August 17th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Govt. employees forced time off without pay to save $?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The city of Chicago is mostly closed for business today... as a way to save money.

Most city employees are off without pay. Emergency services like the police and fire department aren't affected; but city hall, public libraries, garbage pickup, health clinics and other city offices are closed.

Chicago is facing an estimated budget shortfall of about $250 million to $300 million for 2009... so as part of the budget, the city included three reduced-service days. The other two are the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

The city anticipates these reduced service days will save more than $8 million.

But city workers are losing more than just the pay for these three-days. They've also been asked to take six furlough days and six unpaid holidays this year.

Mayor Richard Daley says every dollar the city saves from these measures "helps to save jobs, and in the long-term, maintain services for Chicagoans." He thanked city employees for making the sacrifice and being "part of the solution" to the budget challenges. The employees weren't given any choice.

But some city workers say they don't mind taking the unpaid days if it means holding on to their jobs in the long-run.

Here’s my question to you: Should government employees be forced to take time off without pay as a way of saving money?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Derek from Sacramento, California writes:
No. Better yet, reduce the excessive benefits that most public employees have these days and fire people who don't produce. Kind of like the real world most of us have dealt with for many years.

David from Las Vegas writes:
Jack, I believe that any government agency could cut back 10-20% and you wouldn't notice any change. It happened all the time when I was an aerospace engineer and we had layoffs. The rest of us became more efficient and made up the difference. 'Lean & Mean' works every time.

Jack from Phoenix writes:
As a former big-city employee, I know that government workers are the most open to sacrificing for the citizens. They have done it for years with various cutbacks. Most of them do feel lucky to have jobs that are not dependent on bottom-line revenue or production goals of the private sector. Believe it or not, many will feel grateful that they can do their part for this very challenging economy.

Bobby writes:
Most government employees can retire in 20 years and get two-thirds of their pay for the rest of their life. Those in the private sector do not make as much and will likely die on the job because none of them will be able to retire. The government has way too many employees as it is. There are many who sit around at the state capitals not doing much of anything.

Bob from South Carolina writes:
Jack, How about some of you overpaid media types take some time off without pay instead of putting it on the backs of underpaid public servants? I suspect the average American could get along without you or Wolf for a day or two better than they could without parole officers, etc. doing the business of keeping our society running.

Filed under: Government • Uncategorized
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    They are lucky they still have a job! In this economy many industries are having to do the same thing, cut pay and less hours. The number of government employees could and should be greatly reduced, we all know the waste going on there. I have personally taken a 50% cut in pay to keep our small business going. You do what you have to do.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  2. Phil D

    I am sure I am in the minority Jack–but no they should not. It is often convenient to blame Govt employees for deficits/budget crisis–but in reality there wages only account for a small portion of any state/federal budget.

    You want to save money? How about a few less submarines (who is going to attack us) or maybe a few less billion dollar bombers (same thing). Oh wait-the pending North Korea attack must mean we need another couple hundred billion spent.

    Until we are willing to tackle the elephant in the room–namely military spending, the deficit will just continue to balloon.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  3. Jane (Minnesota)

    I think it should also apply to our elected Representatives.........better yet pay them for the time they actually work. That should provide good savings!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  4. Chuck in warren, Ohio

    Jack: If government employees are to be forced to take time off, then they should be given a layoff slip so they can get unemployment. Jack the working person did not cause this problem and should not have to pay for someone's greed.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  5. W. Herman

    If it will help to keep another person receiving some pay then yes it's a good idea. Bill, Petaluma, CA

    August 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  6. Paula From GA

    Yes, they are already being asked to take time off on the state level. The federal offices haven't made that decision, yet. But the Teasury Department for the Democrats just will be told to print more money to cover that.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  7. george

    Why not ! It works for the rest of us. Some seem to forget that the people in government work for us, we are their employers, and pay their salaries, "so what is good for the goose, should be good enough for the gander".

    August 17, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  8. John from Alabama

    Jack: State government employees should not take time off without pay unless they are allowed to draw unemployment on those days they do not work. People who provide needed services are not at work. This will cause the recession to last longer and for people to give up trying to get assistance. Those needing food stamps will have to wait, and aid to seniors will stop, and medical care will be delayed.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  9. D

    Definitely! As in the private sector, there are two categories of government employees – the ones who waste a lot of time being unproductive, and the ones who work their butts off making up for the lazy and ‘over-promoted’ ones. The first group would not be missed on forced leave (and they certainly owe it to the taxpayers); the second group has trouble scheduling leave because of their workload and would relish any time off, even without pay.

    A retired federal employee.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  10. Melissa

    Nobody should be forced to take time off without pay. But there isn't much that anyone can do.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  11. Ray, Florida

    Of course no one wants to take time of without pay, but if it would keep me from being laid off, or terminated I would agree to it. Some money is better than no money at all.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  12. Paul Martin

    Hurst, Texas
    UNPAID DAYS OFF will not save $$ but only defer spending.
    Backlog of critical services may have other serious ramifications.

    Excluding Military

    Cut Wage/Salary/Benefits/perks 20% across the board!.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  13. Alex in Seattle

    I took a government job because of the excellent benefits. If I was still working for the state, I would be willing to be furloughed occasionally as long as the benefits were not affected. That would be much better than being let go!

    August 17, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  14. john ..... marlton, nj

    Jack, what has taken you so long to ask this question.?

    If the employees are patriotic they will make the sacrifice. If they love their country they will still show up at work and ask not to be paid....

    August 17, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  15. Scott in San Diego, CA

    Considering their wages are paid for with Taxpayer dollars............yes, it's a great idea.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  16. Jenna

    Should government employees be forced to take time off without pay as a way of saving money?

    Why not, it is being forced on state workers in CA..

    Roseville CA

    August 17, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  17. southerncousin

    Interesting question. I would rather see private industry take a look at government and bring it up a higher level of productivity. This would result in job slashes across a broad spectrum of governments. Start with the school systems.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  18. Jenna

    Should government employees be forced to take time off without pay as a way of saving money?

    Why not, it is being forced on state workers in CA..

    Let's start with those in the House and Senate.

    Roseville CA

    August 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  19. Gregory Miami Beach, FL.

