LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Sacrifice should start with paid holidays

On Nov. 12, I wrote about federal holidays that fall on a weekend but are observed on a workday for friendsofronsmith.com, my tribute website honoring my late husband, Ron Smith, WBAL Talk Show Host, Emmy Award winner and Baltimore Sun columnist.

Veterans Day, the day we honor all veterans and their service on behalf of this nation, annually falls on Nov. 11, signifying 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 Nov. 11, federal employees observed the holiday on Monday, Nov. 12, the “legal” holiday, or they received pay in lieu of the holiday. Since the 112th Congress is addressing a $600 billion financial and taxation issue, revoking the seven federal holidays would be a good start on the path toward fiscal responsibility.

The average federal government salary is $75,000 for the 2.1 million federal agency employees, costing taxpayers $604,863,648 for each federal holiday. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management website boasts of “Recruiting, retaining and honoring a world-class workforce to serve the American people.” It lists seven of these holidays for 2013. The total cost for these holidays: $4,234,045,536. Let the sacrifices start with the “world-class workforce” serving the American people.

Quoting a line President Obama recently used in another context, “This is arithmetic, not calculus.” Congress needs to do the math. We are no longer moving toward the edge of a cliff. Rather, we have reached the precipice and are on the edge of a dangerous and disastrous situation.

JUNE SMITH

Shrewsbury, Pa.

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