4:36 am, July 14, 2014

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  • DNA and Feds
    deployed decoy
    Well we all need to provide DNA now to work in any remotely hostile area. Until recently that was about all, besides a pulse that was required to get a job in said danger zone. Apparently the soft stuff left over after the IED goes off will be identified by the DNA so mom has a coffee cup of DNA to bury. That $174k/Yr salary limit is also waived for the select few in certain countries. Say Kuwait. But, our team for the most part is banned from any overtime due to no funding. The other teams funded with a different color money (war funds) enjoys unlimited OT, be at the desk or in the bunk sleeping. I am not sure, but I think the STOCK Act did not include DOD procurement insiders, or senior leadership that makes the decision to replace a real COTS system with a military unique system that costs 10 to 20 times as much. Ya there is a law against that now, just like paying for sex slaves is against the UCMJ and never happens. I gotta go. It is time for me to leave my morning DNA sample on the security officers desk.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Military Pay
    deployed decoy
    One fool Specialist left her LES on my desk. I shredded it after I wrote down a few numbers. These are based on an E4 with 5 years of service and one dependent (single mom I understand). The numbers do NOT include a $34,800 tax free reenlistment bonus. They do include a tax free COLA for the hardship location of Kuwait. The difference here is she is permanent duty, lives in private room with a full bath she shared with one other lady, and a small kitchen area shared. Commanders of much higher rank living in tents do not receive the COLA because they are deployed, nor do anyone in the three combat brigades we got out of Iraq and have in tents in the Kuwait desert. These Brigades as promised have left Iraq... The completely tax free salary she is receiving in Kuwait is $51,729/Yr or greater than the base overseas salary for a federal GS11 step 1 (who pays federal and possibly state income tax). This includes on a monthly basis, $1023 housing based on Ft Hood TX, $385 for food (reduced by $297 as she is ordered to eat in the chow hall), $100 hardship duty location (note the private bath above), $225 danger pay (note US State Dept ended all federal employee danger pay for Kuwait in December 2008 when they called the war over), $358.79 COLA (paid apparently since the overpriced PX is the only shop military can shop at since they are all locked down on base), and $250 Separation Allowance (note some feds get a higher SMA as a tax free incentive to be here, most do not). Besides some debts I don’t want to know about and the food deduction, her only deduction on pay was $27 a month for life insurance. Just to be fair I also figured all this on the assumption no war zone incentives were paid (say back in TX), but added in 25% for the always tax free $1,408 food and housing money as if it was a taxed income. Even back home she makes about the same as a RUS GS9 step 1 at $48,318 a year, and this does not include whatever the tax free COLA is for Ft Hood TX, bumping up the housing allowance. Not too shabby for an underpaid military member of junior rank and 5 years on the job. Then two single mom contractors (both deployed at least twice on active duty getting out with between 6 and 8 years on duty) I work with are both giving up the big bucks as contractors in Kuwait to accept GS9 step 1, VRA positions back in the USA. I asked them both why they got out in the first place. That all asside, Welfare to Work is still an option to head off a draft for the military.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Military LES
    contrarian
    I saw these all the time when I was selling cars on Military Hwy in Norfolk. Back then military pay qualified a family for foodstamps. Apparently things have changed. What always amazed me were the payroll allotments to pay for overpriced jewelry or electronics.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Still do
    deployed decoy
    This ladies base pay is low enough (E4
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • still do try 2
    deployed decoy
    No idea what happened to the rest of this post. This E4 still qualifies for WIC and food stamps, based on her base salary and I think the assumed tax rate. Not bad for tax free GS11 take home pay. Better than this. An Army spouse complained in the military paper she was begging for food. The truth was he was an E6 and they just left Germany for DC. They were using the tax free COLA for Germany to make TWO brand new BMW payments. Apparently back in DC those car payments did not leave enough money at the end of the month to feed the kids.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • STOCK act
    NearlyRetiredFed
    Maybe I'm commenting on the wrong page...I thought this was about the STOCK act, not military pay...in any event, my comments have to do with the new act - I am appalled that Congress passed this - it is beyond invasive. Our career SES' do not run for public office, and are not lobbyists (I'm separating career SES' from political appointees, even though both are SES)...it is one thing to publish salaries, but quite another to publish information about their bank accounts, their stock holdings, etc. - Congressional representatives make LAWS - laws that impact (or lessen the impact upon) businesses...and it is these businesses that fund their re-election campaigns...so I could make an argument that their investments should, perhaps, be available for general consumption; government employees do not have that type of influence/impact upon private businesses and citizens...further, exposing this type of information makes government employees much more vulnerable to identity theft and unwarrented voyeurism. I think the people quoted in the article have the wrong focus - I would worry less about the people that report to the SES than I would be worried about the rest of the general public...but in either case, I agree that this will make it even harder to get good executives to apply to or stay in the government. We don't even have insight into, oh say, Bain executive investments - even though there clearly can be much more influence peddling there than any government employee could bring to the table.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Silly mortal
    contrarian
    These boards go off on any tangent! Especially since I am not SES I will not pretend to even defend them, I have my own problems. Since you brought up Bain, I'd rather have them manage my TSP than the FERS system we currently have. E.g., A gold fund 10 years ago and I'd be a wealthy person today. But if 401Ks get nationalized then it won't make a difference to us. Giving people limited options means they can never work their way up the ladder of life.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Precious metals v. stocks.
    Moderate
    I can agree with you that a precious metals fund could be part of a person's investments, but not a big part. Hope you did not invest at the high of about $1900 for the metal. It is in the 1600's now. Silver has done much worse. Also you are picking a relatively low point for gold. You are also using a relatively short term. I can do that with stocks. I can go back to the early 1980'sand show a dow of about 800. It is now 12500 or so. Not a bad return. You are just as bad as the stock advocates when you pick a low point and say one is better than the other. Neither is true. Both have places in portfolios. Which is better? I do not know.
    worker
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Or this twist
    deployed decoy
    When inflation hits the 1929 levels, for both the US and Europe. And they start printing $1000 bills again because a loaf of bread is $2599.99 You will wish you had an Oz of gold to pay for a pint of gas, some expired dog food and a box of wooden matches... Their are Germans that still beleive those 1932 DM1,000,000 notes will be worth someting again. And yes hyper inflation is headed our way. How much and how high the interest rates go, TBD. But just like Spain this weekend may unfold, a 15% interest rate means nothing when the run on the banks takes all the currancy out of the system.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Disclosure?
    Linbob
    I seem to remember a disclosure law that Congress passed some years ago that applies to some of us FEDs, a law that means I have to file an account of my financials (darned little in comparison to those of elected officials and SES) even though I am not elected or appointed, I'm just a worker bee. Congress, of course, failed ot make this apply to themselves or SES, so I have very little sympathy. It is way over time for this to reach the level where scoundrals exist, not in the lower ranks where the workforce is barely keeping up with inflations of health insurance, gas, food, and educating their kids. Nope, no sympathy whatsoever.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Schadenfreund; however, you're next
    RW
    For those that don't have sympathy you might want to understand the underlying historical trends: Income tax started on the "wealthy"; now it's for all Recently repealed telephone tax (to pay for the Spanish American War) eventually hit everyone. Soon the disclosure laws may apply to ALL federal workers, not just SES/politically connected if the above trends continue for this issue also.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
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