Author Topic: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system  (Read 10840 times)

wenchsenior

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #100 on: September 28, 2017, 07:13:34 PM »
My cost center has a single GS-15 overseeing our area, supervising approximately 100 people.  Then there are only four 14s below that.

GS-11 is eventually available to almost anyone who puts in enough years and is good at their job.  12 and above requires a PhD or management of large teams of people, like a regional office. 

The notion that an entire office would be 15s seems ludicrous to me.  I know the grades vary between agencies, and there does appear to be some grade inflation in DC due to those folks all working on national programs, but an entire office of the most senior feds possible?  She must be an agency level lawyer, as that's basically the only GS job where folks routinely rise that high, and there it is only in an attempt to make their pay more competitive with their private sector counterparts.

I believe you, and that is completely different from what is going in DC, at least as far as I can see.  a PhD for 12?  That's insane.  I just clarified with her and DW says all the "seasoned" attorneys in her office are GS15s.  She is not an agency level, just a (very-good and respected) lawyer who is known to get shit done.
.  From the same website I linked above. 2014 data:

 Table 3: Typical education required and starting salary, by selected GS level
GS level   Education level   Starting salary, 2014
GS-1
No high school diploma   $17,981
GS-3
High school diploma   22,058
GS-4
Associate's degree   24,763
GS-5
Bachelor's degree   27,705
GS-9
Master's degree   41,979
GS-11
Doctoral or professional degree   50,790
Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Why are there even grades above 11 then if a Phd or professional is supposed to cap at 11?

No, I think you can't even apply for Grade 11 jobs without a PhD.

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #101 on: September 28, 2017, 08:02:23 PM »
My cost center has a single GS-15 overseeing our area, supervising approximately 100 people.  Then there are only four 14s below that.

GS-11 is eventually available to almost anyone who puts in enough years and is good at their job.  12 and above requires a PhD or management of large teams of people, like a regional office. 

The notion that an entire office would be 15s seems ludicrous to me.  I know the grades vary between agencies, and there does appear to be some grade inflation in DC due to those folks all working on national programs, but an entire office of the most senior feds possible?  She must be an agency level lawyer, as that's basically the only GS job where folks routinely rise that high, and there it is only in an attempt to make their pay more competitive with their private sector counterparts.

I believe you, and that is completely different from what is going in DC, at least as far as I can see.  a PhD for 12?  That's insane.  I just clarified with her and DW says all the "seasoned" attorneys in her office are GS15s.  She is not an agency level, just a (very-good and respected) lawyer who is known to get shit done.
.  From the same website I linked above. 2014 data:

 Table 3: Typical education required and starting salary, by selected GS level
GS level   Education level   Starting salary, 2014
GS-1
No high school diploma   $17,981
GS-3
High school diploma   22,058
GS-4
Associate's degree   24,763
GS-5
Bachelor's degree   27,705
GS-9
Master's degree   41,979
GS-11
Doctoral or professional degree   50,790
Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Why are there even grades above 11 then if a Phd or professional is supposed to cap at 11?

At my agency, BS degree starts at GS-7 with exceptions for people who have significant industry experience.  GS-9 if you have a MS or Phd.  GS-11 if you were a practicing attorney.

However, after being hired it is possible to go to GS-12 through hard work alone.  Then you must pass an exam to get to GS-13 and/or be able to telework (as a GS-12 or higher).  After that, you have to go through a 2 step 2 year long review process with teams of managers and Quality Assurance Specialists trying to prevent you from getting promoted by aggressively attacking your prosecution history.  At this point, if you pass all of this you've made it to GS-14 (even with only a Bachelor's degree, like me).  Without access to GS-14 pay tables, it would be near impossible to keep the highest quality most productive people.

spartana

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #102 on: September 28, 2017, 08:12:46 PM »
My cost center has a single GS-15 overseeing our area, supervising approximately 100 people.  Then there are only four 14s below that.

GS-11 is eventually available to almost anyone who puts in enough years and is good at their job.  12 and above requires a PhD or management of large teams of people, like a regional office. 

The notion that an entire office would be 15s seems ludicrous to me.  I know the grades vary between agencies, and there does appear to be some grade inflation in DC due to those folks all working on national programs, but an entire office of the most senior feds possible?  She must be an agency level lawyer, as that's basically the only GS job where folks routinely rise that high, and there it is only in an attempt to make their pay more competitive with their private sector counterparts.

I believe you, and that is completely different from what is going in DC, at least as far as I can see.  a PhD for 12?  That's insane.  I just clarified with her and DW says all the "seasoned" attorneys in her office are GS15s.  She is not an agency level, just a (very-good and respected) lawyer who is known to get shit done.
.  From the same website I linked above. 2014 data:

 Table 3: Typical education required and starting salary, by selected GS level
GS level   Education level   Starting salary, 2014
GS-1
No high school diploma   $17,981
GS-3
High school diploma   22,058
GS-4
Associate's degree   24,763
GS-5
Bachelor's degree   27,705
GS-9
Master's degree   41,979
GS-11
Doctoral or professional degree   50,790
Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Why are there even grades above 11 then if a Phd or professional is supposed to cap at 11?
Because someone has to keep those slacker Jr. PhDs inline. I'm assuming your GS15 wife has a government issued whip for that ;-). Probably cost $10k.
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Drifterrider

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #103 on: September 29, 2017, 05:51:05 AM »
That is our experience, as well, Blonde Lawyer.

It also is notable that while raw numbers of federal civilian employees have grown over the decades, the number of civilian feds employed PER CAPITA has shrunk dramatically from its peak under Nixon (14.4 feds/1,000 U.S. citizens).  The last 3 presidents have chopped the shit out of the civilian workforce, number wise, through a combination of  hiring freezes and attrition. 

Number of civilian employees per capita reached an all time low for the modern era under Obama: 8.5 civilian feds/1,000 U.S. citizens.
I can only speak for my office/location, but we were forced to cut 25% of our federal work force over the last 2 years....the work load has not decreased proportionately.

I'd be willing to bet there are a lot more contractor employees now.  Someone has to do the work.  If it moves from GS to CSS, the government can say they cut staff.  It is smoke and mirrors.  The public loves it so it continues.  Advertising works.

kimmarg

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #104 on: September 29, 2017, 11:55:13 AM »
Ok I didn't read the full thread, but enough. To the OP's original question, yes my office is aware and babbles about changes in retirement benefits. we're pretty much all 'believe it when we see it' folks so it's mostly something to chat about in the break room while microwaving lunch.

As far as Federal pay scale in general, I think I'm slightly overpaid (but I appreciate it!) I just got promoted to GS-12 after 5 years as GS-11. I had to competitively bid against anyone else in the agency (or gov) who was interested in the job. I think people think you get automatic promotions but nope I had to do an interview with my current boss, resume the whole nine yards to move up one grade on station. I'm also in one of those jobs where on slow days you could replace me with an inexperienced GS-5 no problem but then on those really critical days I earn every penny of  GS-12. It's like an ER doc being overpaid for a basic cold that walks in but you're glad to have 'em when its a heart attack!

My biggest complaint about the Feds is that stuff gets mandated from above and no one ever asks the folks on the bottom what we actually want or need to do our job! We're tax payers too we don't like the waste of various stuff but we're told we have to do it from on high.

Oh and for all those saying they should cut 20% congradulations, my agency IS down 20%. The problem is we're not down 20% in administrative or logistical people we're down 20% of front line day to day operations. So they've said we need to do the same thing, the same way we've been doing it, the same hours with less people. Needless to say stuff is slowly slipping between the cracks and tensions are high. I'm sure someone is going to say "good that's how the private sector does it!" but is it really? If they cut stuff would they let you change to a more streamlined operation or keep doing stuff the old way until and act of congress comes along. I'm sure big changes are coming and as an employee and tax payer I don't mind I just want to make sure my voice on the bottom is heard -that's why I'm in a federal union, to try to get my voice heard.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #105 on: September 29, 2017, 01:03:19 PM »
On another site I follow, there is discussion about FERS isn't actually a pension.  Can someone explain it to me? How does it differ from a pension?

sparkytheop

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #106 on: September 29, 2017, 01:35:01 PM »
On another site I follow, there is discussion about FERS isn't actually a pension.  Can someone explain it to me? How does it differ from a pension?

I'd have to see the argument to explain it, I think.

FERS has different "parts".  A pension portion, based on years of service + age + wages.  A 401k type portion (tsp).  A Social Security portion.  Each one is considered a leg of a three legged stool.  The pension is no longer expected to replace the majority of your wages in retirement; you are now expected to use SS and fill in any gaps with money you saved/invested yourself.

So, FERS is not really a pension, but a pension is a portion of FERS. 

kimmarg

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #107 on: September 29, 2017, 06:41:58 PM »
On another site I follow, there is discussion about FERS isn't actually a pension.  Can someone explain it to me? How does it differ from a pension?

