8:13 am, April 20, 2014

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  • I used to be republican
    deployed decoy
    Now I am not sure I even want to be American when I retire. Boehner is accusing the President of wasting Govt funds at $179,000 an hour on political fund raising. Problem is the Air Force reports it costs $181,757 per flight hour for Air Force One. I am guessing us tax payers pay the $179k an hour so the secret service can go out a few days early and party till they puke the night before AF1 is on final, not bothering to make sure the cart hat will carry the POTUS has been washed and sniffed. I know local law enforcement is not reimbursed by the White House, so those funds are not included in the $179k. Heck one story I read from the Washington Post yesterday quoted an unnamed SS agent to the effect it is just fine for the onsite agents to party till they puke on a WED as long as they are clean shaven on Friday when AF1 comes in. What about Thursday on full salary and per diem hung over and as I read between the lines, not even at work performing basic duties of the SS. The SECDEF story of using my money to fly on his Gulf Stream every weekend now lost in the tall weeds of all the other scandals. Washington is past broken. The House long ago made sure seats would almost never change parties let along the incumbent. Issa out in California stated: reduce the budget by a sufficient amount, not to have to limit ourselves to a sequestration, our national defense and other essential services. As the main reason feds need to pay more towards retirement. Excuse me Mr Congressman, YOU did this and now YOU are blaming me. How about making YOUR constituents work for food stamps, unemployment and welfare. The nations national park trails need a lot of work. The Park Service is highing people that are required to live in a tent, hike 20 miles a day with up to 100 pound packs at GS5 levels, part time and seasonal. They sure could use some work for food help. Maybe even these people could clean up YOUR district of trash and garbage as a start.
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  • But being a democrat is worse.
    Cathy
    Hang in there! At least we'll still have a country if Republicans control the white house and congress. The alternative is MUCH worse.
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  • You must be kidding.
    Moderate
    The republicans want to put us back to the sweatshop era, when the wealthy ruled through intimidation and fraud. This was when children as well as addults worked 60 or 70 hour work weeks. And let us not forget the magic elixirs sold by hucksters. Of course the republicans want to build jails to prevent the poor from stealing in order to eat. And no, I do condemn true criminal actions. But we also need to truly help those in need to get on their feet. But, of course, defense was funded.
    worker
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  • Sorry
    Moderate
    I misread your comments. I agree with you 100%.
    worker
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  • Which way
    Moderate
    I am still misreading what you are writing. Are you pro republican. If so, then I disagree with you.
    worker
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  • What??
    X-taxman
    Dude, you would disagree with someone simply because they are republican??? Didn't know you were that shallow.
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  • You need to get your act together
    Moderate
    Titles are not the reason to disagree. it is what the present day national republicans stand for.
    worker
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  • This hand is full of bad cards
    contrarian
    Time for a reshuffling. They don't get it. While there are excesses at the top, those of us worker bees are in a different world. During the 90s I used to love golfing at Hains Point and watching the non-stop helicopter ferry of Hollywood celebrities from Andrews. It was surreal. Like, do we really have this much money to burn? I guess our grandkids will find out. What they don't realize is that THE ONLY benefit to being a Fed is the pension. When that's gone, I can't imagine what this place will turn into.
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  • A bird in the hand gets pecked until it bleeds......
    Big Joe
    @Contrarian- You are spot on! I was a Fed for 6 years, left for the private sector, and came back in 2001. I gave up a huge salary and alot of perks for the stability and pension. Looking at my former coworkers they appear to have the stability I was looking for! While they have no pension, they do have a 401k with matching and profit sharing, so close to 18% kicked in towards retirement by the company. Whats keeping me here? Not sure! I have a personal milestone of next May that I would like to lock in before I left, but since retirement is about 20 years away there is no hard and fast decision to make. Maybe stability is really having the ability to influence your life and career and to be able to move with market conditions.
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  • Law of unintended consequences
    contrarian
    When I'm FERS retirement eligible with my 30 years, and my high 3 maxes, out, why should I keep paying full retirement contribution for no additional benefit? Seems like the answer is to go part time and earn less, but pay less as well. In fact there may a sweet spot at about 30 hours where I go down a tax bracket and make more to live on while I wait to get elible for full SSA @age 62 (plus get the 1.1%?). I'll have to look into the new part time rules, but that may be better than staying or going.
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  • I didn't sign up for the Jimmy Peanut pension scrooing
    The Original Joe S
    We figured 1] if the gubmint is pushing it, it has to be bad. 2] Doing the numbers confirmed it. 3] Other aspects were detrimental. Soon as I hit 30, out the door, and overseas. The political dirtbags always beat on the federal workers when times get difficult. When times are good and non-government workers are making good money, then nobody cares about the feds. They are ingrates. Do your time, and split.
