Home / Debt / 800,000 Federal Workers Get a Vacation.
Print Friendly and PDF

800,000 Federal Workers Get a Vacation.

Written by Gary North on October 1, 2013

Push has come to shove. We are told that the federal government will lay off 800,000 workers. These workers will not be paid.

But is this figure right? Is it 800,000? Or 799,999? Or maybe 750,000? Or maybe 600,000? Let’s find out. This will be a good test.

The laid-off workers hope that this is temporary, that the House of Representatives will buckle to public pressure, and that they will get their jobs back with back pay in a week or two. They assume that this will be a nice paid vacation.

Then again, it might turn out that hardly anyone notices their absence. It might turn out that whatever they do at taxpayers’ expense can be done on a fee-for-service basis. Maybe private firms can supply their services. Maybe the government can charge a fee that covers the costs.

If anyone wants to go a national park, he can pay to get in. You know. Like Disneyland or Six Flags. What a concept! No free vacations for a handful of voters who like the great outdoors!

If someone wants a U.S. passport, he can pay the government to sell him one. Why should the government subsidize this?

Is this high-skilled work? No. Can the government hire workers at $15 an hour, with no retirement benefits and no health insurance? Of course.

This shutdown is going to reveal what the income taxpaying voters already know: there is a lot of fat in the federal government. There are a lot of people being paid above-market wages under Civil Service protection. They do jobs that could be outsourced to private industry.

Here is a brief list of jobs scheduled to be cut.

Moreover the damage to the economy is more than just about federal spending. Those so-called “non-essential” government workers are essential to many industries that depend on them. For instance, the loss of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will make it harder for farmers and investors to make decisions.

What if this shut down the entire Department of Agriculture? Agricultural output would increase. Food prices would fall.

Then these are these employees.

Regulatory arms will take a hit, too. The Securities and Exchange Commission will furlough many of its employees, but declined to give specific numbers. The commission said in a statement that the agency “will remain open and operational in the event the federal government undergoes a lapse in appropriations.”

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission will furlough 652 of its 680 employees. That leaves 28 people to regulate much of the $565 trillion derivatives market. Yes, trillion.

Not one of these employees is vital. Not one of them saved us from the crisis of 2008.

The Federal Register publishes 80,000 pages of regulations each year. What if this were cut to zero? The nation would regain much of its liberty.

How many of the supposed 800,000 jobs to be cut can be outsourced? Let’s run tests.

Are we to believe that the federal government cannot balance its budget? If this really is true, then it will eventually go bankrupt, thereby balancing the budget.

Should it balance now or balance later? I vote for now.

So, the test begins. Which workers will be let go? For how long? Which can be replaced by outsourcing?

This will answer a question: “What if nothing that most voters care about gets shut down?”

Continue Reading on www.bbc.co.uk

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

67 thoughts on “800,000 Federal Workers Get a Vacation.

  1. Joseph C. Moore says:

    A key word (phrase) is "non-essential workers".

  2. Texas Chris says:

    If the government charges a fee for a service offered voluntarily, then is it really government? Also, if the "national" parks are to be run on their own budget like Disney, then why should the "national" government even OWN those parks? Why not sell them off to a private entity and let the free market handle them?

    And like Joseph Moore says, what is "essential"? We live without these leeches two days a week, why not 5? Why not 7? Why not forever?

  3. Those porn sites are really going to take a hit without those federal employees around.

  4. How much money are we saving by the shutdown? Will it be applied to the national debt? NASA is furloughing 18,000 employees? And we don't even have a space program?

  5. Two things I found out today. One the sun came up this morning, so that means the government shut down did not hurt the sun. Two the one that bothers me the most is NASA is laying off employees, and I worry if that means they have to shut down the Muslim outreach program that oBUMo said was a very important mission for NASA?

  6. This article hit the nail right on the head ! Every time the government " shuts down," the government "workers" return to their positions and are paid for the time of the shutdowns. For many of them it will not make much difference- will they do nothing at home, or do nothing at the government offices?

  7. livefree-NH says:

    And how about Michelle Obama's paid staff? Do they get a vacation too? FactCheck.org says that's about 1.2 million bucks.

