Furloughs - the wisdom of the crowd

Monday - 2/25/2013, 2:00am EST

If ancient Rome's rulers had taken a poll of the gladiators who worked for them to see how they were enjoying the games so far, the results would definitely have been interesting. Possibly educational and almost certainly a tad profane.

Fast forward to 2013 A.D. We are asking federal workers what are the odds that they will be sequestered and furloughed because of the Clash of Titans contest between the White House and Congress. Unless they reach some kind of agreement — on taxes, entitlements or both — across-the-board cuts will begin as early as this week. Starting in April, tens of thousands of federal workers could be hit with a 20 percent pay cut if furloughed one day per week for up to 22 days.

Many feds are angry over being used as pawns by both political parties, jockeying both for pet projects but also to win the PR contest with the general public. A few civil servants, most of them with many years of service say bring it on! They've had it and plan to catch up on their reading or resting on furlough days. A few, in conjunction with their unions, plan to fight. They will go through the lengthy discrimination process that could cost agencies thousands of dollars (and man hours) to process and supply documents and prepare legal arguments. The process could delay individual furloughs and, in some cases, delay all of them in a particular office, bureau or agency. Agencies would have to prove their furlough policies were fair and didn't discriminate against people who are part of a "protected class."

Some pros have predicted that sequestration will happen, and it will be nasty. Others feel a last-minute deal or delay will be worked up. So we can go through this later in the year. Some feel a substitute plan will be approved taking sequestration out of the picture.

So what do you, the ultimate insider, think is going to happen? Federal News Radio has been taking a poll and it's been an eye-opener. Let us know what you think (by clicking here).

We asked "Do You Think Sequestration Will Happen?" As of late Friday, 53 percent said yes. They checked the "We're up the creek without a paddle" box. Another 43 percent said Congress will delay implementation, again. Finally, 4 percent said why worry? They wanted to know why their colleagues are being "so alarmist".

Who's right? We should know shortly. Meantime, take 30 seconds to take our poll.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

Marguerite Joseph, a 104-year-old Michigan woman, is forever 99 — at least on Facebook. The website currently doesn't recognize pre-1910 birthdates, a glitch the site says it is now fixing. Joseph is legally blind and hard of hearing but said she responds to all of her messages with the help of her granddaughter.

(Source: AP)


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