Bonus Holiday/Fiscal (Cliff's) Notes

Friday - 12/14/2012, 2:00am EST

There are times when hope-springs-eternal optimists and gloom-and-doom cynics find themselves on the same page dealing with the same subject or subjects. In this case, the objects du jour are the dreaded fiscal cliff and a highly anticipated pre-Christmas bonus day off.

Going over the cliff and then crashing into mandatory sequestration cuts would be bad. How bad? So bad it would make the Mayan calendar's predicted end of the world seem like a slap-down among drunks at your town's seediest bar. At least according to dire predictions from some economists, unions, lobbyists and politicians including those — in the White House and Congress — who created the ticking political time-bomb they are now trying to defuse. The stated purpose of the exercise was to force the nation to make some tough fiscal choices. The unstated reason, many believe, was to make the opposition party look like the real villains, setting the stage for the 2014 congressional elections.

The other issue on the agenda was when/if the President might announce a pre-Christmas present for white-collar federal workers who haven't had a pay raise in two, going into three, years. In the past, when Christmas fell on a Tuesday (like this year) or Thursday, feds have more often than not been given the day before or after off. Generally the announcement is made in late November or very early December.

Some people speculate the decision is being delayed until the fiscal cliff/sequestration issue is settled. Assuming it is. Meantime, here's what feds in the trenches are saying:

  • "Your column yesterday affirms that there appears to be a pattern evolving. No, I don't mean that all feds support having the day before Christmas as a paid day off. Rather, that nothing much is getting done by this White House to enable feds, their friends or family to have sufficient knowledge of 'a plan' (fiscal or otherwise). It's just an observation." — Rob

  • Just wondering, considering yesterday's article, is Congress in session that day? I mean they've already set a record for the fewest days in session for a congressional year for the history of the United States. I think if this kind of information were publicized, an extra day off at Xmas would really be a big deal." — Curious

    (It's unlikely members would take the day off unless they've reached an agreement. But who knows? And according to both the House and Senate calendars, lawmakers are scheduled to work that day.)

  • "Just wondering if feds are given the day off, would that include senators and Congress? Because that is a problem since they are going down to the wire with the fiscal-cliff negotiations. Would they be excluded from the executive order? Two years ago, Social Security Administration workers were given the day off by the SSA Commissioner, Michael Astrue. No executive order by the president. Maybe this year each agency can make its own decision? BTW: The commissioner has nothing to lose since he is leaving in January. So if he gives SSA the day off what would be the punishment? Fire him?" — Anon

    (He could decide to pull a Lone Ranger act, but don't count on it.)

  • You have provided us over the years with the track records of the prior administrations on granting time off. I, as well as others, would like to know which administration holds the record for delaying the announcement on declaring the day off before Christmas? Did any President wait until Dec. 23 to announce that Dec. 24 is a bonus day off?" Calendar Guy

    (Anybody been keeping records?)


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

By Jack Moore

The fashion world is poised for the next style wave — meggings, or leggings for men. "Skin tight and not much thicker than tights, the fashion press insists meggings are the next trend," WTOP reports.


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