  8. Vacation my ass. Layoff is more like it. You might feel differently if you need your paycheck to pay your bills and put food on the table. They already passed Obamacare, this is just Monday morning regret and not wanting to pay what they obligated the country to do. Like kindergarten.

  9. When so many people are out of work mostly do to the actions of politians, why should those out of work continue to pay for these neaningless jobs in the first place? Unfortunately even though so many are out of work the government demands your money anyway. This country needs a major overhaul.

  10. Layoff means that they will never be paid for their time off. In fact, when the shutdown ends, the workers will receive back pay. The thing is, if they can be furloughed so easily, it means that their job is unnecessary.

  11. It is obvious that at least half of the Federal workforce is unnecessary.

  12. Phillip the Bruce says:

    I have a different question. Since Congress is supposed to create and pass a budget, why should they be paid? They have not done their job.

  13. Patrick Duffy says:

    Regarding the crash of 2008 and the SEC the blog said, "Not one of these employees is vital. Not one of them saved us from the crisis of 2008."

    Well, actually, it was government that CAUSED the crash by meddling in the market place (Dodd Frank). If the SEC were to be abolished we would be BETTER OFF!

  14. Philliip the Bruce says:

    You are being very generous with your 1/2 figure. How much of the spending Congress authorizes is delegated to it under Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution? And how is anyone in the US military defending us when they are outside our borders?

  15. Since the government has grown by 25^% during Obama's tenure, there are probably a lot of "non-essential" workers.

  16. Ground Air Force One and Two. El Supremo and boy wonder Biden should be at work (or are they BOTH non-essential). All pay for senators, congresspersons and staff must cease (they haven't done a thing to earn any pay. Furlough and then fire all of the bloated staff for Michelle Obama. She's so "popular" she could get volunteers to preen her.

    That would save millions.

  17. REID/OBAMA GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN STATUTE IS IN PLACE . . tweet and facebook that REID/OBAMA do not want to give we the little people the same subsidies that they gave big gov and big business.
    Thought Ds were for equality – well now we know they are ELITIST THAT SAY "LET THEM EAT CAKES."

  18. edodaniel says:

    Passed it? Yes, but look back at HOW it was "passed". Even Pelosi was aware that NO ONE knew what it consisted of. Her words – "we have to pass it to know what is in it."

  19. Gerald Ladd says:

    LOL…slavery was a law. it's gone, as should be the way democare should go, and hopefully will. As for their paychecks, no one cares. I look at all the private sector jobs lost. Do you care about them? i doubt it. Let the fedearl workes look fo another job. As much as I hate seeing people without jobs, I don't care much about government leaches!

  20. Archangel says:

    800,000 is not enough!

  21. carlton goodson says:

    The truth about obamacare the gov. wants to know more about your life so here is obamacare. your income laid out on the table so gov. can run your life.

  22. Deborah G says:

    We have family that works for NASA. We are all committed to the defeat of Obama policies so we are all going to simply pay everyone's bills until the moron gets the message

  23. Buster Atkins says:

    I can never seem to post on here.

  24. Napalys Juodzevicius says:

    Imagine how much our economy would improve if these 800,000 got real jobs in private industry.

  25. They don't do a lick of work anyway.

  26. most federal employees are overpaid lazy do nothings

  27. LarryLunts says:

    The current fee for an adult US passport is $135, for the book version, or $55 for the card version, or $165 for both. Why don't you do a little bit of basic research, before you start shooting off your mouth?

  28. LarryLunts says:

    I assume you are including all of the "Tea Party" members of Congress in this assessment.

  29. It's the tax eaters versus the tax payers!

  30. We aren't saving any money, ALL of these "Non-Essential" workers will get all their back pay when it's over. shut down is time off for these "HARD" workers.

  31. You are of course correct. I was just citing the ones who were furloughed. At least 80% of government employees are unnecessary including 90% of government agencies. I also agree with your military assessment. It amazes me that not one member of Congress has ever submitted a bill to close our bases in Germany, Korea and Japan and station those troops on our own borders. We are actually defending the border between North and South Korea better than our own. Is there really a significant military need to be in Germany and Japan or are we simply propping up their economies? Of course, now we will never leave Iraq and Afghanistan.

