If you ever doubted the fact that many politicians see citizens as mere pawns in their political game, the wrangling about whether employers should give adequate notice about looming layoffs should enlighten you.

The government already has decided that workers and their families deserve notice that they may lose their jobs. Congress passed the WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification). It requires large employers to provide workers with 60 days’ notice before they close a plant or lay off a significant number of employees. That law takes effect if the pending layoff or closure is foreseeable.

On Jan. 2, the “fiscal cliff” kicks in, meaning $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts take effect, with about half of that money being cut from the defense budget.

That will mean layoffs across the defense industry at the end of December or the beginning of January. Sixty days prior to that will be late October or early November.

The Obama administration, however, doesn’t want thousands of workers to get layoff notices just before the election. So the White House sent a notice to defense contractors last month, telling them they don’t need to obey the WARN Act. In fact, the White House told them that if they violate the law, the administration will cover any legal expenses they may incur.

In other words, the president of the United States is telling companies they can ignore the requirements of a federal law. He is also telling them that if they face any consequences from breaking that law, he will have the taxpayers cover their costs for them.

And what about the workers and their families? Don’t they still deserve notice about these layoffs that have been moving closer for months? Apparently not.

— Herald-Journal,

Spartanburg, S.C., Oct. 7

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