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Shows & Panels
The end is near. Again.
Monday - 11/4/2013, 2:00am EST
It has been a zany, crazy year at the office. But what, in hindsight, if it turns out these are the good old days? That it doesn't get any better than right now? Can you live with that possibility? Indeed, do you want live with that thought?
What if 2013, with its unpaid furloughs followed by a two-week mandatory paid vacation, is as good and bad as its going to get? What next? Are they going to make you all wear striped jump suits?
The focus for many people — from ordinary taxpayers to federal civil servants and editorial writers — has been the suprisingly long and inventive list of stupid things politicians have done trying to score political points.
Who but our elected leaders would have figured out that a great way to get things done and save money was to furlough some workers but not others, then follow it with a 16-mandatory paid vacation for 800,000 government workers.
In addition to what Congress and the White House have done, there is the equally powerful evidence of what hasn't been done. And what continues not to get done. Things like approving budgets, again. Stopping and starting the government without any positive result, again. Shutting down the government — forcing at least 800,000 to take paid vacations of anywhere from six to 16 days. And still losing money. And all this after a series of furloughs which some agencies observed and others ignored.
The good news is that the stock markets didn't react — except to go up to record levels — because of the shutdown. The other good news, for feds, is that Congress was so busy doing nothing that the 1 percent pay raise proposed by the Obama administration slipped through the cracks. Not much, to be sure, but something.
Congress and the White House have agreed that federal workers in the future should pay more toward their retirement. The Obama administration says the increase should be 1.2 percent. The House GOP budget says workers should kick in an additional 5 percent. But it hasn't happened. At least not yet.
Politicians have been so busy shooting at — and mostly missing — their goals that almost nothing has happened. The House plans to take off more time this month, and the entire Congress will shut down for an extended Thanksgiving celebration. Then there is Christmas which will require an additional time-out.
Meantime, here are some reader comments on what they think and how they are coping with the good-old-days:
- "I keep my TSP contributions divided between the C, S, and I Funds
and pray that the economy stays in the toilet until I'm ready to retire. That way
I get more shares per dollar. When I retire, I'll wait for shares to rise before
transferring to the G fund. I've just under three years before I make the 41
years, 11 months maximum, but five years until I pay off my TSP loan I used to
clear out some credit card debt. The rate was great!" — Larry in
Baltimore at the Dreaded CMS
- "Re your Friday column: …. It has been a topic of discussion amongst us 'old timers.' Don't get me wrong this 1 percent is nice — something is better than nothing. But … We are still under sequester, so how do we get paid for this? If it comes out the organization's budget and that's being reduced, does that mean furlough days next year, RIFS buyouts? I have read nothing as to what effect a 1 percent raise will have in the overall budget. Do you have any insight?" — Tony K.
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
Compiled by Jack Moore
The origin of the name buffalo wings has nothing to do with actual buffalos (and why would it, really?). It turns out the bar favorite originated in Buffalo, N.Y. in the mid-1960s.
(Source: Today I Found Out)
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