. I can't think of an instance where the I (personally) will need the VHA, for example. My experience of the federal government shut down should be going home from work, walking in the back door of my house, sitting on my couch and watching Netflix. Except for now, I might not get to do that.

You see, I recently made an offer on a house. Yes, buying a home. The American Dream and whatnot. However, I did not have the 20% saved up for the traditional mortgage loan so, like so many other first time buyers, I opted for an FHA loan allowing me to place a significantly smaller amount as a downpayment. I have been working feverishly over the past year or so to save up for this downpayment. Many late nights, early mornings (my alarm is programmed to go off at 5:13 every weekday morning but I'm usually up before then like I am right now), and weekends worked in order to save up the requisite thousands so that I can walk into a place one day and write "mine" on the wall and not have a single person tell me I can't.

No one helped me manage my budget for this. I am not receiving a single cent as a gift from anyone for a downpayment. No cosigners. I'm not married so it's not like I have a wife that's going to help me out with this either. It's because I've put in long hours because this is what I want.

What effects me, though, is that in order to get this FHA loan, I (or, rather, the mortgage company that I am working with) need to be given what's called an "FHA number". But since the Department of Housing and Urban Development is largely shutdown because the lot of you are acting like a bunch or dumb dummies, I can't get this number. If you want to piss off and alienate a registered voter, you have managed to do it.

I know you don't care about me. I know you don't. You don't care about three trillion dollars, so why would you care about my paltry whatever-it-is I am going to be borrowing that is largely dependent upon you getting your shit together? You clearly don't care about money as the vast majority of you decision and budget makers will continue to receive your paychecks. I've heard of a couple of you asking that the CAO withhold your pay during this shutdown -- whether this is genuine, a hoax, or simply a ploy by the requestor to drum up future support and votes I am not sure. I'd like to believe that it's genuine but there's nothing to me that indicates that it is.

I am scheduled to close on my home in the next few weeks. The home that I saved for. The home that I budgeted for. The home that I have worked so hard for. The home in which I plan on buying a really obnoxiously big TV and hanging it on the wall so that I can watch hockey all winter long. The home in which I plan on getting a dog for (I've never had my own dog and I'm really pumped about it, by the way) and watching it run around the backyard. The home in which I, one day, plan to start a family in but being 33 and dating is proving to be a difficult and tricky thing and a rant for another time altogether.

Right now, every single one of those things is on hold. And it's all your fault.

As I wrap this up, because it's about time for me to get out of bed and get ready for work (where, rest assured, I do my job much better than any of you seem to be able to do), I must reiterate my extreme disappointment. If you're looking for someone real that you've affected with your utter and gross incompetence, you need look no further.

It's 5:09 by my watch. Which means I've finished this with 4 minutes left to spare. I made my deadline.

Get your shit together,

Stephen P Bohn