Author Topic: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown  (Read 13156 times)

HappyHoya

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Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« on: September 24, 2015, 07:16:47 AM »
Are any federal employees or contractors here doing anything to prepare for a potential shutdown? Would you change your spending if a shutdown occurs?

I made a conscious effort to minimize credit card use and discretionary spending when talk of a shutdown started a few months ago. Since my normal discretionary spending is pretty low (nonexistent some months), this doesn't change very much. We have enough savings to not worry about basic living expenses, but it also comes at a bad time with weddings, birthdays, and holidays coming up. These expenses always feel like a lot to a us, I suspect because they are a much larger percentage of our expenditures than they are for the people we exchange gifts with. I would prefer not to change our reasonable, already thought-through plans for giving what we can afford, but it also doesn't seem wise to shell out for the equivalent of 1/2 a month's rent in gifts over the next few weeks if I'm going to lose a paycheck or two this year. My husband is not a fed, FWIW, so we won't be completely without income.

Lady Fordragon

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 07:25:53 AM »
I'm a federal employee and my husband's a contractor, but we're not doing anything to prepare for a possible gov't shutdown.  In the event of a shutdown, my husband will probably still continue to work and get paid, which is more than enough money for us to live on.  We might cut down a bit more on discretionary spending, but our overall monthly expenses are pretty low to begin with.  Also, with our house already paid off, I'm not too concerned.

Giro

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 07:28:09 AM »
My husband is a federal employee and I'm a federal contractor.  We're doing nothing.  A shutdown would be a nice break without wasting my vacation days!!!  I still get paid.  He doesn't, but we don't need the money.


Apocalyptica602

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2015, 07:28:17 AM »
I understand that this is not guaranteed and it's certainly not to make light of a situation that puts a lot of our government employees in difficult financial spots... but don't they tend to approve back pay for the time furloughed?

I remember in one of the most recent government shutdowns my buddies were civilian Engineers for the military who had ~1-2 weeks? furloughed, and then it was approved that they'd be paid for the time they weren't at work.

... I was a little jealous actually, free paid vacation. Hah!

Of course I'm aware that's not a sure thing and they could just as easily say "eh we're not paying you too bad sorry!"

Anyway - I'd treat it like you 'lost your job' temporarily. Tighten your belts and live off your husband's income. As far as the spending goes, I see two options:

1) Continue spending as-is and reimburse your emergency fund once the shutdown is over since you (assuming) live below your means anyway and this is just a blip in the radar.

2) Lessen or abstain from gift giving / holiday travel and cite the shutdown as a reason (for non-mustachian people who live paycheck to paycheck they have to understand how hard it is to lose one income).

Maybe be crafty or creative with your gifts to save money. I'm no expert on this but I'm sure others can help you out.

SomedayStache

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2015, 07:29:06 AM »
eh.  I don't really care unless it drags on for more than a month because then I'd have to start moving some money around.  We're a single income household, but have savings to get us through for a few months of no pay.

The most unfortunate thing for me is that I am one of the folks that still 'gets' to go to work.  I'd be ecstatic to get a few weeks of unpaid time off and even more ecstatic to get a few weeks off of work and then get back pay. 

Lady Fordragon

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2015, 07:47:16 AM »
I understand that this is not guaranteed and it's certainly not to make light of a situation that puts a lot of our government employees in difficult financial spots... but don't they tend to approve back pay for the time furloughed?

I remember in one of the most recent government shutdowns my buddies were civilian Engineers for the military who had ~1-2 weeks? furloughed, and then it was approved that they'd be paid for the time they weren't at work.

... I was a little jealous actually, free paid vacation. Hah!

Of course I'm aware that's not a sure thing and they could just as easily say "eh we're not paying you too bad sorry!"


Yeah, last time there was a gov't shutdown the federal employees were given back pay, which at the time annoyed me since I was working as a contractor and continued to work while they were furloughed.

eh.  I don't really care unless it drags on for more than a month because then I'd have to start moving some money around.  We're a single income household, but have savings to get us through for a few months of no pay.

The most unfortunate thing for me is that I am one of the folks that still 'gets' to go to work.  I'd be ecstatic to get a few weeks of unpaid time off and even more ecstatic to get a few weeks off of work and then get back pay. 

Yeah, I'd be happy with getting some unpaid time off as well and obviously even happier if I'm paid for that time later.  In any event, I'm not worried.

MissStache

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2015, 07:51:11 AM »
I don't work for the Federal Govt, but shutdowns are great because it is SOOOOOO wonderful to commute without all the Feds going to and from work!  Gives me an extra 30 or so minutes in my day :)

All joking aside, I'm so disgusted by this talk of shutdowns.  Fer chrissake, government!  Grow up and get your work done!  It is like the grownup equivalent of taking your ball and going home, except, you know, it screws over a zillion people. 

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2015, 07:54:10 AM »
I don't work for the Federal Govt, but shutdowns are great because it is SOOOOOO wonderful to commute without all the Feds going to and from work!  Gives me an extra 30 or so minutes in my day :)

All joking aside, I'm so disgusted by this talk of shutdowns.  Fer chrissake, government!  Grow up and get your work done!  It is like the grownup equivalent of taking your ball and going home, except, you know, it screws over a zillion people.

What actually gets shut down when the federal government shuts down? It's not like food stamps or social security stops. They seem to pay as many people to make a big show barricading national parks as they would to maintain them.

Pennsylvania hasn't had a budget for months past the deadline because our idiot governor won't sign on to pension reform even though nearly every pension system in the state is ludicrously underfunded. Not a single state employee has stopped working as far as I know.

