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Federal Employees News Digest : May 6, 2013
Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Government Information Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$39 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: email@example.com www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $39. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2013 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions or distribution in whole or part prohibited except by site license or reprint purchase. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. May 6, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 40 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com plex and in many ways as silly as sequestra- tion, ignorance is bliss. Meaning ... ... if you are confused about sequestration, furloughs, fiscal cliffs, the debt ceiling and the like, it means you have been paying attention. And you are baffled for good reason. Much of the reporting about sequestration, from the lead-up months ago to the reality of today, has been confusing at best. Some people in high places predicted the impact would be immediate. That the lights might go off the day after the automatic cuts took place. In fact, it took weeks and months for anybody to notice the sequester. And then when it hit---at least so far---it was not as bad as many thought. Defense, for example, took the lead. It said that all civilians would be furloughed for up to 22 days. I made a bet with a reporter who exclusively covers the Pentagon. I said I seriously doubted that anybody would be furloughed for the full 22 days. He disagreed. In fact, he said the furloughs would probably run longer than 22 days. He is younger than i am (who isn't?), but knows a lot more about DOD than I do. My only edge is that I was in the Army, and I've been watching Congress and the White House longer than he's been alive. Two days after we made the bet, Defense dropped the number of estimated furlough days to 14. And it said that many, not neces- sarily "most" would be furloughed. Now it is looking more like five to seven days, and maybe not even that. For whatever reason, the dire prediction of 22-plus days is gone with the wind. In fact, many civilians still haven't received the required 30-day notice of intent to furlough. Maybe those will come later. Or it could be that Congress and the White House could "fix" the mess they created. When FAA furloughed air traffic control- lers, the predictable happened. Air traffic backed up, airports were jammed and the people who count---the affluent suits with laptops---got angry, and the furloughs were ended. Meanwhile, programs like Head Start (for poor kids) and Meals-on-Wheels (for poor seniors) continued to struggle because neither group knows how to yell loud enough. And in the right direction. People may not understand sequestra- tion, or the reasons behind it. But they do understand sleeping overnight in the Denver airport when they are trying to get from Charlotte to Seattle. The narrow media band that focuses exclusively on federal personnel-related issues (including people like me) has been less breathless in its coverage. Partly because we tend to know what we don't know, and we also know that on any given subject there is a good chance you know more about it than we do. Other parts of the media report each fur- lough hiccup or sequester bump as if it were the beginning of the end. Last week The Washington Post had a front-page, above-the-fold story that said sequestration was having little impact on economic recovery. Inside the paper, how- ever, in the same section, there was a story about how it was having a noticeable effect on economic health. Choose one. And that situation is not unusual. Theories about sequestration and its fallout abound, often driven by the politics of the writer, broadcaster or news organization. Fox often sees it differently than MSNBC or CNN. We vote with our remotes. There was a short piece last week on the op-ed page of The Post. It said that by allowing FAA to cancel controller furloughs, "Democrats effectively squandered their leverage in the sequester battle." Whether you agree or not, that's what it said. It also quoted Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) as saying "we've going to have to reclaim some lost ground here." Van Hollen is one of the leaders of the House Democratic minority, and he represents a district that borders D.C. and is home to tens of thousands of some of the most affluent federal workers in the country. Van Hollen told The Post that "we cannot have a situation where people just cherry-pick the sequester." Except that death-by-cherry-picking is--- or always has been---the end result anytime anyone, Republican or Democrat, tries to shut down or choke off federal services. Imagine what will happen if IRS refunds are affected, or Social Security payments are delayed. Then just about everybody will be using the F (for furlough) word, and it will all be over. INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1
April 29, 2013
May 13, 2013