FIRST PERSON | Since 2006, my husband, Mac, has worked for the Department of Defense. We relocated to near Harrisburg, Pa., for his job, and even passed up on moving closer to home, because we thought his job was secure. We really believed this when he took a new position as a planner/estimator.
With the sequester, however, he has already been told that everyone in his division will participate in furloughs. Of course, since everything in the government is related to politics, the furloughs will be one day each week, through the rest of the fiscal year, rather than allowing employees to opt for a 22-consecutive-day furlough, which would allow them to receive short-term unemployment. I look at that and believe that the hope is by implementing one day/week furloughs, employees will complain about the 20 percent reduction in pay, and will:
- Blame the Republicans
- Tell their elected officials to do whatever the President wants, so they can stop the furloughs
I am very thankful I work full-time, as it means that while we still need to tweak our budget a bit, we will still have additional income. Mac is also exploring options for a part-time job, but until he is told exactly what day will be his furlough day, he cannot do too much. While I admire his work ethic, and his willingness to take on a second job, I know that it will mean I'll get to spend less time with him.
The looming furloughs have caused us to question our spending, even more than we had been doing. We were recently shopping for a new car -- well, used, but new to us! We both realized that buying a car is definitely not in our best financial interests currently, so rather than buy a car, we spent a bit of money to fix the car we would have otherwise replaced. We are re-evaluating our spending, from food to even our occasional dinner out to not doing as much shopping and such.
I'm not too worried about our short-term finances, as I know we'll muddle through this, as I know Mac is willing to find a part-time job to make up for some of the lost income. I am worried though that our plans to move this year may need to be shelved until at least the end of the fiscal year, if not later.
I generally think we need less government spending, yet the sequester makes no real sense to me. I think the cuts are rather politically motivated, and are overly dramatic to attract attention, like ending the White House tours. I think that reviewing the budget, line by line, along with offering employees who are close to retirement incentives to retire early, we could make substantial cuts that are unlikely to be felt by most of the population. I think early retirement incentives would save a good amount, as some of the positions could simply be absorbed into other positions, and the pay rates of those who would fill newly vacant positions would be lower than employees with 20 or 30 years in those positions.
- Employment & Career
- Politics & Government