Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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Demonizing feds

Things didn’t get any better for feds this month out there in the world of public perception.

For one thing, another bunch of scholars (we know this news will make your eyes glaze over)—this time from the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute—got together this week to discuss how overpaid you are. (You can watch the whole thing here. Isn’t the Internet wonderful?)

Plus, in honor of the annual revelation that—like everyone else in America—some feds are delinquent on their taxes, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., introduced a bill that would require the firing of feds who are seriously delinquent in paying their federal taxes. The bill exempts feds who are making payments on those back taxes. (Coburn cites 2009 IRS stats that say 100,000 feds are in arrears. He does not say how many of those feds are making payments and would be exempt ...)

And if you think you have too much work on your desk as it is, Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., last week introduced a bill that would—if signed into law—mandate non-consecutive two-week unpaid furloughs for almost all federal civilian employees in FY 2011.

On the plus side, one lawmaker, Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., stood up for feds this month in the Senate and rebutted an August USA TODAY article purporting that feds’ pay dramatically outstrips that of their private counterparts.

Of course, pretty much all of this pressure is coming from the right, which hopes to make significant political gains in the mid-term elections. Which means some of it may be bluster.

Or maybe not.

So, how worried are you?

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Sep 22, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Wed, Sep 29, 2010 Texas

VA employees are the most under-rated. DoD, never have seen so much waste OR so many smoke breaks taken by federal employees. Our taxes shouldn't go to that. I knew NSPS wouldn't last long, no sense in having a real merit system when you can get an automatic raise.

Tue, Sep 28, 2010 John Alaska

The reader who follows those links hoping to see examples of federal employees being "demonized" will, alas, be disappointed.

Unless, I guess, you considered those working for welfare reform in the 1990s to be "demonizing" welfare recipients.

Or you consider those who advocate securing our nation's borders to be "demonizing" immigrants.

On the upside, it suggests Mr. Piemonte is in fact qualified to judge "bluster" when he sees it.

- John

Mon, Sep 27, 2010 mary Florence al

Everybody wants Feds furloughed until it affects THEIR Social Security check, THEIR mail delivery, and so on. Cutting of your nose to spite your face.

Mon, Sep 27, 2010 Richard Indy

I am all for cost-cutting moves, however, there are a lot of Feds who live paycheck to paycheck. I am sick and tired of the private sector pointing their fingers at the Feds. I accepted less pay to work for the Federal Government so that I could have job-security. I've been able to earn a few promotions which has brought me closer to where I would've been in the private sector. I tend to agree with the Right on most social and economic issues, however, DO NOT MESS WITH FEDERAL FAMILIES. The allegiances of those Feds on the right may become more fragile.

Mon, Sep 27, 2010 John Orlando,Fl

How is the Salary calculated? I would think pay plus employer paid benefits. How would we compare to say an auto worker for GM who is a member of the union?

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