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Federal Furloughs? What Furloughs?

Posted on August 16, 2013

When sequestration was about to kick in, the Obama administration began a nearly across-the-board campaign to discuss the devastating impact the automatic cuts would have on agency operations.

At the center of these warnings stood employee furloughs: mandatory unpaid leave to help each department meet the lower budget caps that took effect March 1. Furloughs, combined with hiring freezes, would disrupt the proper functioning of the government, agency chiefs said, as fewer employees working fewer hours could not accomplish the same amount as a fully staffed workforce.

While many federal agencies have in fact moved forward with furloughs, and there remain countless examples of sequestration interfering with government operations, most major departments have reduced furlough days, or eliminated them 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 projected furloughs at its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, only to cancel them in May.

The most significant example of furlough reductions has been the Defense Department. The Pentagon originally planned to furlough all 750,000 of its civilian employees for 22 days. It then used reprogramming to trim that number to 11 days, and more recently — through a series of cost-cutting measures and inter-service transfer of funds — reduced the days of unpaid leave to six. The furloughs are now estimated to affect about 650,000 Defense civilians.

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28 thoughts on “Federal Furloughs? What Furloughs?

  1. Molon Labe says:

    The defense department consumes too much money anyway, but instead of eliminating our overseas presence (over 700 military installations outside our borders in over 100 of the 160 or so countries on the planet) they furlough people stateside who are working the acquisition programs through which the military researches, develops, produces, and sustains its weapon systems. Here in Dayton over 10,000 civilians are doing the last of their 6 furlough days this week. I think furloughing the people was designed to cause maximum pain to people in order to get them to call their congressman or whatever to evoke as much negative sentiment towards furloughs as possible. Medicare and Social Security weren't touched.

  2. “… disrupt the proper functioning of the government, agency chiefs said, as fewer employees working fewer hours could not accomplish the same amount as a fully staffed workforce.”

    Government employees on average make 30% more than people in the private sector doing the same job. Only the failure of regulatory agencies to do their jobs has no comparison to the private sector. The SEC failed to police Wall Street which allowed the 2008 crash to occur, and the DOE inspectors failed to monitor Deepwater Horizon for routine maintenance that led to the Gulf oil spill.

    SEC regulators were handing their resumes to Bernie Madoff instead of shutting down the multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme he was operating. Federal inspectors were accepting bribes and gifts from BP, surfing porn sites with their government-issued laptops, instead of enforcing routine maintenance on the oil well that was 4 years overdue.

  3. Molon Labe says:

    Gov't employees may make more than industry counterparts in some areas, but not Defense. The engineers here in Dayton who work for the Air Force most certainly do not make more than their counterparts at Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Engineers for those companies cost the Air Force $250K – $500K per year, although that figure is an all-in cost including benefits, training, and the overhead for the contractor. Anecdotally, why would any engineer want to work for a defense contractor when they can work for the government, make a supposed 30% more, and have way more jobs security. The approach to resolving this isn't to reduce pay for gov't employees, but simply to have less of them. Get rid of the following departments: Commerice, Transportation, Education, Health and Human Services, Energy. Any nuclear stuff that Energy does and any critical transportation infrastructure isues can go to the War Department. The authority for the rest of the functions of these departments resides with the states (10A). As for the War Department, it, too, could be radically reduced by just eliminating our overseas military presence.

  4. The War Department was changed to the Defense Department decades ago. You are correct though, there is plenty of room for savings and government employees are very well paid and receive excellent benefits packages.

  5. The sequestration was actually a very small amount. It was obvious to even the mos casual observer that it could be covered by cutting back on non-essential spending. Obama and his minions amped it way up to suck in the least informed that still love him. With Obama it is all politics and ego. See my blog at http://cranky-conservative.blogspot.com

  6. Christian W says:

    I believe he is poking fun at the fact that the Defense Department actually does little defense and much more instigating of war. They were aptly named previously, but it's harder to tell your constituency you want to raise funding for the War Department than the Defense Department.

  7. “…Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman.”

    Take away the government contracts keeping a lot of these companies afloat and what’s left? Government spending has skewed the economy so that many can’t conceive of shrinking the public sector.

  8. Right, for you, six days, does not a furlough make. For me it's a 6-week, 20% pay cut in my family's service to the US Military.

  9. Hear, here!

  10. Unfortunately your posting policy prohibits any comments I may have on this subject.

  11. liar liar pants on fire Mr So Called President

  12. The Furloughs were supposed to hurt Americans and thus prove Obama's point that the Government needs more money. The fact is though that the government spending is way out of control. Anyone who wanted to lower spending could find billions of dollars to cut out of the budget without losing one job for one day. We need to reign in the spending. We need to end a whole bunch of financial benefits that politicians take for granted. So far this year I have had one vacation. I stayed home because I could not afford to go anywhere. Normally I work 6 day weeks just to make enough to survive. It is a shame that we can not say that about our POS.

  13. W K Myeers says:

    Re 700 military installations in 160 countries – this is nonsense
    I have served as an officer retiring with 28 years service, attended awar college, taught in another senior service school. There has never been mention of this number of installations
    True, we have Dep't of Defense personnel within the staff of our diplomatic missions. These officers and enlisted men serve a vital purpose in providing information about the host country's military. We should not do without them

  14. 1baronrichsnot1 says:

    Both spouses are working 6 day weeks to make ends meet! Kids are not being supervised! They get in the drug trade early in life and fight over who buys from whom, right on the school buses! Sequestration is a joke. Gov't is still growing and getting more and more power! Gov't agencies and employees are a gigantic voting block, they vote for their wallets, they vote for big gov't and big paychecks. They control the amount they spend, not sequestration, DOD is a big spender, they hire folks to spy on us, NSA, DHS have both grown to armies of intimidation and threats aimed directly to the people who support them financially with their taxes! Tired of it? Don't pay taxes! Revolt against taxation to destroy our freedoms!

