How A Furlough Would Affect Me

ABCNews.com recently ran a story that began with the following statement:

How would a government shutdown impact Americans far removed from the partisan wrangling in the nation’s capital? Most Americans are unlikely to feel a direct impact — seniors will likely continue to get their Medicare and Social Security checks, as will veterans. But a government shutdown could hurt consumer confidence and further roil already volatile financial markets.

You would think a news organization such as ABC would know that Washington DC is not the only employer of federal workers. Although I consider myself to be “an American far removed from the partisan wrangling in the nation’s capital,” I work at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC) in Oklahoma City. Although numbers vary depending on the source, the MMAC employs approximately 5,600 federal employees and somewhere around three thousand contractors. That’s between eight and nine thousand Oklahomans.

If Congress is unable to quickly come to an agreement, any federal employee not classified as “essential personnel” will be sent home without pay. If there is indeed a furlough on Monday, everybody in my area (including all network and tech support employees) will not report to work. And if everybody in my area shuts down and goes home, anybody else who works there and uses a computer might as well go home too.

So assuming a worst case scenario, let’s say the roughly 9,000 Oklahomans I work with are sent home for some as-of-yet undefined period of time without pay. (This number doesn’t count any other tens of thousands of federal employees that work in Oklahoma.) Imagine how your spending habits would change if you were suddenly faced with days or weeks without pay? No, I’m not going to lose my house or have my utilities turned off, but I’m certainly going to stop visiting Starbucks. I’m going to stop eating out at all, in fact. I’m going to stop driving as much and using as much gas. I’m going to stop spending as much money as possible.

Here, in Oklahoma.

To be honest I’ve never been that political of a guy, but it appears it may be time to do some reading and figure out who is to blame for this nonsense — and more importantly, who not to vote for next time around.

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8 comments to How A Furlough Would Affect Me

  • Jason

    Rob,

    I feel ya man. I also am in the IT contracting business for the government. They haven’t decided what to do with us yet, except, that we may not be working for awhile. I don’t usually comment much on politics, yeah, I have my views, but I think we can all agree that we are not sending our brightest and best to Washington.

  • shadow

    If you need someplace to stay I have a pop-up camper in my backyard.

  • Zeno

    So far I’ve only received some mail indicating how this would affect certain tasks, but nothing on whether or not we’d all be furlough. Maybe I’ll get some word on that today…

  • Tim Musselman

    I might have to tighten up a bit as well. Although the patent office is largely fee funded (i.e. our money comes from patent applicants), we might be out with most others on Monday. Personally I’ll be fine, unless it drags on forever…

  • Jimmy

    I’m ok with a little break (a week maybe), as long as they choose to pay me for it later. All in all though, for the contractors sake, I’m hoping for no shutdown, as they mostly will just be out of luck as far as getting paid.

  • Kerry

    Yup, I thought the same thing when reading multiple “news” outlets basically saying the same thing. You already know I’m at NASA but the majority of workers at all NASA centers are contractors, like myself. We have (had) a caveat in our particular company’s contract that if there were ever a furlough – we’d still be paid.

    Over the past few months NASA legal has gone after the contract like gangbusters so that we don’t get paid and of course they won. There was a loophole – our company was bought out by a British (empire) back in 2009 and somehow it negated the certain items in the contract, including the furlough crap.

    But then again…thanks to Obama my research funding was zeroed out and I’m jobless now. I’ll shut up now before I go off on that rant… LOL!!! :)

  • MattW

    What happened in your area during the last government shutdown when Clinton was in office?

  • Rob

    They sent us all home for a fews in 1995, and then congress voted to retroactively pay us for the time off. So essentially, we all got a paid vacation.