Treading water in the pay pool

Wednesday - 9/3/2014, 2:00am EDT

If you work for Uncle Sam and you feel like your bills have outgrown your income, you are probably correct. But the good news, if you can call it that, is that you are not alone.

Except for corporate fat cats, sports and movie stars and TV types — one of whom pulls down $300,000 per one-hour show — lots of people are falling behind in the pay parade even though inflation has been very low the past few years.

White collar federal workers were subjected to a 3-year pay raise freeze. Some (up to one-third) continued to get 3 percent within grade (longevity step) pay increases. A relatively few others, in some agencies, moved up the pay ladder via promotion. But for many if not most feds, salary stagnation was the order of the day.

This year, feds got a 1 percent raise in January and are likely to get another 1 percent increase starting in 2015. Meantime, retirees, whose increases are based on living costs, not politics or budgetary considerations, are looking at a January cost-of-living adjustment of around 1.8 percent.

Workers in the private sector aren't doing much better than feds, and in many cases, in certain industries, they are doing worse. At the start of the great recession, many companies furloughed or fired employees. Others eliminated pension plans, told employees to rely on their own 401k plan contributions and reduced (more likely eliminated) company contributions to individuals' 401k plans.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID:

By Michael O'Connell

San Alfonso del Mar, a private resort in Algarrobo, Chile, has the world's largest swimming pool. It covers about 20 acres and holds about 66 million gallons of seawater pumped from the Pacific Ocean.

Source: Wikipedia.


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