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Swiss-cheese body armor
Tuesday - 7/23/2013, 2:00am EDT
Wouldn't it be something if we learned that as soon as the "S word" hit the fan, it actually cost Uncle Sam a bundle in revenue not raised, lawsuits that could last a decade or more, and time-consuming and costly appeals filed? Not to mention productivity lost before, during and after a furlough day.
That would be funny! Right?
Would White House officials who designed it and the Congress that let it happen say they were sorry? That they maybe made a mistake? And that it won't happen again? Probably not.
Although the amounts vary — depending on whose yardstick is being used — sequestration is supposed to save a bundle. The people who created it and warned us it shouldn't happen assured us that it would hurt, but the hurt would feel good. It produced across-the-board (but at the same time also very selective) cuts in some programs. But not all. And in some federal agencies. But not all. And furloughs of some employees in some agencies. But not all.
- The brief (quickly withdrawn) furlough of air traffic
controllers cost a lot of people — from the airlines to long-suffering
passengers and businesses — a ton of money. How much? Make up a figure,
that's what we do here in political Washington all the time.
- Whatever the Internal Revenue Service is saving by shutting
down operations on furlough days may be offset because of what it isn't taking in
on those days. The Federal Times this week obtained internal Treasury
planning documents that it said estimates the $600 million in furlough savings
at the IRS will be offset by "billions of dollars in lost revenue." Federal
union leaders have also issued the same warning, and individual employees have
contacted Federal News Radio to tell us how much their individual furloughs cost
in revenue lost or delayed collections.
- The Merit Systems Protection Board, which normally
processes 6,000 to 7,000 cases a year has seen a surge in filings from feds
protesting their furloughs. In one 10-day period, MSPB got 3,000 furlough-related
appeals, and they are still coming.
- The Federal Employee Education and Assistance fund says it is
swamped with requests for loans from
furloughed feds. FEEA, a feds-helping-feds charity, said that more than half of
the $49,000 in interest-free hardship loans it made in June went to furloughed
employees to help pay rent, child care or for food. FEEA executive director
Steve Bauer will be our guest on our Your Turn radio
show Wednesday at 10 a.m EDT.
- Many of the feds who have contacted us think sequestration is stupid or costly, but they say they continue to do their jobs because they feel what they are doing is important. But a growing number — small but getting bigger — say they've had it. That even on their nonfurlough days they will go through the motions, but that's about it. "They treat me like a zombie," one said, "that's what they will get!"
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
Compiled by Jack Moore
Now you have another reason to eat your greens. In ancient Egypt, lettuce was considered an aphrodisiac, symbolizing the favored food of Min, the god of fertility.
(Source: Smithsonian Magazine)
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Issa releases long-awaited postal
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released long-anticipated legislation Friday aiming to reform the finances of the ailing U.S. Postal Service. The introduction of the 2013 Postal Reform Act comes on the heels of a USPS oversight hearing and just two days after the committee's ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), introduced his own postal overhaul bill.
Want to appeal a furlough with the
MSPB? Get in line
The Merit Systems Protection Board is being inundated with appeals from furloughed federal employees. As of Thursday morning, the MSPB has received approximately 2,100 appeals from furloughed employees, MSPB Chairwoman Susan Tsui Grundmann said in an interview on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp.