"Contrariwise," continued Tweedledee, "if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic!" -- From Lewis Carroll's "The Walrus and the Carpenter."
More than 20,000 Washington area feds have been furloughed or face furloughs this year because of budget cuts or congressional failure to approve budgets for the fiscal year that started last October.
Included on the furlough list are 2,700 Labor Department aides who find jobs for others and help run the nation's giant unemployment insurance program. They may be furloughed for 40 days -- without unemployment benefits -- between June 15 and Sept. 30.
In addition to the possible 40-day furloughs at the Employment Training Administration, workers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Employment Standards Administration also are on furlough alert.
More than 1,000 of ETA's 2,700 workers are here. All have been told furloughs will begin in mid-June unless Congress approves supplemental budget requests (for pay and programs) from the department. Since there are only about 75 work days during the proposed furlough period, the full 40 days without pay would take a big, big bite out of workers' paychecks.
BLS, with 1,400 people here and 549 in the field, is talking about beginning 14 days of furlough next month. The ESA, which has 800 workers here (and 3,400 in the field), hasn't yet figured out how many of its employes may have to be furloughed or for how long. But furloughs are in the works.
Senate leaders privately have assured the Labor Department that the money is coming. But Labor brass felt they had to issue warnings to employes, to comply with federal furlough rules and give people time to prepare for a lot of short paychecks.
The Census Bureau furloughed several thousand of its employes for two days last month.
Furloughs have begun and continue for 5,700 Office of Personnel Management staffers. They are taking one day every two weeks until further notice.
The Government Printing Office says it will furlough its 6,300 workers here for 12 days, beginning in June.
Although the Federal Aviation Administration has put its planned furlough of more than 20,000 workers -- including 2,500 headquarters types -- on hold, there is still a chance some people may have to take some furlough days this summer.
It will be up to Congress -- just back from its third vacation of this year -- to decide how many more people will be furloughed this year, here and around the country, and just how long those furloughs will last.