Is this as good as it gets?

Wednesday - 4/9/2014, 2:00am EDT

If you work for Uncle Sam and you have five, 10, 20 or more years to go, here's a potentially depressing thought:

What if this is as good as it gets?

What if, after a three-year pay freeze, no-pay furloughs and a lockout it turns out these really are the good old days after all? That you will look back on the last several years with nostalgia? Like older Russians who long for the happy Stalin era?!

What if this is as good as it gets in the federal service?

Can you handle it?

Recently, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) introduced the "Path to Prosperity." It's a future-action blueprint of what he'd like to see government do without — including some people reading this.

The PTP would have current federal workers pay more (up to 6 percent) into the civil service retirement fund. Future hires, under a new FERS option, would have a defined contribution plan (like an IRA or the TSP) but that, and Social Security, will be their sole source of retirement income.

There are also congressional plans for a comprehensive study of the federal salary structure. No details but that doesn't sound much like a raise.

Congress continues to investigate the Internal Revenue Service (rightly or wrongly) for allegedly improper actions by executives in the tax- exemption operation. It has given the entire IRS a black eye with many politicians and citizens. Meantime, thanks to sequestration and years of budget cuts, the IRS is ordered to haul in more money with fewer hands on deck.

Members of the Senior Executive Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs would see their job security shrink big-time under legislation making its way through the House that would make it easier for political leadership at the agency to fire career senior executives. If it passes, unlikely this year, it would likely be spread to career SES employees in other agencies. So where is all this heading?

Today at 10 a.m. on our Your Turn radio program we'll talk with Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association. She'll talk about the status of the SES, the impact of the pay cap on GS-15 workers and the outlook for many changes in the retirement plan.

Later in the show, Federal Times writers Nicole Johnson and Andy Medici will talk about trends in cloud computing, NASA's initiative to make more of its software code available to agencies and the public, proposals to make you pay more for retirement, GSA's property swap and the (remote) chance of a pay raise.

Listen if you can (1500 AM or online), and if you have questions email them to me at mcausey@federalnewsradio.com or call in during the show at (202) 465-3080. The show will be archived here.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

About a third of people will sneeze when suddenly exposed to bright sunlight.

(Source: Today I Found Out)


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