Gin1984

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2015, 08:09:31 AM »
I don't work for the Federal Govt, but shutdowns are great because it is SOOOOOO wonderful to commute without all the Feds going to and from work!  Gives me an extra 30 or so minutes in my day :)

All joking aside, I'm so disgusted by this talk of shutdowns.  Fer chrissake, government!  Grow up and get your work done!  It is like the grownup equivalent of taking your ball and going home, except, you know, it screws over a zillion people.

What actually gets shut down when the federal government shuts down? It's not like food stamps or social security stops. They seem to pay as many people to make a big show barricading national parks as they would to maintain them.

Pennsylvania hasn't had a budget for months past the deadline because our idiot governor won't sign on to pension reform even though nearly every pension system in the state is ludicrously underfunded. Not a single state employee has stopped working as far as I know.
Research does not get funded, which ends up costing the government more in the long run.  The employees who actually work at the national parks do not get paid unless they are considered essential and yes a percentage are essential to keep people out but they are not equal.  Also keep in mind that the majority decides what is essential.  The GOP leadership kept many things as essential like their gym yet stopped funding for WIC.  So yes, people do get harmed during the shut down.

Bob W

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2015, 08:16:05 AM »
As I recall at the last shutdown 90% of Government employees were considered "essential?"   

Wouldn't worry in the least because it ain't gonna happen. 

Matt_D

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2015, 08:17:58 AM »
What actually gets shut down when the federal government shuts down? It's not like food stamps or social security stops. They seem to pay as many people to make a big show barricading national parks as they would to maintain them.

Pennsylvania hasn't had a budget for months past the deadline because our idiot governor won't sign on to pension reform even though nearly every pension system in the state is ludicrously underfunded. Not a single state employee has stopped working as far as I know.

Erm, actually, food stamps do stop: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/government-shutdown-would-shut-down-food-stamps_5601b362e4b08820d91a8a55. Social security payments don't stop because they're non-appropriated funds, but there might be delays in processing if the shutdown went on for a while - and you better hope you don't need to call anyone during that time.

The WaPo has a breakdown of who gets sent home (though it doesn't include any contractors, and in many agencies the contractor workforce is at least half again the size of the agency): http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/09/22/who-gets-sent-home-if-the-government-shuts-down/
It also has a list of a few more things that won't happen here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/09/23/if-the-government-shuts-dont-plan-on-visiting-yellowstone-financing-your-home-or-xxxx/
And you're incorrect in stating "They seem to pay as many people to make a big show barricading national parks as they would to maintain them." (see first WaPo article, 93% of the staff gets sent home so the people manning barricades are literally the only people working). Parks take more staff to keep running than most people realize - especially parks with national monuments etc. in them.

Federal contractors don't generally get paid back pay, btw. Most folks I knew during the last shutdown had to take unpaid leave - some had to use up the vacation they were saving for the holidays. Whatever your views on the govt., shutting it down really sucks for the people who have jobs related to it.


wenchsenior

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2015, 08:18:28 AM »
I understand that this is not guaranteed and it's certainly not to make light of a situation that puts a lot of our government employees in difficult financial spots... but don't they tend to approve back pay for the time furloughed?

I remember in one of the most recent government shutdowns my buddies were civilian Engineers for the military who had ~1-2 weeks? furloughed, and then it was approved that they'd be paid for the time they weren't at work.

... I was a little jealous actually, free paid vacation. Hah!

Of course I'm aware that's not a sure thing and they could just as easily say "eh we're not paying you too bad sorry!"


Yeah, last time there was a gov't shutdown the federal employees were given back pay, which at the time annoyed me since I was working as a contractor and continued to work while they were furloughed.

eh.  I don't really care unless it drags on for more than a month because then I'd have to start moving some money around.  We're a single income household, but have savings to get us through for a few months of no pay.

The most unfortunate thing for me is that I am one of the folks that still 'gets' to go to work.  I'd be ecstatic to get a few weeks of unpaid time off and even more ecstatic to get a few weeks off of work and then get back pay. 

Yeah, I'd be happy with getting some unpaid time off as well and obviously even happier if I'm paid for that time later.  In any event, I'm not worried.

I just want to point out that for those Feds who are furloughed, they are explicitly forbidden from leaving their duty station (in terms of the general city, etc) or from doing any work on Federal projects, even if they want to. So it's not like they can go haring off on an out of town vacation for a couple weeks, unless they are sure they can do it undetected, or race back to their duty station within a short enough time (a few hours).

Also, the work doesn't stop even though they are forbidden from working. So many, especially among the upper level researchers, just go on working from home on things that are not easily 'detectable' so as not to get too far behind or screw over all their non-Federal collaborators. My husband actually had to sneak into his own friggin office in the middle of the night to get some work-related stuff so that he could keep working (against orders) at home. It's just so unbelievably frustrating. I'm surprised to see some Feds thinking of it as a vacation. It sure didn't feel like a vacation to my husband.

Last furlough was incredibly disruptive for us, since it fell right before some annual out-of-country research work. Quite a few people (non Feds, including me) had spent lots of money on this project and needed my husband to be at the field site, and he couldn't come down. So for several weeks, we all twiddled our thumbs and tried to find other things to do while he absolutely RAGED at home.

In some ways, though, we were lucky that the furlough fell a few days before we were due to leave. So he never went in the first place. If the fulough had started a few days later, when my husband was already AT the field site, he would have had to turn around and fly straight home. Efficient, right? And good for mental health.

