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Glasses and a pen resting on a paper headed
Chained CPI would hit federal workers especially hard—under President Obama's budget, federal pensions as well as Social Security would be subject to the chained CPI cuts. That proposal comes at the same time as Obama's budget calls for increased pension contributions from federal workers:
Under that plan, a repeat of an administration proposal advanced last year, federal employees would pay an additional 1.2 percentage points of their pay, spread out over three years — 0.4 percent annually. Federal retirement payments and Social Security payments, among other benefits, would increase at a slower rate under an alternative inflation index Obama recommended.
So three years into a pay freeze and as furloughs under sequestration are starting, the president's budget has federal workers start paying more into their pensions and getting less out of them—but hey, he's proposing they get a one percent pay raise, so it's all good, right?

As a reminder, federal workers are not especially well-paid relative to their high level of qualifications; the percentage of federal workers who have advanced degrees is more than twice as high as the percentage in the private sector, for instance, and federal workers are also significantly more likely to have attended college than private sector workers. Freezing or cutting their pay and cutting their retirement benefits will make government work less likely to draw the highly skilled people we want as air traffic controllers, engineers, tracking and stemming the spread of disease, keeping us safe on the job, keeping our air and water clean. The president's budget makes clear that he knows this. But on this, as on Social Security, he's preemptively compromising with Republicans rather than putting up a real fight.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:48 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  asdf (11+ / 0-)
    But on this, as on Social Security, he's preemptively compromising with Republicans rather than putting up a real fight.
    and AHA and just about everything else.
  •  He is not even putting up the illusion of fighting (16+ / 0-)

    for the middle class.

    Perhaps he is looking for post Presidential employment, because these are not the things we voted for in November. Seems to me we voted against them.

    We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

    by Susan Grigsby on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:52:08 AM PDT

  •  Don't worry (12+ / 0-)

    the 1.0% proposed pay raise for Federal workers can be retroactively negotiated away later.  The way the proposed 0.5% raise disappeared this year.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:59:26 AM PDT

  •  thank you for this (10+ / 0-)

    this aspect of the budget is not getting the press it deserves. I live in the DC area, and have a husband who has worked for a Nat' lab since receiving his PhD 29 years ago. Federal employees get a bad rap but they are doing more than their fair share of sacrifice. I can look up and down my street - nearly every house in my middle class neighborhood has a govt employee.  Lately there has been an increase in store closings - grocery, restaurants, barber shops...years without a pay raise and really it's a pay cut when you factor in the increase in pension contribution, makes it difficult to keep spending at a level that keeps businesses open. Doesn't seem to be the best way to get an economy growing.

    •  Local gov't employees in the DC area (5+ / 0-)

      have been going through the same thing.  I'll never understand why public employees have become the bad guys.

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 12:29:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All of the heat that should go to big banks (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ramoth, Sunspots

        has been instead sent to govt employees because of course they are the bad guys!

      •  It's because public sector workers have been... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        portrayed as loafers. The only thing that they hear about the Fed is the fraud and bureaucratic horror stories in the press. They don't see all the things that are done on their behalf. Those are largely invisible. Since they are not allowed to talk to the press and defend themselves or toot their own horn, that's all the public sees.

        Nobody wants their hard earned tax dollars to go to a bunch of ne'er do wells. What they don't realize is that every dollar that they take away from the Federal workforce doesn't come back to them. It goes to the banksters and CEO's instead. If it's a choice between the banksters and the Federal Workers, the Federal workers are a better choice, because that money goes right back into the economy and services are performed for the common good.

        •  I almost understand (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          waztec, Ramoth, Dancing Frog

          How federal employees become "loafers" or appear to be.  I'm a federal employee and we've had a hiring freeze for over a year in addition to no raise etc.  I'm now working what used to be three full time jobs and there's no extra pay coming in to compensate for the extra work.  Instead, we (the whole leadership part of the agency) get shaming emails  scolding us for not returning phone calls in a more timely manner or not meeting this or that measure.  I've begun to feel increasingly demoralized and overwhelmed and I can't help but realize that the next 2-4 hours I'm about to spend catching up on a Sunday when I could be relaxing aren't going to earn me any extra bonus points from anyone and not doing the extra work ain't going to get me fired.  I could do less, let things go, and things would fall apart, but I probably won't be fired. At most I won't get the tiny performance bonus at the end of the year and I'm not getting any raises anyway.  i can see how people might start to do less and less, and/or cross legal boundaries.  Not that I would cross legal or ethical boundaries, but it isn't hard to see how people might make the leap.  

