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Driving Federal Government Employees Into Retirement
Washington Monthly ^ | Dec. 28, 2011 | Keith Humphreys

Posted on 12/30/2011 10:26:16 AM PST by Poundstone

My family and I went to the VA hospital for Christmas services, during which the kindly chaplain said goodbye to the veterans to whom he had been ministering. Like a record number of federal government employees, he has decided to retire this year.

Because the federal workforce is older than the general population, a certain number of retirements are to be expected. Yet according to the actuaries at the federal Office of Personal Management, workforce age isn’t enough to account for the surge in federal retirements. It’s not hard to see what other factors are driving federal government employees to the exits.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonmonthly.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: employees; federal; federalemployees; federalworkers; fedworkersretirement; government; pension
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1 posted on 12/30/2011 10:26:32 AM PST by Poundstone
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To: Poundstone

As a recently-retired Federal employee myself, I’m glad I retired when I did!!!


2 posted on 12/30/2011 10:27:40 AM PST by Poundstone (A recent Federal retiree and proud of it!)
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To: Poundstone

Are they retiring now to lock in retirement benefits or take lump sum distributions, instead of facing retirement benefits cuts under austerity later?


3 posted on 12/30/2011 10:29:44 AM PST by tbw2
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To: Poundstone

Federal employees retire with the most cushy benefits, funded by taxpayers who can’t afford to retire. No wonder they are called “public serpents.”


4 posted on 12/30/2011 10:30:25 AM PST by txrefugee
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To: tbw2

There hasn’t been a lump sum option in the federal retirement system for years, but yes, retiring now does lock in your benefits for life under the current system.

That was a factor in my decision to retire last year.


5 posted on 12/30/2011 10:31:44 AM PST by Poundstone (A recent Federal retiree and proud of it!)
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To: txrefugee

Our benefits aren’t the “most cushy” by a long shot. They’re pretty much in the middle of the traditional pension system. Granted, traditional pensions are disappearing in the private sector, but that’s the private sector’s fault.


6 posted on 12/30/2011 10:34:10 AM PST by Poundstone (A recent Federal retiree and proud of it!)
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To: Poundstone

Maybe these Federal Employees know that the jig is up and they are going to collect what they can of their retirement pentions before the government collapses under its own weight.

I guess the rest of us had better keep our eyes open.


7 posted on 12/30/2011 10:35:54 AM PST by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: Poundstone
Just so long as they aren't all replaced at a one-to-one ratio, at least we're trimming the current number. If enough can be persuaded to retire and are not then simply replaced, the drain on the public fisc - and the taxpayers' collective wallet - will probably be worth it.


Perry in 2012!
8 posted on 12/30/2011 10:40:09 AM PST by Oceander (TINSTAAFL - Mother Nature Abhors a Free Lunch almost as much as She Abhors a Vacuum)
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To: Poundstone

I have nothing against them as individuals, but as a group, Gov’t employees have become branches of the Democrat Party. I lived in DC for 6 years, and of course, Fed Employees believe in their “mission,” believe that the Federal Gov’t should manage most aspects of people’s lives, and are very patronizing to those of us in “flyover” country. After all, who else is large enough, or smart enough to do it?

Granted most Federal Employees are not in DC, but DC is the center of the Empire.


9 posted on 12/30/2011 10:40:33 AM PST by PGR88 (Sic transit gloria mundi)
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To: Poundstone
Actually, the tax burden on the private sector is likely what has contributed to the decrease in retirement benefits there i.e. the number of public employees hired has cost workers in the private sector.

Also, the ballooning health costs employers are paying has disincentivized them from offering benefits in other areas like retirement.

10 posted on 12/30/2011 10:41:24 AM PST by Siena Dreaming
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To: Poundstone

I found this article to be laced with propaganda, fear and loathing.

We’re getting jacked, plain and simple.


11 posted on 12/30/2011 10:41:48 AM PST by Avery Iota Kracker (He Hate Me Uns)
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To: Poundstone
It's the "private sector's fault" since they realized that a defined benefit pension system was unsustainable due to the fact of people living longer, among a lot of other factors. Too bad the public pension plans have not realized the same thing, but rely on the deep pockets of the American people. Those in the private sector have to fund their own pension plus those in the public sector as well.

I am not against public employees, but there are just too many unnecessary public funded bureaucrats that are now eating up profits and driving us into debt.