Anyway, in terms of preparing? This year, we scheduled field work to fall outside the window of risk. Also, my husband will make sure all the necessary work materials he needs are at HOME with copies on his home computer, so he doesn't have to risk the wrath of the higher ups for :gasp: continuing to do his job while not being paid. Other than that, we'll dip into some extra cash in savings accounts, or rely on credit cards temporarily, if we need to.


muckety_muck

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2015, 08:57:19 AM »
I was in a "mission-critical" position during the last furlough, and assume that I will be required to do the same this time. Go to work everyday, not knowing if you're going to get paid. On the other hand, my spouse was able to stay home (furloughed) for three weeks and still got paid for "going to work" even though there was no work involved.

We have enough cash savings that we will be OK either way. Wish Congress would grow up! It affects the local businesses too, because people start tightening their dining out/shopping budgets when they think they might not get paid.

Gin1984

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2015, 09:39:07 AM »
I was in a "mission-critical" position during the last furlough, and assume that I will be required to do the same this time. Go to work everyday, not knowing if you're going to get paid. On the other hand, my spouse was able to stay home (furloughed) for three weeks and still got paid for "going to work" even though there was no work involved.

We have enough cash savings that we will be OK either way. Wish Congress would grow up! It affects the local businesses too, because people start tightening their dining out/shopping budgets when they think they might not get paid.
I seriously wonder why people here are saying Congress and not the individual members/group.  I would much rather see a shut down than one more of the cuts to women's health because it is all part of a "death by 1000 cuts" and is seriously harming women and men.  On the other side we have a group using their ability to shut down the government to follow an ideology and to control women. Why are we not being clear on which group WANTS this shut down.  They did it once before, it is not like we don't know who is causing it. It is not Congress, it is the GOP.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2015, 09:47:51 AM »
I was in a "mission-critical" position during the last furlough, and assume that I will be required to do the same this time. Go to work everyday, not knowing if you're going to get paid. On the other hand, my spouse was able to stay home (furloughed) for three weeks and still got paid for "going to work" even though there was no work involved.

We have enough cash savings that we will be OK either way. Wish Congress would grow up! It affects the local businesses too, because people start tightening their dining out/shopping budgets when they think they might not get paid.
I seriously wonder why people here are saying Congress and not the individual members/group.  I would much rather see a shut down than one more of the cuts to women's health because it is all part of a "death by 1000 cuts" and is seriously harming women and men.  On the other side we have a group using their ability to shut down the government to follow an ideology and to control women. Why are we not being clear on which group WANTS this shut down.  They did it once before, it is not like we don't know who is causing it. It is not Congress, it is the GOP.

Obviously if one side or the other compromised, there wouldn't be a shutdown. So I don't think it makes sense to attribute it to one or the other.

I also think it's disingenuous to say that those who are against abortion simply "want to control women" - while I'm pro-choice myself, I have no trouble understanding that some people believe life begins at conception.

HappyHoya

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2015, 09:52:56 AM »
I was in a "mission-critical" position during the last furlough, and assume that I will be required to do the same this time. Go to work everyday, not knowing if you're going to get paid. On the other hand, my spouse was able to stay home (furloughed) for three weeks and still got paid for "going to work" even though there was no work involved.

We have enough cash savings that we will be OK either way. Wish Congress would grow up! It affects the local businesses too, because people start tightening their dining out/shopping budgets when they think they might not get paid.
I seriously wonder why people here are saying Congress and not the individual members/group.  I would much rather see a shut down than one more of the cuts to women's health because it is all part of a "death by 1000 cuts" and is seriously harming women and men.  On the other side we have a group using their ability to shut down the government to follow an ideology and to control women. Why are we not being clear on which group WANTS this shut down.  They did it once before, it is not like we don't know who is causing it. It is not Congress, it is the GOP.

Obviously if one side or the other compromised, there wouldn't be a shutdown. So I don't think it makes sense to attribute it to one or the other.

I also think it's disingenuous to say that those who are against abortion simply "want to control women" - while I'm pro-choice myself, I have no trouble understanding that some people believe life begins at conception.

I don't think your opinion is irreconcilable with the poster you were replying to. People can believe whatever they want to believe, but if it's up for debate then it is controlling to try to legislate your personal beliefs.

beltim

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2015, 09:56:17 AM »
As I recall at the last shutdown 90% of Government employees were considered "essential?"   

Wouldn't worry in the least because it ain't gonna happen.

1) The actual terminology is "exempted" but this gets misused in the press all the time.
2) About 60% of federal employees had to work during the last shutdown.  Very few of those were paid during the shutdown, and very few were guaranteed of being paid afterwards, although in that case they were. 
3) Most of that 60% is the military, which requires people to work because of the Anti-Deficiency Act.

Left

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2015, 09:59:47 AM »
another fed employee here... I don't think my agency will be affected :S

It's just bad press to shut down the VA hospitals...

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2015, 10:02:37 AM »
I was in a "mission-critical" position during the last furlough, and assume that I will be required to do the same this time. Go to work everyday, not knowing if you're going to get paid. On the other hand, my spouse was able to stay home (furloughed) for three weeks and still got paid for "going to work" even though there was no work involved.

We have enough cash savings that we will be OK either way. Wish Congress would grow up! It affects the local businesses too, because people start tightening their dining out/shopping budgets when they think they might not get paid.
I seriously wonder why people here are saying Congress and not the individual members/group.  I would much rather see a shut down than one more of the cuts to women's health because it is all part of a "death by 1000 cuts" and is seriously harming women and men.  On the other side we have a group using their ability to shut down the government to follow an ideology and to control women. Why are we not being clear on which group WANTS this shut down.  They did it once before, it is not like we don't know who is causing it. It is not Congress, it is the GOP.

Obviously if one side or the other compromised, there wouldn't be a shutdown. So I don't think it makes sense to attribute it to one or the other.

I also think it's disingenuous to say that those who are against abortion simply "want to control women" - while I'm pro-choice myself, I have no trouble understanding that some people believe life begins at conception.

I don't think your opinion is irreconcilable with the poster you were replying to. People can believe whatever they want to believe, but if it's up for debate then it is controlling to try to legislate your personal beliefs.

If you believe that the purpose of laws is control for its own sake, then yes. A very Ayn Rand viewpoint:

Quote
Did you really think we want those laws observed?...We want them to be broken. ... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers and then you cash in on guilt.

I think that quote describes all the cities around St. Louis running off of fines levied against poor people very well.

But its applicability to laws against murder, which in the pro-life viewpoint abortion is a subset of, is questionable.

HappyHoya

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2015, 10:06:44 AM »
I was in a "mission-critical" position during the last furlough, and assume that I will be required to do the same this time. Go to work everyday, not knowing if you're going to get paid. On the other hand, my spouse was able to stay home (furloughed) for three weeks and still got paid for "going to work" even though there was no work involved.

We have enough cash savings that we will be OK either way. Wish Congress would grow up! It affects the local businesses too, because people start tightening their dining out/shopping budgets when they think they might not get paid.
I seriously wonder why people here are saying Congress and not the individual members/group.  I would much rather see a shut down than one more of the cuts to women's health because it is all part of a "death by 1000 cuts" and is seriously harming women and men.  On the other side we have a group using their ability to shut down the government to follow an ideology and to control women. Why are we not being clear on which group WANTS this shut down.  They did it once before, it is not like we don't know who is causing it. It is not Congress, it is the GOP.

Obviously if one side or the other compromised, there wouldn't be a shutdown. So I don't think it makes sense to attribute it to one or the other.

I also think it's disingenuous to say that those who are against abortion simply "want to control women" - while I'm pro-choice myself, I have no trouble understanding that some people believe life begins at conception.

I don't think your opinion is irreconcilable with the poster you were replying to. People can believe whatever they want to believe, but if it's up for debate then it is controlling to try to legislate your personal beliefs.

If you believe that the purpose of laws is control for its own sake, then yes. A very Ayn Rand viewpoint:

Quote
Did you really think we want those laws observed?...We want them to be broken. ... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers and then you cash in on guilt.

I think that quote describes all the cities around St. Louis running off of fines levied against poor people very well.

But its applicability to laws against murder, which in the pro-life viewpoint abortion is a subset of, is questionable.

Fair enough. FWIW, I was trying to reconcile two viewpoints to avoid having the thread turn into a debate about abortion, not to push anyone's buttons. Can you tell I'm sick of politics?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2015, 10:08:13 AM »
Fair enough. FWIW, I was trying to reconcile two viewpoints to avoid having the thread turn into a debate about abortion, not to push anyone's buttons. Can you tell I'm sick of politics?

I appreciate the goal. I should have left it alone.

HappyHoya

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2015, 10:22:22 AM »
Fair enough. FWIW, I was trying to reconcile two viewpoints to avoid having the thread turn into a debate about abortion, not to push anyone's buttons. Can you tell I'm sick of politics?

I appreciate the goal. I should have left it alone.

Your point was fair and it's your prerogative to make it. It seems to me like we quickly got to the crux of why this issue presently seems unsolvable. If that means a shutdown is likely, I'm glad I found this site last year...

Proud Foot

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2015, 10:41:46 AM »
Honestly I would prefer the budgeting process be separated from Congress.  Let them vote on new funding/cuts during the year to take effect the following fiscal year and the total amount to be budgeted.  The separate budgeting group allocates the budget based upon specific actions already passed and then allocate the rest based upon set formulas.  Still probably isn't the best solution but it would help prevent shut downs.  Like with PP this year, if it hasn't been voted to not be funded by the deadline, it gets funded and the government doesn't have to worry about shutting down.   

Drifterrider

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2015, 10:43:13 AM »


1.  I just want to point out that for those Feds who are furloughed, they are explicitly forbidden from leaving their duty station (in terms of the general city, etc)

2.  My husband actually had to sneak into his own friggin office in the middle of the night to get some work-related stuff so that he could keep working (against orders) at home.

[/quote]

I numbered two of your statements for ease of responding.

1.  I don't know where you get your information but there is no legal authority to "forbid" a federal employee from leaving their duty station (military excluded because they are on the clock).

2.  Your husband violated the Anti-Deficiency Act (a felony).  If I had caught him doing it I would have reported it.  It hurts us all. 

Full disclosure.  I am a federal budget analyst.

In 1977 the federal fiscal year was moved from 1 July to 1 October in order to allow the congress enough time to pass budgets.  They have done so four times since 1977.  All other times there were CRs (continuing resolutions).  The time frame has varied from a few days at a time to a few months.  It cost the people more money because instead of some work being done only once for the year, it has to be done for every period of CR.  It is a political tool (as are some that employ it).

In years past, those "sent home" were paid retroactively but there is no requirement in law that mandates this. 

During the furlough (as a result of sequestration) those "sent home" were not paid for that time.  I lost six days of pay; some lost more. 

I would be willing to bet that those reading these boards are prepared for these events because we don't spend everything we have and live in constant debt. 

I wouldn't object to a few days off (but I want my money).  I haven't reduced spending on anything because I have lived a certain way for decades which is; plan for the worst.  I agree with Suze Ormand on a few things (emergency cash) so I can weather the storm for six months or so but I certainly wouldn't want to.



Drifterrider

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2015, 10:48:01 AM »
Honestly I would prefer the budgeting process be separated from Congress. Then you will have to get the constitution amended.

Let them vote on new funding/cuts during the year to take effect the following fiscal year and the total amount to be budgeted.That is the current process

The separate budgeting group allocates the budget based upon specific actions already passed and then allocate the rest based upon set formulas.That is the process in place  Still probably isn't the best solution but it would help prevent shut downs.  Like with PP this year, if it hasn't been voted to not be funded by the deadline, it gets funded and the government doesn't have to worry about shutting down.


Lady Fordragon

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2015, 10:53:46 AM »
I understand that this is not guaranteed and it's certainly not to make light of a situation that puts a lot of our government employees in difficult financial spots... but don't they tend to approve back pay for the time furloughed?

I remember in one of the most recent government shutdowns my buddies were civilian Engineers for the military who had ~1-2 weeks? furloughed, and then it was approved that they'd be paid for the time they weren't at work.

... I was a little jealous actually, free paid vacation. Hah!

Of course I'm aware that's not a sure thing and they could just as easily say "eh we're not paying you too bad sorry!"


Yeah, last time there was a gov't shutdown the federal employees were given back pay, which at the time annoyed me since I was working as a contractor and continued to work while they were furloughed.

eh.  I don't really care unless it drags on for more than a month because then I'd have to start moving some money around.  We're a single income household, but have savings to get us through for a few months of no pay.

The most unfortunate thing for me is that I am one of the folks that still 'gets' to go to work.  I'd be ecstatic to get a few weeks of unpaid time off and even more ecstatic to get a few weeks off of work and then get back pay. 

Yeah, I'd be happy with getting some unpaid time off as well and obviously even happier if I'm paid for that time later.  In any event, I'm not worried.

I just want to point out that for those Feds who are furloughed, they are explicitly forbidden from leaving their duty station (in terms of the general city, etc) or from doing any work on Federal projects, even if they want to. So it's not like they can go haring off on an out of town vacation for a couple weeks, unless they are sure they can do it undetected, or race back to their duty station within a short enough time (a few hours).

Also, the work doesn't stop even though they are forbidden from working. So many, especially among the upper level researchers, just go on working from home on things that are not easily 'detectable' so as not to get too far behind or screw over all their non-Federal collaborators. My husband actually had to sneak into his own friggin office in the middle of the night to get some work-related stuff so that he could keep working (against orders) at home. It's just so unbelievably frustrating. I'm surprised to see some Feds thinking of it as a vacation. It sure didn't feel like a vacation to my husband.

Last furlough was incredibly disruptive for us, since it fell right before some annual out-of-country research work. Quite a few people (non Feds, including me) had spent lots of money on this project and needed my husband to be at the field site, and he couldn't come down. So for several weeks, we all twiddled our thumbs and tried to find other things to do while he absolutely RAGED at home.

In some ways, though, we were lucky that the furlough fell a few days before we were due to leave. So he never went in the first place. If the fulough had started a few days later, when my husband was already AT the field site, he would have had to turn around and fly straight home. Efficient, right? And good for mental health.

Anyway, in terms of preparing? This year, we scheduled field work to fall outside the window of risk. Also, my husband will make sure all the necessary work materials he needs are at HOME with copies on his home computer, so he doesn't have to risk the wrath of the higher ups for :gasp: continuing to do his job while not being paid. Other than that, we'll dip into some extra cash in savings accounts, or rely on credit cards temporarily, if we need to.

Now during the last furlough I was not a federal employee so I don't understand all of the details involved since I was still expected to work whether or not my gov't POC was in.  Overall I think a gov't shutdown costs more than it saves and I think that it's a terrible thing for the workforce to go through.  With that said, I won't consider the furloughed days quite like a vacation since I'll still be expected to stay on top of my work when I return; however, I'm just trying to look at the silver lining if this shutdown does happen.  Gotta stay somewhat positive.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 11:15:04 AM by Lady Fordragon »

garion

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2015, 11:41:04 AM »
I just got a $1000 windfall that I would ordinarily throw straight at student loans, but I'm holding onto it until the shutdown threat is over... Other than that, not exceptionally concerned. In the event of a furlough, I'll have time to optimize our spending (which I would do regardless of our financial situation, just because I have the time), and we will probably eventually get back pay. I might even throw my back pay all directly at loans if/when I get it!

Giro

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2015, 12:29:05 PM »
and for those who believe that federal employees get paid back for a furlough....NOT TRUE.  Every organization is different based on what they do.  My husband's branch furloughed them last year and they decided to do every Friday off.  I think he missed 4 Friday's or something like that before it was fixed.  He did NOT get paid for those 4 days.

I was a contractor and I worked during the furlough.  The active duty military did not get furloughed at our base and they had to be on site so the contractor's could work. 

irishbear99

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2015, 12:41:52 PM »
and for those who believe that federal employees get paid back for a furlough....NOT TRUE.  Every organization is different based on what they do.  My husband's branch furloughed them last year and they decided to do every Friday off.  I think he missed 4 Friday's or something like that before it was fixed.  He did NOT get paid for those 4 days.

I was a contractor and I worked during the furlough.  The active duty military did not get furloughed at our base and they had to be on site so the contractor's could work.

