Paid vacation or nightmare tour?

Tuesday - 11/5/2013, 2:00am EST

Politicians, think tanks and journalists are still tallying up the financial cost and losses from last month's 16-day government shutdown.

It is also a political issue, particularly in a state like Virginia where two of the least attractive major party candidates in years hope to be elected governor. Democrat Terry McAuliffe has made the shutdown a major campaign issue in a state with a major federal-military presence.

Despite sharp differences and a major spending edge over GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli, McAuliffe (as of yesterday) was running 9 points ahead in the polls.

The same poll showed a whopping 18 percent either as undecided (as of yesterday) or likely to switch their votes at the last minute. Eight percent said they would vote for Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis, although he has received minimal coverage in the media.

Rank-and-file feds, whether furloughed or required to work, are still dealing with the shutdown. Some resented having to work, some enjoyed the time off. Some are angry at what they were put through. Here's some reaction to last week's column, "Orphans of the Shutdown Storm".

  • "Yes, as someone who had to come in, I'll admit I resented those free vacations, especially since I had to take leave during it. (Note — I don't blame the people who lucked out here.) And, yes, the federal government (in D.C. anyway) basically shuts down in August and in December but you still have to burn leave during that time.

    "It was nutty that they shut it down in the first place But it was ridiculous when they said that those at home (or at the beach) would get paid. If you're going to pay them, tell them to come in and work!" — Ken

  • "I would also bet that all of the employees who were furloughed due to sequestration, are shaking their heads wondering how their sequestration furloughs actually helped anyone's bottom line?

    "So while the excepted employees may feel slighted, they need to suck it up and count their blessings. I would love to have been in their position." — Frustrated Taxpayer/ No Longer Proud To Be An American

Finally, a comment from a furloughed fed who said it was not a mid- October fun break:
  • "Please stop calling it a paid vacation. It was a time of anxiety for many federal workers — not a vacation!" — Tina B.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

Linked end-to-end, a year's supply of the paper tags provided at airline counters to mark your luggage would circle the earth 30 times, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

(Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek)


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