RUSH: We go to Paul in Leesburg, Virginia. Hi, and welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Thank you, sir. Pleasure to speak with you. I just want to let you guys know that everybody's talking about how these layoffs and things are in the future, happening after the first of the month. I've been a contractor to one of our three-letter agencies, and I was laid off last week because of budget cuts.
RUSH: You were laid off already?
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: Every day of the week or just four days?
CALLER: Oh, my job is gone. Defunded was the term that was used.
RUSH: Why did they do that? I mean, the sequester hasn't even happened yet.
CALLER: Well, they said it was budgetary constraints in preparation for possible sequestration.
RUSH: Budgetary constraints in preparation for possible sequestration.
CALLER: That's what my manager --
RUSH: What did they tell you, how long are you laid off?
CALLER: How long? Sir, my job's gone. I have to find a new job.
RUSH: Did you say you're a contractor for the intel community? So you're not a General Services Administration employee, you're not a government employee, you're a contractor.
CALLER: I'm not a federal employee, sir. I'm a contractor to one of our agencies. Was, 'til last week.
RUSH: And they just waved good-bye to you?
CALLER: Yeah, they gave me two weeks, which is more than they typically do, but, yeah, there was myself and another gentleman, both of us are subject matter experts in our field, and basically we're just called in and told thank you for your work, we love what you do, but your position has been defunded, so 28 of February is your last day.
RUSH: How does that make you feel?
CALLER: Like getting hit in the stomach with a baseball bat. I have to go home to my two young kids and when I walk in they look at me, my older son, "Dad, did you get hired today?" And I have to try and --
RUSH: Were you blindsided by this or did you have some indication? I have to think you would have had some indication. We've been hearing for a month about how the bottom's gonna fall out for everybody.
CALLER: Well, everybody in this environment understands that there are cuts coming and, yes, we knew that there were things coming.
RUSH: So if the sequestration doesn't happen, they're not gonna hire you back?
CALLER: No, sir. My job is gone.
RUSH: Well, then it may not have anything to do with the sequestration.
CALLER: Well, again, they said it was budget constraints.
RUSH: Well, yeah, they said that, but there might be something else going on here. The sequestration hasn't happened yet. You're a contractor, you're not actually a government employee. And if you're not gonna get hired back even if the sequester doesn't happen, then obviously it's not related to the sequester. There's something else happening here. Gee, I feel bad for you.
RUSH: Our last caller... I did some research here during the break. We had an intel contractor call. He's a 1099. He's a contract hire. He's not a government employee. He's just been laid off. He's not gonna be hired back no matter what happens in the sequester. But they told him it was in preparation for budget constraints due to the possible sequester. Here's what we found. We found an AP story from August of 2010. So that's basically, what, 2-1/2 years ago.
"The defense intelligence community..." That's what the guy who called did. He was a contract intel guy. "The defense intelligence community is combing its budgets to figure out where to cut 10% of its contractors as part of Defense Secretary Robert Gates' drive to reduce costs in the Pentagon. ... Overall government spending on contractors doubled from 2000 to 2008, exceeding $500 billion in 2008, according to Office of Management and Budget spokesman Kenneth Baer. The Obama administration had already set a goal of reducing overall use of contractors by 7% or $40 billion, by 2011."
So Obama started cutting intel contractors by 10% back in August of 2010 'cause they're winding down the War on Terror. And as part of trimming the cost, the regime has cut spending on intel contracting by 15%. So this guy just lost his contractor job. He called us and he told us that they told him that it was related to the sequester. Two things are going on here. A, the guy gets laid off. He's told his job is gone. He calls here and they told him it's part of the sequester. So he's out there saying that.
So now what's happening, folks -- again, you gotta deal with the optics.
What's happening now is people are saying, "Why, we're even laying people off before the sequester, Mabel! Mabel, it's gonna be really bad. It's gonna be really bad because now people lose their jobs even before the sequester." So this is designed to create a picture of genuine pain and suffering, even before the sequester. Now, may I inject a little reality here? Would it be safe to assert that nongovernment-related, private sector people have been dealing with this for years?
