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Federal Employees News Digest : Sept. 24, 2012
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org What's Inside44 SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 • VOL. 62, NO. 11 continued on page 3 OMB details dire effects of sequestration The Office of Management and Budget issued a report that projected severe negative effects on government functions, as well as on federal employ- ment and the well-being of citizens, if Congress fails to find a budget compro- mise in coming months and automatic spending cuts under sequestration go into effect. The report details what its authors characterize as the "devastating impact" the across-the-board cuts would have on defense and nondefense programs alike. The report---released Sept. 14, a week after the deadline set by the Sequestration Transparency Act--- includes preliminary estimates of sequestration's impact on more than 1,200 budget accounts, and specifies which accounts are subject to seques- tration and which are exempt. According to the OMB report, seques- tration would produce a 9.4 percent cut in non-exempt defense discretionary funding, and would slash 8.2 percent in non-defense, non-exempt discretionary funding. It would also produce cuts of 2 percent to Medicare, 7.6 percent to other non-exempt non-defense mandatory programs, and 10 percent to non-exempt, mandatory defense programs. The report notes that the cuts detailed in the study were never expected to occur. "In August 2011, bipartisan major- ities in both the House and Senate voted for the threat of sequestration as a mechanism to force Congress to act on further deficit reduction," the report states. "The specter of harmful across-the-board cuts to defense and nondefense programs was intended to drive both sides to compromise. The sequestration itself was never intended to be implemented." Calling sequestration "bad policy," the administration urged Congress to avoid it "by passing a comprehensive and bal- anced deficit reduction package." "As the administration has made clear, no amount of planning can mitigate the effect of these cuts," the report said. "Sequestration is a blunt and indiscrim- inate instrument. It is not the responsi- ble way for our nation to achieve deficit reduction." The report notes that while the Defense Department would be able to shift funds to preserve war-fighting and critical military readiness, sequestration nonetheless would reduce readiness of many non-deployed units, delay invest- ments and equipment repairs, produce cuts to military research and develop- ment, and cause reductions in services for military families. On the nondefense side, the report said, sequestration would threaten domestic safety and "cause severe harm" to programs that benefit the middle- class, seniors and children. Cuts would affect education initiatives, cut the numbers of law enforcement officers and staff, and hinder air traffic control, food safety, environmental protections and medical research. Cuts also would affect emergency response to terrorism and other catastrophic events, according to the report. 'Average' feds First we learn that you, as a fed- eral civil ser- vant, are paid more than the rest of us. That made national news two years ago and started a flow of studies, stories and commentary about the privileged lives of civil servants. (I wonder if the people who think feds are overpaid were also talking about the American ambassador and his three colleagues who were killed in Libya?) Then it turns out that your federal job pays a lot more than a similar job in the private sector. (Interesting, but does that average include burger- flippers and chicken-pluckers?) Next we learn that Uncle Sam pays high school dropouts big bucks com- pared to the private sector. (Critics say this is a flaw of the private sector. They say that if Uncle Sam finds a high school dropout who is also a genius, or brilliant in his or her field, they grade and pay him or her accordingly.) What next? Are you allowed to sleep on the job? (By the way, I have worked in two places where employ- ees were caught sleeping on the job. One even lived at the office---not unlike some members of Congress--- until he was caught. Neither of those places of employment were federal operations.) Well, we haven't heard that, yet. But INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Study looks at fed work hours 3 • In Brief 3 • Legal Matters 5 • Informed investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8
Oct. 1, 2012