Gestures are great, but they aren't edible

Tuesday - 4/16/2013, 2:00am EDT

A number of top federal officials — from President Barack Obama to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel — have said they will take a pay cut as a sign of solidarity with federal workers who will be furloughed because of the sequestration process. Depending on the agency where you work, feds face anywhere from two to 14 days of furloughs between now and the end of September.

Some agencies have scaled back their original estimates as to how many furlough days there will be and who might be exempt from them. More changes are likely as officials look for ways to minimize the impact on the workforce and the agency workload.

Elected and appointed officials are exempt from the furloughs that the sequestration process, which they devised and approved, will cause. Now that President Obama has voluntarily taken a 5 percent pay cut, odds are many of the people he appointed to their jobs will also decide that is a very good idea.

So what do frozen-feds-facing-furloughs think? He's an interesting take:

"It would seem as if, when politics are involved, the sky is green and the grass is blue. You wrote recently: 'The fact that some members of Congress, Cabinet officers and now the President, are taking voluntary pay cuts is a noble gesture. But it won't pay the rent, or buy a week of school lunches. Great point.

"My first thought after the POTUS made his 5 percent 'personal cut' announcement was, 'That's nice, except who actually pays for your auto (and plane) fuel, heating, electricity, groceries, and White House rent payment?' You and I! Thank goodness it's not a mortgage!

"Question for you Mike, what does the President actually need to spend his 400K paycheck on to sustain his family and lifestyle? Does he even carry a wallet or have online bill-pay?

"I was raised in the 80's and 90's to believe that Democrats stood for farmers and 'the little people' and Republicans stood for the defense of our nation and lower taxes. As I near 40 years old, it would seem that we need all of these stances in our government, on both sides of the aisle. Why must it be 'one way or the other' or 'my way or the highway.' It really is disconcerting to hear Republicans blasting federal employees (can't have DoD, hence defense, without them), and Democrats promoting unrestrained spending and higher taxes (which in the end, hurts everyone, including the little people — many of which are farmers and ranchers). I see both sides, but simply am not interested in playing the games it seems are prevalent in the partisan picking of sides, for the sake of convenience.

"I enjoy your column, as it gives the years of insight necessary to understand how our nation has traveled down to path to arrive where we are today. Thanks for the work you do."


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

About 40,000 people around the world have signed up for a one-way trip to Mars as part of the "Mars One" mission. Nobel recipient Gerard 't Hooft, one of the ambassadors for the project (which is not affiliated with NASA or any other space agency) says the goal is to create a 20-person settler colony on the red planet.

(Source: Slate)


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