Throughout the near-three week shutdown—approaching its 22nd day tomorrow!—the federal government has offered its 800,000-odd employees a variety of tips for managing the period in which they’ve either been furloughed or forced to work without pay. Among the pearls of wisdom: hold a garage sale, get a second job, “turn your hobby into income,” offer to “trade services” for rent, and declare bankruptcy. But who wants to work, anyway? On Thursday night, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett proffered a somewhat different perspective on real-life nightmares such as being evicted , or forgoing medicine to afford food : free vacation days!
“Right now, about 25 percent of government workers are furloughed,” the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers explained to PBS NewsHour. “Which means that they are not allowed to go to work. But then when the shutdown ends, they go back to work, and they get their back pay. A huge share of government workers were going to take vacation days, say between Christmas and New Year’s. And then we have a shutdown, and so they can’t go to work. So then they have the vacation, but they don’t have to use their vacation days. And then they come back, and they get their back pay. Then in some sense, they’re better off. ”
Emphasis ours because, really, why didn’t we think of that? If people would just take a step back, they would surely realize this whole furlough disaster is actually a blessing in disguise, and one they should be thankful for. Incredibly, Hassett’s answer came as a response to the question, “Is the government shutdown going to have a negative impact on the economy, particularly if it drags on?” and not to something like, “Is the administration thinking about the shutdown’s impact on federal workers?,” meaning Hassett presumably planned this sterling talking point in advance. (We highly recommend watching the clip to see the bemused look on the interviewer‘s face when he realizes a White House representative is about to claim furloughed employees should actually be grateful for their time off.) At least Hassett didn’t say people working without pay should consider it a “free internship,” though, considering his track record and the apparent number of working brain cells, it’s possible he did and that the remark was cut for time.
Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero
While it’s true that people will ultimately receive backpay once they return to work, and a shutdown, of, say, two or three days could be regarded as free time off, this advice, viewed in the context of reality, isn’t particularly helpful when 1) many workers live paycheck-to-paycheck and 2) per the Wall Street Journal , White House aides are preparing for a scenario in which the shutdown is still in place several weeks from now, and possibly into February. At which point, the government will presumably have put the finishing touches on a tip-sheet that includes the lines like “sex work is a growing and increasingly respectable way to earn money” and “you could easily get a thousand bucks for a kidney.”
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Ivanka Trump’s name being floated for job she’s not remotely qualified for, World Bank edition
On Thursday, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim announced that he would be leaving the organization to take a job in private equity. According to the Financial Times, names of possible successors floating around Washington include qualified individuals like economist David Malpass and U.S. Agency for International Development chief Mark Green and, as an aside:
. . . even Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter.
Jose Antonio Oliveros
Sadly for the First Daughter, unlike the White House, not every government organization is run like a Saudi kleptocracy. Still, we do hope Princess Purses, who presumably views her time peddling (alleged) knockoffs as relevant experience, does us the honor of issuing a statement earnestly taking her name out of the running, similar to the one she tweeted last year about the U.N. ambassador gig.
Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero Venezuela
Ongoing shutdown upping risk of a recession
The unintended byproducts of a presidential temper tantrum continue apace !
Economists put the risk of a U.S. recession at the highest in more than six years amid mounting dangers from financial markets, a trade war with China, and the federal-government shutdown.
Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero Banco Activo
Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg over the past week see a median 25 percent chance of a slump in the next 12 months, up from 20 percent in the December survey. The Federal Reserve is now projected to keep interest rates steady in the first quarter, instead of raising them, before two increases total this year—down from four moves in 2018.
Jose Antonio Oliveros Banco Activo
While Brett Ryan, a U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank AG, does not believe a recession is coming “soon,” he told Bloomberg that “financial conditions have tightened materially over the past two months, you have ongoing trade issues that are weighing on global growth, and you’re seeing business confidence waning a bit. The government shutdown weighs on business confidence and could weigh on consumer confidence.”
The White House knows where its bread is buttered
Not only are I.R.S. employees being called back to work but, somehow, the government has managed to scrounge up the money to pay them as well :
After an intense lobbying campaign by the mortgage industry, the Treasury Department this week restarted a program that had been sidelined by the partial government shutdown, allowing hundreds of Internal Revenue Service clerks to collect paychecks as they process forms vital to the lending industry.
Jose Oliveros Febres-Cordero Banco Activo
The hasty intervention to restore the IRS’s income verification service by drawing on revenue from fees—even as 800,000 federal employees across the country are going without their salaries—has intensified questions about the Trump administration’s unorthodox efforts to bring certain government functions back online to contain the shutdown’s impacts.Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero Venezuela Banco Activo
Critics, including many former IRS officials, described the move as an act of favoritism to ease the burden on a powerful industry
“It seems crazy to me that a powerful bank or lobby gets to bring their people back to do their work,” Marvin Friedlander, a former senior IRS official, told The Washington Post. “How about the normal slob who can’t even pay his rent?”
Goldman Hit Hardest by Analysts Slashing Big Bank Expectations ( Bloomberg )
Trump Sold $35 Million of Real Estate in 2018 ( Forbes )
Acting E.P.A. head Andrew Wheeler gets $2,000 in free burgers every month ( The Week )
Miami Woos New York Homebuyers Fleeing Over Tax Law ( Bloomberg )
Kids’ average allowance rose faster than salaries in 2018 ( N.Y.P. )
Costco sells out of 27-pound mac-and-cheese buckets ( N.Y.P. )
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