    In this day and age goverment jobs are among the very few jobs that are still secure and the money saved from them taking time off would go a long way in funding needed projects and services for those that need it most. Obviously an exception should be social programs and those helping veterans.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  20. Tina Tx

    Why can't the congress men & women be forced to take a couple of days without pay so they can see what it is like to be living down in the real trenches? Around here they are closing libraries and the pools which is a bunch of hooey.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  21. Caleb Hinton

    nothing has changed but the date,our government leaders could have all the money in the world any they would still have problems.If the people would stop acting like they are STUCK ON STUPID,a change could come

    August 17, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  22. Jimmy

    They are fortunate that they get more time off and not just a 10% pay cut, like many other companies are offering these days.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  23. mack from michigan

    Yes they should Jack! Most of the employees in the private sector have been forced to either cut back hours or give back benefits and many have been terminated. In fact if government employees take days off to save money and no one notices they're missing perhaps they too should be terminated.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  24. Roy

    Yes, starting with Representatives and Senators.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  25. Julie in Lansing

    Yes, state and private company workers are working one day less, with no pay. Why shouldn't the federal government employees asked to do the same. Times will get better. We've seen it happen over and over.
    The federal government should have been the first in enacting one day without pay.
    Julie in Lansing

    August 17, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  26. Mark

    What do you think school teachers have doing for the last 150 years?

    Oklahoma City

    August 17, 2009 at 1:48 pm |

    sounds like a plan, we also should make them buy there own insurance including the congress, if everyone is going to lose there health care why not the goverament enployees, so we can be in the same sinking boat

    August 17, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  28. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    This only works if a "measured" approach is used. Cutting back hours from vital or revenue producing positions makes no sense and probably does more harm than good. There are some types of positions that can be cut back without harming the public interest, but you can't apply an "across the board" cut to all governmental positions and expect a good result.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  29. Tom from Philly

    There is no question pay and benefit freezese furloughs.. I think anyone would rather that than lose the job completely. enough disruption of workforce how bout some cutting back to save, THAT is the sign of the times

    August 17, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  30. JJ, Virginia

    Yes definitely Jack. Private companies are being forced to take unpaid time, just to survive. There is something fundamentally wrong –with the government growing exponentially, spending more & more of our tax dollars, while private industry and individuals have to do major belt tightening! Perhaps if they had to partake, they might be less careless with our money....

    August 17, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  31. Ray Lawson from Danville, VA


    August 17, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  32. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    If they can voluntarily take time off without hurting the economy and damage to the public good, okay. More likely they are underpaid and serving their country the best they can in this hour of need. Money in the hands of the poor and middle class gets spent and the economy comes alive. It is the rich who hoard America"s wealth in Swiss banks, not federal workers.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  33. Dan from Alliance, OH

    Yes, even better would be to shrink the government. Eliminate jobs that have no purpose. Like homeland security, just use the FBI. Time to peel back the layers.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  34. Allen in Hartwell GA

    As much as they pad the clock they should willingly take a few non-paid vacation days a year just to balance the books. Most are sufficiently paid that this wouldn't hurt them in the pocketbook, not like losing their job would.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  35. John in Houston

    They still have jobs and their jobs are better than most private sector jobs, with all the holidays and insurance benefits. Most private jobs only have 6 holidays per year, government 12-13. Government jobs are paid for by taxpayers and the taxpayers are broke!

    August 17, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  36. Matthew Enthoven - Chicago, IL

    Absolutely not. Employees should not be forced to suffer for the poor spending practices of the government, period.

    – Chicago, IL

    August 17, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  37. Fred R Deleon

    I don't see why not as long it is two days a month at least. Hundreds of private companies have been doing that up to 4 days per month THIS YEAR. Why the federal employees should be different?
    Would be a good idea for the government to learn from the private sector companies.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  38. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    I don't know about Chicago, but California has been doing it for a while now. It is a way of the government to avoid making the hard choices with regard to out of control entitlements. Sure a lot of governmnet employees are overpaid and part of the problem but it is reall the legacy costs that are killing governments, and bad tasting medicine is just too hard to sell to the public. So rather than laying off people, they furlough them and hope the economy turns around and they start collecting more taxes again before they are forced to deal with the real problems.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  39. JGB

    It's not like the DMV runs any more or less efficient than it did before, it is still the same old lousy customer service as before!

    August 17, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  40. Kyle in Chicago

    It's better than layoffs.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  41. Gail AL.

    Instead of laying off gov. employee's they should quit funding Acorn, see how much the gov. can save. There's no telling what they spent sending those buses to town hall meetings for Obama. Didn't work, the people saw right through it. Thank God.People are beginning to see the person Obama is politic's as usual, the chicago way.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  42. Billy in Las Vegas

    better a cutback in hours than a layoff, Jack.

    I am sure that there are millions of out of work, which in most cases also means out of healthcare and other benefits, private sector workers that would make THAT tradeoff.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  43. Sammy in Dallas

    No – We should just keep on raising taxes to pay for more government jobs. Isn't that what the stimulus money was for? Create more tax payer provided jobs.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  44. Greg, Ontario

    Now a days people have to do what they have to do. Besides they are probably so over paid they can afford the 3 day weekends and will probably enjoy it.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  45. Arlene, Illinois

    When was the last time anyone was laid off from the Government?

    August 17, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  46. Anthony Dahlonega GA

    No. They should not be forced to take time off without pay.
    I'm sure that Chicago would save more money If the Mayor and other top City officials would go without pay for 3 days, 6 furlough days and 6 unpaid holidays this year. Rather than taking it from the employees

    August 17, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  47. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    Probably everyone that wouldn't be affected monetarily would be for that. I sure think that when someone retires replacement should be thought over very carefully.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  48. Denis Duffy

    Only if the Mayor, city councilmen/women and EVERY person on the city payroll take a deduction. Everybody takes a pay holiday, regardless of who they are or who they think they are.

    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  49. Jay in Texas

    City, county, state, and the federal government must cut non-emergency services if we are going to survive these economic hard times. But the "little guys" should not be the only ones making these sacrifices. Every time a "big shot" government official orders such drastic cuts, this official should also take a proportional cut in his/her paycheck. Now, that would really save money.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 17, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  50. frank lowery

    yes,It's better then being off full time.


    August 17, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  51. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Yes, In fact, the more government workers who are given time off w/out pay the better. Most of them don’t do anything anyway and the only difference is that I don’t have to pay them to not do anything. We should start with Congress. That would be a plus.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  52. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: I don't think so----and in fact---they want be saving anymore money even if they worked.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  53. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    I have a friend who used to work in Chicago government who calls the Mayor Dum-Dum Daley. Obviously there is good reason for this. Dum-Dum needs to raise a little revenue and not dump on his workers.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:30 pm |

    Flat out NO! I say no because of who is really making the sacrifice here? We know the answer to that. Its the middle class who work pay check to pay check. Meanwhile the fat cats and thier families carry on with thier lives with thier yearly new cars,vacations and bonus money.
    I wouldn't be so negative Jack if the facts weren't there. Prove me wrong. Give me some examples of times where the suits took the hit for the middle class and the poor.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  55. Rick Medina,OH


    Chicago found a smart and prudent temporary solution to a difficult problem. They are spreading the pain, and more importantly, they are retaining employees in which they have already made a large investment. Anyone who has ever been responsible for hiring others can testify to the huge costs of hiring 'wrong,' followed by the costs of training and developing good choices.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    August 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  56. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    When the Tax Payer is hurting it is not unreasonable to ask those who live on Tax Payer money to share in the pain.

