Orphans of the shutdown storm: The excepted vs. the expendables

Tuesday - 10/29/2013, 2:00am EDT

The shutdown is gone, if not totally forgotten. The surprise winners, if you can call it winning, are up to a million federal workers. The Expendables! They were told their services were not really needed and ordered to go home and stay there until further notice.

The losers: The Excepted! Tens of thousands of workers, often in the same offices, who were told to carry on with a skeleton crew.

At first the expendables were told they were not going to be paid. After all, no work no pay, right? Besides, one of the stated reasons for the shutdown was to save the taxpayers money. But...

As it turned out, of course, the mandatory stay-at-homes have been or will be paid. But not before many of the expendables applied for loans or unemployment benefits. Contractors who support or work alongside federal employees will not be paid for the time (up to 16 days for some) they were shut down too. That money is gone forever for them.

The hundreds of thousands of civilian feds who were forced to come to work not knowing when/if they would be paid are raising the fairness issue. Now, they learn they too will get paid but some will have to wait as long as those who didn't. Which has lots of the Exempts raising the fairness issue. Like this fed:

"What happens to us, the people who had to come in to work? We had to pay tolls, parking and for gasoline or transport...we did not have two and a half weeks off to be with friends or take care of honey-do lists. It would be nice for morale (which is down for a lot of reasons) if we got some comp time off."
He asks what are the chances?

Official you can guess there are two chances: Slim and none.

Unofficially, it is possible some bosses down the road might let some of their exempts take a mental health day between now and the New Year. While that would be wrong, terribly, wrong, the same could be said for the shutdown itself.

Meanwhile, official bean-counters are still coming up with, then revising upward, the actual cost of the shutdown: In revenue lost or delayed and its impact on the economy. Bottom line: The shutdown cost a lot more than it saved.

And it accomplished...?

Although both sides — both political parties — had a hand in the shutdown, it has become a political issue. One side is rallying its troops to convince them it was a victory of conscience. Others argue it proves they are the people of compassion and, therefore, the other guys are heartless slugs. Teflon politicians.

The shutdown has become an issue in the race for Virginia governor. In the past, the commonwealth often produced some of the nation's more outstanding politicians. The key words in this case are "past" and "often."

This time around, many voters in the Old Dominion are holding their noses as they choose from the two main candidates. The Libertarian candidate, with almost zero money and publicity, is still picked to win 10 percent of the vote. Some political scientists say that, this late in the game (the election is next week) it is almost unknown for an unknown to be holding an estimated 10 percent of the potential voters. Virginia is home to the Pentagon, the CIA headquarters, and there is a huge federal presence in the Washington area, the Navy-dominated Tidewater and in the Richmond area. The candidate whose party gets the blame for the shutdown will likely lose.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

The '80s classic "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," made popular by Cyndi Lauper was originally recorded by Robert Hazard and the Heroes as a demo in 1979.

(Source: MentalFloss)


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