Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Federal Employees Roaming the Streets?

Dear Madame L,

It looks like Congress is going to allow "sequestration" to take place. But as I understand it, this will only affect federal employees and retirees. What's the problem with that?



Dear Affected,

Oh, yeah, that's right, Kind Reader, you ARE affected. If and when the "sequestration" takes place, here's what will happen:

--Let's say you live in a Congressional district, as Madame L does, where about 14,000 federal employees and retirees live. All those desperate individuals will start roaming the streets with baseball bats and monkey wrenches, looking for someone to steal food from. Wait, no. That's from a movie script.

But the following really will happen:
--Hundreds of thousands of  federal employees will be furloughed, and the services they provide, from prison security to food inspections to volcano monitoring to infrastructure to air traffic control, would be affected, according to Office of Management and Budget acting chief Jeffrey Zients. The OMB has been providing guidance to agencies for handling the situation, including who can be furloughed and who must be kept working full time.

--Health research will be hampered and in some cases halted as $3.6 billion is cut from the budgets of the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

--Our military will be "devastated," says Defense Secretary-Nominee Chuck Hagel, singing the same song his predecessor, Leon Panetta, has been singing for months now. This is made worse by the fact that Congress hasn't even gotten around yet to passing the defense appropriations bill for 2013, which leaves the Pentagon (along with other federal agencies and departments) with 2012 levels of spending after a series of "continuing resolutions," the standing joke among federal employees for years now.  

--It shouldn't need to be said, but apparently some Members of Congress don't get this: Our national security will be endangered.

--Payments to and work by non-government contractors to the military and other federal agencies will be stopped, so tens of thousands of private-sector employees will also be furloughed, laid off, or fired.

--Let's say a volcano erupts during the sequestration. It will take U.S. Geological Survey employees, who have been furloughed and therefore unable to monitor their equipment, significant time to respond.

--Insert any other natural or man-made disaster in place of "volcano erupts" and the same thing will happen. That's because furloughed employees are not even allowed to set foot on the property where they would be working.

--Retirees will stop getting their pension checks, so they won't be able to pay rent or buy groceries, so not just they, but the economy where they are living, will suffer.

Does Madame L's Member of Congress know how those 14,000 employees and retirees, plus their families, will be affected? Of course she does! Does she care? Madame L doubts it.

And what about YOUR Representative? There's only one way to help these people care: Write them a letter or email message. Better yet, call their office and leave a message. You'll find contact information in the the "Contacting Congress" block on the upper right of this page.


Madame L

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

Argh. I'll be draggin me foot down the street with me shovel, looking for some fresh brains. (scrape! scrape!)

14,000 of us, roaming the streets, lookin for food. Argh. MUNGRY.

WAIT! With all the rest of the local economy affected, the real number is closer to 150,000 - as the better prepared among us dip into our food storage and the grocery stores lay off people. Who then can't buy anything either.

Say, how DID the Depression start?


Hmmm. FREEZE DRIED brains. Yuck. What's in that other can?