Home / Bureaucracy / 800,000 Furloughed Federal Workers. No One Notices.
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800,000 Furloughed Federal Workers. No One Notices.

Written by Gary North on October 4, 2013

We are told that the federal government has furloughed 800,000 workers. Have you noticed any difference in your lifestyle? I haven’t.

Did these people perform crucial duties? If so, we should be noticing their absence. But we don’t.

The National Park Service in Washington has put up barricades around the memorials. World War II vets moved the barriers and went into the open area that constitutes the memorial. I don’t know if they were the greatest generation, but they are not the stupid generation. If the Germans and the Japanese could not stop them, the Park Service will not stop them.

It takes manpower to put up barricades. Clearly, there have not been enough layoffs. We need more.

The government is facing a problem. If it can lay off 800,000 workers, and the public does not notice, then word may get out: the government’s bureaucracy is overstaffed. Maybe these people can find other jobs. Maybe the public will not suffer a catastrophe.

It’s one thing to threaten to lay off 800,000 workers. It’s another thing to do it, and no one notices.

It’s the threat Cleavon Little used in Blazing Saddles.

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50 thoughts on “800,000 Furloughed Federal Workers. No One Notices.

  1. Another clue the "shutdown" is a propaganda trick by Washington is if you go to dot gov websites they have messages like "Due to the lapse in funding this website is not available". Thing is, that tells you the servers are still up and running. The government staffs could have just walked out of their offices and left the websites fully operational. Ask any webmaster if his sites suddenly go "offline" when he goes home at night to sleep.

    If all those dot gov websites had really shut down, your browser would return a "Server Not Found" error. Those websites are still running, it's just that Washington spent tax money to change the main pages to say "website unavailable". It's all theater and propaganda!

  2. Danno, it takes about 5 minutes to throw up a "website unavailable" page. Your argument is moot.

  3. Centurian says:


    When those 800,000 people come back to work, as has happened in each of the 17 previous "government shutdowns" they will receive all of their back pay, as has happened in each of the previous 17 "shutdowns." So, while inconvenient for the moment, this will end up being a paid vacation for the government workers. Closing websites and open air parks that require no staffing is a petty game played by petty political hacks. Spending a lot of money to "close" the parks as a response to the "shutdown" is malfeasance. Throwing a temper tantrum that is genuinely worthy of a 2-year old for not getting their way when THEY refused to negotiate is arrogance and political incompetence.

    If most of the country does not really notice the layoffs of 800,000 government employees, pray tell what value were they contributing to the people of this republic? Perhaps they should consider that history shows this is one risk of public employment. They chose their jobs complete with the risks and many generous benefits. Perhaps, if this is too much for them to handle, they can go get honest jobs that really do contribute to society. Jobs that bring services, products and benefits for which free people will willingly pay, rather than relying on a scheme that requires that for them to be paid, the government must first, steal money from real producers at the point of a gun.

    If you are one of the government workers currently affected by this silliness, I understand your angst. I hope that you can see the facts clearly enough to understand that the executive branch decided who to furlough and the executive branch and Senate are the parties that refused to negotiate. Also please note, that I'm sure that you are a good person in a bad situation. But, try to understand that most of us that have to produce products and services that people voluntarily buy, in order to make a living, are fed up with government confiscation of income and capital to support a host of programs that are not needed, not wanted, support the theft of money from producers or encourage freeloading at taxpayer expense, all forced upon us by an out of control and completely bankrupt government.

    After talking to a lot of people, I think that Atlas is winding up for the shrug that will challenge the corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse in the current government.

  4. His implication that it took a lot of taxpayer money to do it is perhaps an overstatement. But his main point — that it they had done nothing they would still be available — seem to me to be entirely valid. However easy it is, can you come up with any reason for blocking the sites other than propaganda value? A warning that the site is not being kept up to date as of October 1st — OK, I can see that. (Well, kinda. Who really thinks that any website, particularly a government website, is perfectly up to date anyhow?) It is exactly analogous to the park service putting up barriers around monuments. They are "punishing us" for not forcing our representatives to given them all the money they want. It has nothing to do with any actual capability being lost by the sequesterization.

  5. LOL. 5 minutes' work for a government contractor? Let me get out my calculator and see how much that cost the US taxpayer. Would that be at the same rate as the F-35 fighter, the most expensive weapons system in US history, more than the GDP of Australia, that so far has produced a jet that cannot fly in the rain or fog, nor can it land on a carrier because the arrestor hook is in the wrong place? The F-22 fighter still asphyxiating its pilots after 4 years in use, and the Pentagon still can't figure out why it's not working? The $98,000 outhouse installed at the US national park trailhead in Alaska? The $1 billion floating radar near Pearl Harbor based on obsolete technology? The 2 Navy oilers USNF Benjamin Isherwood and Henry Eckford (price tag: $300 million each) that were so botched they went to the scrapyard without one day of service?

