CNN host Don Lemon and left-wing political commentator Catherine Rampell grew irate Friday evening when a former Trump campaign official noted that the furlough currently being experienced by some federal workers is in many ways equivalent to a paid vacation.
Stephen Moore, who served as President Donald Trump’s economic adviser during the 2016 presidential election, made the remark during a discussion in which Lemon and Rampell essentially tried to blame the president for allegedly ruining the lives of federal workers.
Just to be clear, the government shutdown was triggered because of a refusal by Senate Democrats to support an omnibus spending bill passed by the House that would have funded the government and also appropriated $5 billion for the construction of a southern U.S. border wall.
Moore’s initial point Friday was that, though some federal workers have been affected by the shutdown, their overall employment situation remains fairly nice:
“Private sector workers face layoffs, there are strikes. Federal government employees never lose their jobs. In fact, it’s almost impossible to fire a federal employee. They have basically lifetime tenure with their jobs, and they get 40 days of paid holidays and leave. Nobody in the private sector gets that.”
Listen to the first part of the discussion below:
Moore wasn’t wrong.
“The government has one of the highest paid workforces in the country,” the Foundation for Economic Education notes. “Federal bureaucrats make 78% more in total compensation than people in the private sector. State and local employees make on average 25% more.”
“Combined with laws that make it extremely difficult to fire public employees, even for explicit or criminal misconduct, it’s no wonder that hardly anyone leaves.”
But never mind the facts.
“Why don’t you work as a federal worker then if it’s so great?” an incensed Lemon asked.
Moore replied that he despises government work because it breeds complacency and mediocrity.
Before he could finish speaking, Rampell interrupted him, ranting, “If it’s such a great job, if it’s such a great job, they have had to go without pay twice now within the last year for no good reason other than Trump throwing a hissy fit.”
Federal workers who’ve been furloughed will eventually receive their pay. When Moore noted this, Rampell falsely claimed, “You don’t know that!”
It was at this point that Moore made the remark about paid vacations.
“A lot of them, you know what they are treating this like, a paid vacation because it is for a lot — they will get eventually paid,” Moore insisted. “They’re going to get a paid vacation.”
Again, he was technically correct.
“Historically, in every instance of a government shutdown Congress, has acted to guarantee most retroactive back pay to the workers who were furloughed,” labor attorney Gerald D. Skoning noted in a column last week, pointing to the shutdown in January of 2018 as an example.
“The net result for the federal workers who were furloughed in January was they received a nice paid winter vacation at taxpayer expense. It is quite likely that the government workers who are off the job during this shutdown will receive full back pay on their return to work after an extended Christmas and New Year’s vacation.”
But again, never mind the facts.
Lemon tried to retort by noting that this only applies to those who don’t have to work during the shutdown.
“People who work at the airport still have to work. The very people who guard this administration and these people in Washington, the Secret Service, are not getting paid,” he said.
Moore of course agreed but noted that he hadn’t been talking about these people when he spoke of paid vacations: “That’s true. I’m talking about people who are in non-essential agencies like the Department of Commerce and the Department of Education who don’t do much that’s very useful,” he said.
And in doing so he triggered another round of remonstrations from Lemon and Rampell, who apparently were offended that he dared to suggest that the Commerce Department’s work isn’t as important as the work completed by those with the Transportation Security Administration.
“And they will get paid and they will be back on the job,” Moore noted, before making his final statement.
“Do you know we have more federal government employees than manufacturing workers in America? We have a vast bureaucracy. Trump talked earlier this year about maybe cutting every agency by 5 to 10 percent. It’s about time we do that.”
And according to social media, it’s also time that CNN stop blaming the president for the shutdown and start blaming whom they claim to be the true culprits: Democrats.
Then gave your idiots democrats sign the deal and build the wall which by the way all voted for THAT wall in 2006. But their hatred of Trump is putting our safety at risk. So don’t blame him blame your democrats
— yanksteel (@yanksteel) January 5, 2019
Tell me again why democrats won’t pay a small amount for something they voted for in the past? Could it be because now trump is for it? I blame them
— maxell (@maxell69) January 5, 2019
Blame the democrats
— steve (@steve4995) January 5, 2019
Funny how the biased MSM won’t blame @TheDemocrats for the gov shutdown when it was @SenSchumer who was filibustering a spending bill the house passed and aloha @SpeakerPelosi was vacationing in Hawaii while fed workers went without pay #SchumerPelosiShutdown @CNN
— Sal (@SundevilSal) January 3, 2019
I blame the Democrats for not giving the measely $5b to fund border fence/wall. If they don’t, I say keep it shut down indefinately. FYI – low income kids all get free breakfast and lunch at school.
— Mel (@melsgre) January 3, 2019
Democrats are 100% to Blame for the shutdown but Of Course they’re too pathetic to figure this out
— 00TRUTH00 (@truth00_00) January 3, 2019
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