    This is NOT an unreasonable request if they want to keep their job, their seniority and their benefits in tact.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  57. Michelle Johnson

    Taking time off without pay is better than losing their jobs, but it will not help the city to prosper since workers will have less money to spend. The more people have to spend, the more the economy grows.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  58. m armstrong texas

    Jack with all the crime that goes on in Chicago they need to close the whole city down and turn it into one giant prison camp like that movie escape from New York .

    August 17, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  59. Chris-Illinois

    Wine & Dine the 2016 Olympic Committee BUT close down City services because Chicago has no money??. Whats wrong with this picture AND why do Chicagoans put up with it- election after election after election???.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  60. bobwhite in Kansas

    I think it depends upon the gov't (fed., state or local) pay-grade. When necessary, let's start furloughs with congress persons (e.g.$140,000) and those other gov't employees who earn more than they do, but allow the gov't employees who work for a subsistance and survival level keep all of their bare incomes.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  61. Richard Green


    The only government employees who should work without pay in order to save money are the managers and administrators with their vehicle allowances, per diems, separate retirement funds, and below the line perks. Cut the fat first.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  62. gew ontario

    next to be chopped will be there health care

    August 17, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  63. Angela Rambo

    My husband and I are both employeed by the state of California and have been forced to take 24 days off without pay for 11 months in order to contribute to the states budget shortfall. Although we're thankful to still have jobs even at 10% loss of income (20% for both) I feel state and county and city workers are being punished for the state's mismanagement. Gov. Schwarzenegger's intentions seem intended to drive California's economy into the Pacific ocean. When it's all said and done he'll be hanging out with the Kennedy's where he can forget the damage he's caused here.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  64. paul coke

    Here is the deal, it is an easy solution to a complex question on how to balance a budget. In the long term, furlough days doesn't save money if the state or city can't collect the taxes and provide the services that the public demands. I believe public sector workers work hard serving the public, and those think otherwise, well they need to walk a day in my shoes before casting judgement. The other part of the deal is that politicians need to grow a pair and stop giving corporate america the tax breaks with the hope they create jobs. What proof is there that giving billions in tax breaks creates sustainable jobs that balances out the give aways. Most corporation cut back to create more profit and expect workers to do more for less. But, as a political realist, politicians are not going to bite the hand that feeds them, they are beholding to coroprate america and give lip service to workers and unions. Heck, they don't have the guts to go against big insurance or health care giants and reform health care that benefits all. There greed gets in the way of common sense. Guess what, we the workers pay the price for bad service and a broken health care system. Scaring old people (I am hold, but understand the facts about health care not to be scared) is what insurance, the right wing and HMO do best to keep status quo.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  65. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    Welcome to the real world. In the private sector its called being laid off or even fired.

    HD in Phoenix, AZ

    August 17, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  66. Jack Carlson

    Guess they have to ! The 50 Alderman are receiving $110K per yr, given $75K for incidentals inc Lexus', hiring their mother,etc.
    I say it again folks – let's all 300 milllion of us get together and boot 90% of the clowns out of Office both State and Federal.
    Jack C

    August 17, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  67. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    The same thing is done in every business. When business is slow, people are sent home. When business is dead, people are fired.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  68. Ted Beaverton, OR

    I'm just guessing...but if the Chicago higher ups turned over all their "campaign contributins" to the city, maybe the employess wouldn't have to take the brunt of it. Let those who play...pay.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  69. Janice from Collingswood NJ

    Unfortunately "leave time" for state employees has had to be a substitute for layoffs. I wrote to my governor suggesting that all state offices and schools work on a four day work week with either Friday or Monday being the day off so that there is a long weekend. This saves energy (think of all the lights that would be out) and the people who keep the heaters or airconditioners working. It would only hurt cafeteria workers. Teachers, state employees would still have to work the 40 hour week but in 4 days. They could save on child care for the last day and would be free to spend more time with their children. And some may actually shop and add more money for the state's economy. It's a win- win situation.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  70. Ron from SF

    I'm already doing it and yes, as bad as a pay cut is–it sure beats being unemployed. I actually like how the City and Count of San Francisco is implementing the same thing. We have several unpaid days off this year, but the hit is spread out over the entire year and we get to choose what days we want off, in exchange. This way, the city doesn't shut down, the financial hit is spread out over all our paychecks for the year and it barely hurts at all. Yes, it is harder to work with fewer employees, when my peers are off, but it’s like the impact of typical vacations or sick days. To the folks who hate Unions, I’ll enjoy saying this: My Union Negotiated that concession and it’s much less negative to the citizens and the employees, than the way Chicago or the State of California is doing things. I’ll bet we also save the tax payers more money, than either Chicago or the State’s method does.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  71. Anne -- Sulphur, LA

    Considering that at one time I was working for the government of Texas taking unemployment claims and got laid off 'to save money' in 2002 (when unemployment was rising, by the way) I would have rather been given another option. While I am not comfortable with forced days off, better that than more people unemployed.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  72. Pablo in Arlington Texas


    unpaid furloughs are sorta like Castor oil. Nobody likes it but it's hard to argue with the result.

    Arlington Texas

    August 17, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  73. J Darroll Hall

    Author J.DARROLL HALL writes from Indianapolis. "In Indiana we are doing all we can to balance money and still keep jobs... 32 hours instead of 40 I'll take that over losing a job... Lets look at the bright side of it for a change. Glass 4/5th full or 1/5th empty... no brainer for me...

    August 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  74. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    While having a reduced work load may be fine for some and can afford it, others cannot. Salaried, or employees under contract, should also be required to have the same amount of days off without pay, to include all those who make the decisions to cut the hours of the work force. What's necessary of blue collar should be necessary of white collar.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  75. Everett - Ocala, FL

    Instead of a day off with no pay, I suggest working one day a week for no pay. Now THAT would truly be government service.

    Ocala, FL

    August 17, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  76. Gigi

    What choice do they have. Oregon has been doing this for months. When the state asked them to do this. Asking is just a nice way of saying "take it or leave". Someone else will be ready to take your job. Don't expect the economy to get any better

    When are the citizens going to wake up and realize the Republicans hood winked us for eight years with their over spending and borrowing from China and the trade goods we receive from China. And now they blaming Obama. They have already ruined the possibility of Health care reform and a stable economy by bankrupting the country.