  32. It's about time they felt alittle pain. No one was crying when my company made ALL their employees take 15 days furlough. Maybe if DC has to suffer a little like the rest of us they will appreciate what we give them a little more and give us a little respect.

  33. 800,000 is about 6% of the government workforce. Private companies have been laying off (with no paid furloughs, retroactive pay, gold-plated health care, COLA and retirement at age 50) 6% of their workforces every month for years and you don't hear a peep out of the corporate media (CNBCABCCBSCNNFOXMSNBC) when it's not the precious bureaucrats.
    Of course the state versions of all these federal agencies are open for business as usual.

  34. The feds still had enough funds to print up "Closed Because of the Shutdown" signs at all the Washington DC monuments (which really are just big piles of stone that don't require lots of personnel) and put up barricades to keep tourists out.

    This is how the feds operate: shut down services the people do want (national parks, monuments, museums) to force us to accept all the evil agencies we DON'T want or need (CIA, NSA, DHS, IRS, TSA).

  35. Not a lot of people know the SEC regulators were giving their resumes to Bernie Madoff on visits when they were supposed to be policing and monitoring the financial services industry. Government workers don't even do the jobs they're paid to do.

  36. I think those 18,000 NASA employees took up space in college.

  37. Kathy Sudduth says:

    Bingo! You are so on target!

  38. Kathy Sudduth says:

    I have heard so much lying from Obama and his cronies on CNN today! You are so correct about the dems hyprocrisy!

  39. Kathy Sudduth says:

    Does anyone really have any data on how many jobs Obama has shipped out of the country since he has been in office.

  40. Amen, no government "non-essential" personnel care about the private businesses who have had to lay off workers for 5 years now. And "they" can't return to THEIR jobs with back pay. The government is the only one who has been hiring…something is mismanaged when this happens.

    BTW, if they are truly "non-essential" why do we have them anyway???

  41. Not only income but health records also…just imagine what could be done with THAT info!!

  42. "If someone wants a U.S. passport, he can pay the government to sell him one. Why should the government subsidize this?"

    or…..why is government in the position to grant permission to travel in the first place?

    You are free to travel in "the land of the free", so long as government grants you permission and you pay for the 'right' of this permission.

  43. GREAT article, Gary! How very true!

  44. I am a conservative and think that the affordable care act is a farce and Not affordable. That being said – Change the law but do not renig on your duties to present a balanced budget by OCT 1. There are many hard working employees adversely affected by this. We should create a law that states if the Congress Senate and President do not agree to a balanced budget by OCT 1 they will not receive a paycheck for October the money going to run the country. Further it should be mandated that these public servants are not exempt from any laws that they create and all federal employees (including senators congressmen and President/VP) be included in Obama Care and Social Security. No other form of retirement or health care unless they pay for it 100% out of their own pockets. Since the law will never be passed how about an amendment "The Fair & Equitable Treatment of Public Servants" amendment .

  45. That is Such an "intelligent" statement – Pathetic

  46. Really Fed Up says:

    Yes, non-essential workers ~ welcome to the non-governmental employees' world! No sympathy here. Too many hardworking Americans not on the government dole are unemployed and just trying to survive!

  47. Really Fed Up says:

    Agenda 21, unfortunately!!!

  48. How come he hasn't blamed Bush for this one. Then again i guess he will find a way.

  49. Why should a non-essential worker get paid for time they are off work? The private sector does not.

  50. Bob Marshall says:

    Trimming down the size of our government is a good idea.

  51. Your right on Chris! The Feds need only to own DC And nothing else!!!! But besides all that stuff did they shut down the EPA? That alone would save Mega Moneys'!!!