  6. You are noticing much because most of us are still working without pay in those jobs deemed critical to the nation.

  7. Feel free to take some time off Brian. We will let you know if we notice your absence. Don't bet on it though.

  8. "Critical to the nation…."? Like NSA spying, the $2 billion data collection center in Idaho, VIPER sweeps and domestic drone flights that were untouched? In every other shutdown the poor, left-out-in-the-cold government workers were paid retroactively from the day they were laid off (cue the violins).

  9. Centurian says:

    Hmmmm…So Shane posted another reply about how the 800,000 people and their families are feeling the pain. I replied to that in what I thought was a polite and fair way. My reply never appeared here, but now Shane's comment is also gone. Did he simply eliminate my retort by deleting his own post? Or, was I somehow edited out?

  10. … I must ask you a question …
    How do you know how long it takes to put up a "website unavailable" page?

  11. You are lying. It's illegal for you to have access or t be working under federal law!

  12. 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?

  13. Devasahayam says:

    Still another clue (albeit only to those who follow international news) is the fact that in one Indian state (Andhra Pradesh — where the state government seconded Delhi's approval to split the state into Seemandhra and Telangana), there was effective shutdown for two months (when Delhi's approval was announced) continuously — due to bandh (and there is a jumped up one for 48 hours as of Thursday, which is ongoing).

  14. How do you think they got Roberts to rule the way he did on oBUMocare? NSA

  15. Nothing, not one penny. They will all get back pay, just like all the other shutdowns. They never have to live in the real world.

  16. Can relate to your post, "Centurian" … what's good for the goose should be good for the gander, but here, it's more selective …. I believe that would be more censorship than editing. Hmmmmm . . . Tea Party = free speech?

  17. If these employees don't get back pay, and I highly doubt they won't, the fed is still 85% funded. This is a 15% savings to the American people. Sounds great right? Well, not really, deficit spending is greater than this 15%. So with the government officially shut down, we are still increasing debt.

  18. The upper echelons of the NSA certainly are bloated with do-nothing voyeurs and skirt chasers. Plus they have bloated their Q Group Security forces to not only A) do background checks; B) provide physical security of the property and the people; but also C) flesh out a brown shirt thug intimidators and harasser private army to stalk and menace NSA employees who dare report o e of their criminal cabal of managers to either the NSA EEO or the NSA OIG (Off of the Inspector General). For the last decade, the real explosion in hirees and allocated funds in Q group has gone to this secret army. They stalk, menace, threaten, conduct massive slander campaigns in the work place and outside in the guise of “re-investigation”. They will absolutely portray anyone who files a complaint as a child-molester, wife-beater, terrorist sympathizer, traitor, mentally unstable threat to the community, etc., in order to destroy the credibility of the person and his complaint against what is usually and incredibly depraved, degenerate criminal manager. Snowden knew this, that is why he had no hope of bringing this up with any responsible authority. Q Group will even stalk and scare someone’s children, poison their dog, launch coordinated driving attacks against the person or his family to scare him/her into dropping his/her complaint. The NSA should be eviscerated, and ALL upper level management poligraphed as to their involvement in such heinous crimes against individuals or go to Guantanamo until they talk. Google: NSA psychological abuse security run amok sexual harassment homosexual harassment purge … You should find articles by Don Soeken, Sherrie Gossett, Wayne Madsen.

  19. I have read that this may not be the case this time. We’ll see. Though the 27th Amendment was hastily added to make sure that the perpetrators (politicians), will. That needs to be revoked and one stating that the politicians will NEVER regain salary from a job BADLY DONE.

  20. Gerald Ladd says:

    Then leave. No one cares. There's nothing worse then a government worker standing out. You suck off us. We pay YOUR way, you don't pay ours. See the difference?

  21. 1baronrichsnot1 says:

    We could lay off 1.5 million more of these "workers". They are the result of the private sector being unable to provide jobs for them, they like working for the gov't because like a gov't program, it is eternal. This is the only way to get rid of some of these "unassential workers". Their closest job description would be "hired to lower the unemployed rate". They did it in the thirties, and have been growing ever since. Gov't is to big to support, that is the problem we have! It now consumes so much of our cash, production, programs, and now insurance, that there is nothing left out of the private sector checks. On top of all this, they don't want to pay taxes out of what we just "give them" out of the goodness of our hearts. Let me tell you, that may be short lived from this day forward. That is unless the initiated marxism is successful.

  22. RonWillison says:

    Our legislators don't need the money we pay them unfortunately. We could fire them all this morning, Have an auction for their seats in congress this evening. Make enough money to pay off the National debt. And show up at Capital Hill tomorrow morning only to find the same woeful faces staring back at us. Insider trading is just too profitable.