          •  Hang in there. The people you help know-they know. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Anna M

            Believe me they know . I try to screen my employees from the kind of pressure you are getting, but they are too smart.  They know.

            As for myself, I will NEVER do less.  It isn't in me. . .

            I will work weekends twice in the next to month (in addition to my normal 10-12 hour days)reaching out to people who I know will benefit from my assistance.  I do not do it for the politicians. (You would be absolutely flabbergasted at some of the people who have complimented my employees and I-flabbergasted.)  

            Oh, yes, I am paybanded.  That means no raises since I won my current job, and all the other stuff, including the furlough, which by the way frightens my employees.  I make about  $24,000.00 less than someone in my grade and seniority in G.S.  I work hard, because at the end of the day I have helped  just the same people we strive so hard to advocate for on this site.  I will retire soon (43 years service), assuming the Hope and Change guy hasn't slaughtered my pension too much, and I will work hard until that day.  The people I serve demand it.  

            Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

            by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 07:45:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Private sector workers have been in the situation (0+ / 0-)

            you describe for quite some time, increasing productivity is a cute euphemism for working more hours for the same money.....and the kicker is that they have no choice and they
            WILL  be fired.  They will probably be fired any way if their company can figure out a way to outsource their jobs. They receive no pensions, they don't exist outside the government.  I would love to contribute to a pension plan instead of a 401K or some other deferred BS plan but don't have the option.  Count your blessings and if it gets too much, quit and go to that private sector, it is much worse than what you are describing except maybe in Washington where Congress Critters and staffers leave to suck off the government tit and collect tons of money.  It is not the real world.....the real world is much tougher and unforgiving.

            •  So her pain is not real, because you say. . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              . . .your pain is?

              Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

              by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:12:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It is not my pain specifically but if you want the (0+ / 0-)

                answer to WHY people resent government workers, it is the answer.  The private working world is now MUCH WORSE than the government working world and everyone but government workers seem to recognize it.  People don't understand why they should pay for others to do better than they are doing, it is just not human nature.  I don't have a pension, you should not have a pension.  I do not have sick time, why should you.  I don't get all federal holidays off and have only 2 weeks of vacation(if I get any) why should I pay on my meager salary for you to have all those benefits.  It is not sitting well.  The anger would be better directed at forcing employers to provide those benefits but people feel powerless, it is easier to force others into their same situation with their vote. Which is what is happening and why Obama can feel comfortable proposing the cuts he is proposing, he knows it will be supported.

                •  Ok I get it. . . You are angry (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  . . .Then I should be angry at private sector workers because, during my career, I made so much less than they did.  Ok. I guess I should be mad that when times are good I am belittled as dumb.  I get it, lets all get mad at each other and accomplish nothing.  I have not used 4125 hours of sick leave in my career. I guess that you will be mad at me because I am healthy, huh?

                  Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

                  by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:38:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You don't get it but you will soon. Add you (0+ / 0-)

                    pension and benefits, you did not make so much less, you just received deferred compensation but the good news is that unless our government goes bankrupt(and some local government have, all government is not created equal) you will not lose your pension and healthcare the way so many have when their companies stole the planned retirement.  

                    •  I am so sorry that you are angry. . . (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      . . .  I am not so sure that I will not lose everything. The pay I lost because of my choice will not be compensated by a pension (which has already been cut once).  And I am to old to compensate.    I cannot justify what has happened to you, but I did not cause it either.  Your anger is tiring and misdirected.

                      Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

                      by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:56:40 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  An example: (0+ / 0-)

                        My son's girlfriend works in the private sector doing the same job I did, albeit hers was on a smaller scale.  She makes (after you adjust for inflation) about 35% more than I did.

                        Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

                        by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 09:03:54 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Does she get a pension and healthcare and all the (0+ / 0-)

                          time off that you get as a public employee?  Here is a NY Times comparison.  Enough said...

                          Public sector versus private sector

                          I am not angry but you are, if you feel that you are so underpaid and mistreated, quit and go to the private sector....I guarantee that there will be 1000 people vying for your job, maybe more.

                          •  She gets great benefits (0+ / 0-)

                            Ok, I think you are right.  I'll quit-soon.  But I will not seek a job with an employer.  I have been told  that I can make a great deal of money self employed, because my expertise is in demand and I out competed my private sector competitors in college.  I suppose you will still be mad, though.  I think private sector treatment of employees is abysmal.  We agree.  I wish I could help.  I see my sons suffer and it guts me. We are on the same side.

                            Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

                            by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 09:20:20 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We are on the same side. My point is that people (0+ / 0-)

                            in the private sector are in a GREAT deal of pain, the job insecurity is one of the most painful things out there, I watch people go from job to job, especially young people.  It used to be 2 years was considered standard for a job change, now 6 months is more common....and if you miss a step, you could end up in an abyss.  If you decided to consult, just a word of advice, not as easy as it used to be, the lean times are leaner and miss a step and you are off the list.  I have a friend that has done it successfully, the secret, work for insurance companies and their law firms, they have VERY deep pockets but actually getting paid is almost a FULL time job.

                          •  My sons hurt-they hurt!. . . (0+ / 0-)

                            . . one has worked 20 jobs since high school.  He is always promised full time work and always ends up working just a few hours part time.  The other works two jobs, one with a few benefits the other without.  He is always working.  They are in their thirties and I still help them keep their 15 year old cars running.  I love my sons and it makes me physically angry that they suffer.  As I said. . .The same side.

                            Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

                            by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 09:35:04 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's a little different for Federal Workers... (0+ / 0-)

                            If you look at the report prepared for the CRS entitled "Federal Employment: Pay and Pension Increases since 1969," the wages for Federal Workers rose 428%, while average income in the private sector rose 632% between 1969 and 2010. For the same period, the CPI-W rose 477%. So, Federal pay increases didn't even keep pace with inflation.


                          •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Dancing Frog

                            Thanks for the figures.

                            Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

                            by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 04:10:50 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  I think it depends on the field (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not in a field that can be easily outsourced.  My friends who went to grad school when I did are generally doing not quite as well as me in terms of take home pay, but most actually have better benefits than I do - more payed time off, the same holidays, more flexibility in their workday, and better matching in 401K's.  My pension will be 30% of my highest three earning years and I haven't really been able to put as much away into the Flex spending (the government's version of 401K) as I'd have liked, so I probably won't be retiring before 67, if I can hang in there that long.  Don't get me wrong, I know the benefits of working in a federal job and it's why I haven't left, though I do look and would leave for the right job.  While, in my field, I make somewhat more than my peers in the private sector, I can tell you for a fact that nurses and doctors make less and it's why it's very difficult to recruit the best and the brightest to federal jobs.  Everyone is feeling the pain and I think the answer isn't to say federal employees should suffer more because everyone else is, but to fix it for everyone.

          •  The President should be supporting Federal (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dancing Frog

            workers, not undermining them.  His position is disgusting.

      •  all it takes is (0+ / 0-)

        one guy leaning on a shovel as you drive by a 3 mile long construction zone and bam, everyone's taxes are paying for that!

  •  Big issue for Public and Private Pensions (0+ / 0-)

    Those responsible for managing these pension funds are facing up to the fact that investment returns are lower than they forecasted.  So many have been cutting their investment return forecasts for future returns.

    This means pension contributions must be increased or benefits need to be reduced or both.

    The same applies to those planning for retirement for themselves.  

    Until we get much stronger private sector growth this problem will continue or get worse.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 12:26:59 PM PDT

    •  And why are rates of return so low? (0+ / 0-)

      The private sector has plenty of money.  The private sector caused this problem. Your statement is a perfect example of reducing benefits for people who had no part in creating the problem. I do not know how you can equate reducing purchasing power with growth.  Please read Krugman. Good Lord!

      Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

      by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 07:50:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Investment returns are low because US is no (0+ / 0-)

        longer in booming years.  

        Expected pension fund returns were raised during the boom years of the 1990s, as the boom period is long over going back to long term trend is needed.  

        Also the Fed policy of driving longer term debt returns down also decreases returns to pension funds.

