Shutdown Theater: No New Beers

With just 17% of the federal government shutdown, one has to wonder if  beer inspectors are considered “non-essential”, and, if so, why we need them in the first place

(USA Today) The federal government shutdown is giving some folks one more reason to cry in their beers: An obscure but powerful arm of the Treasury Department has stopped approving new brews.

All new beers that get bottled or canned to be sold across state lines must be approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, known in the industry as the TTB. Federal workers must approve the label, as well as the recipe if it uses non-traditional ingredients, which many seasonal beers contain.

While the TTB as stopped approving new recipes and labels, workers there are still collecting brewery taxes.

Got that? No approvals, but still collecting taxes. Kinda like this

(CBS News) Nearly 36,000 employees who work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons across the country have to work during the government shutdown in order to “protect human life and property,” including the ones in Yankton.

“Basically, we are working right now on an IOU for the government, and we have families to support. We have bills to pay, and we’re expected to be here,” American Federation of Government Employees Local 4040 Union President Michele Kunkel said.

But while workers are going without paychecks, inmates at the prison are not.

“There’s a different funding for them,” Kunkel said of the inmates who are getting paid for the jobs they do while in custody.

That’s right: we continue to pay federal prisoners (why we would pay them in the first place is idiotic).

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5 Responses to “Shutdown Theater: No New Beers”

  1. Jeffery says:

    Why do you say paying federal prisoners is idiotic?

    According to the Bureau of Prisons:

    Work Programs

    Sentenced inmates are required to work if they are medically able. Institution work assignments include employment in areas like food service or the warehouse, or work as an inmate orderly, plumber, painter, or groundskeeper. Inmates earn 12¢ to 40¢ per hour for these work assignments.

    Approximately 16% of work-eligible inmates work in Federal Prison Industries (FPI) factories. They gain marketable job skills while working in factory operations, such as metals, furniture, electronics, textiles, and graphic arts. FPI work assignments pay from 23¢ to $1.15 per hour. A high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate is required for all work assignments above entry level (lowest pay level) in either institution or FPI jobs.

    The Inmate Financial Responsibility Program (IFRP) requires inmates to make payments from their earnings to satisfy court-ordered fines, victim restitution, child support, and other monetary judgments. Some inmates are assessed a Cost of Incarceration Fee, which is collected under the IFRP. Inmates working in FPI who have financial obligations must pay 50 percent of their earnings to the IFRP. Most fine and restitution money goes to crime victims or victim support groups through the Crime Victims Fund administered by the Office for Victims of Crime in the Department of Justice.

  2. gitarcarver says:

    Well Jeffery, it is idiotic because while we have honest people making an honest living being shut out of private jobs, we are still paying criminals.

    One would think the priority would be tax paying citizens, but alas it is not.

    One must wonder why you support criminals over honest people.

    (That’s rhetorical, by the wat. We know why.)

  3. IFRP says:

    Well, gitarcarver, I thought Jeffery’s post made it pretty clear. Incarceration involves more than punishment for wrongdoing. It also involves rehabilitation. Part of rehabilitation is acquiring the ability to function in society LEGALLY. To do that, a person must have a job skill.

    Now if you want to do away with programs such as the IFRP and release criminals back on the street without any job skills except what they entered prison with, be my guest. But you’re going to reap what you sow when you do.

  4. Jeffery says:

    One must wonder why you claim I support criminals over honest people.

    (That’s rhetorical, by the way. We know why.)

  5. gitarcarver says:

    Well IFRP, I the question wasn’t whether we should teach a job skill or do some sort of rehabilitation. The question was “why is paying federal prisoners idiotic?”

    So it seems that Jeffery’s question wasn’t clear to you.

    Even absent of the shutdown, the problem with prison industries is that they compete in the open market. Because of low labor costs, prisons often get any contract they want.

    So in the end, the private business through taxes and fees pays for a business that by its very nature unfairly competes against him and at the same time, taxes are paying for salaries of prisoners that are competing against him.

    The idiocy is not in the rehabilitation, but people being forced to pay for competion against themselves.

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