I think you're talking apples and oranges here. There was the furlough that was connected to sequestration, where organizations were required by law to implement budget cuts and did so by furloughing workers. (My organization had 6 days of furlough.) Then, there's the furlough that happens when the current budget expires and Congress hasn't authorized a new budget or passed a continuing resolution. This is a potential every October and when it has happened in the past, Congress has historically voted to retroactively pay workers who were furloughed under these circumstances. We are talking about the latter, not the former.

mm1970

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2015, 12:45:54 PM »
I don't work for the Federal Govt, but shutdowns are great because it is SOOOOOO wonderful to commute without all the Feds going to and from work!  Gives me an extra 30 or so minutes in my day :)

All joking aside, I'm so disgusted by this talk of shutdowns.  Fer chrissake, government!  Grow up and get your work done!  It is like the grownup equivalent of taking your ball and going home, except, you know, it screws over a zillion people.

What actually gets shut down when the federal government shuts down? It's not like food stamps or social security stops. They seem to pay as many people to make a big show barricading national parks as they would to maintain them.

Pennsylvania hasn't had a budget for months past the deadline because our idiot governor won't sign on to pension reform even though nearly every pension system in the state is ludicrously underfunded. Not a single state employee has stopped working as far as I know.
Research does not get funded, which ends up costing the government more in the long run.  The employees who actually work at the national parks do not get paid unless they are considered essential and yes a percentage are essential to keep people out but they are not equal.  Also keep in mind that the majority decides what is essential.  The GOP leadership kept many things as essential like their gym yet stopped funding for WIC.  So yes, people do get harmed during the shut down.
Interesting points.

When I was in the navy in the 90's, there was a shutdown, but of course, we went to work and got paid. (Was a nuke in DC)

Last shutdown, research did not get funded - so my neighbor, who worked for a local museum but was self-funded from the government, got laid off.  After 13 years.  She started a non-profit and reapplied for the funding the next year and got it.

My husband works on government contracts so it sometimes affects his ability to do his job - travel doesn't happen and often the pay comes late.

The last shutdown also - I was reading the blog of a woman who was hiking the PCT.  She hit Washington and it was an "early snow" year and didn't make it through the last pass. She and some fellow hikers decided to "finish" along the roads and cut in past the last pass, so they could at least hike all the way from Mexico to Canada.  But because of the shutdown, the National park was closed, and they had a park ranger stationed to prevent hikers from entering.  So she made it within 40-60 miles of Canada...

Gin1984

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #30 on: September 24, 2015, 01:03:24 PM »
I was in a "mission-critical" position during the last furlough, and assume that I will be required to do the same this time. Go to work everyday, not knowing if you're going to get paid. On the other hand, my spouse was able to stay home (furloughed) for three weeks and still got paid for "going to work" even though there was no work involved.

We have enough cash savings that we will be OK either way. Wish Congress would grow up! It affects the local businesses too, because people start tightening their dining out/shopping budgets when they think they might not get paid.
I seriously wonder why people here are saying Congress and not the individual members/group.  I would much rather see a shut down than one more of the cuts to women's health because it is all part of a "death by 1000 cuts" and is seriously harming women and men.  On the other side we have a group using their ability to shut down the government to follow an ideology and to control women. Why are we not being clear on which group WANTS this shut down.  They did it once before, it is not like we don't know who is causing it. It is not Congress, it is the GOP.

Obviously if one side or the other compromised, there wouldn't be a shutdown. So I don't think it makes sense to attribute it to one or the other.

I also think it's disingenuous to say that those who are against abortion simply "want to control women" - while I'm pro-choice myself, I have no trouble understanding that some people believe life begins at conception.
First, I am not saying that they want to control women soley based on being anti-abortion, which has very little to do with believing life begins at conception.  I am saying it based on the multiple laws put into place that force MDs to lie to their patients, limit rights to medical care based on being pregnant (or possibly pregnant), increase requirements for said abortion including forced  vaginal ultrasounds (which btw, under many states forced anything in your vagina is classed as rape), and so forth. 

HazelStone

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #31 on: September 24, 2015, 01:04:45 PM »
I'm a contractor, husband is a federal employee. Different agencies. Nothing will need to be changed for a long while. I'll still go to work and get paid as usual. We have money saved and have a decent rate of savings. I will just be a bit lonely at work and probably will start cleaning out storage rooms or something to stay busy...that said, this is a HCOL area and there will be a fair few people hurting for a while. Those with kids in day care still have to pay to hold the spot.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2015, 01:06:49 PM »
being anti-abortion, which has very little to do with believing life begins at conception.

?????

This conversation is not going to be productive. I'll refrain from posting further in this thread.

2ndTimer

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2015, 01:45:16 PM »
The Hub is with the Feds and classified as Essential.  Sucks because we would love a vacation. 

drea

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2015, 09:13:29 PM »
The most unfortunate thing for me is that I am one of the folks that still 'gets' to go to work.

+1.  My emergency fund covers six months of expenses.  I have sinking funds (savings for planned spending) for gifts to cover holidays/weddings/birthdays.  Since CR's/shutdowns are a fact of federal employment, I decided on these additional savings so it wouldn't impact my giving.  The good news is that we're in a Presidential election cycle, so Congress is less likely to go the shutdown route (This statement is 50% accurate according to my crystal ball;).

sol

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2015, 09:43:55 PM »
I'll be doing field work next week.  I'm preparing for a possible shutdown by making sure I am entirely cut off from all communications before it could start.