I'd have to see the argument to explain it, I think.

FERS has different "parts".  A pension portion, based on years of service + age + wages.  A 401k type portion (tsp).  A Social Security portion.  Each one is considered a leg of a three legged stool.  The pension is no longer expected to replace the majority of your wages in retirement; you are now expected to use SS and fill in any gaps with money you saved/invested yourself.

So, FERS is not really a pension, but a pension is a portion of FERS.

FERS is explained pretty well above. I think the thing many people don't realize is the Federal pension system changed just over 30 years ago. The old system (CSRS) you basically got your entire salary (or very close to) for the rest of your life when you retired. Most people think it is still like that. In FERS your maximum pension is 1% of your years of service (about) so the max is around 30% of your salary. Clearly still a nice pension but also for most non mustacians not enough to live on. (assuming you are a consumer sucka who spends 100% of take home) There is a TSP (aka 401k fund) you can contribute to. Also FERS employees contribute to social security just like most other jobs (CSRS does not). 

You can certainly still have an excellent retirement package if you work for a while and contribute to your TSP, however it's not the same blind years of service as the old system. At this point the only people on the old system have to have worked over 30 years already so could retire but just aren't for whatever reason.

Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #108 on: September 29, 2017, 07:45:15 PM »
Most Americans take for granted the services that their government provides, because they are provided seamlessly and invisibly.  Nobody notices when the lights and water just always seem to work.  They assume their food is safe to eat, that the courts will review cases and that prisoners are secure, their mail gets delivered, that the Russians will not invade Alaska.  We expect the internet to connect us, and our money supply be stable and respected, and our federal lands and wildlife to be there for us to visit, and our weather forecasts to be updated hourly, and our social security checks to always arrive on time.


I think you're engaging in a few distortions here.  PG&E provides my power, not the government.  People want safe food, but a lot of it is safe because nobody stays in business poisoning their customers.  Nobody thinks the middle and lower classes get a fair deal from the courts when it costs $300-500/hr to hire a lawyer (an officer of the court) to litigate.  The courts benefit the rich.  No one from the middle and lower classes is ever happy about having to go to court.  The Russians aren't invading, but 30 million people have come up from the Southern border so the military isn't exactly securing it. How many people are in federal prison?  At a state level, prisoners are set free early all the time.  My friend keeps getting his mailbox robbed by some lady the judge keeps letting out of prison.  The last time I was on federal land, I found 2 abandoned pot-growing operations including large water storage tanks and abandoned deep-cell batteries within earshot of a road the federal rangers were supposed to be patrolling.  The Angeles National forest and many others have huge problems of illegal drug cartel operations, dumping, and other things.  The property was not large either.  Sure, our social security checks should arrive early but we're taxed our entire working lives for it.  The local government delivers my water, the Feds controlling the spillways have let a ton of it run into the oceans exacerbating our water shortage.  The National Weather Service and NOAA are admittedly bright spots.  You might blame all the bad government services on the lack of money, but federal spending has increased enormously over the past 100 years.

No one objects to government in the first place.  We object to enormous, invasive, inefficient government - what we have today.  But, hey, it pays your livelihood so I can see why you think it's a great thing.  It's funny because if you are a Mustachian, you relentlessly cut the fat from your own budget but think the federal budget should be spent differently.

I too am waiting for you to substantiate your claim that private sector wages are up 5%.

Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #109 on: September 29, 2017, 08:41:51 PM »
I see this hype in journalism all the time.  Are you a scientist?  I just looked on the DOE's website and found project sponsorship for stuff we were promised in Scientific American about 30 years ago.  Where is it? 

I agree the government has done some amazing stuff in the past.  That isn't true today.  You asked what I'd cut: No Americans in Space Anymore would be the first to get the axe.  The rest should take about a 20% haircut or more until the public debt gets off the hockey stick.

Just because you aren't aware of it doesn't mean it's not happening. The Navy, Health and Human Services, Army, and NASA are all on the top 300 list for US patents.

I work for the Navy and get briefings on things that I'm absolutely amazed are being developed.

The reason I was oblivious though? There's no reason for a normal civilian to either know about them, or to care enough about them. Does random MMM forum poster care about 100% biodiesel jet fuel? Probably not. But it was developed and has potential uses outside the military. If commercial airlines started using it, would you ever even know?

There's a list of military technologies that have been re-appropriated for civilian use.  Someone in tech, like me, is definitely aware of many of them.  The thing you'll notice about most of them is that they are all old technologies.  There is not much in the past several decades.  Whatever we were able to accomplish before, we are much less able to accomplish now.  Space travel is an example: we got to the moon in 1965; nowadays we need RUssian rockets to get us to the space station.  The shuttle was an expensive boondoggle that blew up with alarming frequency given the number of missions and the original design criteria.  The shuttle program has now been shut down.

WRT naval technology, I've worked in R&D, testing, and operation of naval weaponry and systems.  Here too, the picture was rosy in the past but far less so now.  Simple systems take decades to get out the door and then don't work or were an expensive solution to a problem that was solved better with old-fashioned means.  Even some of the old-fashioned tech was better for certain applications.  For obvious reasons, I cannot be specific.  I remember the Osprey fiasco.  The JSF is the latest.  We're now buying quite a few foreign systems for our ships now. The rolling airframe missile for antiship missile defense is German.  The Bofors gun on the LCS is Swedish.  Were I in charge of fast jet appropriation, I'd buy Gripens.  The railgun still isn't serviceable as a weapon despite decades of development.  On our ship, we mostly used a civilian radar for surface search.  The standard missile was removed because the last round we fired went over the mast of a nearby destroyer, under the water, back out and over our own masthead. 

I've seen marketing for systems that don't pass basic back-of-the-envelop system design assumptions and no one seems to ask any questions.  It's all about getting the money flowing now, not building stuff that is needed or works.

sol

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #110 on: September 29, 2017, 08:48:50 PM »

Middle class wages are up 5.2% this year, according to the federal employees at the census bureau.  The federal pay raise was 1%.  Inflation was 1.3%.


Sorry folks this is entirely unrelated:
Sol can you send me the link for this one? The latest releases I've seen show overall wages up ~2.5% and real wages up about ~0.9% for the last year (not YTD).  I can't find anything more specific than that.

It's household income that was up 5.2%, not wages.  Data are here, if you're interested.

Or you can read popular press articles about the data, like this one.  Or this one.

Some of those households contain federal employees who got a 1% raise those years, so presumably wage growth was higher among non-federal workers than it was among federal workers.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 08:55:26 PM by sol »

Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #111 on: September 29, 2017, 08:58:48 PM »

Middle class wages are up 5.2% this year, according to the federal employees at the census bureau.  The federal pay raise was 1%.  Inflation was 1.3%.


Sorry folks this is entirely unrelated:
Sol can you send me the link for this one? The latest releases I've seen show overall wages up ~2.5% and real wages up about ~0.9% for the last year (not YTD).  I can't find anything more specific than that.

It's household income that was up 5.2%, not wages.  Data are here, if you're interested.

Or you can read popular press articles about the data, like this one.  Or this one.

Some of those households contain federal employees who got a 1% raise those years, so presumably wage growth was higher among non-federal workers than it was among federal workers.

Oh boy am I glad you gave me that link.  Did you notice the near decade of wage stagnation in the third fifth where the US median household wage sits? 


retired?

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #112 on: September 29, 2017, 09:14:09 PM »
A few non-nasty (I hope) comments:

 - I think any changes should be grandfathered.  People reasonably expect the benefits they were promised.  I do think they often seem overly generous, though.

 - My BIL was in the military for about 24 years.  He retired at 46/47.  I was surprised to learn that his pension, starting immediately, is $5k monthly.  For life.  Not sure about adjustments for inflation.  One valuation using 4% rule would value it at $1.5M.  I'd say more since he'll likely collect for more than 30 years.  Also, just learned that he and my sis get medical for life.....not sure what sort of premium they have to pay if any.  His total comp was probably around 130-140k including salary and allowances (housing alone was about 25k per year).  I don't complain since they dragged him all over the world for a quarter of century.  But, it taint bad dough.

 - A good friend and one of the smartest people I know started working for the Fed a couple years ago.  He could make more in industry, but, according to him, it's low stress and somewhat interesting.  It's not a bad gig for scientists and engineers.  I might encourage a young person to check out the fed for roles like that.

 - I do wonder about people expecting pensions as state employees in places like Illinois, etc. when IL cannot print money like the Fed to cover it's debts.  Some of those people are going to be screwed.

spartana

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #113 on: September 29, 2017, 09:30:26 PM »
A few non-nasty (I hope) comments:

 - I think any changes should be grandfathered.  People reasonably expect the benefits they were promised.  I do think they often seem overly generous, though.

