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Federal Employees News Digest : April 15, 2013
April 15, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 37 3 Visit us on the internet at www.FederalDaily.com major expense, rising much faster. That's why the current COLA likely understates inflation pressures on seniors." "We've been skeptical of this for years and years, and it used to pass muster among many economists---that chained CPI would be a 'fix' and not a 'cut,'" Morrissey said. "But as more and more people are pointing out, after all, the gov- ernment has another specific index for seniors---the 'CPI-E,' for 'elderly'---and that's risen much faster. Yet it's not used for benefits." "It really makes it much harder to argue, with a straight face, that the cur- rent COLA 'underestimates' the CPI for the beneficiary population---and that the chained CPI would not be a cut," she said. "It's people who just want to cut Social Security who are saying this one form of correction is what should be done." Anger among retirees, fed unions "The poets remind us that it is eas- ier to forgive an enemy than a friend. But it is hard to forgive our friend President Obama when his administra- tion continues to act more and more like our enemies," American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox said when details of the president's budget began to emerge. "His administration has frozen our pay for three years," Cox said. "It over- saw and approved shifting retirement system costs for new employees that will lower their salaries by 2.3 per- cent forever. The administration signed the Budget Control Act that brought us the sequester. It is implementing the sequester by imposing lengthy fur- loughs on federal workers while leaving the larger and costlier contractor work- force untouched. It pushes a cruel cut to Social Security, veterans' and federal employee retirement benefits through the chained CPI." Cox called the White House's proposal--- with its billions in proposed cuts to federal employee benefits---a "final act of betrayal." "We cannot understand how an administration that claims to stand up for working and middle-class Americans can simultaneously push policies that have would impose such enormous pain on its own workforce," he said. The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association had sim- ilarly strong words for the president. "We are disappointed to learn the pres- ident's first proposed budget since his reelection will embrace a policy designed to balance the budget by cutting the earned benefits of America's seniors, vet- erans and those with disabilities," NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin said of the proposal. "If President Obama endorses the chained CPI inflation formula to cal- culate the cost-of-living adjustments for Americans, as has been reported, he will be turning his back on the populations most in need of assistance." Others expressed the same frustration with the president's plan. "Federal workers are not an ATM that elected officials can draw from whenever they're in a fiscal pinch," objected National Federation of Federal Employees President William R. Dougan. "Federal workers are already hurting after more than $100 billion in cuts to pay, hours, benefits, and jobs. The bank is closed." losses would be deep, wide "In the past, advocates for chained CPI---such as former Sen. Alan Simpson, or [fiscal policy expert] Alice Rivlin--- would say, 'Don't worry, this won't affect most current retirees or near-retirees,'" Morrissey told FEND. "But this would affect you, if you are in those categories. No one is hiring a 70-year-old to come back out of retirement---or at least it's very rare in this kind of economy. These cuts are reneging on promises, and with people who have much more limited ability to adjust to cuts." Morrissey listed several problems with the proposed index. "First, there's the [truthfulness] issue--- these are cuts and not 'technical cor- rections,'" Morrissey said. "Second, on top of that, these cuts affect people who really are counting on the benefits they need---and third, a chained CPI dis- proportionately negatively affects older retirees and disabled people---including disabled veterans." "The cuts are cumulative---and so this is incredibly poorly targeted," she said. "I mean nobody, not even those who want to cut Social Security, would openly say, 'Let's target the oldest people and dis- abled people, and give them much lower benefits!'" Proponents say chained CPI would save Social Security alone $130 billion to more than $300 billion over the coming decades. But the cost to federal retirees--- and non-federal American retirees and disabled---would be high, according to several estimates. NARFE offered a loss estimate to fed- eral retirees---"$6,718.59 less after 10 years [and] $31,144.47 less after 20 years" of retirement. And fully $84,067.79 less after 30 years of benefits. Another group, AARP, also has pro- vided an online calculator that shows how much Social Security and veterans benefits recipients can expect to lose at: http://action.aarp.org/site/PageNavigator/ SocialSecurityCalculator.html. political damage? "The [affected] population is incred- ibly angry about this already," Morrissey told FEND. "Some of the damage is already done---the president, by putting this in his budget, is already hanging a weight around his neck---and it's an incredible political blunder." "A budget is a wish-list," Morrissey said. continued from page 1 Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. continued on page 4
April 8, 2013
April 22, 2013