Your Threat Level: Pretty Darn High!

Wednesday - 5/18/2011, 4:00am EDT

If you work for Uncle Sam, it is time for the human version of the crucial 50,000 mile check-up. Instead of tires, oil filters, fan belts, etc., the diligent civil servant needs to report the following concerns you have. Such as:

  1. Your pay has been frozen for two years, and that is the good news!!! The freeze may be extended another one, two or even three years. Worst case: Your next raise would be January 2016. If then. It may be extended another one to three years.

    In which case, this may be the perfect time to actually go on that diet you've been considering for the last 7 years.

  2. Your take-home salary may be reduced 5 to 6 percent if Congress and the White House require you to pay a larger share of your retirement costs.

    Maybe this is the summer to cancel those beach plans and instead camp out in the back yard.

  3. If budget-cutters change the formula used to determine your retirement benefit, you many have to work longer than planned to get what you thought you were going to get.

    This will give office old-timers an opportunity to mentor that younger worker who was hired outside the merit system and fast-tracked without your experience level to your grade level.

  4. Definitely tell your shrink or doc about the nightmares you've been having thanks to reports that your civil service retirement fund and your Thrift Savings Plan might be in trouble because we, as a government, have borrowed so much money from China.

    This is a good time to test that this-too-shall-pass mantra that your sister-in-law says got her through some hard times.

  5. If you are eligible for, or about to retire, you may not be able to dodge a benefits bullet that could come your way. What about that so-called Diet COLA plan to reduce future cost of living adjustments for CSRS retirees to one percentage point less than inflation?

    This is one where, if it happens, you can run (as in retire) but you can't hide!

  6. If you are already retired and therefore (you think) out of harms way, think again. Heard about the cost-cutter proposal to change the way the government measures inflation, or another money-saying idea that would dramatically increase each year the percentage of health premiums paid by active and retired workers?

What to do?

Tune in today at 10 a.m. to our Your Turn with Mike Causey radio show. You don't have to disrobe or prep, but instead listen as a team of no-hype just-the-facts experts talk about the issues/threats facing feds and retirees.

For the latest on the retirement front, for both active and retired folks, our lead-off guest will be Dan Adcock. He's the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association's legislative director which has been tracking various assaults on the retirement program through its "Protect America's Heartbeat" effort to mobilize millions of workers, retirees and survivors.

Also on our Your Turn radio show, Federal Times editor Steve Watkins and senior reporter Sean Reilly will give us the latest on what's happening (and what's likely to happen) in Congress and the White House on the the all-important pay and benefits front.

If you've got questions for the experts e-mail them to me. Listen if you can.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

From a Twitter posting by the PhoenixZoo: What's one way to tell an Ostrich from an Emu? Look at the feet. Emus have 3 toes, Ostriches have 2!


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