The down side of the "vacation" I might otherwise get is that you can't actually go anywhere.  We're all on a 12 hour recall, so you need to stay on top of the news cycle, and within 12 hours of the office, at all times for the duration.  I found it very stressful last time, for reasons entirely unrelated to personal finances.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2015, 10:13:26 PM »
I'll have to move money from my emergency fund on 15-Oct if the paychecks don't come. These shutdown thingies are the one time having a zero-balance strategy for the checking has backfired. But my personal prediction is that someone will blink, and CR will be passed in the 11th hour.




wenchsenior

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #37 on: September 25, 2015, 08:53:43 AM »
Quote
I numbered two of your statements for ease of responding.

1.  I don't know where you get your information but there is no legal authority to "forbid" a federal employee from leaving their duty station (military excluded because they are on the clock).

2.  Your husband violated the Anti-Deficiency Act (a felony).  If I had caught him doing it I would have reported it.  It hurts us all. 

Full disclosure.  I am a federal budget analyst.



Feds are required to report within 12 hours of the furlough ending, if recalled. So, you can leave your station, but not to go haring off somewhere that you can't get back within the required time. Correct?

Re: point 2. Yes, we know it's a felony to continue to work. You just go on patting yourself on the back about being such a noble law abider that you, a fed paid by taxpayers, would report another federal employee for continuing to do his job even when he isn't being paid. I know tons of feds who just go right on working despite being furloughed. By all means, catch em if you can :eye roll:

wenchsenior

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #38 on: September 25, 2015, 08:58:36 AM »
I'll be doing field work next week.  I'm preparing for a possible shutdown by making sure I am entirely cut off from all communications before it could start.

The down side of the "vacation" I might otherwise get is that you can't actually go anywhere.  We're all on a 12 hour recall, so you need to stay on top of the news cycle, and within 12 hours of the office, at all times for the duration.  I found it very stressful last time, for reasons entirely unrelated to personal finances.

Sol, this is a good idea that my husband would have likely used last time had he actually gotten to the field site before the furlough started...just get 'out of reach'; if you don't know the shutdown is happening,  you can continue to get your work done without reasonably being expected to return to the duty station.

forummm

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2015, 11:05:25 AM »
I think Boehner resigning is a sign that he's going to get a cleanish CR passed (at least beyond 10/1 if not for a full year), and by doing that loses the more conservative part of his caucus (enough to shift support for his speakership) and hence he wants to step down instead of being embarrassed by losing the title. So I think there won't be a shutdown. I think he was a decent speaker given the situation. I generally don't agree with his views and don't like the dishonest things he said (he's a politician--his dishonesty was not excessive for that breed). He was in a tough spot as well. But if I'm interpreting things correctly here, he's going out with class--doing his job to keep the nation going even at the expense of losing his job. I hope my interpretation is right.

goatmom

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2015, 11:11:20 AM »
What laws force doctors to lie to their patients? 

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2015, 12:05:02 PM »
My biggest issue with the shutdown is philosophical.  No private business can force employees to work without pay, even if they are promised the pay in the future when the budget is passed.  A private employer can't say "oops, can't make payroll this week.  We will pay you next week."  There would be huge fines.  In my state it is double damages and attorney's fees.  I get that there are government services that cannot shut down.  However, I believe those people must be timely paid and not get an IOU.

I'm also very aware that most people have insignificant savings and that this is a ridiculous burden on them.  Even the threat causes anxiety.  I don't like the government using its workers as pawns.

There is also a lot of really stupid stuff that goes on in an effort to treat all government employees equally.  I knew someone in IRS collections that was furloughed during the sequester debacle.  How do you fix a budget? Increase revenue and decrease spending.  He literally brought in the revenue.  Like, he was out collecting checks for the gov't.  Every day he didn't work, the gov't was losing out on the revenue that he would have collected, which was more than his pay. 

As to me personally, my husband's agency is funded beyond the shutdown so it would have to last months to really impact him.  He is in the category that would have to work but they could reduce their numbers and have less people working each day so he'd get a few days off on a rotating basis.

I have a small emergency fund and put the rest of my money on my student loans.  I have been very aggressively paying them off.  That decision will bite me in an extended shut down.  I have a good income myself but I'm not sure we could pay 100% of our living expenses, including my current loans on my income only.  I'd probably need forbearance on the loan but would otherwise be okay but it would be tight.  For many others, it would mean disaster.

Gin1984

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #42 on: September 25, 2015, 01:47:40 PM »
What laws force doctors to lie to their patients?
There are multiple, in multiple states.  Here is one link: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/new-laws-force-doctors-lie-patients-about-abortion
PM me if you want more.

BlueHouse

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2015, 01:51:18 PM »
and for those who believe that federal employees get paid back for a furlough....NOT TRUE.  Every organization is different based on what they do.  My husband's branch furloughed them last year and they decided to do every Friday off.  I think he missed 4 Friday's or something like that before it was fixed.  He did NOT get paid for those 4 days.

I was a contractor and I worked during the furlough.  The active duty military did not get furloughed at our base and they had to be on site so the contractor's could work.

I think you're talking apples and oranges here. There was the furlough that was connected to sequestration, where organizations were required by law to implement budget cuts and did so by furloughing workers. (My organization had 6 days of furlough.) Then, there's the furlough that happens when the current budget expires and Congress hasn't authorized a new budget or passed a continuing resolution. This is a potential every October and when it has happened in the past, Congress has historically voted to retroactively pay workers who were furloughed under these circumstances. We are talking about the latter, not the former.