        My statement of the need to either increase payments into penson funds or reduce benefits or both is just a mathematical result of how a pension fund works when investment rates of return are lower than previously forecasted.  Krugman would agree with what I wrote because he understands the mathematics of this.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:19:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unfortunately, FERS is required to be. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          . . .solvent.  (Most Federal Employees are in FERS, now) FERS is solvent.  The increases are a way to reduce the government payment.  Interest rates are low, because there is no demand. Fed policy notwithstanding. Reduce demand more and  pension funds will be affected more.

          Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

          by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:27:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  As a Federal Employee.... (7+ / 0-)

    None of this bothers me as much as the vitriol behind the cuts.  My program is on pace to save the Federal Government 600K this fiscal year.  If I were a private sector employee I would be getting a bonus, instead it's a pay freeze.  

    Also, about half my office is disabled Vets.  But you know, we are all money grubbing, lazy idiots.  

  •  As a federal employee.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I feel completely betrayed.  I work my *ss off to ultimately make his Administration look good, and this is the thanks I get?  F*ck you, President Obama.  This is NOT what I voted for.  

  •  I'm getting more and more (0+ / 0-)

    confused.  I thought POTUS LIKED the elderly.  I thought POTUS was on the side of the 99%.  I thought POTUS understood why he was reelected.

    We must keep up the pressure.

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 02:02:09 PM PDT

  •  This also includes military pensions...those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart n Mind

    who are survivors of the deceased military members as well. Sad.

  •  this proposal has cost Obama a strong early fan (7+ / 0-)

    in my spouse, who happens to be a federal employee, albeit in the Legislative Branch -  still covered by same pay scale as a civil servant.

    She was an early strong supporter of Obama when she first heard him speak at 2007 Virginia Jeff-Jack dinner.

    She has admittedly had her views somewhat changed because of my being a teacher and seeing what is bad about his educational policy.

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 07:06:49 PM PDT

  •  So, it's balanced, then. More/Less. That works (5+ / 0-)

    out well.

    fwiw, there's a chance someone reading today has had their life saved by a relative's work. A Democrat, err, sorry, former Democrat who is seeing a 10% pay cut due to the brilliant chess being played by the President. Her husband, too.

    I think the President understands that he can't fully achieve Republican objects whilst people keep turning out to vote Democratic. If there's any multi-level chess being played, there's the game it must logically be.

    Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

    by Jim P on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 07:15:08 PM PDT

  •  I don't get it.... (7+ / 0-)

    He's got a strong effective workforce but why demoralize them?

    As an RN for the VA I am going to be 5% behind the MNA contract after this year as compared to similar experience and education base. I am not complaining because at least I am shielded from furlough.

    Wages are supposed to be competitive but we are not. To attract and recruit qualified professionals they need to have competitive salary and benefits. Historically there have been locality pay surveys to adjust salary scales. There hasn't been a survey for over 3 years.

    I will be entering practice as a Psychiatric NP in about 3 months. Entry level for family PMHNP in MPLS is between 90-100,000. For the VA I will be lucky if I enter practice at 81,000. That is 10% behind the locality average.

    I love what I do and I love caring for my fellow veterans but it is hard to keep the motivation to do well with the ongoing pay/benefit freeze. FWIW I believe most employees are underpaid in both sectors of the economy.

  •  One point, Laura. While I agree that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    Federal government employees are not well-paid compared to their private-sector colleagues, it is of note that International Organizations, such as the United Nations, operate under a system based on the Noblemaire Principle, which states that the compensation of international civil servants should be higher than those of the best-compensated national civil service.  For the entire history of the UN, the comparator civil service (that which is considered to by the highest compensated) has been the US Federal civil service.  Peridically (every five years, in fact), the UN reconsiders the issue of the what is the comparator civil service system.  The US Federal system has remained the comparator.

    Of course, if things continue on their current path...

  •  What a Scrooge (0+ / 0-)

    Hope he gets the 3 Ghosts treatment for Xmas.

    Obama: self-described moderate Republican

    by The Dead Man on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 07:41:56 PM PDT

  •  1.2 percent of their pay toward retirement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, Paulie200

    This is not much money. By comparison, I work in higher education administration, and I must contribute a minimum of 5% of my salary toward retirement.

    Then again, months ago, I had people at DailyKos blasting me for wasting tuition money by working in higher education administration, so what do I know?