12 posted on 12/30/2011 10:42:29 AM PST by gramho12
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To: Poundstone

bis pueni seres


13 posted on 12/30/2011 10:46:24 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Oceander
The problem is that while the local VA may be losing employees and not replacing them, the gubbermint in DC continues to grow like a cancerous tumor. This last year DC was the fastest growing "state" in the union, first time since the 1940's that has happened. No accident either, imo. Obama is growing the fedgov like crazy and concentrating power in DC away from the country at large. Services may suffer, but the monster prospers.
14 posted on 12/30/2011 10:47:27 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Poundstone

I’m not 55 yet, but if they gave an early-out that wasn’t a total insult I’d certainly consider it.


15 posted on 12/30/2011 10:47:35 AM PST by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: Poundstone
Written by a Standford shrink.

What the hell dog does he have in this hunt?

16 posted on 12/30/2011 10:47:49 AM PST by Glenn (iamtheresistance.org)
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To: puppypusher

“Maybe these Federal Employees know that the jig is up and they are going to collect what they can of their retirement pentions before the government collapses under its own weight.

I guess the rest of us had better keep our eyes open.”

The people in the private sector have had enough of this crap. Government employees whether they know it or not have made a Bernie Madoff deal. Their pension money does not exist and has never existed. I’m in the private sector and I don’t owe anyone else a pension and cushy benefits. More and more of the wealth creators are figuring this out. Yes we WILL put a stop to it.


17 posted on 12/30/2011 10:49:46 AM PST by precisionshootist
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To: Poundstone

I’d say it depends on the agency and their leadership. Don’t just talk to disgruntled employees, talk to employees at agencies with excellent leadership, i.e. those voted “best agency to work for”.


18 posted on 12/30/2011 10:50:06 AM PST by Night Hides Not (My dream ticket for 2012 is John Galt & Dagny Taggart!)
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To: Poundstone
As a recently-retired Federal employee myself, I’m glad I retired when I did!!!

Me too. DOD and FAA plus military for 34 1/2 years. Retired under CSRS.
19 posted on 12/30/2011 10:50:20 AM PST by Signalman
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To: precisionshootist
The people in the private sector have had enough of this crap. Government employees whether they know it or not have made a Bernie Madoff deal.

Federal pensions are being phased out. New workers now contribute to defined contribution plans, with employer matching.

20 posted on 12/30/2011 10:52:33 AM PST by Night Hides Not (My dream ticket for 2012 is John Galt & Dagny Taggart!)
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To: PGR88
The headquarters offices for most federal agencies are located in DC or MD or VA.

The Pentagon, for example, representing about 1/3 of the total federal workforce, is in VA.

The CIA is in VA also.

Then there are satellite spies ~ they're in VA. And the FBI is mostly in WV.

21 posted on 12/30/2011 10:53:28 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: precisionshootist
With enhancements to GPS and the use of modern precision weapons it should technically be possible to carve out areas where we will not engage in defensive operations.

Take it up with the Red Army, OK?

22 posted on 12/30/2011 10:55:54 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: Poundstone

No, most of the cuts are a result of federal regulations and all the MANDATORY Social Security taxes we pay. The gov’t then, thanks to LBJ, uses our retirement money to help finance all your and other fed employees’ salaries. These salaries enable you
and other paper pushers to put money into your own retirement funds. It’s ironic that Soc. Sec. workers run a system that they are never a part of.


23 posted on 12/30/2011 10:56:17 AM PST by RightLady (Liberty above all)
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To: RightLady
No, most of the cuts are a result of federal regulations and all the MANDATORY Social Security taxes we pay.

FWIW, federal workers pay SS taxes, too.

If you're calling your anticipated SS benefits as your retirement money, I recommend that you contribute to an IRA/401k, etc. What you receive from SS will not likely be enough to live on, but I'm sure you know that.