    August 17, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  77. Tim

    Many, many private sector owners and employees are working together to reduce costs. If it's a good employer than wages will be increased in better times. The only wages and jobs that seem to be on the rise are in the government sector. Enough is enough!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  78. C.K. of Colorado

    Jack, I don't work for the government, but our employer has asked us to make a similar sacrifice. We have been told we must take 4 furlough days this year, and 2 unpaid holidays. I'm happy to make that sacrifice, because I get to keep my job in the long run, which means I will still have a roof over my head and a hot meal on my table every night. It beats being unemployed.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  79. Julie Austin, TX

    Yes. The rest of us are cutting back so why shouldn't the government.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  80. Jackie in Dallas

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Noone should be forced to take time off without pay unless they are put on administrative leave for cause, such as the controllers in the helicopter/small plane crash, or police officers under investigation for misuse of their authority.

    I DO think a members of the government services should be asked to take voluntary pay cuts, or cuts in number of hours. And I think it is PAST time that members of Congress lost some of their so-called perks, such as free mailing (that would help the Post Office), and free health insurance for life. The rest of us, at least the lucky ones with health insurance, have to pay at least part of their premiums. Perhaps if Congress did too, they would understand why a large percentage of the population is really concerned about our health system and the crooked ways of the insurance companies! And unless they are on real, documentable government trips, they should pay for their own plane fare.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  81. David Gerstenfeld

    Jack, I believe that ANY government agency could cut back 10-20% and you wouldn't notice any change. It happened all the time when I was an aerospace engineer & we had layoffs. The rest of us became more efficient & made up the difference. 'Lean & Mean' works every time.
    David, las Vegas

    August 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  82. ken wojcieszek

    I know a gentlemen who worked at GM here in Buffalo and he told me the toughtest part of his job was finding a place to sleep where his boss couldn't find him. We all know what happened to GM. He now works for the city. He's now getting much more un-interrupted shut eye. Let him do it at home...not on my dime.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  83. Roni B

    We are being forced to take MTO (Mandatory time off) the week between Christmas and New Year's. At least they spread the pain over a year when they take it from our checks.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  84. SHARON: Anchorage, Alaska

    YES. If the rest of the country, to include Chicago (i.e. civilian populace) is having to tighten their belts; then ALL city, county, borough, state & federal employees should have to do the same. Give up raises (especially congressional ones), take unpaid days off (at least you have a job) & more (feel the pain that everyone else is). We have several family members working for the state & have no problem doing so, in order to balance our state budget.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  85. Derek (Sacramento, CA)

    No. Better yet, reduce the excessive benefits that most public employees have these days, and fire people that don't produce. Kind of like the real world most of us have dealt with for many years.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  86. gew ontario

    does that include the politicans that sent all the jobs overseas

    August 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  87. Scott M. Danville, VA

    Maybe if they had to take a few more days off in Washington without pay as well as some unpaid holidays not only would we be saving money but it would be that much less damage they could do.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  88. Paula

    Of course. Especially since private employees are doing their part for their companies. Gone are the days when the government employee is exempt from this solution.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  89. Jim W

    What does it matter. Thats a small number as opposed to the days that they show up and do nothing!!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  90. kamlika

    I think this is ridiculous. If the city of Chicago wants to save money, why doesn't Daley cut down on the elaborate fireworks every wednesday and saturday? Thank god the exuberant Tulips are out, I'm sure that is saving money...

    August 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  91. Allan

    We're doing it private industry so why not government as well. It sure beats being laid off.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  92. Libwen

    Both my parents work for the government, one for the state of Michigan, and the other for a county. My mother, the state worker, already has furlough days, and, while she misses the money, really likes having the time off. Social services workers are sorely needed, and the furlough days are giving them a little cool-off time that they don't usually get.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  93. tom lobenstein

    Hell yes, starting with Congress and their staffs.We'd save not only dollars, but we'd prevent the screwballs in the Democrat and Republican leadership from play one-ups-manship with each and the country would much to the good

    August 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  94. Ron Columbus, oh

    Yes, I think it's a time for Government to be the solution of its problems.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  95. Joe


    Here in Maryland all state employees were furloughed for a number of days already last fiscal year, plus having our salaries reduced. And yet we'll still be laying people off in the coming months. Furloughs are just a band-aid on a gaping wound.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  96. Devin

    Heck no. As in favour of small government as I am, I believe a man deserves to be paid for the work he does, regardless of his employer.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  97. Michael

    That sounds like a great idea Jack. By the way, aren't the democrats trying to expand government? So is it also a democrat idea to give government employees unpaid holidays. Sounds like they have found the way to end the recession!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  98. Ron Koczor

    Love the fact that while the average Chicago worker is being forced to take days off, the 50 Aldermen are holding business as usual and voting themselves increses in their discretionary budgets! The fat never cuts the fat, does it?

    August 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  99. Raul

    Hey i live in chicago, and really it doesnt matter if the city takes the day off. Either way when they work for example the garbage disposal department they dont pick up our trash anyways. By they way jack our mayors name is Richard M. Daley. You said Robert. Love your show

    August 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  100. josephine

    No, just Congress(wo)men and Senators. And not just 12 unpaid days, make that at least half a year ... Hell, they'd just probably vote themselves full-time pay for the half-time job, but maybe we could save some bucks and some HEARTACHE for a while anyway ...

    August 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  101. Wes, Indiana

    I dont think government officials need or deserve the pay the are getting, more Americans need to be slapped out of empathy and realize our politicians and elected officials are just a part of another well-organized Ponzi scheme known as taxation without representation.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  102. Annie, Atlanta

    Just exactly how much do us peons have to give up to make the upper crust happy, really? For people just getting by on these salaries, which I'm sure aren't substantial, this is horrible. And why aren't our politicians taking pay cuts? (I think the mayor of Chicago is little Richie Daley, son of Richard J. Daley btw).

    August 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  103. DeAnne Martin

    I think this is a good idea for government employees, and all employees. I would think it would be better to keep more people actually employed, even if all of them worked fewer days or hours. If all employers did this, they could keep more employees.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  104. donRoberto

    What I want to know is, what caused the problem in the first place; was it the mayors, governors? Poor leadership,? Poor budget control?
    Are the "leaders" also going to be off?? It is always the people who really keep the governemnt going that have to suffer!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  105. Janet M.