    •  It's a 1.2% increase - not 1.2% total (7+ / 0-)

      And in return for paying more in, feds will collect less in retirement.  They'll also get less Social Security.  Those still in the workforce can toss more of their salaries into the fed 401k equivalent (unless they're already paying the maximum allowed), but if Wall Street decides it's profitable to trash the economy again, well, darn, there go the investments, too.  

      "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

      by KateCrashes on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 07:55:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have you ever made 40% . . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ramoth, rodentrancher

      . . .of the pay someone in the same job in the private sector received?  I have. How old were you when you household reached average earnings for their locality?  I did it at age 45, with the help of my wife, who out made me. And I had been in Federal Service 25 years. (oh, I have been to college and grad school) When you combine the extra contribution with all of the rest of President Obama's enhancements, you should be able to understand the angst going on here.

      Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

      by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:03:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey Laura, I've got someone sayng they're trying (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge

    to comment on DKos and can't. Can you give me some advice on that?

  •  My comment just lost nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge
  •  I really hope that the Social Security expert (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Kossack who condescended to me and came very close to calling me stupid when I suggested this in his diary a couple of months ago visits this diary and does something similar, but somehow I suspect he won't. Thank you SO much for posting this, Laura.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall (h/t cooper888)

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 08:42:05 PM PDT

  •  I was a federal government employee (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rodentrancher, Ramoth

    many years ago.

    The pay wasn't great, but the health insurance was OK, there was actually a sick leave policy (absent in many regular jobs) and vacation was OK.  But one of the main things that people held onto was that the Federal Pension system was better and would take care of them better in retirement.

    So, foregoing some current pay for a better retirement was seen as a net plus for most of the long-term employees.

    After Obama has basically left federal employees on the chopping block several years in a row - no pay increase - now chopping away at their pension is especially painful.

    The very idea that a Democratic president would go along with "less government" advanced by Republicans is really objectionable to me. Public servants should have some motivation for choosing their careers.  If pay and benefits keep getting cut relative to the real cost of living, why accept a job?

    And thus begins a spiral down in the quality and longevity (experience is important) of federal workers.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 11:17:07 PM PDT

  •  So short-sighted (4+ / 0-)

    Pay freezes, furloughs, increased benefit contributions...tell me again why anyone would actually want to become a Federal employee now?  These folks are being demonized and they certainly aren't the problem.  The Feds I know work damn hard and long hours because they believe in what they do.

    The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

    by Mote Dai on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 12:10:33 AM PDT

  •  Aww jesus... please don't tell me that the (0+ / 0-)

    Cat 6 shit storm we are experiencing over Obama's proposed shift to chained CPI is being fueled by government mandarins unhappy with their pay freeze?

    •  Oh, please, do the math. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There are roughly 40 times as many people collecting SS and veterans' benefits as there are Federal employees and retirees.

      And you really think Feds are the reason for the upset about chained CPI, as opposed to seniors worrying weather Alpo or Purina goes better with beans?

      •  But how many here, where chained CPI (0+ / 0-)

        has raised more furry than anything I've ever seen to date... are actually more concerned about their own compensation and less about the altruistic concern for the poor and disadvantaged?

        •  Unlikely disproportionate # of Kossacks are Feds (0+ / 0-)

          As far as I know there is no specific data on how many Kossacks are Federal Government employees. However, the known demographics of Feds are that they are older (age distribution peaks between 45 and 59) and much more likely than the general population to be former military .  This seems a very poor match to the demographics I would assume of the majority of Kossacks, and renders your notion quite implausible.

          Two simpler possibilities for all the outrage:

          - Kossacks think cutting SS is a good way to lose the 2014 mid-terms

          - maybe, just maybe, they really don't want Grandma to have to choose between food and paying for her heart meds?

          •  Do the DOZENS of other things that Obama has done (0+ / 0-)

            to help Grandma afford her heart meds count?

            I mean seriously, Obama took all sorts of shit from the right to get HCA through.  HCA took Bush's UNFUNDED Medicare D, and funded it.  And I wonder why I'm continuously running into people who can't or won't recall the simplest facts like that that happened a few years ago.

            As far as what to do to win the elections... aside from the fact that doing what is right and running the goddamn government first and formost is what he was elected to do, I"m pretty certain that Obama, the White House and the Dem leadership are doing their best.  They may even know more than you or I or Laura Clawson who wrote this dairy knows.