24 posted on 12/30/2011 11:01:26 AM PST by Night Hides Not (My dream ticket for 2012 is John Galt & Dagny Taggart!)
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To: Poundstone

I see many foolish “bash the government worker” types, who “fire at will” out of jealousy or ignorance. However, as a former Federal employee and a former State of Florida worker, I can tell you that the Federal workers are compensated way over and above that of the Florida government workers. In so many instances government workers are grossly overpaid, but before “firing blankly” at all government workers, people should understand the facts - not just the hype. Wisconsin, California and other big union states and Federal workers have government wages way too high. Non union states such as Florida have their wages and benefits way, way below (like one half) the national average. No COLA for only two years in Florida would be welcomed by Florida workers, who got one 2.5 percent raise in the last 10 years and had that countered with an effective 5 percent cut last year. They are probably going to get hammered again this year. Every time the news headlines shout about union government workers in California, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin abusing the system, Florida workers take it in the shorts. So “fire at will, but at the biggest target not the weakest target.


25 posted on 12/30/2011 11:01:33 AM PST by ghostrider
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To: puppypusher

Yes, federal employees know the jig is up in the White House and are tired of working for the political appointees who are trying to turn the federal workforce into an army for Obama-Soros.


26 posted on 12/30/2011 11:02:44 AM PST by MIchaelTArchangel (Obama means crooked.)
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To: muawiyah
The headquarters offices for most federal agencies are located in DC or MD or VA. The Pentagon, for example, representing about 1/3 of the total federal workforce, is in VA.

The "DC mindset" does not stop at Key Bridge or Bethesda.

27 posted on 12/30/2011 11:03:38 AM PST by PGR88 (Sic transit gloria mundi)
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To: Poundstone
I go to the VA here in Washington quite often and talk to everyone I meet and most of them are "not" Gov't employees. They are contract workers the VA hires so no benefits need to be paid.

The last 4 primary doctors I have had have all been contracted from a local hospital group. When they are new they are very ignorant of the VA system and then after 2 years when they figure it all out they get sent back to a non VA clinic or hospital then it starts all over again with new docs.

Most of our military bases are doing the same thing and are contracting out so they don't have to pay benefits. In fact my Tricare Primary is a contract doctor at the local base !

28 posted on 12/30/2011 11:10:53 AM PST by america-rules
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To: Poundstone
 

Our benefits aren’t the “most cushy” by a long shot. They’re pretty much in the middle of the traditional pension system. Granted, traditional pensions are disappearing in the private sector, but that’s the private sector’s fault.

No it is your fault and the fault of other liberal Federal employees for sucking the lifeblood out of the private sector via onerous taxation and onerous regulation such as by the EPA. You are parasites, the Federal workforce could easily be cut in half and no one would notice. These days the Federal workforce is heavily tilted towards affirmative action hires of blacks, minorities, gays, women, handicapped who are incompetent boobs. This is why the Federal Gov't is so FUBARed. I'll bet it is near impossible for a conservative to get a job at many Federal agencies

Funny how Obama has increased the Federal workforce by 250,000 while private sector employment decreases. If Obama-Care is kept we will have a huge jump in Federal employment of drones and AA hires to administer that boondoggle. Simultaneously private sector medical insurance companies will close and fire employees because the Federal vampires have taken those jobs and made them into Gov't jobs. Like I said.....The Federal Gov't is a vast jobs program (The EPA and Department of Education are fine examples)  for otherwise unemployable liberals and is devoted to sucking the lifeblood out of the private sector

29 posted on 12/30/2011 11:11:49 AM PST by dennisw (A nation of sheep breeds a government of Democrat wolves!)
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To: Poundstone
"traditional pensions are disappearing in the private sector, but that’s the private sector’s fault"

Many of the failures in private sector pensions/businesses are DUE TO THE OVER-WHELMING Taxes paid to fund Federal, State, City, and Local "public" employees, and their golden Heatthcare and Retirement benefits, for little productive work.

30 posted on 12/30/2011 11:13:13 AM PST by traditional1 (Free speech for me.....not for thee)
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To: txrefugee
Federal employees retire with the most cushy benefits

I regularly read examples here of state employees who retire with far cushier deals than what you get from the federal government.

31 posted on 12/30/2011 11:17:22 AM PST by freespirited
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To: PGR88

Being a Federal has been become ironic for me as I have become more libertarian in my fews because I can see how dangerous to have other people run other people lives especially when you see what types of people the FED gov’t hires.. It is scary that people entrust their lives to federal employees.


32 posted on 12/30/2011 11:18:25 AM PST by scbison
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To: freespirited
"I regularly read examples here of state employees who retire with far cushier deals than what you get from the federal government."

Not to mention the municipal scalliwags that vote themselves $800,000 salaries behind closed doors like that little town in California. This is not government by the people ... it's wholesale theft from the taxpayers.

33 posted on 12/30/2011 11:24:58 AM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Poundstone
It's interesting to note that the naysayers in this thread are absolutely ignorant of the federal retirement system.

I can deduce that easily enough from these posts.

34 posted on 12/30/2011 11:30:53 AM PST by sonofagun (Some think my cynicism grows with age. I like to think of it as wisdom!)
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To: hinckley buzzard

True enough; I suppose I should have also specified that the net cuts should be affecting DC as well.


35 posted on 12/30/2011 11:31:28 AM PST by Oceander (TINSTAAFL - Mother Nature Abhors a Free Lunch almost as much as She Abhors a Vacuum)
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To: tbw2

“Are they retiring now to lock in retirement benefits “

Yes.


36 posted on 12/30/2011 11:33:49 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: RightLady; Night Hides Not

CSRS began in 1920, 15 years BEFORE social security was enacted. In 1983, CSRS enrollement ended and FERS began, and those personnel enrolled in FERS pay SS taxes.

See this article for a discussion of the two systems: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0306/033106rp.htm


37 posted on 12/30/2011 11:34:29 AM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: gramho12
It's the "private sector's fault" since they realized that a defined benefit pension system was unsustainable due to the fact of people living longer, among a lot of other factors. Too bad the public pension plans have not realized the same thing, but rely on the deep pockets of the American people.

The federal government dumped its defined benefit system (CSRS) in 1987.

Google will educate you on this.

38 posted on 12/30/2011 11:34:47 AM PST by sonofagun (Some think my cynicism grows with age. I like to think of it as wisdom!)
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To: Poundstone

If any private company lost money for as long as the federal government has, its few remaining employees would have no benefits.

Public sector workers receive better pay and have far better benefits than 90% of private sector employees.

Don’t expect any sympathy from taxpayers who make it possible.


39 posted on 12/30/2011 11:39:06 AM PST by bwc2221
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To: scbison
Being a Federal has been become ironic for me as I have become more libertarian in my fews because I can see how dangerous to have other people run other people lives especially when you see what types of people the FED gov’t hires.

I work a lot with FDA, and those folks I work with, who are technicians, scientists, or regional admin type people are smart, well-spoken, and as individuals, quite open to reason. On the other hand though, they are all governed by rules and conditions well outside their control, and many are hyper-cautious about what they say, if they say anything at all. The massive bureaucracy of which they are a part has shaved off any outstanding qualities they may have.

40 posted on 12/30/2011 11:41:43 AM PST by PGR88 (Sic transit gloria mundi)
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To: dennisw
No it is your fault and the fault of other liberal Federal employees for sucking the lifeblood out of the private sector via onerous taxation and onerous regulation such as by the EPA.

Wow!!

What can I say?

Do you blame Sergeant Jones for the war in Iraq?

Direct your ire to the proper target which is the congress and the executive branch for creating such a monstrously bloated beaurocracy rather than the receptionist who answers the phone!

41 posted on 12/30/2011 11:42:44 AM PST by sonofagun (Some think my cynicism grows with age. I like to think of it as wisdom!)
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To: Poundstone
Granted, traditional pensions are disappearing in the private sector

Disappearing?

I'm 45. I've probably worked for 12 private companies and interviewed at dozens more over my career. None had a pension plan.

Pensions are the near-exlusive domain of the public sector, and it's been that way for decades.
42 posted on 12/30/2011 11:43:28 AM PST by chrisser (Starve the Monkeys!)
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To: Night Hides Not
Federal pensions are not being phased out. Federal employees have a three legged stool of pension support, i.e., FERS, SS, and the TSP. Where did you come up with the information that would lead you to believe that federal pensions were being phased out?

FERS is a defined benefit play (as is CSRS), something that some in Congress would like to do away with.

"U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), along with Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), introduced on Thursday the Public-Private Employee Retirement Act of 2011 (S. 644) to address long-term liabilities facing the federal government. The legislation would end the defined benefit pension portion of the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) for new federal government hires starting in 2013, leaving fully in place the Thrift Savings Plan with the current match (up to 5%) for both current and future federal workers. The bill would also apply to Members of Congress."

"Currently, federal workers enjoy both a defined benefit pension and a Thrift Savings Plan (equivalent to a 401(k)) with up to a 5% match, paid for by the taxpayers. The average private sector employee gets a 401(k) with a 3% employer match and no pension. Federal workers also continue to enjoy federal health care benefits (FEHB) after they retire, a benefit that is becoming increasingly rare in the private sector."

"According to the Senators, the FERS system is currently underfunded by nearly a billion dollars. The old federal pension system, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), is underfunded by $673 billion. In the coming years, as more of the retirement burden falls on the FERS system, the required federal government contributions to FERS will skyrocket, especially in comparison to what federal workers will put into the system. In 2012, the federal government will contribute $22.2 billion to FERS. By 2065, those required contributions will rise to $239.5 billion, with the government paying out $415.3 billion in benefits."

43 posted on 12/30/2011 11:47:21 AM PST by kabar
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To: Night Hides Not
"Federal pensions are being phased out. New workers now contribute to defined contribution plans, with employer matching. "

"employer matching"?. Excuse me but that is still myself and others in the private sector paying for their retirement

Even the employee "contributions" are payed by.....you guessed it, the private sector! And here is something no one talks about. Government employees don't pay ANY taxes, ever! The source of a government workers entire paycheck COMES FROM TAXES, therefore it's impossible for them to PAY them. They are simply handing back some of the money that was taken from the private sector in the first place.

Government workers have NOT earned these pensions. The money is simply being taken from those in the private sector that have earned and produced wealth.

Massive numbers of government "workers" is why this country is broke.

I don't mean this on a personal level for anyone but this IS the truth.

44 posted on 12/30/2011 11:49:21 AM PST by precisionshootist
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To: RightLady

Since 1983 all new hires in the Federal Government, including Congress, must pay into SS.


45 posted on 12/30/2011 11:53:25 AM PST by kabar
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To: sonofagun

FERS is a defined benefit system. It replaced CSRS.


46 posted on 12/30/2011 11:57:19 AM PST by kabar
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To: precisionshootist

If you view the federal employee as not really paying any taxes, then what about the private sector recipients of federal funds such as the defense industry, contractors, consultants, etc.? Or the doctors who receive Medicare and medicaid payments? Or the supermarkerts that cash in the receipts from 46 miullion food stamp recipients? The government controls close to 50% of our economy. The $3.5 trillion annual federal budget is paying for more than just federal employee salaries and benefits. And ditto for state and local governments. The line between the public and private sectors is somewhat blurred. It is called crony capitalism.


47 posted on 12/30/2011 12:08:22 PM PST by kabar
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To: Poundstone
but yes, retiring now does lock in your benefits for life under the current system.

Sort of like a leech then.

48 posted on 12/30/2011 12:18:23 PM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: precisionshootist

You have no idea what you’re talking about.


49 posted on 12/30/2011 12:22:50 PM PST by Poundstone (A recent Federal retiree and proud of it!)
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To: sonofagun
The federal government dumped its defined benefit system (CSRS) in 1987.

You would think this was a loss for the Federal drones but it wasn't. Because Federal salaries have soared to undeserved new heights since then. This nullified the loss of defined benefits pension and health. To generalize....... You work in county or state Gov't you get a nice juicy defined benefits plan. You work for the Federales and you get paid more, but get no defined benefits. The nation's five wealthiest counties ring Washington DC. Two of them are mostly rich blacks due to hopping aboard the USG's affirmative action gravy train

BTW under Obama unprecedented numbers of Federale drones have been bumped into higher GS pay grades. So more liberal drones than ever are collecting $120,000- $130,000 - $150,000 on up

Pay will go up for many, despite Obama's proposed freeze ...

www.federaltimes.com/article/20101130/BENEFITS01/.../1001
Nov 30, 2010 – The federal pay freeze proposed Monday by President Obama will not ... next GS grade in either year, and those promotions would come with pay raises. ... Obama's plan would freeze the pay scales for the General Schedule ...

Chaffetz: Freeze step increases - FederalTimes.com

www.federaltimes.com/article/20101206/BENEFITS01/.../1001
Dec 6, 2010 – President Obama last week proposed a federal pay freeze that would cancel the annual adjustment to the GS pay scales and freeze other civilian employees' pay ... "Within-grade increases are a statutory right," Palguta said. ...

 

 


50 posted on 12/30/2011 12:41:20 PM PST by dennisw (A nation of sheep breeds a government of Democrat wolves!)
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