    That is the dumbest solution–why don't they audit their books and cut out the waste and corruption that they and all governmental agencies are swamped in.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  106. Gus

    Of course, why not? Companies in the private sector have been asking the same of their employees... furloughs etc, ever since this economic downturn started. Gov't entities need to be just as creative. It's better than laying off staff permanently.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  107. Fernando McGregor, CA

    No !!!
    Why all the savings have to involve cuts of workers pay???
    How do we use to pay for services, roads and government expenses in the past?
    With Taxes, this is always been the norm, and how America was once a Superpower. Everybody chip in for the greater good.
    It is proven that "the market" will not pay for those services. "the market" only cares for corporations and their revenues.
    This is why California is bankrupt as well. We need to stop the whining and start paying our taxes.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  108. nancy

    I think it is a dirty yrick for government to cut employees time to make the bottom look good. It just makes the hard times harder.
    Do we really want the Gov running anything?

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  109. Laurie

    What's good for the "GOOSE" is good for the "GANDER"

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  110. Colton

    How about the government takes a day off without pay? They don't seem to help the economy so I think congress and the senators and everyone should have a day off without pay. Seems fail right? If only...

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  111. Joe

    Why stop there? Everyone making a paycheck in this country should donate a DAYS pay to the federal budget! Bet that would solve the problem with the national budget.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  112. Hines from NC

    I work with many manufacturing plants in NC and SC. Most them have had unpaid furloughs to save jobs and money. Why should the gov't be any different. They may save their job and be able to keep their health insurance. Almost everybody I know is working harder for less. If Obama thinks he can spread the wealth – then why not spread some of the sacrifice? Start with congress – let them off for another month. Just think of the money we will save.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  113. bob

    How about some of you overpaid media types take some time off without pay instead of putting it on the backs of underpaid public servants. I suspect the average american could get along without you or Wolf for a day or two better than they could without parole officers etc. doing the business of keeping our society running.
    South Carolina

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  114. Terry Barbour

    Absolutely! The company I work for just reduced all US workers by 5% and discontinued 401K match. Government workers should feel the pain!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  115. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    My question would be is Mayor Daly giving up some of his pay check and taking days off without pay? Not like our congressmen who take off more days than they work and still get paid plus giving themselves a raise, can you beat that Jack? As much money as our dead beat congressmen waste I'm damn glad they don't work but about half the time, if they worked full time there is no telling how much money they could waste

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  116. Jack - Phoenix, Arizona

    As a former big-city employee, I know that government workers are the most open to sacrificing for the citizens. They have done it for years with various cutbacks. Most of them fdo eel lucky to have jobs that are not dependent on bottom-line revenue or production goals of the private sector. Believe it or not, many will feel grateful that they can do their part for this very challenging economy.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  117. Brent C.

    Absolutely a horrible idea. The backs of the working people should not be used to improve the cities balance sheets, when the original problems are associated with out-dated tax formulas that do not accurately provide for the services we rely on. There is this blatant train of thought that public services can all be scaled back; but if my quality of life diminishes because of it, my productivity will fall and so on and so on. Perhaps cities should be able to leverage debt. Cities in Canada are in the same boat, perhaps there needs to be an overhaul of the North American way of life.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  118. Nancy, Tennessee

    The public sector employees are usually the first to make sacrifices. It's not right, but I agree some time off without pay is better than no job. It makes me sick that the public servant employees are going to have to cut corners and make ends meet and some of the banks we bailed out with tax money are still giving tremendous bonuses. There is no justification and we live in an upside down world pretty much like Alice in Wonderland.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  119. Buster in Poughkeepsie, NY

    Dear Jim, When "Bob" Daley finds out how you "jacked-up" his name, you'll be lucky to even have a job. Heck, if you know anything at all about Windy City politics, you'll be lucky to be alive tomorrow. Would you like to have some "end of life" counselling?

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  120. Noel - New York City

    This actually might be a good idea if government employees didn't already work slow. I'm afraid if they take 1 day off, things might be delayed for weeks.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  121. Ric

    My company as well as numerous people I know in private industry are being required to take time off without pay. Why shouldn't public employees who's "companies" are losing money do the same?
    By the way, whats the difference between a furlough day and an unpid holiday?

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  122. Roger

    Yes. Unions sacrificed to save GM. State Govt. Employees and City Govt employees are taking fuloughs without pay. Fereral employees ought to set the example. Obama should declare a 5 day federal fulough without pay across all agencies. How much would that save?

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  123. Colton

    How about the government takes a day off without pay? They don't seem to help the economy so I think congress and the senators and everyone should have a day off without pay. Seems fair right? If only...

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  124. Ryan Waldon

    I never heard if Mayor Daley was also adjusting his salary and following by example.
    I would be suprised to see that come from Chicago city government.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  125. eugene

    gee jack, perhaps the larger question is how many of these government "employees" actually work at all? if its anything like NYC or Boston, maybe half.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  126. Amy Hesse

    Jack, In Michigan we are already there, if this is what it takes to save the programs and services for our citizens why shouldn't the rest of the country follow suit? The Michigan Office of the State Employer on May 15, 2009 announced details on plans to implement furlough days for some state employees as required under Executive Order 2009-22 approved by the Michigan House and Senate Appropriations committees on May 5. The executive order requires the unpaid furlough (temporary layoff) of state employees to achieve a savings of $21.7 million before September 30, the end of the fiscal year. The order reduced state spending by a total of $349 million. Where administratively feasible, furlough days will be applied uniformly across state government on the following days: Friday, June 19; Monday, July 6; Friday, July 24; Friday, August 7; Friday, August 21; and Friday, September 4.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  127. Ry Culver

    Thanks for asking, Jack. I am a high school teacher in Delaware and something similar is occurring here. Teacher received five 'leave days' this year, unpaid vacation, really. Myself and many of my colleagues are all for this policy as a way to save money. More work for less money, I can't do that. But less work for less money is a sacrifice I can make to help all Delawareans in the long run. If public services are closed, employees and citizens can stay home on those few days and be with their families, where we all should be.

    Ry Culver, 26, Dover, De

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  128. John H. Dale, Jr.

    Great idea, if you start with Congress and then move on to all state legislatures, county commisions and city councils! Then you can include the real workers.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  129. M B Morris

    Sure, gov't employees aren't any different from the rest of us, but shouldn't they have a good example provided for them by, say, CONGRESS?????

