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Federal Employees News Digest : Feb. 25, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org What's Inside44 February 25, 2013 • Vol. 62, No. 30 No progress as sequester deadline nears The bipartisan law designed to force Congress into a spending compromise with the threat of draconian, across-the-board cuts---the Budget Control Act of 2011---is instead on the verge of imposing them. The temporary measures that have kept the government funded since the beginning of the year appear to have run out. And, barring a new compromise by March 1, reductions of 10 percent or more---the sequester---will go into effect at all agencies, triggering furloughs for federal employees. Return of Simpson-Bowles? One of the most politically "promis- ing" compromise proposals floated on Capitol Hill in recent days has been a retread of the plans that led to the stand- off---those contained in the so-called Simpson-Bowles proposal, named after Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the co-chairmen of President Obama's bipar- tisan deficit reduction commission. American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox on Feb. 19 offered a sharp response to the reemergence of the proposal. "Mr. Simpson and Mr. Bowles seem to have missed the fact that America had an election last November and that voters overwhelmingly rejected the regressive and idiotic ideas they were peddling on behalf of their corporate masters," Cox said. "We rejected more tax cuts for cor- porations and the wealthy. We rejected cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits. We rejected taking away earned retirement benefits from public employ- ees. We rejected an accelerated race to the bottom for the middle class and the working poor." "It seems that Bowles and Simpson will not stop until federal employees lose almost half of their retirement benefits," Cox continued. "Until hundreds of thou- sands of federal employees are thrown out of work, and millions of Americans either never retire or are poorer and more insecure in retirement because the Social Security and Medicare benefits which they paid for, and on which they hoped to rely, are slashed." Street rallies As hope for a compromise evaporated, unions have begun to take their pro- tests to the streets. AFGE-represented employees, for example, recently partici- pated in a demonstration in Washington, D.C. Protesters carried signs that said "Hands Off Social Security" and "Hands off Medicare," both programs that would suffer cuts under Simpson-Bowles and plans like it. Other signs read simply "We've Sacrificed Enough." Chanting fed- eral employees marched downtown and onto the National Mall. "We're going to fight like we've never fought before! It's time to end this sequestra- tion!" President Cox---flanked by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka---told the crowd. The fed next door Sequestration-triggered program and job cuts--- both federal and contractor---would hit Federal City very, very hard. The ripple effect of the cuts, the uncertainty caused by furloughs and loss of income could ripple through the economy. Merchants, landlords, restaurants and others would feel the pain. Factoid: During the years when the Defense Department's Base Realignment and Closure program was being set up and implemented, an outside consultant estimated that each federal job added or subtracted from a community had an impact on six nonfederal individuals. For people who have had two years of a pay freeze (with another likely), the prospect of a 20 percent pay cut for up to 22 days (worst case scenario) is especially frightening. Sequestration will make anti-govern- ment, anti-bureaucrat politicians happy. Even though they spend millions to get here, and millions more to stay here, they love to bash Washington. But there is a small problem ... You probably thought I was suffering from Beltwayitis. That is a condition which results in the inability to see INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Postal chief urges reforms 3 • Groups pan pay-freeze bill 4 • In Brief 5 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
Feb. 18, 2013
March 4, 2013