 - My BIL was in the military for about 24 years.  He retired at 46/47.  I was surprised to learn that his pension, starting immediately, is $5k monthly.  For life.  Not sure about adjustments for inflation.  One valuation using 4% rule would value it at $1.5M.  I'd say more since he'll likely collect for more than 30 years.  Also, just learned that he and my sis get medical for life.....not sure what sort of premium they have to pay if any.  His total comp was probably around 130-140k including salary and allowances (housing alone was about 25k per year).  I don't complain since they dragged him all over the world for a quarter of century.  But, it taint bad dough.

 - A good friend and one of the smartest people I know started working for the Fed a couple years ago.  He could make more in industry, but, according to him, it's low stress and somewhat interesting.  It's not a bad gig for scientists and engineers.  I might encourage a young person to check out the fed for roles like that.

 - I do wonder about people expecting pensions as state employees in places like Illinois, etc. when IL cannot print money like the Fed to cover it's debts.  Some of those people are going to be screwed.
Sounds like your BIL was an officer. Enlisted get quite a bit less (an E6 with 20 years in get about $3800/month hase pay and an O6 with 20 gets over $10k/month). I believe retiree benefits are half of base pay. But in any case military pensions and medical benefits are awesome and you can get them young if you do your 20 years of service. However you do have to do 20 years or you get nothing unless you put in $$,into a TSP.

I'm on CalPERS and expect to get a cut to my pension - which isn't big since I quit work at 42 but, like the Fed LEO pension, my state LEO/Public Safety pension allows me to begin collecting at 50 unlike regular state pensions which start at 55 or older.

ETA Calif has since changed their pension for all new hires so older age to get pension and more contributions towards pension and retiree medical. Personally that's how changes should be made rather than takevaway or reduce already promised benefits to current employees and retirees.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 09:54:07 PM by spartana »
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sparkytheop

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #114 on: September 29, 2017, 09:47:37 PM »
Most Americans take for granted the services that their government provides, because they are provided seamlessly and invisibly.  Nobody notices when the lights and water just always seem to work.  They assume their food is safe to eat, that the courts will review cases and that prisoners are secure, their mail gets delivered, that the Russians will not invade Alaska.  We expect the internet to connect us, and our money supply be stable and respected, and our federal lands and wildlife to be there for us to visit, and our weather forecasts to be updated hourly, and our social security checks to always arrive on time.


I think you're engaging in a few distortions here.  PG&E provides my power, not the government.

This will depend on where you live.  If you live in the Northwest (not sure about other regions), there is a chance that a huge portion of your power is provided by the government.  Generated at a hydroelectric dam (most are ran by the DoD (Corps of Engineers), or the Bureau of Reclamation), then that power is sent to a grid ran by BPA (Bonneville Power Administration, also a federal agency), and then it finally reaches the utility company, which distributes it to households.  So, the government is providing the power, the utility just delivers it.

Since the government agencies can't make a profit, the "extra money" is put back into upgrades, maintenance, etc.  Still not a perfect system by any means, but many don't realize that the generation and grid really are federal government ran.

retired?

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #115 on: September 29, 2017, 11:00:48 PM »
A few non-nasty (I hope) comments:

 - I think any changes should be grandfathered.  People reasonably expect the benefits they were promised.  I do think they often seem overly generous, though.

 - My BIL was in the military for about 24 years.  He retired at 46/47.  I was surprised to learn that his pension, starting immediately, is $5k monthly.  For life.  Not sure about adjustments for inflation.  One valuation using 4% rule would value it at $1.5M.  I'd say more since he'll likely collect for more than 30 years.  Also, just learned that he and my sis get medical for life.....not sure what sort of premium they have to pay if any.  His total comp was probably around 130-140k including salary and allowances (housing alone was about 25k per year).  I don't complain since they dragged him all over the world for a quarter of century.  But, it taint bad dough.

 - A good friend and one of the smartest people I know started working for the Fed a couple years ago.  He could make more in industry, but, according to him, it's low stress and somewhat interesting.  It's not a bad gig for scientists and engineers.  I might encourage a young person to check out the fed for roles like that.

 - I do wonder about people expecting pensions as state employees in places like Illinois, etc. when IL cannot print money like the Fed to cover it's debts.  Some of those people are going to be screwed.
Sounds like your BIL was an officer. Enlisted get quite a bit less (an E6 with 20 years in get about $3800/month hase pay and an O6 with 20 gets over $10k/month). I believe retiree benefits are half of base pay. But in any case military pensions and medical benefits are awesome and you can get them young if you do your 20 years of service. However you do have to do 20 years or you get nothing unless you put in $$,into a TSP.

I'm on CalPERS and expect to get a cut to my pension - which isn't big since I quit work at 42 but, like the Fed LEO pension, my state LEO/Public Safety pension allows me to begin collecting at 50 unlike regular state pensions which start at 55 or older.

ETA Calif has since changed their pension for all new hires so older age to get pension and more contributions towards pension and retiree medical. Personally that's how changes should be made rather than takevaway or reduce already promised benefits to current employees and retirees.

Yes, O6...Colonel.  He studied mechanical engineering.  While his initial pay would have started higher in industry, I think the overall outcome is better for him than if he'd chosen industry......based on personality, financial awareness, etc.  It is very doubtful that he would have amassed a nest egg providing 60k/year.  Entrepreneurial guys, yep, but for him, this was the better deal.

Agree with last point.  And, I think that's how it will go for SS.....keep raising the income level for contributions (now, almost 130k) and raise the so-called full retirement age.


Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #116 on: September 30, 2017, 04:07:49 AM »
Most Americans take for granted the services that their government provides, because they are provided seamlessly and invisibly.  Nobody notices when the lights and water just always seem to work.  They assume their food is safe to eat, that the courts will review cases and that prisoners are secure, their mail gets delivered, that the Russians will not invade Alaska.  We expect the internet to connect us, and our money supply be stable and respected, and our federal lands and wildlife to be there for us to visit, and our weather forecasts to be updated hourly, and our social security checks to always arrive on time.


I think you're engaging in a few distortions here.  PG&E provides my power, not the government.  People want safe food, but a lot of it is safe because nobody stays in business poisoning their customers.  Nobody thinks the middle and lower classes get a fair deal from the courts when it costs $300-500/hr to hire a lawyer (an officer of the court) to litigate.  The courts benefit the rich.  No one from the middle and lower classes is ever happy about having to go to court.  The Russians aren't invading, but 30 million people have come up from the Southern border so the military isn't exactly securing it. How many people are in federal prison?  At a state level, prisoners are set free early all the time.  My friend keeps getting his mailbox robbed by some lady the judge keeps letting out of prison.  The last time I was on federal land, I found 2 abandoned pot-growing operations including large water storage tanks and abandoned deep-cell batteries within earshot of a road the federal rangers were supposed to be patrolling.  The Angeles National forest and many others have huge problems of illegal drug cartel operations, dumping, and other things.  The property was not large either. Sure, our social security checks should arrive early but we're taxed our entire working lives for it.  The local government delivers my water, the Feds controlling the spillways have let a ton of it run into the oceans exacerbating our water shortage.  The National Weather Service and NOAA are admittedly bright spots.  You might blame all the bad government services on the lack of money, but federal spending has increased enormously over the past 100 years.

No one objects to government in the first place.  We object to enormous, invasive, inefficient government - what we have today. But, hey, it pays your livelihood so I can see why you think it's a great thing.  It's funny because if you are a Mustachian, you relentlessly cut the fat from your own budget but think the federal budget should be spent differently.

I too am waiting for you to substantiate your claim that private sector wages are up 5%.

Do you not see the contradiction in what you've posted there?  The reason the Forest Service can't adequately patrol their land and root out the drug cartels is because they are being starved for funds and can't hire enough officers to patrol everything that needs to be patrolled.  Total budgets at most non-defense, non-homeland security agencies have been flat or down for years.  Compound that with the fact that an ever-increasing share of the Forest Service's budget goes toward fighting wildfires that get relentlessly worse year after year (thanks to climate change), and what you get is an agency that can no longer keep up with its core mission.  This is not "inefficiency," it's the simple fact that you can't adequately patrol millions of acres of land with a handful of guys (and gals).

It's been pointed out before in this thread, but it bears repeating.  You are ignoring the fact that the "big" part of government (entitlements and military) has nothing to do with the part of government that is being starved to death.  You're looking at the total size of government spending, and then berating the tiny slice of the pie that has gotten squeezed to the point that it can't do its job properly.  The bad outcomes you are bemoaning are the direct result of decades of efforts to make government "smaller" and "more efficient."
« Last Edit: September 30, 2017, 04:49:07 AM by Monkey Uncle »
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Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #117 on: September 30, 2017, 09:42:12 AM »
If someone came on here complaining about money and posted several years of their budget showing increasing revenues and increasing spending, it'd be facepunch worthy, especially if they owed as much as they take in wages and salaries.  Yet you Fed workers - there seem to be a ton on this board - can't imagine any cuts in public spending. 