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  130. Laurie Gauvin

    Yes and if they make more than $100,000 a year I would say halt the pay raises as well! I find it ridiculous that people cant live on less than that!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  131. Robert

    No. There are already too many slackers working for the Gov. Their pay needs to be tyied to productivity.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  132. TGF

    People are always complaining about the poor service and attitude the get from government employees. Part of the problem is that, in many cases, government jobs pay less than similar jobs in the private sector. Thus, the private sector lures away some of the most talented workers. This talk about reducing government salaries is only going to make a bad problem worse.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  133. Bryan from Colorado

    Yes, I think that if this saves money for the tax payers its good. Now lets see if the salaried goverment employees like managers will be forced to do this as well. I think the best way to save money is to send home the highest paid, that way it takes less employees to send home to reach the same savings.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  134. Wes Snypes -- TOLEDO

    A better solution would be 1) to broaden it to all not critical jobs regardless of employer; 2) calculate furlough days based on salary's percentage of minimal wage, say 1 day a month for each 3 x minimum wage . How many days will you be donating?

    August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  135. Andy

    Get a clue Jack! What do you think people in private industry have done to help their company and save their job. I had to take two weeks of unpaid furlough along with a 20% pay cut. And I still do not know if I may need to do more. It's time government employees get in the real world and do their fair share instead of government raising taxes all the time!!


    August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  136. Casey

    Jack, they debated this for state workers in Minnesota, and I have to say that the idea is laughable. State employees' income usually represents a tiny percentage of the budget. The only thing cutting state workers' paychecks does is makes the state government look better to the private sector while taking more money away from a demographic who already live on a fraction of what people in the private sector in the same position make. The savings are minimal.

    Casey in Minneapolis, MN

    August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  137. Steven Greer

    Hi Jack,

    I think it's a great idea. Especially if the concept was applied to forcing every single government legislator to days off without pay. The unpaid time off would give the American public a much needed break from all the fear instilling tactics like "death panels" and "socialized medicine" rhetoric which are coming from the political right. So yes, maybe we should make it more specific and send every republican politician home without pay. Then, maybe we could actually get some real, honest, and productive work done for the American people. And since the republicans are for limited small government, they shouldn't mind at all!

    Steven Greer
    Cleveland, Ohio

    August 17, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  138. Dennis

    Anyone who works for the government should have their pay cut in half. Here in America getting in government is about volunteering to serve your country..not making yourself rich. Same goes for health-care. This country has become completely ass-backwards.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  139. dan from horseheads

    No! Why don't they do what California is doing, add 3800 jobs when they are broke and say they are helping unemployment(its not like the taxpayers will pay for it, just ask barak)!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  140. Bobby

    Well jack considering the huge number and high salary of government workers many should be taking no pay days. Most government employees can retire in 20 years and get two thirds of there pay for the rest of there life. Those in the private sector do not make as much and will likely die on the job because none of them will be able to retire. The goverment has way too many employees as it is.There are many that sit around at the state capitals not doing much of anything.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  141. Jennifer

    Definitely! They can afford to have a day or 2...or 3 4 5...off in order to better our country's budget crisis!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  142. Alex B.

    My father works for a local municipality and now has reduced hours to help save the town money. If small town America and it's employees are able to make these sacrifices and if it even shows small signs of progress, then I think all towns and cities and states should follow this example.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  143. Emma, San Luis Obispo, CA

    I'm from CA and I have no problem with state and federal officials not being paid for the days they already take off with pay. I think our elected officials in Washington D.C. should not get one red cent for the month long vacations they take in August and all the other vacations they take on the taxpayer dime. If we forced them, all of them, to give up their pay when they ARE NOT WORKING maybe the regular WORKING CLASS employees wouldn't be forced to take furloughs AT ALL . God knows the "elected" officials make too much money In the first place.

    Is this the "trickle down" Bush economics' policy hard at work?

    August 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  144. bt

    I work for state government and would hate to lose a day of wages, but I understand the need. What I don't understand is how it is always the service providers/government employees being asked to buck up. We're expected to do it, but if you ask an individual employed in private industry to contribute their daily pay to the government they'd laugh and tell you no.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  145. Gary

    As a State of ohio employee i was made to take a 3.1 hour loss out of every paycheck. This is a two week pay period. This did not mean i got to go home for 3.1 hours but instead i had to Work 80 hours and get paid for 76.9. This is a contract that was voted on by my union. But the problem is that my union covers, Nursing. (wich im in) House keeper, Road Working Crews, Prison gards, and many others. Only essential employee's have to work the hours and lose the 3.1. The others get to take unpaid days off. But with all this said. I still have a job. ( Nogotiations are underway because of a... *me too* Clause at my facility, because management got the 10 unpaid days off... Hopefully. *me TOO!*)

    August 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  146. Tray

    Yes...High ranking officials should be forced to have a day off without pay...They make more money than the little people, so than can afford it!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  147. Catherine

    I think it iwas in the l970s during a budget crisis the emplyees in the US. Customs Regional Headquarters in Miami were asked if we would take unpaid days off rather than have to have a reduction in force (layoffs.) EVERYONE in the Hqs office volunteered to do so. I think at this time all government empolyees, federal, state, etc. could be asked to do so. Maybe one day off a month or even every other month. . Just think what this would save nationwide. One days pay would hurt but hopefully people could adjust their budget accordingly.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  148. Don

    Most government services are already understaffed cutting back even farther would only hurt those depending on them.

    The border patrol and the dept of agriculture are two prime examples. Our borders are porous and our food supply industry lacks proper sanitation practices.

    The best way to ruin the publics perception of a government program is to underfund it so it's ineffective. A practice used by the previous administration without limits.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  149. John Ramos

    Yes, all goverment employees need time off, to help economy. Also city and states. Post offices need to open Monday thru Fridays only.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  150. Carole, VA

    Jack –
    I know you hate govt employees in general. You incessantly refer to them as being 'hired for life,' implying that deadwood employees are the norm. However, most are dedicated, hard-working public servants in the best meaning of the term. Why should they be discriminated against & forced to shoulder the brunt of the economic mess? Trust me, most people would rather go without a day of the Cafferty File than a day without their govt services, and would suffer much less harm for it. So how 'bout you put your money where your mouth is – take one day per week off & donate that day's pay to offset the govt budget deficit of your choice – Fed, State or local?

    August 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  151. Marlene C. Wilmington,De

    Jack, Let's take time off without pay to the next level! Not just the State but the Federal. Since the salaries are so high in Congress, lets see if they'd be willing to cut some fat by taking unpaid days off, too! They have so much money from lobbyists...that I'd doubt that a few days without pay would hurt them. 'We the people' have had enough of the trickle down and just make a sacrifice for the good of the country hype!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  152. Dee in Florida

    What are their other options?

    I bet there is a LOT of waste that could be cut before they start furloughing employees.

