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Federal Employees News Digest : Oct. 29, 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 29, 2012 Vol. 62, No. 16 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com Carter also insisted that it was too hard to fire feds, and he wanted to get rid of what critics call "being there" raises--- the nearly 3 percent longevity step increases that go to 99 percent of feds who hit anniversary milestones. Richard Nixon, although hated by labor, cut deals with federal and postal union leaders that improved the pay and benefits of civil servants. And although he was a sincere and profes- sional anticommunist, he also went to China, surprising lots of people on both sides of the Pacific. Our local newspapers predicted that Washington would, as one said, be deci- mated once Ronald Reagan took office. Yet the government---both inside and beyond the beltway---got bigger. Centrist Bill Clinton surprised many people by endorsing, and winning, wel- fare "reform." He also surprised fed- eral unions by downsizing by nearly 300,000 federal jobs and consolidating and outsourcing many federal jobs and functions that traditional Democrats had always designated as inherently governmental. George H.W. Bush had to eat his "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge. And President Barack Obama did what few anti-bureaucrat Republicans would have dared to do. He froze fed- eral pay for two years. So given the track record of these leaders---the metamorphosis from can- didate to commander-in-chief---it's a good bet that a future president (who- ever he or she may be) and Congress will decide that the civil service is in for another "reform" the likes of which none of us has ever seen. Pensions and health insurance are two targets. The president and Congress thought they were doing the right thing by ending the more generous Civil Service Retirement System in favor of the Federal Employees Retirement System, which is less generous to you, and less costly to taxpayers. FERS people got a major break by being eligible for a maximum 5 percent government contribution---the equiva- lent of a 5 percent pay raise---as part of the Thrift Savings Plan. People who retire after a career under the CSRS plan usually do very well whether they participate in the TSP or not. People who retire from FERS need to max out on their TSP plans, or prepare for a much, much leaner life in retirement. The USPS went from a cabinet department (and linkage with all civil service programs) to a quasi-govern- mental corporation. It was supposed to be self-supporting. And we all know how that worked out. The fact that you are reading this electronically, rather than in a mailed-to-you newsletter, shows what's happened to mail volume. The USPS has twice defaulted on massive payments (which aren't required of other federal departments) to the retirement fund. It now wants to set up its own health program sepa- rate from the highly subsidized (in your favor) Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. It says it can save money and give you a better insurance deal. Most experts agree with the first statement, but not with the latter. It is possible, maybe even likely, that politicians in the not too distant future (like maybe next year) will work to abolish any sort of government-guar- anteed retirement program (like FERS and CSRS) for future feds. It is unlikely they would make any of the changes retroactive to affect cur- rent employees. But the government of the future may well be more like the growing number of private employers who don't offer any pension at all.
Oct. 22, 2012
Nov. 5, 2012