Bonus holiday: Not what you had in mind, right?

For the past few months many federal workers hoped against hope that they would get surprise gift from the White House: A bonus holiday today, the day before Christmas, at least for nonemergency personnel. And they got it, sort of.

President Donald Trump, to the surprise of many, did what presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush did — gave feds a bonus holiday. But a funny thing happened on the way.

Congress and the White House got into a surprise, and many would say totally unnecessary battle of wills, egos, ideology and money over the proposed border wall with Mexico. This resulted in a surprise-to-most-of-us shutdown, the third this year. It appears that shutdown, which wasn’t supposed to happen, will run most of the week.

Shutdowns are stupid. Workers who are considered nonemergency are forced to stay home, workers with essential jobs are forced to come to work. Nobody gets paid until the shutdown is over and the wheels of payroll return to normal. And vacations are cancelled during a shutdown — really dumb way to run the nation’s largest business.

Victims of the shutdown will get paid, eventually. The problem is that could mean later, potentially much later than they had every right to expect. But a check delayed a week or two can be a real problem for a lot of people, as in food, rent, etc.

Although the media is calling this a furlough that isn’t technically correct. During the Obama administration tens of thousands of workers were furloughed, because of a tactic known as sequestration, for one or two days per week. That meant a 20 percent permanent pay cut for thousands.

This clownish exercise isn’t a furlough, it’s a shutdown. Thank heaven for small miracles.

Meantime, here’s a pre-Christmas note from shutdown-not-furloughed career fed:

“Not discussed in any of the articles is the impact in ‘essential personnel’ being recalled of holiday leave. For many, like Coast Guard Enlisted and Officer Active Duty personnel the Christmas and New Years holidays are a time for them, their spouses and children to visit family, sometimes across the country from where they’re currently stationed. Other examples of essential personnel include [Immigration and Customs Enforcement border patrol], and [Customs and Border Protection] agents, as well as a host of others.

“Under ‘essential personnel’ policies, these employees’ holiday leave will be cancelled on Wednesday. They’ll be expected to be back at their duty stations, many needing to travel on Christmas Day. Depending on their financial situation, especially for junior enlisted and lower grade civilians, this will mean the whole family traveling back ‘home’ or travel back later without the service member. “ Tim

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

The Sydney Harbour Bridge rises and falls up to 18 centimeters (7.1 inches) depending on the temperature because the steel contracts and expands.

Source: Science Kids

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