Obviously entitlements will have to be cut.  They can't grow to infinity.  THe American people can't keep voting themselves Congressmen who reward them more entitlements for their votes.  The bread and circuses have to be curtailed.  History books have a lot to say about this. 

Here's a start for how to cut back the budget:
https://www.downsizinggovernment.org/plan-to-cut-federal-spending

Personally, I'd make much larger cuts in DoD operations and maintenance spending.  This would involve bringing troops home, ending foreign misadventures, and closing many of our overseas installations.  To the extent that foreigners need protection from our military, they can buy guns and learn how to use them and defend themselves.  I'd end HUD completely.  And NASA.  That'd save close to another $100 billion.  The surveillance state - the CIA, NSA, NRO, etc, etc, etc - needs to be consolidated and much of it shut down.  The Air Force will have to be re-absorbed into the Army Air Corps like in WWII.  The army can be re-organized into some sort of regimental system like the Swiss have using the national guard.  Men will keep their weapons at home and know where to muster should the Russians invade Alaska as Sol fears. 

Going by the pie charts I saw on the CBO, federal employment is only a small slice of our spending.  The good news is that you can all keep your jobs but will have to do more with less just like the private sector.  Some of the contractors may have to go.  The Fed contractor down the street who works for USAID said they got a large budget increase over the past couple of years.  He said their annual party in DC (a very expensive place to have a party) was a "debauch."  That suggests another place fat can be trimmed. 

You all say it's hard, but it's not hard.  It's painful because there are a lot of pigs feeding at the trough.  It has to be done.  Again, the lessons from history are clear. 

sol

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #118 on: September 30, 2017, 09:49:11 AM »
If someone came on here complaining about money and posted several years of their budget showing increasing revenues and increasing spending, it'd be facepunch worthy

Have you ever taken an econ course?  It might explain to you how governments are financed with low interest debt, in order to promote economic growth higher than the interest.  This is how America has succeeded in the world.

Quote
Obviously entitlements will have to be cut.  They can't grow to infinity.

They only grow to infinity as the economy and population grow to infinity.  As long the country is still growing, federal spending has to grow along with it.  You can argue that it should grow more slowly than the economy as a whole, which is a fine goal, but then you might want to read up Keynesian economics and the role of federal spending in stabilizing an inherently unstable business cycle.  Sometimes, debt has to grow in order to save all of those private businesses.  See TARP, for example.

Quote
You all say it's hard, but it's not hard.  It's painful because there are a lot of pigs feeding at the trough.

Would you PLEASE stop calling my wife a pig.  It's starting to upset me.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 01:39:47 PM by sol »

sparkytheop

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #119 on: September 30, 2017, 10:50:45 AM »
People signed on with certain benefits.  Many have contributed to that system for years.  I don't believe it's right, in the public *or* private sector for the employer to back out on agreements.  To change the rules for new-hires?  Sure.  They are signing on with their own agreement; don't change mine.

If someone said "you have to cut 20% of your positions, and I'm going to select which ones, having no clue what any of you really do", that would be asinine.  If I, knowing what we do, who is skilled, knowledgeable, and adds value, could get rid of the 20% that I know is a complete waste, I'd be fine with that.  But that's not how it works. 

I've never been a fan of punishing an entire group when actually removing the "bad people" would be a much better solution.  I'm also not a fan of going back on your word, or written agreement.

kimmarg

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #120 on: September 30, 2017, 12:34:20 PM »
People signed on with certain benefits.  Many have contributed to that system for years.  I don't believe it's right, in the public *or* private sector for the employer to back out on agreements.  To change the rules for new-hires?  Sure.  They are signing on with their own agreement; don't change mine.

If someone said "you have to cut 20% of your positions, and I'm going to select which ones, having no clue what any of you really do", that would be asinine.  If I, knowing what we do, who is skilled, knowledgeable, and adds value, could get rid of the 20% that I know is a complete waste, I'd be fine with that.  But that's not how it works. 

I've never been a fan of punishing an entire group when actually removing the "bad people" would be a much better solution.  I'm also not a fan of going back on your word, or written agreement.

THIS.

I a am taxpayer. I'd be happy to see a cut in Federal spending. But rather than Congress in washington deciding how to make it more efficent have you tried actually asking the people who do the work??? We've got so much rules and red tape. You pay someone 30min pay to do the paperwork to buy some basic tools that cost less than the 30 min pay. Just trust the people on the bottom. If we say we need a new widget (low cost) let us buy it. Yes I'm sure someone will abuse the privledge - fire them! Dont' make the rest of us fill out extra paperwork and approvals just fire the bad egg and move on.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #121 on: September 30, 2017, 03:19:34 PM »
If someone came on here complaining about money and posted several years of their budget showing increasing revenues and increasing spending, it'd be facepunch worthy, especially if they owed as much as they take in wages and salaries.  Yet you Fed workers - there seem to be a ton on this board - can't imagine any cuts in public spending. 

Obviously entitlements will have to be cut.  They can't grow to infinity.  THe American people can't keep voting themselves Congressmen who reward them more entitlements for their votes.  The bread and circuses have to be curtailed.  History books have a lot to say about this. 

Here's a start for how to cut back the budget:
https://www.downsizinggovernment.org/plan-to-cut-federal-spending

Personally, I'd make much larger cuts in DoD operations and maintenance spending.  This would involve bringing troops home, ending foreign misadventures, and closing many of our overseas installations.  To the extent that foreigners need protection from our military, they can buy guns and learn how to use them and defend themselves.  I'd end HUD completely.  And NASA.  That'd save close to another $100 billion.  The surveillance state - the CIA, NSA, NRO, etc, etc, etc - needs to be consolidated and much of it shut down.  The Air Force will have to be re-absorbed into the Army Air Corps like in WWII.  The army can be re-organized into some sort of regimental system like the Swiss have using the national guard.  Men will keep their weapons at home and know where to muster should the Russians invade Alaska as Sol fears. 

Going by the pie charts I saw on the CBO, federal employment is only a small slice of our spending.  The good news is that you can all keep your jobs but will have to do more with less just like the private sector.  Some of the contractors may have to go.  The Fed contractor down the street who works for USAID said they got a large budget increase over the past couple of years.  He said their annual party in DC (a very expensive place to have a party) was a "debauch."  That suggests another place fat can be trimmed. 

You all say it's hard, but it's not hard.  It's painful because there are a lot of pigs feeding at the trough.  It has to be done.  Again, the lessons from history are clear.

Boy, you really have all the answers, don't you?  Just wave your hand, cut this, cut that, simple as can be.  Never mind the details or the consequences.  Reading a bunch of alt-right websites does not make you an expert on public policy.
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

DoubleDown

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #122 on: October 03, 2017, 10:07:02 AM »
If someone came on here complaining about money and posted several years of their budget showing increasing revenues and increasing spending, it'd be facepunch worthy, especially if they owed as much as they take in wages and salaries.  Yet you Fed workers - there seem to be a ton on this board - can't imagine any cuts in public spending. 

Obviously entitlements will have to be cut.  They can't grow to infinity.  THe American people can't keep voting themselves Congressmen who reward them more entitlements for their votes.  The bread and circuses have to be curtailed.  History books have a lot to say about this. 

Here's a start for how to cut back the budget:
https://www.downsizinggovernment.org/plan-to-cut-federal-spending

Personally, I'd make much larger cuts in DoD operations and maintenance spending.  This would involve bringing troops home, ending foreign misadventures, and closing many of our overseas installations.  To the extent that foreigners need protection from our military, they can buy guns and learn how to use them and defend themselves.  I'd end HUD completely.  And NASA.  That'd save close to another $100 billion.  The surveillance state - the CIA, NSA, NRO, etc, etc, etc - needs to be consolidated and much of it shut down.  The Air Force will have to be re-absorbed into the Army Air Corps like in WWII.  The army can be re-organized into some sort of regimental system like the Swiss have using the national guard.  Men will keep their weapons at home and know where to muster should the Russians invade Alaska as Sol fears. 

Going by the pie charts I saw on the CBO, federal employment is only a small slice of our spending.  The good news is that you can all keep your jobs but will have to do more with less just like the private sector.  Some of the contractors may have to go.  The Fed contractor down the street who works for USAID said they got a large budget increase over the past couple of years.  He said their annual party in DC (a very expensive place to have a party) was a "debauch."  That suggests another place fat can be trimmed. 

You all say it's hard, but it's not hard.  It's painful because there are a lot of pigs feeding at the trough.  It has to be done.  Again, the lessons from history are clear.

Boy, you really have all the answers, don't you?  Just wave your hand, cut this, cut that, simple as can be.  Never mind the details or the consequences.  Reading a bunch of alt-right websites does not make you an expert on public policy.