My org explained it like this.  It finally helped me to understand the differences:

- A shutdown furlough occurs when there is a lapse in appropriations -- this is an "unplanned" event. A shutdown furlough can occur at the beginning of a fiscal year if no funds have been appropriated for that year, or upon expiration of a continuing resolution if a new continuing resolution or appropriations law is not passed. As an example, there was a 16-day Federal government "shutdown" furlough in October of 2013. For this shutdown furlough, Congress authorized retroactive back pay to those who were furloughed.

- An administrative furlough, conversely, is a "planned" event for the purpose of saving money necessitated by downsizing, reduced funding, lack of work, or any budget situation other than a lapse in appropriations. As an example, there was an administrative furlough during the summer of 2013; as an administrative furlough, retroactive back pay was not authorized.

Matt_D

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #44 on: September 25, 2015, 02:32:17 PM »
I think Boehner resigning is a sign that he's going to get a cleanish CR passed (at least beyond 10/1 if not for a full year), and by doing that loses the more conservative part of his caucus (enough to shift support for his speakership) and hence he wants to step down instead of being embarrassed by losing the title. So I think there won't be a shutdown. I think he was a decent speaker given the situation. I generally don't agree with his views and don't like the dishonest things he said (he's a politician--his dishonesty was not excessive for that breed). He was in a tough spot as well. But if I'm interpreting things correctly here, he's going out with class--doing his job to keep the nation going even at the expense of losing his job. I hope my interpretation is right.

100% agree.

enigmaT120

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #45 on: September 25, 2015, 04:21:43 PM »
I've never been furloughed.  I guess it's because the government makes a profit from me, as our agency is funded by user fees and the company where I'm assigned has to pay them more than they pay me, even including benefits. 

Giro

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #46 on: September 25, 2015, 07:56:57 PM »
and for those who believe that federal employees get paid back for a furlough....NOT TRUE.  Every organization is different based on what they do.  My husband's branch furloughed them last year and they decided to do every Friday off.  I think he missed 4 Friday's or something like that before it was fixed.  He did NOT get paid for those 4 days.

I was a contractor and I worked during the furlough.  The active duty military did not get furloughed at our base and they had to be on site so the contractor's could work.

I think you're talking apples and oranges here. There was the furlough that was connected to sequestration, where organizations were required by law to implement budget cuts and did so by furloughing workers. (My organization had 6 days of furlough.) Then, there's the furlough that happens when the current budget expires and Congress hasn't authorized a new budget or passed a continuing resolution. This is a potential every October and when it has happened in the past, Congress has historically voted to retroactively pay workers who were furloughed under these circumstances. We are talking about the latter, not the former.

My org explained it like this.  It finally helped me to understand the differences:

- A shutdown furlough occurs when there is a lapse in appropriations -- this is an "unplanned" event. A shutdown furlough can occur at the beginning of a fiscal year if no funds have been appropriated for that year, or upon expiration of a continuing resolution if a new continuing resolution or appropriations law is not passed. As an example, there was a 16-day Federal government "shutdown" furlough in October of 2013. For this shutdown furlough, Congress authorized retroactive back pay to those who were furloughed.

- An administrative furlough, conversely, is a "planned" event for the purpose of saving money necessitated by downsizing, reduced funding, lack of work, or any budget situation other than a lapse in appropriations. As an example, there was an administrative furlough during the summer of 2013; as an administrative furlough, retroactive back pay was not authorized.

My point was that regardless of the type of furlough, they don't have to pay the employees,back.

Jakejake

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #47 on: September 25, 2015, 08:07:15 PM »
I'm pretty worried about the furlough. My husband's a federal employee. It won't affect our finances in any meaningful way, at this point it's numbers in the bank that don't really affect our life. But he will sleep in, I will resent it when I have to get up early for work. He might gloat a bit and I'll pout and sulk and generally be childish.

MacGyverIt

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #48 on: September 26, 2015, 02:36:34 AM »
Quote
2.  Your husband violated the Anti-Deficiency Act (a felony).  If I had caught him doing it I would have reported it.  It hurts us all. 

Full disclosure.  I am a federal budget analyst.

Re: point 2. Yes, we know it's a felony to continue to work. You just go on patting yourself on the back about being such a noble law abider that you, a fed paid by taxpayers, would report another federal employee for continuing to do his job even when he isn't being paid. I know tons of feds who just go right on working despite being furloughed. By all means, catch em if you can :eye roll:

This. Bravo. Some federal employees work hard, kick ass and will do so in service to their country, rather than live up to the negative "federal employee" stereotype.

WENCHSENIOR, I thank your husband for his selfless service to our government (whether they like it or not).

wenchsenior

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Re: Federal Employee Mustachians and Potential Government Shutdown
« Reply #49 on: September 26, 2015, 10:13:10 AM »
I think Boehner resigning is a sign that he's going to get a cleanish CR passed (at least beyond 10/1 if not for a full year), and by doing that loses the more conservative part of his caucus (enough to shift support for his speakership) and hence he wants to step down instead of being embarrassed by losing the title. So I think there won't be a shutdown. I think he was a decent speaker given the situation. I generally don't agree with his views and don't like the dishonest things he said (he's a politician--his dishonesty was not excessive for that breed). He was in a tough spot as well. But if I'm interpreting things correctly here, he's going out with class--doing his job to keep the nation going even at the expense of losing his job. I hope my interpretation is right.

100% agree.

Yes, it appears Boehner fell on his sword to prevent a shutdown. Looks like he's finally had enough.