  23. WhiteFalcon says:

    The biggest thing they don't want us to find out is that we can live without them. The Government is far to big and bloated and they should fire about two or three times the number of those that have been laid off at present. The entire National Park Service shold be transferred to the states where the parks are. That would transfer to the proper states the land that should bellong to them as well as getting a bunch of people off the Government pay roll thereby saving the Government a lot of money.

  24. RonWillison says:

    Why am I being moderated on this site? Please take the "teaparty" out of your site name. Unsubscribing.

  25. WhiteFalcon says:

    I did this and the article I read convinced me that anyone that is employed by NSA or the DIA should be looking for other jobs and should be getting out of there. They should also, after they leave NSA, let other people know what is going on there in the line of psycological abuse so that others will know before taking a job there just what they are getting into.

  26. I do miss one thing. The commissaries at nearby Ft' Bragg have been closed. This makes perfect sense since they make money to pay for their own operation. Instead, all the fresh meat, vegetables, and fruit will now be left to rot.

  27. Everyone needs to understand upfront with public service jobs is that they are comletely subject to politics. I had a friend who was a dentist with a cush federal job in New Orleans, doing dental work for merchant seamen. One day the funding dried up and he was out of a job. The only public sector jobs that are moderately safe are those one must win an election to get into. Those are the jobs with no supervisor to fire you, and you can vote to keep funding your own salary.

  28. The thing about Obama supposedly teaching constitutional law is ironic. He seems to have forgotten that all spending must be initiated in the House, and that both House and Senate must agree upon it. Since no seat in the House or Senate is a presidential appointment, he shoulld have realized that to ram Obaamcare down everyone's throat, he would have to have control over both houses for 8 yeasr straight. That was shortsightedly optimiistic of him to think he could do that. The extreme delay in implementing Obamacare was not enough to help the Democrats keep the House in 2010.

    Anybody ever involved in a divorce knopws that people who have bee completely screwed over refuse to compromise on anything any more.

  29. This is just like the "sequester." Obama issued orders that every agency under his control would make cuts to make the sequester hurt as much as possible to punish the American people for daring to elect representatives who won't bow down and worship him.

  30. As a retired civil service worker I can vouch for the fact it is true in some agencies (not all) about 50% less employees would improve the efficiency ten fold. As a pilot, I was considered essential and never got time off for a shut down and always got paid regardless. There may be some who did not get paid however, I do not know of any. If in fact as many as the reported eight hundred thousand do not get paid it is because of obama not the agencies leaders. Furthermore, it is a fallacy to perceive obama as not having the power to direct payment in these cases. Along with that power comes the power to instill misery as well. Now I ask you which is obama providing for the people? Feel something slipping anyone?

    Been there done that.

    In my nearly 75 years I’ve never seen a president who had disdain for the nation as does obama. An example is the first day of the shutdown the stock market went up and obama made statements intended to get it to go down. Gloom and doom instead of encouragement. Is that a chosen leader? Imagine what the reaction would have been if GW had done such a thing after 911. Just nothing more to say then obama sucks as a leader

  31. sad part they pay them for NOT working when they come back. They're not reaL jobs like the public is used to. these are positions these people are put in to draw money, what's the difference, welfare, unemployment, disability, government job, all the same. It's a way to spread the wealth

  32. That's typical example of government incompetence. Don't ever try common sense insame paragraph with government administration.

  33. pretty bad when first amendment rights are removed by sites we support.

  34. Jeanne Stotler says:

    , Obama, has always felt he could get his way by hurting US, the ones who pay the bills. I've never really understood his logic and question his credentials as a "Constitutional" lector. We need at least one conservative, Federal Judge to issue a warrant for he arrest of this IMPOSTER. He ordered Mt. Vernon shut, they couldn't do it as it is intirely funded by gifts and donations to "THE LADIES OF MOUNT VERNON" and has been for years, so what did they do, BLOCKED THE GEORGE WASHINGTON PARKWAY , this is the poorest excuse for a human being I've ever seen, not alone a man suppose the POTUS

  35. Jeanne Stotler says:

    I live in suburbs of DC, only thing I saw was less traffic last night, not a lot, but some, also not as many buying food in places like Arby's an McD's, as to what AZ Don said, it's true, started after WWII, my parents both at The Navy Dept., said there were s many as 2 and 3 people doing the same job, this was because Truman said any vet applying for a government job could get one not necessary to be qualified, my Dad worked long hours during the war in BuORD, he had to get ammo, ships etc from one point to another, after war was responsible for the storage, destroying and sinking of many boats guns etc.A vet came in, said he liked tat job, a bur. chief told my Dad "Train Him", and that Dad would be moved o another job with a grade and pay cut, What my father said I cannot print here, Later learned 3 men were doing the job my father did. Thanks for the long hours etc, go fly a kite now.