I gave up on this guy two pages ago. His repeated assertion that he could generalize all government workers as overpaid, lazy, do-nothing slobs did it for me.
"Not all quotes on the internet are accurate" -- Abraham Lincoln

mm1970

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #123 on: October 03, 2017, 10:23:41 AM »
Quote
Anyone who believes federal employees are overpaid is welcome to seek federal employment.  DC is a cesspool because of all the private money seeking to corrupt our federal workforce, and honestly I'm surprised we don't routinely see examples of graft and corruption in DC given how underpaid those people are.  There is a reason we have (well, HAD before Trump) restrictions on the revolving door between federal and lobbyist jobs.

We are arguing over a subjective measure, but I'll maintain that the benefits package is pretty rich.  Like I said in my earlier post, a federal pension for GS15 or higher employees is worth *millions* of dollars, on top of the excellent TSP, excellent health care, excellent time off, excellent work life balance.  In 3 years time my wife will get a full day (in addition to sick time) off every two weeks.  That accrues without limit.  It's not unheard of for people to retire from the government and get 12-24 months of pay as a parting gift.

I would easily try to get a federal job if I could stand the shit-show that software development is at the federal level.  I'm not making it up; I've seen it first hand, it's just awful. 

Edit, I just read the federal employees are now capped on their annual leave accrual.  Never mind about that part.
Pretty much everyone at my former job retires at a GS-15 or above.  I mean, I suppose some don't make it past a 14?  But I doubt it.  I remember attending the retirement party 20 years ago of someone who was there 40 years.  He did, quite literally, get paid for 2 years after because of accrued vacation and sick time.

I am sometime jealous, but really don't want to deal with DC traffic anymore, one of the reasons I left 20 years ago.

GS-15 or above?  So you mean to tell me that everyone becomes a manager or is in the SES at your old workplace?  I would have never guessed that such was possible.

Our workforce of 9,000 Attorneys, Engineers, Scientists has very few that ever reach GS-15 and maybe 40 total SES???
Achieving GS-14 is reasonable in our agency, but not easy.  However, it isn't competitive either (everyone can get a GS-14 slot if they are willing to go through the 2 years of hell to get there).

This is a highly specialized area that requires specific education and training. 

Though I've been gone 20 years now (so things may have changed a bit), for decades the *only* way you could get a job there is to come in through the military.  High level interviews as a senior in college, get chosen, come in, do your training, spend your 5 years as an officer, transition to civilian as a GS-13.  I seem to remember it taking 8-10 years for the first people to make GS-14.  (That's total time, military + civilian, and those were the superstars).

Also, there's no guarantee that you can stay after your military time.  It depends on the budget, and the number of retirements.  Only about 5-10% would be chosen to stay each year.  So, some years, more people would want to stay than there was room for.  Around the time that I got out (mid to late 90s), the job market outside was pretty good, so most people opted to leave and go back to school or get a job.  There were several years around then where they lost most people.  Back then they would get 15-25 new officers each year, but at the end of the commitment, only 1-3 would stay.

There are a specific # of SES positions at the organization (don't remember how many), and same with GS-15.  I guess some people never make it past 14, but remember that every year you get an influx of new military officers, and every year the people at 4-6 years get out, so it's fairly bottom-heavy.

It's also the national HQ for the organization.


Like I said, things have changed.  I heard a rumor about 10 years ago that so many people retired in the early 2000's (we hired and kept a lot of people during the cold war maybe?) that they actually opened up positions to lateral transfers from other similar government organizations.  (Still, the preference was people who had at least worked there in the past.  I got a Christmas card one year, 10-12 years after getting out "want to come back?  We need people!"

partgypsy

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #124 on: October 03, 2017, 01:39:49 PM »
the OPM is not quite right. At least in my office, master level people are at 11 and 13 depending on job description, and PhD at 13, with some at 14 or 15 depending on whether they are the head of grants, and head of the department. What that means financially can be looked up on a government website re: salary.
You can go onto USA jobs and search by GS level to get an idea for the type of experience one has to have for each level.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 01:51:35 PM by partgypsy »

Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #125 on: October 03, 2017, 07:12:57 PM »
They only grow to infinity as the economy and population grow to infinity.  As long the country is still growing, federal spending has to grow along with it.  You can argue that it should grow more slowly than the economy as a whole, which is a fine goal, but then you might want to read up Keynesian economics and the role of federal spending in stabilizing an inherently unstable business cycle.  Sometimes, debt has to grow in order to save all of those private businesses.  See TARP, for example.


As a percentage of GDP, federal spending has grown from 3% to 25% in 100 years.  Wages for the bottom 3/5ths of the earners have stagnated anywhere from 7-20 of the last 30 years or more based on the data you linked earlier.  How is government spending helping the bottom 3/5ths?  You might argue that they're getting more subsidies.  This may be true.  You haven't proven it.  The middle fifth doesn't qualify for much in the way of subsidies until just recently with the ACA.  As you'll note from the data, the upper 2/5ths of wage earners have been getting richer, especially billionaires.  One could argue that their growth in wealth is positively correlated with government spending.  Perhaps they're getting good at privatizing their profits and socializing their costs.   

In "THe Wealth of Nations," Adam Smith argued that the best economic policy for nations was good household economic policy scaled-up.  So, if saving money and reducing spending are good policies for the family - and this forum proves that they are - so are they for the nation. 

YOu mentioned Keynes.  Keynes made his money as an equities trader.  He was the guy who came up with "Castles in the Air" theory of equity valuation.  He was the first to write a modern macroeconomic synthesis which is probably why he's famous.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he say the government could deficit spend in bad times but then CUT BACK on spending during good times?  When do we ever cut back?  Were he alive today, I very much doubt he would say that it was good for any government to deficit spend year-in and year-out and rack-up as much debt as GDP.  The only reason we can do this is because of fiat currency. Keynes died in 1946 before fiat currency was a thing.  No one knows how it will end.  The growth of fiat currency was supposed to be tethered to the growth in productivity of an economy, not used to smooth out business cycles or to offset congressional deficit spending forever. 


Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #126 on: October 03, 2017, 07:15:22 PM »
If someone came on here complaining about money and posted several years of their budget showing increasing revenues and increasing spending, it'd be facepunch worthy, especially if they owed as much as they take in wages and salaries.  Yet you Fed workers - there seem to be a ton on this board - can't imagine any cuts in public spending. 

Obviously entitlements will have to be cut.  They can't grow to infinity.  THe American people can't keep voting themselves Congressmen who reward them more entitlements for their votes.  The bread and circuses have to be curtailed.  History books have a lot to say about this. 

Here's a start for how to cut back the budget:
https://www.downsizinggovernment.org/plan-to-cut-federal-spending

Personally, I'd make much larger cuts in DoD operations and maintenance spending.  This would involve bringing troops home, ending foreign misadventures, and closing many of our overseas installations.  To the extent that foreigners need protection from our military, they can buy guns and learn how to use them and defend themselves.  I'd end HUD completely.  And NASA.  That'd save close to another $100 billion.  The surveillance state - the CIA, NSA, NRO, etc, etc, etc - needs to be consolidated and much of it shut down.  The Air Force will have to be re-absorbed into the Army Air Corps like in WWII.  The army can be re-organized into some sort of regimental system like the Swiss have using the national guard.  Men will keep their weapons at home and know where to muster should the Russians invade Alaska as Sol fears. 

Going by the pie charts I saw on the CBO, federal employment is only a small slice of our spending.  The good news is that you can all keep your jobs but will have to do more with less just like the private sector.  Some of the contractors may have to go.  The Fed contractor down the street who works for USAID said they got a large budget increase over the past couple of years.  He said their annual party in DC (a very expensive place to have a party) was a "debauch."  That suggests another place fat can be trimmed. 

You all say it's hard, but it's not hard.  It's painful because there are a lot of pigs feeding at the trough.  It has to be done.  Again, the lessons from history are clear.

Boy, you really have all the answers, don't you?  Just wave your hand, cut this, cut that, simple as can be.  Never mind the details or the consequences.  Reading a bunch of alt-right websites does not make you an expert on public policy.

What is an 'expert?'  Someone with credentials?  I'd argue it's someone good at getting results according to agreed-upon metrics.

What do you think should be done?   

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #127 on: October 04, 2017, 09:09:07 AM »
If someone came on here complaining about money and posted several years of their budget showing increasing revenues and increasing spending, it'd be facepunch worthy, especially if they owed as much as they take in wages and salaries.  Yet you Fed workers - there seem to be a ton on this board - can't imagine any cuts in public spending. 

Obviously entitlements will have to be cut.  They can't grow to infinity.  THe American people can't keep voting themselves Congressmen who reward them more entitlements for their votes.  The bread and circuses have to be curtailed.  History books have a lot to say about this. 