            As to demographics here, I sure hope so, because if Christian Theology is anywhere close to correct, there is a special place in hell waiting for the relatively well treated Fed civil servants who put their own interests ahead of the vast sea of people who don't enjoy anything close to the job benefits that they do.

        •  So you are ok with it? (0+ / 0-)
          •  No, but I am OK with Barack Obama... (0+ / 0-)

            and the balance of what he has accomplished so far vs the envelope of what he possibly could accomplish.  That includes my support for his overall budget proposal.

            I trust him far more than I trust anyone else in politics, including an ever increasing number of people flying the colors of "Progressive", many of whom have a lot to say here about what a horrible tyrant Obama has become.

    •  Government Mandarins, unhappy with the freeze? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ramoth, mike101

      Aww Jesus yourself.  I will not say what I really want to say.  Mandarin? Mandarin?

      Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

      by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:06:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What is it that seems to have upset you (0+ / 0-)

        about that old term used to describe government civil servants?

        •  Its use identifies you as a troll (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Given that the dictionary definition is "A high government official", and the vanishingly small chance of any Kossack being in any "high government position", it makes it clear that you are a RWNJ troll we should properly ignore.

          Should have noticed that earlier.

          •  "high government official" ? (0+ / 0-)

            Where did you find THAT definition?  Got a reference?  I can show you that most dictionaries give, as definition 1, something different.  (See below.)

            It wasn't the perfect term in one sense, as the formal definition of "mandarin" does imply someone of middle (not high) rank, but in the vernacular of my readings and experience, it is almost exclusively a term used to describe the overall civil servant class that keeps the government and it's operations running. (As was the case in China.)

            1 a : a public official in the Chinese Empire of any of nine superior grades
               b : (1): a pedantic official (2) : bureaucrat


            (Nine grades? Sound like the Civil Service to you?)

            It is NOT a pejorative term. It was the Chinese civil service that made China a great empire at various points it her history, and it's stability that often prevented chaos.  But it DOES come with the negative baggage, which is what i WAS implying... the Mandarins were well compensated, even when the peasants suffered horribly.

            It wasn't a perfect analogy as to rank, there are Fed civil servants in blue collar jobs, but by and large it's a heavily white collar group.

            And why on earth would suggesting that a Kossack, or a whole slew of us, might be a "high government official" make me a troll anyway?  It might make me wrong, had that been what I had done (and I did not) but it hardly seems trollish.

        •  You do not upset me. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          . . .Because you do not know what you are talking about.

          Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

          by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:51:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I have one more comment about why I . . . (0+ / 0-)

      . . .care about this.  It is for my sister who is on SSA disability.  She has been sick since she was a little kid and it is the kind of illness you can't see and I didn't know about.  She has been homeless, in jail, in a nursing home and finally got some help in her twenties.  The drugs help her and she is a good soul who depends on the absolute pittance of SSA.  And calling it a pittance is a wild exaggeration.  I can send her a dollar or two know, but I never could through most of my career.  I sent her some money to have dinner on me recently.  You know what she did? She went to McDonalds a couple of times with her friends so that they could enjoy a meal out too.  GD it, people like her deserve to be protected and helped.

      Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

      by waztec on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 04:19:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How much do they pay in now (0+ / 0-)

    In Ohio, we pay 10% and our employer puts in 14% AND OPERS is considered one of the most solvent plans in the country (and we still had to raise the retirement by 2 years recently).  The fact is that returns have been lower than projected and if you want a solvent pension plan you have to pay for it.  


    •  FERS is REQUIRED to be solvent, and is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      merrily1000, waztec, Ramoth

      FERS is the Federal retirement system for everyone hired since 1984. It is funded by contributions from both employees and the agency they work for. If projections show a shortfall in a particular fiscal year, the agency contribution for the next year is automatically increased to compensate.

      The result is that FERS tends to run small surpluses, with the occasional small deficit triggering a rise in the agency contribution that guarantees a surplus the following year, bringing things back in line overall.

      One thing I've wondered, is the proposed increase in FERS employee contributions intended to allow smaller agency contributions, thereby increasing an Agency's available funding in a backdoor manner? That would be a small silver lining to the ugly business.