    Maybe lay off a few of the folks who do nothing. And to determine who those people are ask their subordinates.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  153. Harry Lime

    Please, please take more days off. Public employees have benefitted from cushy jobs and contracts in the salad days, now show that you care about the greater good when times are tough.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  154. Ken

    Ann Arbor, MI
    I think all government employees should get unpaid time off to save money. Most Americans have taken measures to reduce house hold costs, and many American corporations have taken cost cutting measures in these hard times. I feel that what is good for the tax payers is good for the people who depend on our tax dollars for their payroll.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  155. Sue

    Mr. Cafferty,
    As a retired employee, I can say that if my country needed me to I would gladly have taken a day off without pay.
    I am wondering if our representatives would do the same. I have never heard anyone ask them to give up a days pay or 3 days or 6 days. I think we should make it mandatory that IF they ask or direct that the general government employee population give up pay then they should have already relinquished pay first.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  156. Linda in Arizona

    No. It's just like union busting. Workers have no rights left as it is. They should be able to count on their salaries.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  157. Vivian from Glenmont, OH

    If you reduce their income, you reduce their spending – it's sort of a catch-22, isn't it? The more prudent solution seems to be a reduction in the salary of the top officials – those who can better afford to lose a little income, with no reduction in service to residents.

    Glenmont, Ohio

    August 17, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  158. Lana

    Cut backs = no tax increase One way or another the money has to come from somewhere. I would rather pay a little more on my taxes than loose a public service.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  159. Helene Ballantyne

    You'd better believe they should have time off without pay. After all, their annual pay increases, rich benefit packages and cushy retirement programs have helped bring us to the high tax burdens we now bear.
    People in private industry have been dealing for years with no annual increases, pay cuts,shrinking benefits and suspended or cancelled contributions to pension and/or 401-K plans.
    Welcome to the real world, government workers!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  160. Ramana

    If its means to save jobs, irrespective of govt. or pvt. organization, I support it.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  161. Brian, Covington, GA

    No it should not be mandatory unless every government worker with the exception of emergency response personnel.

    It is not fair that government employees are being asked to take mandatory pay cuts when reducing 5 day work weeks to 4 day work weeks would actually save more money, provide the same services and not ask anyone to take a pay cut if they wish to work 10 hour shifts instead of 8.

    It has been proven in some states thatthe money saved from utilites and transportation by have 4 day weeks for school systems is one of the most effective ways to save money.

    My wife is a caseworker for our county and is facing unpaid time off. We have been squeezed at all sides from this recession and we have nothing left on our own personal budget to cut. This may be the final straw to put us into bankruptcy.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  162. Jim

    Yes, with the exception of our men in uniform. To solve the Health
    Care crisis, we should put the all members of Congress on Social Security and remove them from their private congressional healthcare package. Then we will see how fast Social Security and Health Care gets fixed. Thank you.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  163. Al Stearns

    That's typical. Its always the working man (or woman) who is asked (forced) to sacrifice. Are the high-paid execs giving any thing up? I would be surprised. But the working people always step up. They are the backbone of the country.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  164. Bernard B. Pierce

    Jack it's ashame that this so-call of Chicago wants some city employees to take days off. First of all let's start with city counsel, Chicago police superindent & others to take a 15-20% pay cut. It's only fair because the little man is truly suffering today across the board 😦 !!!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  165. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    No! Leave the middle class alone! This only hurts the economic recovery. Each department can cut in their spendings somewhere else! Every budget has waste!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  166. carter

    yes all state,and county ,city , and towns would help but a more bigger help would be all of above start to paid some of their medical preminens that most of working americans pay which is outrageous high put all goverment, state ,city,county, and especialy theachers on single pay system that the goverment pays not the poor working class pays

    August 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  167. Brian (Orlando, Fl)

    Regular government employees like me, who are the backbone of these organizations should not be forced to take time off without pay. All of the highly paid employees who really do not nothing but have meetings all day, they should be forced to take time off without pay.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  168. Daniel from Florida

    Yes Jack, and they should go ahead and fire most of them while they're at it. There's a reason why most local and state governments are in a budget crisis: they don't know how to stop hiring unproductive bureaucrats to fill their offices. Government is the only sector of the economy where workers get raises and bonuses not based on their performance but based on how long they have been there. Most government officials aren't competent enough to balance their own checkbooks but yet we still let them manage government spending. Go figure?

    August 17, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  169. kathleen Collins

    This seems a viable way to save money in tough economic times and has been done effectively in many businesses across the land. I t absolutely should be seen as a temporary solution, and not something that will cause severe hardship to the work load in the future. In some of these offices the wait is long enough!

    From New York

    August 17, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  170. David in San Diego

    I think time off without pay (a pay reduction) could be defensible if the services received by residents–actual services, not phantom reductions–are cut to match it. If police pay were cut by 5%, then crimes should be allowed to rise by 5%. 5% of phone calls, randomly selected, should not be returned. The "overburdened" (read "stingy") taxpayers should feel the pain.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  171. John

    Yes Chicago is in deep financial trouble. Yet, yesterdays Chicago Tribune ran a story about the excesive expense accounts by the Ward Politicans. Many are spending in excess of $70,000 per year on things like, automobile leases, office rent and bottled water. The highest automobile lease was for an individual who didn't even drive. Most don't feel there is anything wrong and several say they need six figure expense accounts to get by.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  172. Agnes from Scottsdale, AZ

    Jack: This sort of furlough has been shown to have negative impact overall: the employees become disgruntled, the public they serve become more demanding and there is a breakdown of effectiveness. My suggestion is to consider job freeezes, cut out non-essential perks and keep people working. Furloughs are unimaginative solutions that create more problems. Aren't we a nation of big ideas?

    August 17, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  173. Pete gilligan

    Why should all government workers give up their pay. If the debt is so bad why can't the politicians stop the free lunch of the tax free foundation. Billion go un taxed. tThey foundations should be part of any plan to ask for sacrifice

    August 17, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  174. peggy

    I really think it is unfair to expect us once again to bite the bullet for everyone but the working class.Wall street got bailed out home owners did not.We can't answer health care problems for middle class but if you don't want to work or your not a citizen come on down.And yes terrorists we are cutting the staff and its free!The Bush wars still control America and anything to do with it.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  175. Denise K

    Same thing is happening in the private sector. Where my husband works, they were forced to take furlough days unpaid or use vacation days plus they also had to take 10% pay cuts, which they say is temporary, but we'll see. If you think government should be run like a business, then I suppose its a good idea. At least they have jobs.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  176. Dave Iowa

    There was a time when govt. employees made less then the general public.Now they get great benefits and good pay.And its hard to fire a dead beat govt. employee.It's now time they live by the some rules as the rest of us.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  177. george in MD

    answer is yes, they also (jack! I like make it clear)refuse,disallow,turn-down, rejects, dismiss,deny, any of the free coverages that is giving to illegal immigrants that's free tax funded health-care to illegals and that's includes welfare's too ,and driver licenses ,this is time for this governing body to save money in all areas of services.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  178. Inez

    Hi Jack, well i'm home today...on furlough aka Tmpry lay off. aka leave without pay!! I don't hear any of my creditors taking a "furlough day", meaning maybe 1 day worth of NOT paying all of your bills! maybe it would balance out. I'm just saying......

