DO THE MATH
Sunday was Veterans Day, the day we honor all veterans and thank them for their service on behalf of this nation. The date is significant as it marks the formal ending of the hostilities of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
While veterans were honored on November 11th, more than 2.1 million federal employees (U.S. Office of Personnel Management www.opm.gov) observed the holiday on Monday, November 12th, the “legal” holiday, or were entitled to an in-lieu-of-holiday for pay and leave purposes.
The U.S. OMP’s website boasts “Recruiting, Retaining and Honoring a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People” and lists seven federal holidays to be observed on days other than the actual date on which they fall in 2013, along with the standard small print government Jabberwocky: This year, the Inauguration Day holiday falls on Monday, January 21, 2013, which is also the legal public holiday for the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (See 5 U.S.C. 6103(c). For Federal employees who work in the District of Columbia, Montgomery or Prince George's Counties in Maryland, Arlington or Fairfax Counties in Virginia, or the cities of Alexandria or Fairfax in Virginia, Inauguration Day is observed concurrently with the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. Federal employees in these areas are not entitled to an in-lieu-of holiday for Inauguration Day.
I’m in favor of any day the government is closed. I’m also a big fan of gridlock. But I digress…
The issue here is the cost for federal employees to observe holidays falling on a weekend on a workday.
Since the 112th Congress has much to do to address the $600-billion financial and taxation issues before the 113th Congress convenes, revoking these seven federal holidays would be a good start.
They need to do the math:
The average federal government salary is $75,000 (Andrew Biggs; January 27, 2012; www.aei-ideas.org). That’s $157,516,575,000 for the 2.1 million U.S., U.S. Territories, Foreign Countries and Unspecified federal agency employees (www.opm.gov).
Based on an average 40 hour work week for 52 weeks per year (2080 hours per year), each employee is paid an estimated $288 per day.
$288 multiplied by 2.1 million equals $604,863,648 spent for each of the paid holidays observed on dates other than the actual holiday.
Seven such holidays are set for federal government employees in 2013. The total for those seven holidays is $4,234,045,536.
That’s four billion dollars for those seven holidays, folks.
Let the sacrifices start with the “world class workforce serving the American people”, who, according to Mr. Biggs, “With present and future fringe benefits equal to about 76 percent of salaries,” receive a “total annual compensation of around $133,000.”
To quote a line President Obama used in another context at yesterday’s press conference, “This is arithmetic, not calculus”.
June Smith founded this tribute website in honor of her late husband, Ron Smith, WBAL Talk Show Host, Emmy Award winner, and Baltimore Sun Columnist. Smith was a media titan in Maryland and beyond for almost forty years. Mrs. Smith is working diligently to raise one million dollars for the Ron Smith Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at Johns Hopkins. She blogs for Red Maryland www.RedMaryland.Blogspot.com; her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.