The F-word from Washington

When it comes to the emotions and mechanics of furloughs, federal workers are all over the place. Some believe they are a necessary evil. Others think it is a cynical game being played by politicians who continue to draw their full salaries while cutting furloughed feds pay 20 percent each week.

Some workers say even a few furlough days will wreck their budgets, cut into their eating habits and maybe ruin or shorten this year’s vacations. Others wonder how some agencies can avoid them while very high-profile, taxpayer sensitive agencies like the IRS and the FAA are or plan to furlough. Will delayed tax refunds and long lines at airports do what the creators of sequestration intended?

Here are some comments from folks in the trenches:

“Have been reading your column everyday for years…..and still do even though I’m retired. On Monday, you printed a letter from someone at EPA who said she has to take four days off from work with no pay this year due to sequestration


“And because of that she’s not buying a new car, going on vacation, stopped giving to charity and is not supporting her university — all because she is not getting paid for four days this year. Is she kidding? All that because four days off with no pay. She should get the “Federal Drama Queen award” for the year. I feel sorry for the people who actually have to work with this lady on a daily basis

“It’s stuff like this that gives so many good, hard-working feds a black eye in the minds of the public. Many people actually think all feds are like this Windy Whiner lady. Please don’t give a public pulpit to these out-of-the-zone-reality people. Thanks for letting me vent — Bob Trimbur

And this one:

” After reading the response from the non-car buyer in D.C., it got me to thinking. Not only new cars and salesman are being affected by these fun days this summer, but our food budget has taken a huge hit. We usually got to the local food store and spend upwards to $200 at least twice a month, yesterday we went with a cutting blade and spent $100 and will try to make it with that. No things we don’t need but like to have, lemonade, tea, ice cream you know the fun things to eat! So the fallout there will be a bagger or stock person laid off or a clerk, too.

“This is a huge train wreck that need not have happened but we federal employee’s who are ‘rich’ and have the job to die for should pay for the mistakes of the past budgets, you know DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM or let’s go get SADAMM because we can (a thought from our former V.P. Cheney!)

“Cars, homes and a host of other local items won’t be purchased because of the certainty that we as federal employees make too much money and don’t deserve a new car or house to live in. Am I angry? YOU DARN RIGHT I AM. Where I work used to be the best place to spend your career here in this county because you had assurance that unless you didn’t pay your taxes and you didn’t do something really stupid your job was secure once your made it past that one year probation and the three year career point. No more, folks are leaving here faster than rats off of pirate ship in the 1700’s.

So my guess and it’s only a guess, but the numbers for the next 6 months to a year will show that this economy has rebounded back into a recession due in large part to the millions of workers that are also not able to purchase food and other things due to the federal employee being furloughed. I like LAID OFF a lot better, it sounds so much more final don’t you think, Mike!”


Compiled by Jack Moore

When Canadian officials redrew the borders in districts in the Northwest Territories in the 1990s, they also mulled over changing the name of the terrorities. One of the names in the running: “bob.”

(Source: Mental Floss)


TSP board quashes extra loan option for furloughed feds
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board says offering federal employees an extra loan option through their Thrift Savings Plans to cushion the impact of furloughs would require too much effort to implement and may not help the employees all that much.

Reid: Democrats to ease cuts with war savings
Senate Republicans and Democrats gridlocked Tuesday over competing proposals to ease the impact of across-the-board spending cuts blamed for furloughs of air traffic controllers and flight delays for millions of travelers.

Performance guru Metzenbaum leaving OMB
Shelley Metzenbaum, the administration’s day-to-day lead on performance management, is leaving.Industry sources confirmed Metzenbaum is having a going away party at the Office of Management and Budget today. She is going back to Boston where she served as the founding director of the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts.

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