Is That A Belt Or A Noose?

Wednesday - 2/11/2009, 4:00am EST

When it comes to hard-times belt-tightening, many of us think it's a grand idea. Up to a point.

The point being: it would be nice if it is somebody else's belt!

In political Washington, we see ourselves as the grand strategists, thinking great thoughts that others should/must carry out while we conserve our strength in order to be able to think even greater thoughts.

The largest, most expensive and important object at the disposal of the pols is the federal government. So, like lots of other American workers, feds wonder what's next for them.

As yesterday's column pointed out, strange and unexpected things can be proposed for feds when a new president takes over after inheriting a deep recession.

Feds do have a number of job-related things to worry about, but in most instances they are better off than many, if not most, of their private sector neighbors. A lot of them (the neighbors) would be happy to know they will still have a job, pensions and health care next year. Or next week.

We won't know what, if any, sacrifices rank-and-file feds will be called on to make. That was the subject of yesterday's column. We got a lot of e-mail and some great comments which we'll run soon.

Meantime, here are some issues you can think about:

Thanks to the most recent federal pay raise, a growing number of GS 15 employees are up against the executive pay cap. As a result they got little or no raise, compared to what their lower-ranking colleagues received. Right now the cap on GS 15 pay is $153,200. Many people in and out of government would like to have that problem, but it is a problem.

Career Tune Up

This morning at 10 a.m. Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, will talk about the GS 15 cap, executive pay issues and the good, bad and ugly of life in the Senior Executive Service. She'll also explain safeguards that career SES personnel have as they get new political bosses. And finally she'll look into her crystal ball to see what might happen to feds over the next couple of years. She'll be on our Your Turn with Mike Causey radio show. You can listen live at 10 a.m. EST, or it will be archived here on the website so you can listen later.

But Wait! There's More!

At 10:30 a.m. on Your Turn benefits expert John Elliott talks about ways to tweak your benefits to make life much better when you do retire. He's also got a tip about ways both regular feds, and those in law enforcement jobs, can save lots of money on benefits, and how to get the most out of your health plan. Listen at www.federalnewsradio.com worldwide and at AM 1500 in the DC area.

Nearly Useless Factoid

According to Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, you share your birthday with at least nine million other people around the world. Sure, but when the day comes, I'm still not sharing my cake.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com