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Federal Employees News Digest : Oct. 22, 2012
INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1 Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Government Information Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$99 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $99. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2012 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions inwhole or part prohibited except by written permission. Mail requests to "Permissions Editor," c/o Federal Employees News Digest, 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500, Vienna, VA 22182-2215 or editor@ federaldaily.com. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. October 22, 2012 Vol. 62, No. 15 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com And now ... I forgot to mention that all this actually happened. In 1980. It was at the American Federation of Government Employees con- vention in Honolulu. Since then, convention spending has been scaled back. This August, the convention convened in Las Vegas, which has fantastic summer hotel rates. And Las Vegas is an easy nonstop, or one-stop flight from most U.S. cities. So as you can see, timing is important. Critical, in fact. Because things change. Sometimes a lot. Back in 1980, inflation was so high (not to mention those gas shortages) that a 9.1 percent pay raise was definitely not enough. Not by a long shot. Inflation was in the high double digits. American diplomatic and military personnel were still being held hostage in Iran. Ordinary people, even working couples with two decent incomes, couldn't get mortgages. Period. When the inflation rates started to come down after the election that year, you still were lucky to find a lender who would allow you to pay "only" 12.5 percent on a loan. At the time, there was little public reaction to union delegates booing at, and in effect rejecting, a 9.1 percent pay hike. Even working stiffs in the private sector agreed that it wasn't enough. There was no talk of a bloated bureaucracy, at least on the pay issue. That's because inflation was in the high double digits, and it got a lot worse before it got any better. One year back then, federal and postal retirees, whose annuities were linked to the rate of infla- tion, got a 14 percent cost-of-living adjustment in just one year. And given the high prices for every- thing, they said it wasn't enough. Back to 2012 Today, a two-year campaign against government workers (by some lawmakers, media and think tanks) appears to be in remission. Probably because of the election. But it's likely to come back with a vengeance in January, when think tanks, blue-ribbon panels, and the Congress and the White House once again look at ways to avoid fiscal suicide. Some feds ask: Why us? Well, although federal pay, pensions and perks are only a small portion of what the government spends, they are things that are very visible to politicians and voters. Private-sector workers whose companies don't offer pensions think the federal system looks pretty good. Those without sick leave or who have to take unpaid vacations believe the government is the original gravy train. So enjoy the low rates of inflation, because that won't last. These things never do. Many retirees now are angry because their 2013 cost-of-living adjustment---1.7 percent---is going to be so low. But should there be a couple of years of 1970s-style inflation, griping about a COLA of 1.7 percent might seem like the good old days.
Oct. 15, 2012
Oct. 29, 2012