Here's a start for how to cut back the budget:
https://www.downsizinggovernment.org/plan-to-cut-federal-spending

Personally, I'd make much larger cuts in DoD operations and maintenance spending.  This would involve bringing troops home, ending foreign misadventures, and closing many of our overseas installations.  To the extent that foreigners need protection from our military, they can buy guns and learn how to use them and defend themselves.  I'd end HUD completely.  And NASA.  That'd save close to another $100 billion.  The surveillance state - the CIA, NSA, NRO, etc, etc, etc - needs to be consolidated and much of it shut down.  The Air Force will have to be re-absorbed into the Army Air Corps like in WWII.  The army can be re-organized into some sort of regimental system like the Swiss have using the national guard.  Men will keep their weapons at home and know where to muster should the Russians invade Alaska as Sol fears. 

Going by the pie charts I saw on the CBO, federal employment is only a small slice of our spending.  The good news is that you can all keep your jobs but will have to do more with less just like the private sector.  Some of the contractors may have to go.  The Fed contractor down the street who works for USAID said they got a large budget increase over the past couple of years.  He said their annual party in DC (a very expensive place to have a party) was a "debauch."  That suggests another place fat can be trimmed. 

You all say it's hard, but it's not hard.  It's painful because there are a lot of pigs feeding at the trough.  It has to be done.  Again, the lessons from history are clear.

Boy, you really have all the answers, don't you?  Just wave your hand, cut this, cut that, simple as can be.  Never mind the details or the consequences.  Reading a bunch of alt-right websites does not make you an expert on public policy.

What is an 'expert?'  Someone with credentials?  I'd argue it's someone good at getting results according to agreed-upon metrics.

What do you think should be done?

Lance, I think you have already been asked this before and dodged the question.  Why did you choose not to work in government? I know you replied that the solution isn't everyone work in government.  We can't have have 100% public jobs and no private sector.  I agree with you on this.  But, at some point, you made a career decision to pursue the private sector instead of the public sector.  You seem to believe there are better salary and benefit options in government.  Why did you personally choose not to pursue those?

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #128 on: October 04, 2017, 06:44:40 PM »
If someone came on here complaining about money and posted several years of their budget showing increasing revenues and increasing spending, it'd be facepunch worthy, especially if they owed as much as they take in wages and salaries.  Yet you Fed workers - there seem to be a ton on this board - can't imagine any cuts in public spending. 

Obviously entitlements will have to be cut.  They can't grow to infinity.  THe American people can't keep voting themselves Congressmen who reward them more entitlements for their votes.  The bread and circuses have to be curtailed.  History books have a lot to say about this. 

Here's a start for how to cut back the budget:
https://www.downsizinggovernment.org/plan-to-cut-federal-spending

Personally, I'd make much larger cuts in DoD operations and maintenance spending.  This would involve bringing troops home, ending foreign misadventures, and closing many of our overseas installations.  To the extent that foreigners need protection from our military, they can buy guns and learn how to use them and defend themselves.  I'd end HUD completely.  And NASA.  That'd save close to another $100 billion.  The surveillance state - the CIA, NSA, NRO, etc, etc, etc - needs to be consolidated and much of it shut down.  The Air Force will have to be re-absorbed into the Army Air Corps like in WWII.  The army can be re-organized into some sort of regimental system like the Swiss have using the national guard.  Men will keep their weapons at home and know where to muster should the Russians invade Alaska as Sol fears. 

Going by the pie charts I saw on the CBO, federal employment is only a small slice of our spending.  The good news is that you can all keep your jobs but will have to do more with less just like the private sector.  Some of the contractors may have to go.  The Fed contractor down the street who works for USAID said they got a large budget increase over the past couple of years.  He said their annual party in DC (a very expensive place to have a party) was a "debauch."  That suggests another place fat can be trimmed. 

You all say it's hard, but it's not hard.  It's painful because there are a lot of pigs feeding at the trough.  It has to be done.  Again, the lessons from history are clear.

Boy, you really have all the answers, don't you?  Just wave your hand, cut this, cut that, simple as can be.  Never mind the details or the consequences.  Reading a bunch of alt-right websites does not make you an expert on public policy.

What is an 'expert?'  Someone with credentials?  I'd argue it's someone good at getting results according to agreed-upon metrics.

What do you think should be done?

I agree with the bolded statement.  Unfortunately, you and I are never going to agree on the metrics.  Your metric seems to be reducing government expenditures as much as possible, regardless of the consequences.  You advocate wholesale cutting of government functions without ever acknowledging what society would lose because of those cuts.  Just end entitlements, HUD, NASA, the intelligence agencies, and the military as we know it.  Seriously?  Forget about the Russians, the fuckin' Canadians would overrun us if we did all of that!
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #129 on: October 04, 2017, 09:27:07 PM »
The Fed contractor down the street who works for USAID said they got a large budget increase over the past couple of years.  He said their annual party in DC (a very expensive place to have a party) was a "debauch."  That suggests another place fat can be trimmed. 


Just wanted to address this one point here.

Downsizing federal jobs and handing said jobs out to contractors at higher rates has always seemed to be one of the favorite playbooks of politicians...and perhaps one party more than the other.

Federal contractors are not Federal Employees.  A few years ago, to stem some of the fraud & abuse, I believe an executive order went out to limit the top pay of contractor executives (while also demanding a floor for the lowest paid contractors).  The pay that the contractors were able to demand from the govt was quite egregious in many cases.

Now - on to the expensive parties and debauchery.  I know there was an incident with the IRS I believe, but at my agency we have always required the Christmas parties and similar events (we have about 2 or 3 per year demanding no more than 3 hrs of work time each) be paid for by each of the individuals in attendance.  We always considered these as opportunities to "pay for non-production time," because our frickin' hamster wheel of constant work can be burdensome at times so you even have people that pay to attend the parties and stay in their office continuing to work to try to catch up on their workload with the 3hrs of non-counted time.

sol

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #130 on: October 05, 2017, 12:25:48 AM »
The new house bill absolutely brutalizes federal retirees:  https://federalnewsradio.com/retirement/2017/10/house-set-to-advance-2018-budget-resolution-with-federal-retirement-cuts/

It ends federal pensions for new hires, switching them to TSP-only.  It raises contribution rates (again) for current employees.  It cuts retiree healthcare, even for people currently retired.  It cuts the G fund.  It ends the FERS supplement.

This has all been lumped in with the House's current budget reconciliation bill, which is expected to pass.  At that point only the (Republican controlled) Senate can stop any of this from becoming law.  Mostly I just can't believe they're actually going to vote for literally ending federal pensions, after 200+ years.

We live in exciting times.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 12:28:16 AM by sol »

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #131 on: October 05, 2017, 01:09:30 AM »
They also want to screw actively working Feds on healthcare too.  Govt will only increase their portion based on inflation and not on actual cost increase.

Quote from: House Budget Committee
Reform the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program. Currently,
Federal contributions to the Federal Employees Health Benefits
Program grow by the average weighted rate of change in these programs.
This budget supports restricting the growth in these plans
to inflation for retirees. The budget also proposes basing Federal
employee retireesí health benefits on length of service. This option
would reduce premium subsidies for retirees who had relatively
short Federal careers. Together, these two reforms would bring
health benefits for Federal retirees more in line with those offered
in the private sector


Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #132 on: October 05, 2017, 04:53:22 AM »
The new house bill absolutely brutalizes federal retirees:  https://federalnewsradio.com/retirement/2017/10/house-set-to-advance-2018-budget-resolution-with-federal-retirement-cuts/

It ends federal pensions for new hires, switching them to TSP-only.  It raises contribution rates (again) for current employees.  It cuts retiree healthcare, even for people currently retired.  It cuts the G fund.  It ends the FERS supplement.

This has all been lumped in with the House's current budget reconciliation bill, which is expected to pass.  At that point only the (Republican controlled) Senate can stop any of this from becoming law.  Mostly I just can't believe they're actually going to vote for literally ending federal pensions, after 200+ years.

We live in exciting times.

While this is indeed concerning, it's important to remember that it is a non-binding budget resolution.  It is not the actual spending bill(s) that will make the actual cuts.  And it is widely expected that the Senate's version of the budget resolution will be different.

Still, it pays to be vigilant.  The resolution is a clear indication of where the republican majority stands.  It is very easy to slip these cuts into the actual spending bills because the public tends not to care about federal pensions they way they care about, say, health care.  The last round of cuts to federal retirement happened under a Democratic president.  Such cuts become an easy compromise point for Democrats so that they can get some concessions on issues they really care about.  As long as all the D reps from Maryland and Northern Virginia vote against the cuts, the rest don't really face any blowback.

None of the changes mentioned would really affect you and me, since we are both planning to pull the rip cord next year anyway.  But they would seriously suck for people who were planning on making a full career out of government service.
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

partgypsy

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #133 on: October 05, 2017, 12:35:36 PM »
Well I need to work for another 10 years (yes I'm not a full mustachian) and I have 2 dependents. I work here not because the pay is the highest I can get with my experience and qualifications, but it allows me to be a working parent.
I'm pretty tired when federal employees are the traditional kicking boy for politicians. Out of one mouth they say they support veterans and want to make sure they have the best care. Out of the other side they are planning to cut compensation and actual jobs so there is a brain and experience drain out of Veterans affairs.

I don't think the Republican party will have a "come to Jesus" moment, until the point they realize they have by their policies, decimated the middle class (and the people actually buying things).

I believe this is done for the primary reason some politicians truly do not "believe" in government. Cutting wages and compensation not only allows them to cut the budget (so there is room for more tax cuts for the wealthy) but it allows them to say when natural consequences happen, that see, the federal government doesn't work, therefore we need to cut more and or privatize it. And I'm sure the politicians of course will have no influence or benefit from who receives the contracts (wink wink, nod, nod).

Here is your creepy quote for the day
"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.' Grover Norquist 

And to lighten the mood another quote from him
"An armed people are a free people. If our forefathers were not armed before the American Revolution we would all be speaking English today."
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 01:00:49 PM by partgypsy »

BTDretire

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #134 on: October 05, 2017, 01:16:05 PM »


Oh boy am I glad you gave me that link.  Did you notice the near decade of wage stagnation in the third fifth where the US median household wage sits? 



 I calulated the numbers for each Quintile for those 7 years.
 The average yearly increase for,
Lowest Fifth ---0.17%
Second Fifth ---0.4%
Third Fifth -----0.8%
Fourth Fifth ----0.7%
Highest Fifth ---1.1%
 The lower 4/5s all had a low growth of income for those 7 years.

mm1970

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #135 on: October 05, 2017, 03:08:12 PM »
The new house bill absolutely brutalizes federal retirees:  https://federalnewsradio.com/retirement/2017/10/house-set-to-advance-2018-budget-resolution-with-federal-retirement-cuts/

It ends federal pensions for new hires, switching them to TSP-only.  It raises contribution rates (again) for current employees.  It cuts retiree healthcare, even for people currently retired.  It cuts the G fund.  It ends the FERS supplement.

This has all been lumped in with the House's current budget reconciliation bill, which is expected to pass.  At that point only the (Republican controlled) Senate can stop any of this from becoming law.  Mostly I just can't believe they're actually going to vote for literally ending federal pensions, after 200+ years.

We live in exciting times.
Does that include Congress themselves?  Wait, do Congressmen get any kind of pension?

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #136 on: October 05, 2017, 03:19:35 PM »
The new house bill absolutely brutalizes federal retirees:  https://federalnewsradio.com/retirement/2017/10/house-set-to-advance-2018-budget-resolution-with-federal-retirement-cuts/

It ends federal pensions for new hires, switching them to TSP-only.  It raises contribution rates (again) for current employees.  It cuts retiree healthcare, even for people currently retired.  It cuts the G fund.  It ends the FERS supplement.

This has all been lumped in with the House's current budget reconciliation bill, which is expected to pass.  At that point only the (Republican controlled) Senate can stop any of this from becoming law.  Mostly I just can't believe they're actually going to vote for literally ending federal pensions, after 200+ years.

We live in exciting times.
Does that include Congress themselves?  Wait, do Congressmen get any kind of pension?

Congressmen do get a pension.

I didn't check the specific element you are referencing, but the majority of elements I did check will also affect all members of congress.  Most of those members are multi-millionaires so the real impact for them will likely be minimal.

doggyfizzle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #137 on: October 05, 2017, 03:36:23 PM »
The new house bill absolutely brutalizes federal retirees:  https://federalnewsradio.com/retirement/2017/10/house-set-to-advance-2018-budget-resolution-with-federal-retirement-cuts/

It ends federal pensions for new hires, switching them to TSP-only.  It raises contribution rates (again) for current employees.  It cuts retiree healthcare, even for people currently retired.  It cuts the G fund.  It ends the FERS supplement.

This has all been lumped in with the House's current budget reconciliation bill, which is expected to pass.  At that point only the (Republican controlled) Senate can stop any of this from becoming law.  Mostly I just can't believe they're actually going to vote for literally ending federal pensions, after 200+ years.

We live in exciting times.

I guess a positive spin on the proposed changes  is that it would likely spur me to FIRE, rather than simply work as an FI-Fed.  I like my job (partly for the benefits) and plan on working until 57 (with some healthy doses of 27 days of LWOP lumped in), but if there is a dramatic shift in quality of benefits I'll probably just work a couple more years and then bail.  The industry I work in (oil & gas) typically offers excellent benefits and much higher pay (roughly double what I make now), but is extremely cyclical and after dooddlebugging around for 6.5 years I'd made enough money to value the slower pace of government over the much higher salaries in the private sector.

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #138 on: October 06, 2017, 12:10:39 PM »
Could anyone please write a good solid 30 second or less script for us to call our senators?

I'm thinking something along the lines of "please vote no on any budget which breaks the promises we made to our current Federal workforce and retirees".

The more people calling and leaving a message on their staff voicemail, the more likely we are to get enough "no" votes on the budget as it stands.

bdylan

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #139 on: October 06, 2017, 01:31:41 PM »
It's clear that the typical federal employee is overpaid significantly.  If you have a professional degree or a PhD (i.e., lawyers and scientists) then yes, you are likely paid less than you could get in the private sector.  However, that doesn't include the value of things like job security and worklife balance which are likely much better than in the private sector.

From the CBO:

Among workers whose education culminated in a bachelorís degree, the cost of total compensation averaged 21 percent more for federal workers than for similar workers in the private sector.
Among workers with a high school diploma or less education, total compensation costs averaged 53 percent more for federal employees than for their private-sector counterparts.
Total compensation costs among workers with a professional degree or doctorate, by contrast, were 18 percent lower for federal employees than for similar private-sector employees, on average.


https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52637



rockeTree

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #140 on: October 06, 2017, 01:44:48 PM »
The script the union handed out was just "I'm a federal worker in your district and I don't want any reductions to my pay, benefits or retirement."

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #141 on: October 06, 2017, 06:06:24 PM »
It's clear that the typical federal employee is overpaid significantly.  If you have a professional degree or a PhD (i.e., lawyers and scientists) then yes, you are likely paid less than you could get in the private sector.  However, that doesn't include the value of things like job security and worklife balance which are likely much better than in the private sector.

From the CBO:

Among workers whose education culminated in a bachelorís degree, the cost of total compensation averaged 21 percent more for federal workers than for similar workers in the private sector.
Among workers with a high school diploma or less education, total compensation costs averaged 53 percent more for federal employees than for their private-sector counterparts.
Total compensation costs among workers with a professional degree or doctorate, by contrast, were 18 percent lower for federal employees than for similar private-sector employees, on average.


https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52637

Dig deeper to get a more nuanced picture of what you read.

1.  60% of all federal government employees have a Bachelor's degree or higher.  Therefore only 40% have less than a Bachelors (Associates, High School Diploma or less).
2.  Nearly 47% of all federal government employees are Military.  I suspect, the majority of those working for the govt who don't have at least a Bachelors will be found in the Armed Forces as 16.5% of the armed forces are officers and enlisted tend to lack college education in general yielding as much as 39.25% of the non-bachelor's degree holders in the federal govt.)
3.  16% of all federal government jobs are "government enterprise" and are self funded.

I conclude, that you are mainly speaking about the military enlisted members being overpaid and over compensated when you highlight those with only a High School education having much higher total compensation than the private work force.

It would be interesting to tease out the Bachelor's degree numbers without military officers and see if the total compensation is still as high.  Not too many officers stay a 2nd LT or 1st LT for long (O-1 and O-2 ranks that are the main low compensation ranks as a military officer).

I have an acquaintance who is an E-8 in the military with  19 years time in service, a high school education, and when BAH + BAS + Base Pay + tax savings on BAH&BAS is calculated together their compensation is equivalent to around $80,000/yr.

Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #142 on: October 07, 2017, 08:23:12 AM »


Lance, I think you have already been asked this before and dodged the question.  Why did you choose not to work in government? I know you replied that the solution isn't everyone work in government.  We can't have have 100% public jobs and no private sector.  I agree with you on this.  But, at some point, you made a career decision to pursue the private sector instead of the public sector.  You seem to believe there are better salary and benefit options in government.  Why did you personally choose not to pursue those?

Read my explanation on page one. 

Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #143 on: October 07, 2017, 08:29:11 AM »
It's clear that the typical federal employee is overpaid significantly.  If you have a professional degree or a PhD (i.e., lawyers and scientists) then yes, you are likely paid less than you could get in the private sector.  However, that doesn't include the value of things like job security and worklife balance which are likely much better than in the private sector.

From the CBO:

Among workers whose education culminated in a bachelorís degree, the cost of total compensation averaged 21 percent more for federal workers than for similar workers in the private sector.
Among workers with a high school diploma or less education, total compensation costs averaged 53 percent more for federal employees than for their private-sector counterparts.
Total compensation costs among workers with a professional degree or doctorate, by contrast, were 18 percent lower for federal employees than for similar private-sector employees, on average.


https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52637

Dig deeper to get a more nuanced picture of what you read.

