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10/16/2013
Furlough help

Businesses and individuals helping out furloughed federal employees might be accomplishing more than they think.

Since the furloughs began a few weeks ago in response to the federal slimdown, some businesses in Alaska and elsewhere, whose owners and management feel for the federal employees, have made free or reduced-price goods and services available to them.

The workers show proof of federal employment, and they receive goods at half price or a month of free TV or whatnot. How businesses distinguish between furloughed and still-working federal employees is unclear. But no reports about abuse of the such generosity are available.

The essential federal workforce continues to show up to their jobs and complete their duties. Thankfully, they have jobs and can pay their bills. It is a fine line between employed and unemployed during a flat economy.

The generosity being displayed for furloughed federal employees is reminiscent of the days when communities pulled together for the unemployed and less fortunate because the government wasn't in that business. That way of doing it provided help for all, including the jobless who didn't work for the federal government.

In these economic times, there are a lot of non-federal jobless, too — state and local governments forced to reduce staff have furloughed employees. As has private enterprise.

The example being set by the businesses and even some generous individuals is one of people helping people, neighbor giving a hand to a neighbor, family taking care of its less-employed members, and community individuals and businesses filling a void left by the federal government.

Somehow it seems better this way, not depending on the feds for everything and taking care of one another.

Thanks to the businesses and individuals who've shown that the federal government isn't the beginning and end for taking care of those experiencing difficult situations.