Have you seen the private sector unemployment rate? We have lost 8.5 million jobs since Obama took office! There are that many fewer jobs to fill. There are that many fewer jobs to be had. It's not 8.5 million people looking for jobs. That's how many jobs no longer exist. The labor force has been reduced by that many jobs. My point is, for 4-1/2 years this has been happening in the private sector. But now that it's happening in the government sector, we're getting the...
No, I'm really not trying to stir things up. But now we start hearing the complaints. Now we start getting the sob stories. We're being massaged, manipulated -- our emotions are -- to feel sorry for people working in government or government-related jobs losing theirs. "Oh, no!" But this has been going on for nearly five years in the private sector, and it's just been what's happening. It's just been the reality. "Deal with it. Obama's trying to fix it. Be patient." But all of a sudden, now it's serious.
"Four-and-a-half years of people losing their jobs in the private sector? Ho-hum. (snoring)." But now government-related workers are losing their jobs, and Panic City! "It's unfair, mean. How can this happen?" When in truth, this is unrelated to the sequester. They just told him that. They just told him it's the sequester. That made it easier for them, but there haven't been any sequester cuts yet. Now, I have no doubt Obama wants defense budget cuts in the sequester. He's salivating over 'em, in fact.
Private sector unemployment is twice as high as federal worker unemployment in terms of the unemployment rate.
RUSH: Doug in Adams, Wisconsin, great to have you on the EIB Network. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I think I know how Obama can maximize what he's gonna do for greatest hurt, and that's local governments through hidden revenue shares and block grants. He can knock out deputy sheriffs, highway projects, all kinds of stuff that will hit the local TV, the local evening news, and people will see what bit them right in their own backyard. It proves to me, if he does it, Obama really doesn't care. What he really wants to do is to provide maximum hurt so he can centralize and control government and grow it all the bigger.
RUSH: Now, about that, I think you're exactly right. I think the chaos and the pain, especially when he skates along, having the Republicans blamed for it. I mean, in a political sense, wouldn't you do it? If you had Obama's objectives, not that you ever would, but if you had his objectives, and your success was directly tied to people suffering, and you could make sure your political opponents get blamed for it, wouldn't you do it?
CALLER: Yeah, and at the local level where people see it on the local news and see their neighbor going. Not some national news thing which they don't even know and low-information voters didn't even care about the national --
RUSH: You are so right. That's why Obama -- he has a dinner with the governors, all presidents do, every year when the governors gather for their convention, but that's why he called 'em in to threaten 'em. I've got one, two, three, three the sound bites here. Obama this morning, during the National Governors Association meeting, telling these governors, he provided them with a convenient list of cuts that will happen in their states, exactly what you're saying. This is why he calls 'em in there and frightens them and scares them into support, 'cause what he's telling them is, "Look pal, you think I'm gonna take the hit for this? Wrongo. You are there. These cuts are gonna happen in your state, and you're gonna take the hit," and that's what he's threatening them with. You're exactly right.
CALLER: 2.4% leveraged into a big whopper for everybody.
RUSH: Yep, that's exactly how they play the game. You're exactly right. Great call.
RUSH: Terry in Colorado Springs, you are on the Rush Limbaugh program. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, sir, thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: It's great to talk to you. I'm a 27-year Air Force veteran, just retired, and I wanted to address -- you had a gentleman who called earlier that had lost his contracting job with the DOD, Department of Defense, because of sequestration.
RUSH: No, no. Let me be precise here.
RUSH: He was told that he was losing his job for budget constraints related to the upcoming sequestration. But I found an AP story all the way back in 2010 where the DOD announced a bunch of contractor cuts totaling $500 billion or whatever it was, I forget the number already, but this is a program that's been underway for two years.
RUSH: They just told him the sequester had something to do with it to make it easier on them.