    State Worker

    August 17, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  179. Kevin

    I say it's not a good idea to furlough government workers I work for the Navy here in Jacksonville. I'm a civilian and I work on Navy jets what do you think will happen if these jets are not ready on time the fleet will not deploy on time!!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  180. S, Michigan

    Yes- the rest of us in the private sector are taking it in the you know what, so why not govt employees too and save us some tax dollars?(plus they make up for it with all the better employment benefits they get that we in priv sector don't even though we pay more for ours).

    August 17, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  181. Allen, Cypress, Texas

    Yes, if they want to have a job and keep getting paid.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  182. john

    Are you insane.? ?
    Can you imagine Airport security staff any surlier ??
    Can you see your average government clerk working any slower??
    How about Air Traffic Controllers?
    Do we really want those guys in a grumpy mood????
    The government service is already a powder keg..
    don't give them any matches ! !

    John Toronto Canada....

    August 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  183. Greg and Berta

    Every penny counts. It’s the nickel and diming that needs to be addressed. All organizations, public and private, need Auditors who are empowered to cut wasteful spending. Auditors would not allow for a $35K toilet in either the public or private sector. Give Auditors authority to fire the slickity slimy scum buckets that buy $35K commodes and we will pay off our national debt.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  184. Rodney Emsland

    The provincial government employees of the province of Manitoba (Canada) implemented this same system of saving money way back in the nineties when we were forced to take up to 5 of these days a year for three or four years. Some employees who were not the principal breadwinner usually liked these extra days off as it meant very little in terms of lost imcome and gave them extra time with family, etc., however to those who were the primary or only breadwinner in the family the impact was much greater. Those were hard years for Canadians and I often wondered why I never heard of any such belt tightening south of the border befor this.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  185. jimmy

    i think they should only be able to be furloughed if the Mayor of Chicago gives back part of his salary equal to three of four days off. a good leader suffers with his troops not apart from them.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  186. J.A .Eckert

    This is an inspired idea!
    We could:
    1. Give Republican Senators & Congressmen every "odd month" off
    2. Give Democratic Senators & Congressmen Sundays off during the 'odd months"
    3. Give all IRS employees 3 days off each month ending in a Y
    4. Ditto for FEMA
    I could go on but this would be a good start
    Louisville, KY

    August 17, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  187. abdi

    The government should bail out the struggling cities. They shouldn’t reduce hours on innocents employees. They have families to support. they can't afford this. Those huge companies that received government bailout didn’t deserve it and aren't doing nothing to improve the economy. Why not the rest of the public?

    August 17, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  188. LP

    Surely you know that Chicago's mayor is Richard Daley, not Robert??!!

    Many private companies, including private not for profit hospitals, send staff home without pay when business is slow. Why should goverment be exempt? It's not fun, but better than being unemployed.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  189. Stephany

    My husband has been a Maine state employee for 21 years. My husband will have 10 furlough days by the end of this fiscal year and another 10 next fiscal year. He was also forced to give up part of his direct care pay (he works in corrections) and his health insurance went up 6%. The state employees were "generous" enough to sacrifice their pay however when it came to the state legislature they weren't so "generous". A proposed bill was submitted to the state legislature requesting they reduce their overall size. It wasn't just voted down once – but TWICE. Ironically, as a state employee sacrificing pay it was very disheartening to find out that our county employees received a raise as well as our city employees. No one working for any state or local government should expect or receive a raise – be happy you have a J – O – B!!!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  190. K

    Better suggestion. Cut the pay of the overpaid executives as well as their perks, benefits, bonuses! Reduce the number of overpaid executives–it is a little top heavy up there. Stop replacing American workers with cheaper illegals or imported workers. what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  191. Randy T

    Yes! If there isn't a CEO pulling down 100's of millions of dollars from the public, what good are they doing? Everything should be farmed out to the private sector so millionaires and billionaires can get great shareholder value on the backs of the american people like everything else.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  192. Matthew Schmitz Oxnard,CA

    Absolutely Not. We need government employees working 24/7 to try and get us out of this economic crisis.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  193. Bertina

    It's not just Chicago, its happening right here in my middle sized town in Georgia at a Medical College. If it happens one place, its happening everywhere across the country. This is why this urgency to shut down any change does nothing for the average joe. Maybe people have to realize its not just the poor who are effected by this economy and this terrible health care situation. Think of all the tax money not going to be collected. That means less revenue for all things everyone seems to want for free.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  194. dan from horseheads

    Absolutely not! Instead of making hard working americans lose work and money why doesn't the white house cancle their private jet order or make congress get health care they are pushing on us!

    August 17, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  195. David Clark

    Boy, Jack... you ask some tough questions sometimes and this is one of those times. The knee-jerk reaction from most of those who hate big government is to say SURE! In fact, most of them would just as soon FIRE instead of furlough. On the other hand, government employees are just like the rest of us with families to raise and bills to pay and they count on every dollar to get by. Sometimes a modest tax increase is a better answer than random cuts in services.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  196. Joe McGrath

    Mid to upper management is the overhead. Since they are responsible for the budget and spending, take their pay. Obama was part of that governing body, and he is a multi-millionaire. Something tells me the rest of them are not getting by on ramen noodles.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  197. Sheila Fraser

    Absolutely – why not? We have been on Friday furlough here in Santa Cruz, CA (pop 55K) since last January. Sorry to see that now our large cities (Chicago) are doing same, however, all our hardships need to be shared equally in order for us to survive this recession.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  198. Jack Dempsey

    Jack, they should be cut back they get better pay than most of us, paid vacations, health care , child care, sick pay and retirement. It's next to impossable to fire them and they do a bad a bad job on top of it . Lay them all off. Maybe when they get called back they will do a better job. Jack from Nice, Ca.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  199. Wayne Smith

    I work as an employee of Clark County Nevada, I would much rather take a day off per month until the economy returns to normal, then get laid off or take a pay cut. Just tell me what the facts are and tell me what the alternatives are and I’m willing to do my share.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  200. Sheila Hulbeck

    I think this is a great idea. All states should try this. When the chips are down – we have to do whatever it takes! Sheila H.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm |