Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Government Employees Report to Work After All

Earlier this month we blogged about the phony and exaggerated sequester furlough claims that came out of the Defense Department and the Obama administration, vis a vis non-uniformed DoD civilian personnel.

Official notice of phony sequester claim.
Furlough days were dropped from the original 22, down to 11 and ultimately to six. But the story telling wasn't limited to Defense. Phony furlough claims were made government wide, where the ultimate impacts were less, much less, than at the Pentagon. Many departments managed their budgets to dodge furloughing altogether.

The earliest examples came from departments that told Congress they would have to furlough employees, but ended up backtracking. The Education and Justice departments fall into this category. The Agriculture, Transportation, and Homeland Security departments all received authority to transfer funds between agency accounts, and were therefore able to cancel planned furloughs. The Commerce Department promised furloughs at its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, only to cancel them in May.
Other departments reduced the number of enforced days off.
Several agencies have relied on “internal reviews” of their financial conditions, during which they discovered cost-cutting measures had made their situations less dire than originally anticipated. This, in turn, allowed them to cut required furlough days.
The Treasury Department, for example, originally said it would furlough all 90,000 of its Internal Revenue Service employees five days, but has since cut the number of days to three. The Housing and Urban Development Department also recently canceled two furlough days. In May, the Environmental Protection Agency cut furloughsby three days. The Interior Department warned of 12-14 furlough days for the U.S. Park Police, but ultimately ended the furloughs after employees took less than half of the expected total.
The loyal to the end administration leaders at Labor Department and HHS are equivocating, claiming they still don't know if employees will be furloughed, even though as a practical matter it is too late in the fiscal year to implement widespread reductions.  Of course, truly independent federal agencies like the Postal Service (the largest non-defense federal employer) and the Federal Reserve were never affected by the sequestration at all.

The omnibus federal employee union acknowledges that Obama's furloughing claims were political gamesmanship at their inception, never based in reality to begin.

The American Federation of Government Employees attributes the furlough reductions and cancellations partly to the success of its negotiations.
“We showed the agencies there were numerous alternatives to dealing with sequestration,” said Jacqueline Simon, public policy director at AFGE. “It was across the board and our union responded in every one of these situations.”
Federal employees protesting exaggerated
and non-existent furloughs.
Simon added the bloated estimates were a “political calculation,” with federal employees dangled as sacrificial lambs to demonstrate to Congress the potential fallout from sequestration.
Translation -- Obama and his minions have lied to promote unnecessary spending and additional debt. They were called on their false claims when the sequestration went into effect in February. It's time they stopped bluffing the American people altogether.

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