5:43 am, April 19, 2014

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  • CPI isn't the real problem
    marxwj
    This would be fine, except that even the current system doesn't account for the increased medical costs of retirees. Rising healthcare costs far exceed any cost of living increase. If we could keep that at a manageable level, I don't think this would matter much to most.
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  • who'll survive?
    Rob
    The financially savvy will adjust their budgets and work around whatever reduction in pay and benefits are forced upon them. Those who feel the need to keep up with the Joneses will struggle. Regardless of the reductions there are folks out there who will continue to buy the latest electronic gizmos, be it the new iphone or ipad, bigger homes and more expensive cars.
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  • missing the point
    Jerry A.
    It is not people who can afford expensive cars and big homes who will be hurt the most. It is people on the lower end of the scale, who did not benefit from tax cuts for the rich, who have not had an effective pay raise over the last 30 years, who don't get the CEO-scale pay raises.
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  • yep, missing the point
    Rob
    It's the people on the lower end of the scale I'm talking about. These are the folks who sink themselves deeper into debt because they feel the need to buy things they never could afford. HELLO! Why all the foreclosures over the last 4 years? This whole financial mess we're in, the mess the left loves to blame on Bush, is because people got loans from banks they never should have gotten. The banks were forced by our government to loan the money, but the folks borrowing the money are just as culpable. Now there seems to be a push by our government to again force banks into making risky loans. Have we not learned our lesson? It's not a right to own a home. That thought process drove the country over the cliff.
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  • what is the point
    Old Navy Comms O
    Rob: The point is not that federal employees should have worked long enough to be able to afford to scrimp and get by without COLA's for the time they are retired. The point is that current retirees and currently employed feds were promised COLA's that would allow their pensions to maintain their buying power. By saving the government money (moving to chained CPI) and apparently ignoring the climbing costs of of medical care in the calculation, the government has broken faith with its employees, its military retirees, and its disabled military veterans. How about increasing the revenues funding the fisc -- either through increased taxes or increased enforcement of current taxes? That never seems to be something considered by those on the right even though federal tax rates in this country are at a 50 year plus low......
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  • ".....banks were forced by our government to loan the money"?
    FERS Fed
    Could you provide the specific legislative authority whereby the federal government FORCED banks to loan money, please?
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  • do your own homework
    Rob
    it's all out there for you to see; just gotta take your head out of the sand.
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  • Well, that's the thing, because...
    FERS Fed
    ...I can't find ANYTHING ANYWHERE that even remotely indicates that the federal government FORCED banks to loan money. ..... Now maybe you mean federal policies to promote affordable housing, such as the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). But "The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (majority report), Federal Reserve Economists, and several academic researchers have stated that government affordable housing policies were not the major cause of the financial crisis. They also state that Community Reinvestment Act loans outperformed other 'subprime' mortgages, and GSE mortgages performed better than private label securitizations." ..... And "Three important catalysts of the subprime crisis were the influx of money from the private sector, the banks entering into the mortgage bond market and the predatory lending practices of the mortgage lenders, specifically the adjustable-rate mortgage, 2–28 loan, that mortgage lenders sold directly or indirectly via mortgage brokers. On Wall Street and in the financial industry, moral hazard lay at the core of many of the causes." Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subprime_mortgage_crisis ..... So, it seems to me "This whole financial mess we're in, the mess the left loves to blame on Bush, is because...." of good old fashioned, Gordon Gekko-style 'greed is good'.
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  • Alpo? Really?
    BPSCG
    When you retired, your finances were such that a difference between a 1.7% COL raise and a 1.4% raise meant you'd have to eat dog food instead of steak? Really? A 1.7% raise on a $4,000/month pension works out to $4,068/month. A 1.3% raise gets you $4,052/month. Sixteen dollars a month - less than four dollars a week - is the difference between steak and dog food for you? Really? Why did you retire when your pension would be barely enough to meet your needs? Did you figure there was no chance that something bad and expensive could ever happen to you? When the housing market went crazy ten years ago, did you stretch your finances to the limit to buy a house you could just barely afford? How did that work out for you when your spouse lost his/her job? For the last 25 years, did you contribute nothing to your TSP account, while making sure you got your daily Starbucks latte grande and every premium TV channel known to man? You spent your entire working life without giving a thought to how you'd live when you retired? Send me your phone number so I can call the minute I feel sorry for you.