      Or is it meant to allow a FERS surplus that can be raided for other purposes?

    •  OPERS vs. Federal Pay (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Federal employees pay into Social Security AND the Federal Employees Retirement System. State of Ohio Employees do not pay into Social Security.

      I know, I'm a retired Federal employee and my partner works for the State of Ohio, and we've compared pay stubs. For those who don't know, FERS was modeled on the benefits that private industry was giving its employees in the 1980s when it was created.

      It works out to being about the same, if you're in an administrative (read "clerical") position. Where my partner pays into OPERS, I paid into FERS and SS, plus putting whatever I could afford to into my Federal TSP account. My partner pays about what I put into TSP into her IRA.

      But FERS is required by law to be solvent, so the contribution to that can (and does) go up. I've never seen it decrease.

      Yes, it's a damn shame that private industry scuttled their pension plans -- whose fault is it that they did so? The same people who crippled the Unions...people bought into the meme Union=Evil, now there are few left to defend the benefits the Unions fought for...

      Wouldn't it be better to fight for better benefits for everyone, rather than beating up public employees because their benefits are now better those working in private industry?

  •  No doubt his pension and that of his pals are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CitizenOfEarth, glattonfolly, Ramoth

    safe and sound.    

    Obama administration officials say Obama's proposal will help improve the financial stability of Medicare by reducing taxpayer subsidies for retirees who can afford to pay a bigger share of costs. Congressional Republicans agree with the president on this one, making it highly likely the idea will become law if there's a budget deal this year.


    IRS rules require people age 70-and-a-half and older to make regular minimum withdrawals from tax-deferred retirement nest eggs like 401(k)s. That was enough to nudge her over Medicare's line.


    But its biggest impact would come through inflation.

    The administration is proposing to extend a freeze on the income brackets at which seniors are liable for the higher premiums until 1 in 4 retirees has to pay. It wouldn't be the top 5 percent anymore, but the top 25 percent.

    "Over time, the higher premiums will affect people who by today's standards are considered middle-income," explained Tricia Neuman, vice president for Medicare policy at the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "At some point, it raises questions about whether (Medicare) premiums will continue to be affordable."

    Slowly he turned.  Step by step.... Obamacare instead of Medicare for all until everyone is paying tribute to his corporate pals.  

    Why doesn't all the fuss over SS include Medicare?   How hard is to go from no cuts to Social Security to no cuts to Social Security/Medicare.    Not a criticism, a question.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 05:18:14 AM PDT

  •  TTFN (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ramoth, snoopydawg

    Due to the unwillingness of our Democratic President and Leadership to fight for the working people and principles of the Democratic Party in the areas of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and his willingness to disparage the people who lent their good names and reputations to support him, I respectively tender my resignation in the Democratic Party and any elected office that I may hold.  My name is the most valuable thing my father gave to me and I will not let a politician willingly sully it when they renege on promises made about signature issues that I deeply believe in and that have been successful in aiding the poor and downtrodden of my country.

    Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. John Donne

    by scurrvydog on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 05:39:12 AM PDT

  •  There seems to be a lot of confusion here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    about the current federal retirement system and federal benefits in general.  While yes, I suppose it is more generous than many in the private sector receive, being a federal employee is not all unicorns and rainbows 24/7.  The benefits really aren't that great compared to other places I've worked and other private sector employers in my area.  

    The OLD federal retirement system-CSRS I believe it's called-is all pension and is similar to many state retirement programs.  If you became a federal employee prior to 1984, you had the option to stay with this retirement system and I know some Feds who chose that option who still haven't retired yet.  My understanding is that CSRS is quite generous, but you're still not going to be living high on the hog, so to speak, if you retire with CSRS.

    The vast majority of current federal employees, however, are on FERS, not CSRS.  FERS is a hybrid of a very small federal pension, a 401(k) (called the TSP, or Thrift Savings Plan), and social security.  My understanding is that most of a retiree's FERS benefit is funded by the TSP.  We already have mandatory contributions to the TSP of 3 to 4 percent (the mandatory contribution could be more; I don't pay much attention to it).  I personally can't afford to contribute more to my TSP (thank you, student loans).  