  15. What cuts? Oh, the minor decreases in increases. No worries, the already built into the system hyperinflation will wipe out all those excesses and bring on a economic boom after a period of pain that we should have taken years ago. If you have doubts, put on your concentration, reading, comprehension and thinking cap. Then spend an hour or so really getting to know what is being thoroughly explained here: http://fofoa.blogspot.com/2013/08/my-candid-view-

  16. In addition to being small compared to the overall budget, the sequestration 'cuts' were SMALLER than the scheduled INCREASE in spending. In other words, EVERY department actually received an increase in funding, just less than they expected. Merely freezing pay of employees would have satisfied sequestration.

  17. Furloughs would not have needed to take place if the Government under Obama had done any number of actions to move money between accounts when offered by the House of Reps or not given money to various types of companies that only ended up going bankrupt shortly after getting millions in funding. These same companies also made millions in contributions to the Democratic Party machine before they went bankrupt – hum think that was a coincidence – HELL NO! The Democrats used tax payer dollars to help bankroll their political campaigns. Once again the two real victims, as always is the case, are the federal employee and the tax payer. The politicians went home happy, happy, happy because they got everything they wanted plus they deepened the divide between those that pay taxes and those that do not, spread the gap between the low-intelligent types (get their news from left wing media and liberal professors) and those that have a stake in the America economy. It takes a special kind of evil to be a politician and the current crop of them have outdone all those from the past put together – we should have furloughed the city leaders in Detroit, Chicago, NYC, WASH DC, and so many other liberal havens.

  18. cut back on spending so that odumbo can spend 7 millions on vacation on the cape
    that guy has to go
    sooner than later

  19. please do not call him our prez he is a fraud

  20. Hell, I'm not any kind of a economist-can hardly balance my check book……But I do know this,WAY too much money floats in DC thats the underlying cause of ALL our problems right now! from Obummer down theres too much graft and out-right theft in the government as I recall from school,the earliest congresses were NOT PAID for their attendance-maybe we should go back to the good old days when traitors were shot on the White House lawn, thieves were hung! be a wonderful sight wouldn't it?????
    Damn I'd pay to see that going on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. ROBERT MAYNARD says:

    You are so right on

  22. Jeanne Stotler says:

    There is and has been a lot of waste in government, since the end of WWII, hiring and spending has been out of control. Jobs were givenn out as favors, if early retirement and hiring freeze had been put into place early on , we would not be in this fix. We have a President that ignores llogic and continues to live a highstyle life while we the tax payers worry about how we can buy gas or food,, not being able to do both, I find trying to balance a houshold budget harder now than when I was a young mother and housewife.

  23. Jeanne Stotler says:

    I agree people are working, BUT let's go back to the erea of WWII, one parent was in the service the other working, and children were cared for by a neghbor, grandparent or aunt. It is the parents responsiblitiy to make sure children are cared for. I was a child of a single mother, widowed at 29, even after she married again she worked for Navy Dept. I was never left unsupervised, I then became a working mother, my children were in a day care when neither my husband or I were available, since we both worked odd shifts, one of us were the primary care giver, otherwise it was a neighbor who filled in. My children were raised in a Christian home, were taken to Church and homework was supervised, dress was only what we approved of, in essesnce WE WERE PARENTS. I've seen my grandchildren raised in same manner, often been care giver. Don't blame economy, it's the people who have children and as in the book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, "they grewed", unsupervised or guided.

  24. Paul Nordin says:

    Vote, don't just complain!

  25. Our governmental depts. will only cut waste is if they are forced to do it by another sequestration. Tom Corboun stated on the Senate floor awhile back a bunch of waste in the government and declared that the rest of the Senate would not even bring them up for vote. Garnish the wages of government workers that owe back taxes, Audit the charities that sports players set up and then use for their own personal business. There were at least 20 things that could be done. They will not fix old programs that are being funded by more than one bill. If I ran my household the way they run their budget, I would be bankrupt in a heart beat. There should be someone in every dept that makes sure they follow their allocation and not go over budget.

  26. Molon,
    I lost my job from the furloughs. Wasn't just DoD, onsite contractors too. Glad Barry Jr. (the dog) got an Osprey ride. That would have paid my job the rest of the year. Furloughs were a sick joke.

  27. Danno, maybe so. wasn't just DoD that got furloughed though. I got "furloughed" out of my job as a defense contractor over this crap. I wasn't making a fortune, just market for the job. Second time in 3 years, lost a job tgo Bumbling Barry….btw in my career 25 years, havent ever been out of work over a week. S total. Since the Buffoon and Chump took charge, twice, and counting.

  28. Did the Gov "save" as much as it spent during the same time on outfitting stateside government organizations with armored vehicles, ak-47 and sks rifles, 4 billion rounds of ammo, and Drones? I think not, this is just a campoaign promise that everyione seems to have forgotten. "we need a civilian force, just as powerful, just as well funded as the US military". Remember that it was Barry the Bumbler in 2009. And you thought he was kidding? Raised as a Muslim since he was three, learned about terrorism at Bill Ayers knee, went to college as a foreign refugee, became a rabble rouse when he was 23 , barry barry obama worst president in history! (sing that to the Davey Crocket tune)