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  • Good questions
    contrarian
    Seems like we need a luxury tax on Lattes to cover the savings shortfall of the big spenders? Reality is it's the sum of all the cost increases combined with all the income freezes and cuts that make my net cost of living worse every year for the past 5 years. Living within one's means is the best advise. Or wind up getting recruited by food stamp coordinator, like that other Wash Post article this week about seniors in FL getting signed up for SNAP.
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  • Good questions
    jst
    I agree. We need to add more tax on social security payments so we can push retired workers out of the picture. While we are at it, lets take away medicare and throw a 40% Maryland tax on the rain that falls on properties. Make total non-sense to me!
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  • Thank greedy George and his cronies
    Moderate
    for the George Bush and the Republican Depression that put us in this mess. And then thank your friends in the GOP abnd their cronies for the attacks on federal workers that have given us freezes, cuts in pay called sequestration (they will not allocate enough money to run the government) and, in my opinion, expected increases in your contributions to the retirement plan. I'm glad I am getting out.
    worker
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  • I Agree
    ExHUD
    I agree BPSCG..folks should be financially ready to retire and not be on the 'razor's edge" where the difference between a 1.7 and a 1.4% raise would make a difference to their income and survival! It should mean maybe cutting out a Starbucks once in a while. Besides my cat's food is VERY expensive..so she may have to eat cheaper stuff!!! :)
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  • Good point - Don't retire if you didn't save for it
    Honest Broker
    I do not like the current COLA formulas, but BPSCG was dead on about using the TSP - Living above your means has its price down the road. You should be putting at least 5 percent in for the matching funds. Are you going out for lunch every day at $15 minimum? That is $3600 per year if you do it for 48 weeks. At 5 percent interest earnings in TSP, you would have $251,138 in your balance after 30 years which would supplement your income by $12,557 per year. You are stuck with FERS, so you should be saving in TSP or plan to work until your health gives out. If you are near retirement with no savings, then you better stay in until the politicians finally quit handing out to their buddes. The chances of that are slim, so better start contributing to TSP and making bag lunches and stay away from the lattes.
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  • All valid points, if things stay the same
    Chuck@IRS
    Your calculations are correct up to the point where your TSP balance is yours. Who says it will still be there? You were promised a defined benefit, based on salary and years of service, with a cost of living increase, if deemed needed. 30 years later that promise is out the window! What's next? The social security supplement? That will remove one leg of your retirement tripod until age 62. You were promised retirement after 35 years, it's gone, try 40. Next cut? Not there's anything wrong with these plans, but they are not what was contracted! If Congress can disregard current contracts, where do we go from there?
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  • Political "Sugar coating"
    CSForest
    This whole chained CPI discussion really iritates me. The politicians try to sugar coat it by saying it will be a better indicator of real inflation, while saving the taxpayers alot of money. Let's be real ... while it will save the gov't alot of money, it's NOT a better indicator of real inflation! Heck! It's just an estimate of what affects people, based on a few key categories/types of products people purchase. Unless your buying patterns align with what the Bureau of Labor/Statistics is measuring in CPI, the current CPI (and chained CPI) will never be a true indicator of your individual "cost of inflation". BUT, the current CPI is meant to measure inflation in a way that would allow one to "maintain" their way of living. While it might be true that some folks will switch from steak to hamburger, if you're already in a lower income bracket & hamburger is your staple, you're not going to switch from hamburger to something else, but instead will likely switch from higher priced hamburger (e.g., 90% lean) to cheaper hamburger (e.g., 80% lean), and that's ALREADY factored into the current CPI methodology. So these politicians are full of themselves about how a chained CPI is a better indicator!
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