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  • FERS with 30 year?
    Linda
    Contrarian, how do you get FERS with 30 years. I started in March of 1984, the first year of FERS, and have 28 plus years? Any more years than that and your are CERS, unless you brought in military time somehow? And if you are currently 52 or younger, full SSA is not at 62, it is 66 or 67. Medicare is 65 (although with the Fed health insurance is not required). My husband who is a pharmacist see too many people "retire" at 62 or less, then can't afford health insurance and don't have any. It is tough to get another job with benefits at that age. These people are not feds, and didn't do the research to see what their beneifts would be. Don't be one of those.
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  • FERS computations
    contrarian
    Linda: I said WHEN I'm eligible for my FERS 30, which will be in a few years, I just barely missed CSRS, which is a true shame. As for "full SSA", I meant compared to the SSA Supplement, which is a reduced amount compared to what we get before age 62, yes there is the FULL retirement age at age 66 or 67, but that's a different Full. See how complicated these things are, no wonder people feel like there never getting the best deal possible. I wonder how much people would pay for retirement advice? I'm afraid with gov emps, they'd want it for free, even though a small mistake could be big $$$. So the reason I'd go part time is to get more than the FERS Supp but minimize the extra 5% cut, if that makes sense.
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  • FERS with 36
    deployed decoy
    Linda my in service date is 1 April 1984. Still confused if the joke was on them or me. Since I turned down a job in private industry that March that paid twice what I made in the GOVT six years and two promotions later as a GS11. I did the Post 56 buy back in 1999. That was as noted years after I came into FERS. HR had told apparently many others and me for years buying back military time under FERS was worthless. OPM felt the opposite. I owed under $4000 for those 8 years of active duty time. OPM waived the interest for all of the 80s. Therefore, I only owed $6000 or something in interest from 1990 forward. I will still get that full deposit back in added annuity and FERS SSS in around eight months going out the door at MRA. With SL on DEC 31 this year, I will get 37.08% of my Hi3. I turn MRA in November. This I will also get 28/40 of whatever social security I would otherwise have to wait until 62 to get under the FERS Supplement. This is better than a hot stick in the eye, but real SS is based on the highest 35 earning years, not 40. I had wanted to hang around until 62 to get the 1.1% of FERS and pad everything else. I also wanted to at least hang around until 2014 to get full SL credit, but congress may very well nix the FERS SSS before then, since I would only be 58. The end of the last 2013 leave pay period is in January 2014 so I could have cashed out all my leave to boot. It just will not pay if I lose some 20% of base salary over the next six years due to added FERS Contributions or $1100 a month is the FERS SSS for five or six years. But just to hedge my bet. I also am not dropping retirement papers until the first Friday in the pay period I just wont be going to work in 10 days. Maybe I will get one of those $25k things by waiting, maybe I will just cause the fools in OPM to work that much harder to figure out my dues.
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  • Changing times changing strategies
    contrarian
    It used to be you wanted your high three as the last three years of your careers. In fact, SS & FBI would move guys from DC to places like OKC to give them the preretirement lifetime bump. Now, that strategy may have to be revisited especially for FERS employees with TSPs that have gone flat. I'm thinking the new strategy may be to work longer, but at a part time rate, once the new part time rules and 5% FERS annuity tax kick in. Key is to lower costs while waiting for TSP to grow without withdrawals, and to skip the FERS Supplement altogether (or at least as long as possible). Then retire at 62 with the 1.1% factor on high three (doesn't have to be last three years) and then don't file for SSA until 67 or 70 while living off annuity and TSP. Thoughts anyone?
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  • thoughts
    deployed decoy
    Well your idea assumes congress does not raise the retirement age to 86, or just do away with SS for anyone with any source of income of $1500 a more a month in the next 5 years or so. I agree with the Hi3. I was willing to step down from GS12 as far as GS9 to get back to Washington State, my home. Locality pay in both the Portland and Seattle area at GS11 or IT at GS9 would have given me enough to live on for the next 6 years to that magic 62 YO time. Given Washington is state tax free an added bonus. I am just scared to death to hang around. Congress could just order the end of FERS SSS retroactively. Your working part time at least saves that 5% FERS whack in the future, it also means no matching TSP. If you or I do go out the door before 65 our SSS and later at 62 SS is reduced $1 for every $2 earned. At 65, a person can (as of the laws today) earn all they want without losing SS. Therefore, I am thinking $2500 in FERS annuity, $1050 in SSS is enough to eat on. Get a part time job that pays around $1150 a month to stay under the SSS cap of just over $14,000 this year, and sell a few coins here and there. I figure I wont need to tap my TSP a few years at this rate. But I also will be watching the news. If congress passes a bill to tax the rich, Im cashing out the TSP before that kicks in. Paying my 32% and heading off shore with every penny I have. The bank I use (a US bank on US soil) charges me $1 to transfer money internationally, they also pay me back for ATM fees at other banks internationaly up to four transactions a month. So those federal deposits I will have access to for a smile. Ya I will still owe federal tax on some of this and file. Course any earned income in a foreign country is tax free up to around $90k, so just a few years pays back those TSP taxes.
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  • FERS at 30
    Moderate
    I am CSRS so I am confused by all of these comments. I thought that FERS people could retire with 30 years at either 55, 56, or 57. Of course, the pension computation is different. CSRS people get 1.5% for the first 5 years, 1.75% for the next 5 years, and 2% for the rest of the years up to 80%, Then subtract out the survivor benefit. FERS gets 1% per year if one retires before age 62 and 1.1% if you retire at or after age 62. I believe the max for FERS people iws 40%, but I am not sure. Add to that your credit for sick leave in both cases.-----Linda, be careful with whether you need or do not need medicare part B. I used to think that I did not need medicare part B. I did see something that, under the law, if you are eligible for medicare, BX reduces the reimbursement payments by the amount medicare pays out. How does that affect me?
    worker
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  • Be careful
    Moderate
    Because your pension rate is still increased by 1% (or 1.1% if you are age 62.) Age 62 will not give you full social security. And if you work a decent amount, you will not get any social security at age 62. Will you be able to live on a FERS pension and limited social security at age 62?
    worker
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  • Before you send them to the lions
    Budgetweenie
    I don't think it unusual, nor wrong, to ask why about anything. Neither is it unusual to believe what you're being told is malarkey. When Congress says Feds have to pay more for something that would have otherwise been adequately resourced, due, to a large degree, on their squandering funds on other special interest programs, I would ask them to imagine life different from that which they are living. If Congress could convince the majority (unlikely), that shared pain is even and balanced, then perhaps they could get buy in. But, the more accurate view is that they spend billions for self declared "critical" programs and provide chump change for those programs that just might diminish the "need" for the self declared critical programs. Increase funding for education and decrease funding for TSA/HSA, and while you're at it, decrease the nuclear arsenal and increase the retirement plans which continue to get diluted. Happy people usually don't cause problems.
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  • Why Pay More?
    Linda
    I am not sure why the FERS have to pay more. According to the new yesterday the FERS pension is in a surplus situation. Only don't tell Congress that, they'll spend it!
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  • we're headed off the cliff
    Rob
    The non-partisan CBO has projected the president's budgets will add $9.75 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. That will put this country in a $25 trillion dollar hole and all I hear day in and day out is the evil GOP is trying to cut this and the evil GOP is trying to cut. Any proposal to cut spending is immediately met with harsh criticism from the left. The answer from the left is to raise taxes on those evil rich people and continue to invest (aka spend) at an alarming rate. The right says we must cut taxes even more and reform entitlements. So what are our elected leaders going to do? NOTHING, ZERO, NADA. And why won't they do anything? Because they all value their power in DC more than they value the long-term survival of this country. What do I think they should do? Adopt the Simpson-Bowles plan and stop this train that's headed for the cliff.
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  • Close
    Linda
    Rob, I think the Simpson-Bowles plan is close, but could use some editing. But, yes, the answer is to raise taxes and cut benefits. My first plan would be to implement work fare. Work for the welfare unless you are totally physically disabled. I don't mean sort of. If you can stuff envelopes or pick up litter for an hour a day, that would work. The totaly able would work more. Some would work more as they got into better shape. We can then hire contractors to keep an eye on the Welfare workers (creating jobs), and some could do day care for the other Welfare workers kids. 3 days a week should do it. Gives them 2 days to look for work. I would bet 50% of the people would drop off Welfare if they have to work for the money.......is it me or are we the only country where our "poor" are obese from too much food?