  36. Quit complaining, you know that you will get paid even if you did not show up for work. The private sector involves the fact- no show- no pay.. If infact you are doing your JOB , then you will get paid. You did not even miss a paycheck yet.

  37. Jim Whitney says:

    Non-essential employees include civilian teaching professors at the military academies. Maybe the public doesn't notice these non-essential employees being laid off, but I am sure students attending these academies do. Classes are being taught during the shut down by military, many of which are not qualified to teach the specific course they are assigned to.

  38. My brother is one of the 800,000. He is a curriculum writer for the DOD. No, you won't feel his absence yet I imagine. But if this lasts for an extended period of time you might. And yes…his family is struggling during this time. But he is not complaining. He wanst the GOP to stand their ground and not fund obamacare.

  39. Pity is, that 1 out of 10 never do any work, anyhow. I believe that this shutdown, SHOULD determine how many of those on furlough are really needed. Contractors also. Time to shape up or ship out for ALL in the Government.

  40. Actually, his disdain is only for the true red-blooded working person and the elite rich, who he is soaking every time he get's a chance. He believes that women must have paid abortions, believes in gay marriage, believes in homosexuality, (is one) believes in taxing the worker and giving to the lazy deadbeat, the workers payday and believes that drugs are OK. This is a person, (cannot call him a man) who has never worked a day in his life, and has lived off the Country he dislikes intensely. Yet, it is easy to see that those who vote for him, are able to gain from that vote.

  41. RonWillison says:

    Doc Paul I believe would have a problem with moderating my comments. I worked in these comment boxes 10 to 12 hours a day during his campaign trying to get the presidential ink pen into his hands. Why were two of three of my posts from last night not posted? Anybody?

  42. When claimants don't get their decisions on their disability cases for three more months somebody might notice. I want to be doing my job rather than sitting on my hands. And yes, I do work hard and care about the quality of what I produce. My agency is well known as a sweat shop but I came here from an Army post to do work really affecting people.

  43. I think any agency, company, school or whatever looks very different on the outside from the inside. Every Fed I know has far more work than they can handle and they must pitch in and help each other. The Government gets its pound of flesh for the money it pays.

  44. John W Tobin says:

    Actually, what he said was; "…Washington spent tax money to change the…", not, "..it took a LOT of taxpayer money to do it…" (emphasis added).
    It's not polite to misquote.

  45. I NOTICED… Now that they are getting paid retroactively!

  46. The DemoRats are doing the same ole' thing as little kids who are spoiled and don't get their way. When they close down our Nationa Monuments who belong to us they are mocking our heritage and freedom. What do they think when people from other countries visit our land and see fences and ropes around our memorials and parks? We have become a weak Nation of weak leaders who have lost all pride of our country and only think with their pocketbook for themselves — both sides. What good is this accomplishing? None.

  47. 1baronrichsnot1 says:

    We can lay off 1million more, these are people with the job description of "hired to lower unemployed rate" that's it. Plus they are regularly called "non essential" which is a good adjective, although a little demeaning! But they aren't there for the production, gov't doesn't produce anything. No matter what progressive marxist think! they produce nada,nothing, no gdp, etc. Any economist will tell you that any and every gov't employee goes in the column of social programs, welfare, give away, disability, etc. They are a direct and constant drain on the cost of our gov't! Again, let me say they don't produce one thing of value!! It is a make work position, period!

  48. 1baronrichsnot1 says:

    Who are you trying to snow mary! Make work! The gov't produces nothing at all, a direct drain on the taxpayer! Everything they get is funded by the taxpayers! I know you don't want to think of our little darlings that way, but the truth is the truth!
    Any economist will tell you that all gov't workers salaries and burden belong in the same line as cost of gov't, along with welfare, disability, social give away programs. Not saying that we don't need people to administrate these programs, but it produces nothing!!! Sorry!

  49. No one should care as long as the unemployed outnumber them .

  50. I consider myself a conservative, but I am also a 37 plus year civil servant. I work for DOD and while we only experienced 4 days of leave my work did not go away. I work about 50 hours a week and manage about 2 BILLION in work done for our various weapons programs. You didn't see the DoD close down because development of new weapons systems will NOT directly affect you, but.. What if we just closed the DoD and left all of it to the guys and gals in uniform???? How many engineers, accountants, program managers do we have to replace the civilians you care so little about. I'll clue you in. YOU the PEOPLE decide what your government spends money on. Don't like a program, call your representative. I plan to work for 3 plus years and retire. I've supported the warfighters both DIRECTLY and INDIRECLY and my engineering inputs have made the systems I worked on safer for the users, deadlier to the opposition and cheaper to operate. I truly resent the above unknowing crap. If you've not tried to trouble shoot and fix a complex weapons system then you have no basis for attacking those who do.