    As for health insurance, yes, it's great to have health insurance and it's far better than what many, many others have in this country, but it's about $300 a month to cover my husband and I and we're on the "cheap" plan.  The dental insurance is a joke.  It does not cover infertility treatments or abortions (thank you, Hyde Amendment).  We also still have lots of co-pays.  

    To clarify, I realize how lucky I am to 1) have a stable job; 2) have some sort of retirement plan and pension, however small, and 3) have health insurance.  The fact that these sorts of things are becoming more and more rare in this country is a national disgrace.  But federal employees are not some sort of privileged class who only work 4 hours a day and receive Cadillac, gold-plated benefits.  Most of us work pretty damn hard and we get a lot of sh*t in return.  We should all be working TOGETHER to improve benefits for EVERYONE in this country, not tearing away the last shreds of somewhat decent compensation from federal employees.  

    •  FERS and TSP -- two separate streams (0+ / 0-)

      TSP does not fund your FERS pension. Where you may be getting confused is that both you and your agency contribute to both items.

      When you retire, you will receive monthly pension payments from the Office of Personnel Management based on your three highest paid years -- this is your FERS pension.

      You will have to contact TSP separately from OPM and make arrangements as to how you wish to receive payments from your personal account. You may take a lump-sum, or monthly pay outs, roll it into an IRA, or leave it in TSP until you need it.

      You should look into attending a Federal retirement seminar, our agency sent us to them after we vested in FERS, then when we had been employed for about 15 to 20 years, and another about 3 to 5 years before we reached Minimum Retirement Age.

      •  I know that the TSP does not fund the FERS pension (0+ / 0-)

        sorry if I made it sound that way in my post.  I was using the term "FERS" to describe the federal retirement plan as a whole, i.e. the federal pension, TSP, and social security.  I would like to attend a Federal retirement seminar.  I just haven't seen the point recently since I'm not contributing much to my TSP.  

        •  Did you know... (0+ / 0-)

          ...that your contribution to TSP reduces your income tax? Which means more take home pay.

          Even if you're not contributing much NOW, at some point you will want to increase it. I was only able to contribute a full 15% of income for a few years, but it really made a difference.

          Good luck in your career. I really enjoyed helping people, which why the beatdown on public employees really depresses me.

          •  No I didn't know that. (0+ / 0-)

            Thanks for the tip!  :)  I am definitely planning on contributing more soon; I've just been waiting for hubby to finish school.  Anyway, yes, the whole "helping people" bit is getting completely lost in the hatefest towards public employees.  It is indeed depressing.  It's actually even getting the Republicans in my office down.  In fact, some of the most vociferous defenders of our agency amongst my co-workers happen to be Republican.  Too bad they can't seem to translate those feelings to others outside of themselves.  

  •  the hits from this guy just keep on coming (0+ / 0-)

    Has anyone checked to see if he's actually registered Republican?

  •  Mil.Gov.Edu 'Not As Well Paid' (0+ / 0-)

    I'm pretty sure that sop about Federal workers not being as well paid as private workers but having twice the education was written by someone at the Federal Department of Corrections.

    The last research I saw said Mil.Gov.Edu receive 125% of the lifetime benefits of private workers EVEN BEFORE you consider the savings and credit availability in having lifelong salaries, healthcare coverage and pension.

    Just ad hominem, when I worked for Mil.Gov.Edu I made about 20% less than I did later in the private side, but in the private side, I didn't receive any healthcare, because I was hired as an 'independent contractor', of course, with no pension either, and call-up/layoff without notice.

    On the other hand, my 'low paying' Mil.Gov. Edu steady employment allowed a low-cost mortgage, came with free medical for myself and family, a pension fund, and even a State retirement fund you could divert as much of your paycheck into as you want, pre-tax, and earn TEN %.

    So why not stay? Many, many do, day trading at their desks because there is no performance requirement, there's lots of stock market trading and pron watching, hours spent in idle cell chatting or online gaming.

    So why not stay? At some point I just wanted to put a gnu to my head to spend another day as a clownshow.
    If you've worked the private side, especially the REAL private side small farmer, small logger, small fisherman, then you either have to walk away, or turn off a switch in your head and become a Mil.Gov.Edu zombie.

    You think you can 'make your 30' and get out sane, and normal, and 'just like everyone else', but you're not, you only think you are.

    Anyway, Mil.Gov.Edu are vastly overpaid.

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