  52. I know! What the hell are these 18 million people doing? Sitting on there Fingers?

  53. keep in mind Mary, if the people were allowed to vote for this nightmare idiotcare, it would never have happened. Or if loser Roberts had follow the Constitution, it would not be here. I would guess if you are "non essential" they could very likely get along without you also. And also keep in mind this was a bill passed by strictly the democrats, in the secret of night, behind closed doors. If this law is good enough for the actual workers of this country who pay the salaries of all the federal govn, then it should be applied to EVERYONE. No exceptions. We did not agree to pay for any of this idiotcare bill. This have been jammed down our throats since day one. I want the idiot in the WH and his family to go to the exchanges for health care with no subsidies right along with old man reid and plastic face pelosi. Laws should be applied equally to everyone including federal workers even the ones they don't really need, congress and staff, unions and all the hundreds dumbo has already given a waiver to. I just heard on the radio they were sending 348 workers home from Crater Lake National Park. What on earth can 348 workers do on a regular basis as Crater Lake? This government is so grossly overstaffed it is frightening. and not only are most overpaid, we have to pay a pension and health care benefits because they are above the law and idiotcare doesn't apply to them.

  54. My wild guess is you would have to look far and wide to find anyone as
    non-essential as the idiot in the WH and his goofy sidekick. Well, not too far away are reid and pelosi and over 200 other non essentials in Congress.

  55. sorry, don't agree as I don't think 98% of them could function at a regular job where you had to actually be productive. Once you are a slow down government worker, you are pretty much ruined for life for being productive.

  56. really, now just how could the tiny ass lady get along without all her staff. Someone has to pick out her lovely wardrobe and fix all that healthy food.

  57. just like idiotcare, the laws only apply to the workers who pay the salaries of the idiots in DC. Dumbo would never let the federal workers go without pay. he will make a special exception for them even though no one actually missed them at work. Close all the parks, the WH, the War Memorials etc but make sure all those federal workers get paid even though they didn't work those days just like all the other days.

  58. Better idea is too lay off several million and make Congress part time (they only are there part time anyway) and TERM LIMITS. we desperately need TERM LIMITS for congress with no pensions. these people are not
    public servants" as so many think. They are like leeches who have attached themselves to a money bag and won't let go. Serve two terms and go back to a real job if they can find one in this economy. The only people truly worthy of calling themselves public servants are our Armed Forces and veterans. these people are truly public servants and make a tiny fraction of what the leeches make. What an injustice.

  59. In regard to “non-essential”:
    I would like to bring to your attention to fact that at least half of your full time Air National Guardsman are included in the furlough. (Unknown % of Army Guard, but I would think its comparable) Please remember, this is not your guard of past decades. These are the ones on the front line in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other deployed locations around the world. They are part of your first response teams that you’ve seen during hurricanes, blizzards, fires, and floods in recent years. They have served with dignity and honor, now labeled “non-essential” and are laid off – some just weeks after serving in direct action. They train around the year and provide the opportunity for the traditional part time guardsmen to maintain proficiency for when the time calls. In the same way we are so unfamiliar with the role those servicemen fill, how many other federal employees who serve vital functions are being scoffed and disregarded. Non-essential? I ask you all to reconsider.
    Respectfully, a fellow conservative American.

  60. first of all, these people are not "public servants" they are overpaid l for what they don't do and there is nothing that qualifies them for being "public servants". that term is grossly over used to describe elected leeches. TERM LIMITS for congress.

  61. Oh they don't do 'space' anymore, they are busy now making the Muslims feel better about themselves – yep, that's their job now! Only in America!


  63. carlton goodson says:

    Look we are saveing money now each job at pay of 80,000 dollars a year avg times 800,000 how much are we saveing?

  64. Put congress and the white house on a 29 hour work week with no benefits. Limit the number of new laws that can be passed in any given year force congress to vote on appropriations individually. Require able bodied welfare recipients to work 29 hours a week and cap their benefits at the level of the minimum wage. All federal, state an local government wages should be linked to those paid by private enterprise and require that work is performed at the same level of efficiency. Immediately shut down the Department of Energy and the EPA. .

  65. Thank you.

  66. Doug Rodrigues says:

    I disagree: Even bean counters have to count beans to justify their jobs.

  67. The book “Photographic Composition” by Grill and Scanlon, explains in detail about one of the most important aspects of photography: composition.|Let us start with how to distinguish between old and antique ones. You must be very particular regarding spending money for the worthy one and not something fake. Inherited possessions always have their own sentimental value which cannot be compared with any particular sum of money. You may personally consider them to be of great value but others may deter from paying extravagantly for it. You will come across an array of old books, published in the early twentieth century or even before, but hardly has any good market value.