Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

How About a Year Without Pay?

ARCHIVES

Congress has thrown thousands of Federal Aviation Administration employees into limbo, even forcing some of them to go to work without pay and charge their travel expenses on their personal credit cards. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that if a congressional super committee fails to reach agreement on federal spending reductions, troops and civilians could be looking at reductions in force and furloughs.

What President Obama has taken to calling "dysfunctional government" has hit an all-time high, hasn't it?

Not so fast.

Apparently, in the post-Civil War period, the situation was even more chaotic. Here's what historian Stephen Ambrose wrote in his study of Civil War Gen. Emory Upton, Upton and the Army (Louisiana State University Press, 1964):

[The Army] was unseen, unpopular, or unknown. Northerners were disinterested in it, southerners disliked it, westerners no longer needed it. In 1877, as a result of political manipulations centering around the end of Reconstruction, the officers and men of the United States Army went a full year without pay. Officers despaired of promotion--many held the same rank for twenty or thirty years.

Which just goes to show that as bad as things are, they could be worse.

 

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.