Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Value of Health IT
Shows & Panels
Nip and Tuck or Guillotine Time?
Thursday - 7/21/2011, 4:00am EDT
Meantime nervous federal workers are worried about whether they've seen their last pay raise, if they are facing a permanent pay cut, and if they will have time to bail out before their retirement benefits are reduced.
In an effort to cut federal costs and, maybe, raise federal revenue, lots of important men and women have formed, or been named to, committees that among other things may decide how the rest of your career goes, or not. And this is a bipartisan effort. Despite the hopes of federal unions, the White House won't send in the cavalry at the last minute to rescue or protect federal fringe benefits. The best your self-designated friends in Congress (and there are some) can do is minimize the pain.
Whether it is the Gang of Six (Congressional) or the recommendations of the White House appointed Fiscal Commission, or a Senate or House budget plan, federal and postal workers current and future, and retirees, are on the bulls-eye list. Here are some of the targets:
- Federal Retirement Funding: In a best-case scenario, the retirement fund contribution of federal workers may be raised from .8 percent to 3.2 percent. Worst case, the increase could be 5 percent meaning a permanent reduction in take-home pay. An increase of "only" 3.2 percent in contributions would be good (as in relatively good) news for federal-postal workers.
- Retiree COLAs: A new yardstick (called the chained CPI) would be used to measure inflation. The result would be that future COLAs for retirees are predicted to be as much as .5 percent less (each year) than under the current formula. COLAs for all retirees might not begin until age 62. Currently CSRS retirees get COLAs regardless of age. Those retired under the FERS system don't get them until age 62, and they are one percentage point less than the actual increase in inflation.
- Possibly extend the current federal pay freeze another year or two. Or three. That would - as many have asked - include Congress.
- Consolidate a number of federal operations and reduce federal employment by as much as 300,000 jobs over the next few years. This is a far cry from the Obama administration plan to increase federal employment by as much as 150,000 jobs by in-sourcing "inherently governmental" worked now being performed by outside contractors.
Steve Watkins, editor of the Federal Times, was our guest yesterday on our Your Turn radio show. He said the chained CPI proposal might satisfy budget-cutters and derail efforts to make other cuts in federal program. To listen to the broadcast click here.
Congress, as per usual, is waiting until the last minute to make tough decisions. And that habit means that some of the cuts will be nastier and deeper than if they had been made earlier.
Meantime, here's a comment from Joan at the IRS that probably reflects what lots of feds are thinking. She says:
- "Am I hearing what I'm hearing? The government may shut down in two weeks, and our President, the director of OMB, the Treasury secretary, and the other grownups in charge have no idea what will happen, who will not get paid, or what programs will shut down. Can we call in a Brownie Troop to save the country?" - J of the IRS
To reach me, firstname.lastname@example.org
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
The national debt is $14.3 trillion. According to Reuters, "In $1 bills, the pile would reach to the moon and back twice."
MORE FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Unions 'haven't heard a thing' on debt limit
Federal employee unions have been fighting to wrest information from the government about the potential impact of a government default on federal employees.
Postal Service looks to reinvent itself
From the long-ago days of the Pony Express to mail delivery by jet - the U.S. Postal Service knows a thing or two about sweeping transformations. And the spirit of reinvention is once again visiting the USPS.