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Federal employee in defense sector gets furlough notice, reduced income from sequester

Members of the Florida National Guard return after a deployment to Afghanistan. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the sequester cuts will have an annual impact of $27.2 million on the Guard. Photo: Florida National Guard/Debra CoxI recently heard from an individual who will soon be affected by federal cuts as a result of the sequester. Because this man is employed by the federal government in the defense industry, I’ll just call him Bill instead of using his real name.

Bill said he’s already been given notice that starting in April, he’ll be taking every Friday off. Without pay.

Bill can’t apply for unemployment to make up the difference in his paycheck—he’ll still be technically employed and there are rules in federal furlough policy that prohibit him from doing it as well.

“We can’t use our vacation time to cover the furlough days, they are just being pushed down our throat,” said Bill. “I have not signed anything, [but] my supervisor did give us a 30 day notice so it will be legal [in] April.”

For that one day each week, there’ll be “no work, no pay,” he said. Bill estimated that over a 6 month period, he’ll lose about $6,000 because of the furlough.

Bill isn’t alone. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has issued a statement expressing concerns about the impact of the sequester. Fallout for Florida is ironic—the state voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Scott, a Republican, said:

Florida is one of America’s most defense centric states. Florida hosts three unified combatant commands, 20 major Air Force and Navy installations, and very large segments of the nation’s defense industry which annually contributes over $73.4 billion and more than 754,000 defense industry jobs to the economy. [] Estimated defense industry impacts from industry and academic sources include jobs losses from 40,000 to 80,000, and defense spending reductions approaching $1 billion across Florida. The Florida National Guard estimates an annual impact of $27.2 million, which includes 986 Florida National Guard employees furloughed for 20% of the remaining year ($7.3 million in lost wages).

In Georgia, the picture is just as troubling. Biz Journals said:

Lockheed Martin Corp., which employs more than 8,700 in Georgia, could idle up to 10,000 employees, or 10 percent of its work force, CEO Bob Stevens told the U.S. House Armed Services Committee last month.

Several plans were put forth by both Democrats and Republicans. Obama made it clear he wouldn’t agree to any plan that didn’t include another tax hike. Republicans, having watched as Democrats issued billions in tax hikes, most in the ObamaCare Tax Bill, have refused to agree to another hike.

Bill said he understood the differences between the parties, adding that he misses “the days of Reagan/O'Neal and even Clinton/Gingrich.”

President Ronald Reagan compromised with House Speaker Tip O’Neill, a Democrat, as did Bill Clinton with Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich. Both president’s legacies are viewed favorably.

PolitiFact established that as of 2009, Obama had 28 czars on staff. Whether it occurred to the president to reduce those purely political forces is anyone's guess.

All Americans, even those who aren’t federal employees, are affected by the Obama administration’s monetary and regulatory policies. Bloomberg said on Friday, “Disposable income, or the money left over after taxes, dropped 4 percent after adjusting for inflation, the biggest plunge since monthly records began in 1959.”

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Mar. 1, 2013)


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