Boost to federal workforce in weak economy: bad bill

Added to the growing list of bird-brained schemes to increase the size of the federal government in the midst of a struggling economy is H.R. 626, the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, introduced earlier this year to guarantee four weeks of paid parental leave exclusively to government employees.

The justification behind the bill — according to its Democratic sponsor — is to make federal employment more appealing in the job market and to increase employee retention. Questionable timing when you consider that the latest monthly economic snapshot showed the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent in April with 539,000 jobs lost. Is this the time for Congress to create a new and costly benefit for the federal workforce?

It’s not that federal employees shouldn’t receive paid leave for hospitalization, recovery and adjustment time following the birth of a new child. Already federal workers are allowed to designate up to one month of accrued sick and vacation leave for this important time in a family’s life.

What we don’t need, however, is for Congress to tell nearly 14 million unemployed Americans that 2.7 million gainfully employed federal workers will receive additional benefits at a projected cost close to $1 billion to taxpayers.

Already we’re seeing record increases in the federal payroll — 37,000 new jobs in the last year alone — at a time of record unemployment in the private sector — 2 million jobs lost since President Obama took office.

H.R. 626 sends the wrong message at the wrong time to American taxpayers and job-hunters reeling from a disastrous economic freefall. Nevertheless, the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress seem content to push ahead in spite of glaring hypocrisy.

Demonstrating once again a propensity for political doublespeak, the Democrats are trying to create a smokescreen of feigned fiscal discipline to obscure a never-ending stream of deficit-spending programs.

Uncle Sam is a pretty good employer, and he takes good care of his employees. A recent analysis by the Office of Personnel Management found that existing federal government leave policies and programs compare favorably with benefits offered by most private sector companies.

And when it comes to paid time off, federal employees already receive five more paid vacation days per year than the average American worker.

Americans have the right to expect Washington to tighten its belt in these tough economic times, not start looking for new ways to spend their money on expensive legislation, however well intended.

Congress should focus its energies more on helping 14 million unemployed Americans find good-paying jobs with benefits before they give 2.7 million employed Americans a sweeter deal.


Stop Obama from bleeding our wealth

From Sylvia Bokor

(Regarding Dick Morris column “What’s keeping Obama up?” June 3.) Dick Morris is surprisingly correct on many points. However, I am less charitable than he toward those who supported President Obama in the first place. I do not agree that eventually they “will shift their blame” to Obama.

Obama supporters believe they can loot the pockets of those richer than they while ignoring that Obama’s policies will cause their own pockets to be looted by those poorer than they. In other words, Obama supporters tend to be socialists. The conclusion to draw is that government ownership of private enterprise will grow, that Obama will continue to evade the prosperity only capitalism offers.

There is only one solution: End the welfare state. Nothing short of this will stop the hemorrhaging our culture is undergoing. Not only is our wealth being bled by the hyperinflation Obama has unleashed; more fundamental is the ugly and dangerous ideas of nationalist socialism that will destroy us if we do not end it now.

Albuquerque, N.M.

Card-check made simple

From Chris Stampolis, Democratic National Committee elected member

In the article “ ‘Card-check’ compromise foes to meet Feinstein” (May 30), reporter Kevin Bogardus writes that business groups “have hammered Feinstein’s proposal because they believe it would still lead to intimidation of workers by union organizers. Labor groups disagree and campaigned extensively for the bill last election. Unions believe the legislation will boost the economy by allowing workers to collectively bargain for better wages and benefits, increasing their spending power.”

 Business groups don’t oppose Feinstein’s proposal because their hearts break at thoughts of their beloved employees experiencing political pressure. Delete the extraneous middle words of Bogardus’s above sentences and one gets the real reason business groups oppose Feinstein’s compromise:

“Business groups have hammered Feinstein’s proposal because they believe it would allow workers to collectively bargain for better wages and benefits.”

Let’s call this battle what it is: wealthy businesspeople seeking to keep workers out of unions so wages and benefits remain suppressed. The Chamber of Commerce claims it opposes the Employee Free Choice Act because of secrecy issues. Feinstein’s proposal strips away the public relations veil of the Chamber’s opposition.

Santa Clara, Calif.