CALLER: Absolutely. And that was my point. I've done budgets forever, and even under sequestration, even under budget cuts, if there was mission requirements or value added to that contract, I could keep him around. I could reduce hours. There were too many things I could do. But what a lot of folks don't know is back during the first Bush 1, they started cutting military positions and converting them to contractors, and about five years ago, all those positions they converted to contractor, they started to convert to civilian positions. It's called --
RUSH: Back in Bush 1, why did they make the conversion to contractor?
CALLER: They said they were saving money.
CALLER: The way they went about doing it is they basically looked at an old law that said that the government cannot be in competition with its civilians and therefore they needed to contract out as much of the military as possible.
RUSH: That's a crock. I'll tell you what bothers me about this. I mean, I understand they need to cut spending, but they cut spending in all these inconsequential ways. They're not saving any serious money by engaging in a two-year plan to let go the contractors. What we need to do is make serious reductions in these entitlements. Until that happens, all the rest of this is academic. And these cuts on these people are done to make it look like the government's doing something, but it doesn't add up to anything significant in terms of reducing deficits or debt.
CALLER: There is no intention to reduce the deficit. On my last deployment to Iraq, I spent time working with the government of Iraq trying to help them, among other things, figure out how to reduce the number of government employees they had. This whole thing is to build the federal government and to reduce the number of jobs that are available on the civilian side. And the problem is that, for example, in Iraq I worked with the ministry of communications. Twenty-two thousand people were on the bankroll just for that one ministry. Maybe 300 were needed to do the job. Once you go down the slope it's really tough to stop it.
RUSH: Wait just a second. If I heard you right, I think you just said something that contradicts. You said the government wants to eliminate civilian jobs.
CALLER: They want to eliminate -- and this is a problem because in the military we call government employees civilians. The government wants to reduce private sector jobs --
CALLER: -- to increase the number of people in the government.
RUSH: Okay. So why take people in the government and convert them to contractors?
CALLER: Because the people they originally converted were not government. They were military positions. They cut military positions first.
RUSH: But still, if your idea is to maintain government as opposed to civilian employment, why take existing government employees and make 'em civilian and then eventually fire them?
CALLER: Well, I guess the point I'm trying to make is back when they started this outsourcing -- I mean, you don't look at a military person the way you do a civilian in government position. How you keep them, the rules that apply to them are much different. But they did that under the auspices of saving money. Now they've turned around and now they're trying to take all those contract positions. They should be turning them back to military positions if they really need them, but instead they're turning them into civilian positions, government civilian positions.
RUSH: Right, and there's no real deficit reduction that's any kind of an objective here, right?
CALLER: No. There's none. It's gonna be more expensive in the long run for the civilians because once a government civilian is on the payroll after the year, it's almost impossible to get rid of them.
RUSH: So essentially if I'm hearing you right, what's happening is that a three step process, what happens is you convert uniformed jobs to contractor jobs and then you convert those to civilian jobs?
CALLER: Correct. And it happened in a lot of our support fields like our security police, like our --
CALLER: -- people who do communications, telephones, our civil engineers. You have some bases that were completely outsourced, the whole organization, and now they're slowly converting those back to civilians.
RUSH: Okay. And the objective -- (crosstalk)
CALLER: -- they were not saving money and couldn't afford it, so their answer is, let's see if we can get civilians. And that's not gonna be any cheaper.
RUSH: No, but at the same time you're downsizing the military, which is an objective of this bunch.
CALLER: Oh, yes.
RUSH: Well, I don't know. All of this is so convoluted. Terry, thanks for the call. All of this is done why? They say it's deficit reduction. They say it's cost savings. This doesn't even scratch the surface of actually cutting costs. You look at all the federal social programs that are redundant. I mean, how many school lunch programs are there? School breakfast programs? How many children's health programs are there? They're built on top of each other.
That's where we're gonna have to start making cuts if we're gonna have deficit reduction, if we're gonna reduce debt. But all of these little casual... Like the guy that called earlier, he's a consultant, defense consultant, contractor. Those kinds of cuts, those are just for optics to make it look like the government's being cut, to make it look like we're taking deficit reduction seriously, when nothing of the sort is taking place.