Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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No, not death panel … DEBT panel

Well, it doesn’t look like the president’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility ventured too far from the recommendations released last month by the two chairmen of the panel.

For the record, the report—officially titled “The Moment of Truth”—suggested freezing federal civilian wages for three years (which has received a LOT of comment on this blog), switching from a “high three” to a “high five” scheme for calculating annuities, cutting 200,000 federal jobs over the next decade through attrition, and fooling around with the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Another ominous recommendation from the report: “Create a federal workforce entitlement task force to re-evaluate civil service and military health and retirement programs and recommend savings of $70 billion over ten years.” The reason for this re-evaluation, it says, is that “military and civilian pensions are both out of line with pension benefits available to the average worker in the private sector …”

To the relief of federal employee unions, the panel’s Dec. 3 vote on the bundled recommendations failed to gain the 14 votes needed to move the entire package to Congress. The American Federation of Government Employees said “lawmakers should consider President Obama’s deficit commission plan dead on arrival.”

Nonetheless, the report could set the stage for members of Congress to pick up and champion one or more of the report’s ideas separately.

Ditto the White House. In a Dec. 3 statement, President Obama said: “The commission’s majority report includes a number of specific proposals that I—along with my economic team—will study closely in the coming weeks as we develop our budget and our priorities for the coming year.”

As they say, “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.”

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Dec 03, 2010 at 4:02 PM


Reader comments

Sun, Dec 12, 2010 Kirk Kehrberg Jamestown, Virginia

I have always been taught that true leaders lead by example and from the front, not in the rear. Perhaps Congress, Democrates and Republicans alike, should start with pay reductions to their salaries, reduction to their health benefits, etc before they demand these sacrifices of the civil servants who are the ones who actually do the work in government service. If I, like congress, did not do my job (have a budget before October 1, I would be fired. Congress should stay and work without pay if the government is not funded by the October 1st deadline. Congress do you job before you demand such sacrifices from the common worker. Everyone should also understand it was not the poor civil servant down of the front lines that caused this problem, it was Congress and their practices that have brought us to this point.

Thu, Dec 9, 2010

Apparently, everyone thinks Federal worker makes alot of $$$, the answers is NO!!! we don't!!!! Before White House Congress, Senators freezes salary - they should look at CONTRACTORs wages that works with the Federal that makes 6 digit $$$$$ same works as me but I get only 5 digit $$$ pay. CONTRACTORs will only do what is written in their contract, they don't go beyond that. As a Federal worker I will have to do my work and pick up whatever the CONTRACTORs don't want. Then White House should look at themselves, their aides salaries.

Tue, Dec 7, 2010

I to know people who have lost their jobs within the past 3 years or more and they don't really want handouts just a job to be able to support their families and themselves so I wish people would quit knocking everyone and saying they like being on Government support. I have 35 years in as GS-7 after 35 years because I am in a command that only rewards people with degrees. I have been helping to support some unemplyed family memebers and will continue to do so as long as needed, but I believe the cuts should start with congress and they should do away with automatic payraises and retirement benefits unless they have 30 years and are at least 65, hopefully people will vote them out before they reach that point.

Mon, Dec 6, 2010

They AREN'T tax cuts. The same rates have been in place for almost a decade. Extending the current TAX RATES prevents a huge TAX INCREASE that will be a huge job killer in an already bad situation.

Mon, Dec 6, 2010

I remember (and it hasn't been that long ago) when there was so much difficulty recruiting and retaining people in government service that both special rates and sign on bonuses were being offered. Salaries were so low in comparison to the private sector that it often took months on end and multiple postings before anyone would respond to a job opening and apply for a vacant position. When I first became a government employee 35 years ago, you could not start out at anything other than the 1st step of your grade. Ultimately that changed and facilities were given permission to hire in at higher steps. Has everyone forgotten this? We do not make more than the private sector, we make less. Many of us have stayed on as government servants because we felt that the loss of pay (rather poor pay)would be worth it because of the pension we would receive at retirement. We may have all been wrong!

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