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  • To Linda
    Moderate
    Linda, you make some very good points. I agree with the workfare, but it should be much more than 1 hour. I think the goal should be full time, but training should be part of work fare. And let federal employees supervise these people. I would also allow them to look for work during this time, but I would not give them the 2 days to do this because they will goof off. Your point is well taken
    worker
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  • The Bush Depression started us onto the cliff
    Moderate
    Now we must deficit spend to get us away from the cliff. Is CBO the Congressional Budget Office. Maybe they are right and maybe wrong. However, thank the Bush Depression for this spending. I am hearing the economy is starting to improve. If so, then this spending may be helping. Hopefully, the alleged improvements will result in lesser deficits instead of giving the money to the wealthy and having more wars to increase the deficit. And do not adopt Simpson Bowles. The feds have been garbaged on enough. And when the economy improves the feds will not share in the recovery.
    worker
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  • Feral Gumint wants to save money?
    The Original Joe S
    Get out of the welfare business, education grants business, and all other spending which they are doing which isn't in their mission statement.
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  • Mission Statement
    Moderate
    Don't think so. The government is supposed to promote the general welfare. So itis part of the mission statement. Cut defense spending and tax the wealthy.
    worker
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  • the general welfare does NOT mean WELFARE PAYMENTS.
    The Original Joe S
    Read your history and study your English. cut defense spending? Defense is like the police force. want to do away with police? Tax wealthy? So that everyone is equally miserable? Further, the definition of "wealthy" is the middle class. The GENUINELY wealthy won't pay more. Lookit our president - pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Flat tax to make it fair. NO income tax is better! Your signature is "worker". Does that mean you aren't smart enough to get a better job?
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  • Learn to write and get the facts Joe
    Moderate
    Guess you are the one who needs to learn how to write. Your sentence structure leaves much to be desired. Communist Soviet Union spent a huge amount on defense. It fell. The same applies to much of Eastern Europe.-----We have a progressive tax system. The wealthy should pay a higher tax rate because they can afford to do so.------I do not speak newsspeak. Middle class does not mean wealthy. Middle class means middle class.----Why won't the genuinely wealthy pay more? Are you suggesting tax fraud? They will pay more if the tax laws are written correctly.-----What does lookit mean Mr. English expert? Why are you comparing Obama's tax rate to his secretary? What is Obama's marginal tax rate vs his secretary's marginal tax rate? The comparison you should have made was with Romney's tax rate. I do not condemn Romney as he is following the tax laws.
    worker
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  • Pensions
    Bud
    I'm retired as a CSRS tpe with 36 years service.I'm very grateful/happy with the pension/health benefits.But from 1967 on we CSRS types paid 7% which was double the FICA rate at the time.So there's some logic now for govt. types to contribute more to their pensions vs. current FICA rates.I think these congressional rate hikes for pensions are too high but it's the start point for negotiations.The saddest part is the total hypocrisy on the part of Congess and the White House.Both spend like drunken sailors on leave and then tell us FEDS to contribute more.Please!!!!
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  • pensions
    Moderate
    The FERS people already contribute to retirement as much as CSRS. The difference is that most of their contributions are to social security, while CSRS people do not. CSRS pensions are almost twice as high as FERS people. So FERS people should not contribute more to their pensions.
    worker
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  • CSRS pensions are almost twice as high as FERS people. YUP!
    The Original Joe S
    Did the math way back when they tried to entice us to join FERS. We figured it was a shafting. Doing the math confirmed it. We'd do no better than breaking even, but probably would lose a great deal of money. They opened up the window for joining FERS again, and almost nobody switched. One flack said "We don't understand why they don't switch. We explained it to them." Yup, we understood it in spite of their "explanation". We figured that it would be no good, and stayed in CSRS. I'm glad I did. I've been out since 2007/8, and been living overseas since then for most of the year. I'm doing just fine on the pension I earned, although the scumbags in the congress passed a law which said the after-tax money we put in ain't the same we are taking out. Used to be that the first year and a half or so of retirement was tax-free because you already paid taxes on that money. Now, they allow only 1/30th of that which you paid in for deduction per year, and hope that your heirs will NOT realize there is a large pot of already-taxed money in their greedy hands so that they can keep it. Some people don't even realize that 1/30th is deductible, and they get scrood again. I'm very glad that I got away from those scumbags with my skin relatively intact. I don't quite understand all the bad aspects of FERS retirement system as commented upon in this thread, but it certainly seems diverse. That is, the longer it goes on, diverse it gets. MY kids work in the private sector. Told them NEVER to work for the gubmint!
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  • Comments to Joe
    Moderate
    I am fully aware of what you write. I had the choice way back when. I said that if Reaganites proposed FERS and the Reaganites were against federal workers, it can't be good. I stayed with CSRS. Also, it was Reagan and company that changed the way we compute the taxable amount of our pensions. It used to be that if our contributions were used up in 3 or less years, then we wrote them off immediately. Now we write them off over our expected lifetimes with complications for survivor benefits.
    worker
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