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Federal Employees News Digest : Nov 25, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: email@example.com What's Inside44 NOVEMBER 25, 2013 • VOL. 63, NO. 19 ZIPed up tight Recently the Washington Post and a number of other publications have written pieces about the nation's Super ZIPs. The term was coined by Charles Murray, a think tank scholar, to describe, as the Post said, the country's "most prosperous, highly educated demographic clusters" with a median income of $120,000 where 70 percent of adults have college degrees. A lot of educated people with a lot of money. So what's not to hate? Although Washington is supposed to be a government town, and government salaries are supposed to be modest, this town in many ways is the land of milk and honey. You can go all day without spot- ting an old pickup in traffic. But luxury cars, and many, many SUVs, are a dime a dozen. That's because the Washington metro area has tons of Super ZIPs. The wealth of metro Washington sur- prises, and angers, many visitors. They resent the fact that they send their tax money here---via Cincinnati, Kansas City and other IRS outposts---and that we INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • USPS posts year-end losses 5 • In Brief 5 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3 Pay and benefits remain in deficit-cutting crosshairs As Congress continues to explore all options for cutting the federal deficit, proposals that target federal and military pay and benefits remain on the table, along with a broad array of other budget- trimming options. A new Congressional Budget Office report that explores scores of options for reducing the federal deficit assesses the budget impact of several proposals that take specific aim at pay and benefits--- including proposals that would reduce federal employees' across-the-board pay raises, trim pensions for new retirees, and require employees to contribute more toward retirement. The report also details similar options for paring back the pay and benefits of military service members and retirees. The report, which runs more than 300 pages, examines 103 options that would decrease federal spending or increase federal revenues over the next 10 years, including the ones that would affect federal and military pay and benefits. The report examines many of the most- often proposed schemes that cut fed- eral spending by altering or eliminating various aspects of civilian and military compensation. Pay increases eyed One of the proposals explored in the report calls for reducing the annu- al across-the-board raise for federal employees provided for under Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990. The act established a formula for setting an automatic pay adjustment if Congress or the president do not use their authority to set a different raise or deny one altogether, as they have for the past three years. Under FEPCA, the size of the adjust- ment is set at the annual rate of increase of the employment cost index for wages and salaries, minus 0.5 percentage points. But under the cost-cutting option examined in the report, the annual across- the-board increase that would be expected to occur under FEPCA would be trimmed by 0.5 percentage points each year from 2015 through 2023. Assuming appropriations were reduced by the same amount, the change would save $53 billion over that period, accord- ing to CBO estimates. Federal pay is a ripe target, the report observes, because "compensation for fed- eral civilian employees makes up roughly 15 percent of federal discretionary spend- ing, and it is difficult to attain a significant reduction in that category of spending without constraining personnel costs." But CBO also notes that reducing increases would produce a mixed out- come, including making it harder for the government to hire qualified employees, particularly for jobs that require more education. "Recent research suggests that although
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