Feds: Wake Me When the Nightmare's Over

Tuesday - 5/24/2011, 4:00am EDT

Question: Women? Would you rather spend quality time with Jake Gyllenhaal or Newt Gingrich?

For men the choice is an evening with Angelina Jolie or Typhoid Mary.

Knowledge is power, or so they say.

But being bombarded with potentially bad news can be a pain in the assets.

Two examples:

Example One: Over the weekend a fed sent us an e-mail. He asked if Congress or the White House has any plans to freeze pay, cut benefits, change retirement rules or make any other moves against federal workers and retirees. Ahhhh...

Where to begin?

What this guy doesn't know may or may not hurt him. At best he's probably the least likely person in the Treasury Department, maybe the entire U.S. Government, to get a a worry-related ulcer.

Example Two: A long time reader contacted us last week. He said reading the column, which he has done loyally for many years, is no longer fun. Hard to argue with that. He said the pay freeze and the various proposals to cut take home pay, and lower retirement benefits is just too much. He said he's taking a sanity time out. He'll come back when things get better. Which may be awhile.

Meantime, some feedback from yesterday's latest report/alarm/FYI about the most recent threat to feds and retirees: Much, much higher health premiums!

  • "Wow, sticking it to the workers again! Why do we give billions to countries in the Mid-East (most of which hate us) when we are broke? Instead, we freeze workers pay and raise our insurance rates." Kevin in St. Louis.

  • "As you can imagine, I like most of my fellow Federal Employees are getting tired of hearing about all these ways to reduce our benefits and make us pay more, ie. a pay cut. This is just one more way to deflect the real problems that have occurred over the past several decades: lack of revenue due to large tax breaks given high wage earners and corporations! Shared sacrifice? Give me a break! We already had a minimum 2 year pay freeze (and I am assuming it will go on longer).

    In terms of health care, this will just force a lot of us into picking lower cost plans, especially the younger employees and thus the better plans will lose people and probably, come next open season, pull out due to lack of participation. What is the administration and congress thinking? They spend their time on these types of issues instead of realizing the billions of dollars wasted on two wars and a no-fly action, lost revenue from corporate tax evaders and reduced assessments for high wage earners and of course bailing out the exact same people who got us in the economic and fiscal shape we are in.

    I am just hoping I can retire on time and get out before the high-5 is put in, I have to contribute more to my annuity, more for my Health care(although that would carry into retirement) and whatever new thing they can think up to make us lose take home pay.

    When is congress cutting their pay, and benefits and I do not mean healthcare and the like. How about stop taking free lobbyist paid trips and other gifts, especially campaign contributions!" Todd Smith, Gaithersburg, MD

Thoughts: If you think there is nothing you can do to stop the anti-fed movement, ignoring it may be the best approach. Screaming headlines about what MIGHT happen don't help your sleep pattern.

But if you think there is something you can do (join a union or professional group, contact your representative in Congress, send twenty bucks to a group that is on your side) knowing what's going on can be empowering. An ancient king said he gave silver to people who brought him accurate good news and gold to those with the guts to give him accurate bad news. Because the latter can hurt you big time.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

The largest tree in the world is the Pirangi cashew tree in Brazil, reports MentalFloss. It's estimated to be 177 years old and covers nearly two acres of ground.


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