1.  60% of all federal government employees have a Bachelor's degree or higher.  Therefore only 40% have less than a Bachelors (Associates, High School Diploma or less).
2.  Nearly 47% of all federal government employees are Military.  I suspect, the majority of those working for the govt who don't have at least a Bachelors will be found in the Armed Forces as 16.5% of the armed forces are officers and enlisted tend to lack college education in general yielding as much as 39.25% of the non-bachelor's degree holders in the federal govt.)
3.  16% of all federal government jobs are "government enterprise" and are self funded.

I conclude, that you are mainly speaking about the military enlisted members being overpaid and over compensated when you highlight those with only a High School education having much higher total compensation than the private work force.

It would be interesting to tease out the Bachelor's degree numbers without military officers and see if the total compensation is still as high.  Not too many officers stay a 2nd LT or 1st LT for long (O-1 and O-2 ranks that are the main low compensation ranks as a military officer).

I have an acquaintance who is an E-8 in the military with  19 years time in service, a high school education, and when BAH + BAS + Base Pay + tax savings on BAH&BAS is calculated together their compensation is equivalent to around $80,000/yr.

Dig still deeper and you'll find that the military employs a lot of people with only a high school education who have technical training (A-school rating, MOS training, etc).  These jobs tend to pay better than most college degrees.  Also, the government employs a lot of people with humanities degrees that pay very low in the private sector.  The stories of art majors working at Starbucks are of course legion. 

The self-funded government employees should have the highest upside for pay, IMO. 

The mindset of the Feds on here is completely the opposite of the private sector.  You guys base your advancement opportunities on educational credentials rather than skillsets or results.  Our CEO has a bachelor's degree.  I never asked the black-belt ME I worked with last week what letters were after his last name.  He could be a HS dropout for all I care, his results were amazing.  Steve Jobs dropped out of college. 

Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #144 on: October 07, 2017, 08:32:37 AM »


Oh boy am I glad you gave me that link.  Did you notice the near decade of wage stagnation in the third fifth where the US median household wage sits? 



 I calulated the numbers for each Quintile for those 7 years.
 The average yearly increase for,
Lowest Fifth ---0.17%
Second Fifth ---0.4%
Third Fifth -----0.8%
Fourth Fifth ----0.7%
Highest Fifth ---1.1%
 The lower 4/5s all had a low growth of income for those 7 years.

Right, and you'll notice the bottom 2/5s have had stagnant wages for most of the past 20 years.  But the Feds on here are complaining about their gibsmedats.  "NEW HIRES WON'T EVEN GET A PENSION!" Pensions disappeared in the private sector 30 years ago or earlier. 

Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #145 on: October 07, 2017, 08:37:19 AM »


I agree with the bolded statement.  Unfortunately, you and I are never going to agree on the metrics.  Your metric seems to be reducing government expenditures as much as possible, regardless of the consequences.  You advocate wholesale cutting of government functions without ever acknowledging what society would lose because of those cuts.  Just end entitlements, HUD, NASA, the intelligence agencies, and the military as we know it.  Seriously?  Forget about the Russians, the fuckin' Canadians would overrun us if we did all of that!

You haven't even tried to put forth a set of metrics.  You've only defended your pay.  We're being overrun by Latin Americans will all of these things in place.  People at the low end of the wage scale need higher pay facilitated by a better business environment, less competition from illegal labor, and government policies that favor stable families and productivity - not handouts. 

marion10

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #146 on: October 07, 2017, 10:13:16 AM »
i know we have moved on- but with the chart with the grade levels and education- that is education substitution for entering - so you have to have experience OR education to enter an occupation. So someone with a BA, can often start at the GS-5 (with no other work experience), there is a provision if you have superior academic achievement (which is basically a 3.0 GPA), you can start as a 7. Masters lets you start as a 9 (in a related field).

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #147 on: October 07, 2017, 10:37:16 AM »
It's clear that the typical federal employee is overpaid significantly.  If you have a professional degree or a PhD (i.e., lawyers and scientists) then yes, you are likely paid less than you could get in the private sector.  However, that doesn't include the value of things like job security and worklife balance which are likely much better than in the private sector.

From the CBO:

Among workers whose education culminated in a bachelorís degree, the cost of total compensation averaged 21 percent more for federal workers than for similar workers in the private sector.
Among workers with a high school diploma or less education, total compensation costs averaged 53 percent more for federal employees than for their private-sector counterparts.
Total compensation costs among workers with a professional degree or doctorate, by contrast, were 18 percent lower for federal employees than for similar private-sector employees, on average.


https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52637

Dig deeper to get a more nuanced picture of what you read.

1.  60% of all federal government employees have a Bachelor's degree or higher.  Therefore only 40% have less than a Bachelors (Associates, High School Diploma or less).
2.  Nearly 47% of all federal government employees are Military.  I suspect, the majority of those working for the govt who don't have at least a Bachelors will be found in the Armed Forces as 16.5% of the armed forces are officers and enlisted tend to lack college education in general yielding as much as 39.25% of the non-bachelor's degree holders in the federal govt.)
3.  16% of all federal government jobs are "government enterprise" and are self funded.

I conclude, that you are mainly speaking about the military enlisted members being overpaid and over compensated when you highlight those with only a High School education having much higher total compensation than the private work force.

It would be interesting to tease out the Bachelor's degree numbers without military officers and see if the total compensation is still as high.  Not too many officers stay a 2nd LT or 1st LT for long (O-1 and O-2 ranks that are the main low compensation ranks as a military officer).

I have an acquaintance who is an E-8 in the military with  19 years time in service, a high school education, and when BAH + BAS + Base Pay + tax savings on BAH&BAS is calculated together their compensation is equivalent to around $80,000/yr.

Dig still deeper and you'll find that the military employs a lot of people with only a high school education who have technical training (A-school rating, MOS training, etc).  These jobs tend to pay better than most college degrees.  Also, the government employs a lot of people with humanities degrees that pay very low in the private sector.  The stories of art majors working at Starbucks are of course legion. 

The self-funded government employees should have the highest upside for pay, IMO. 

The mindset of the Feds on here is completely the opposite of the private sector.  You guys base your advancement opportunities on educational credentials rather than skillsets or results.  Our CEO has a bachelor's degree.  I never asked the black-belt ME I worked with last week what letters were after his last name.  He could be a HS dropout for all I care, his results were amazing.  Steve Jobs dropped out of college.

I work in a self-funded section of government that is revenue positive (there is at least one big self funded entity that is not revenue positive due to technological changes taking away a huge chunk of their revenue).

I actually can't do anything with my military training in the civilian world - they don't typically need combat training at corporations.  Non-commissioned officer training was an okay intro supervisor/manager course, but bare minimum at best.  However, the point was that it affects the numbers as you recognized - they don't do a 1 to 1 matching of jobs in these broad analyses.  The E-4 doing IT work for the military could get paid much more in the civilian world, but being listed as only having a high school degree they are compared to the millions of fast food workers.

BTDretire

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #148 on: October 07, 2017, 12:02:09 PM »
Could anyone please write a good solid 30 second or less script for us to call our senators?

I'm thinking something along the lines of "please vote no on any budget which breaks the promises we made to our current Federal workforce and retirees".

The more people calling and leaving a message on their staff voicemail, the more likely we are to get enough "no" votes on the budget as it stands.

  After reading this thread, I get the idea the majority here would want our senators to vote yes. The hardworking taxpayers have had our promise of SS at 65 taken away, and the File and suspend is gone.
 I have had 12 increases in the FICA tax during my work career, with only an inflation adjustment, an not increase in the benefit.
 Maybe we need a poll!

wenchsenior

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #149 on: October 07, 2017, 12:20:58 PM »
Could anyone please write a good solid 30 second or less script for us to call our senators?

I'm thinking something along the lines of "please vote no on any budget which breaks the promises we made to our current Federal workforce and retirees".

The more people calling and leaving a message on their staff voicemail, the more likely we are to get enough "no" votes on the budget as it stands.

  After reading this thread, I get the idea the majority here would want our senators to vote yes. The hardworking taxpayers have had our promise of SS at 65 taken away, and the File and suspend is gone.
 I have had 12 increases in the FICA tax during my work career, with only an inflation adjustment, an not increase in the benefit.
 Maybe we need a poll!

Not quite sure what you mean? Feds also pay taxes and also pay into SS and are subject to the same SS rules. 

ETA, I think to have accurate polling responses from the feds themselves, you would have to get extremely granular.  Some want no changes, some (like me) would be fine with high 5 versus high 3 pension calculations, or would be fine with paying more into the pension if it were stepped in gradually enough, but would lobby hard against e.g. chained CPI inflation adjustment, etc. Others would have differing opinions on what would be reasonable to change. It's not an all or nothing sort of question to most feds.

ETA again,  By "the majority here would vote yes", do you mean the majority of feds on this thread? That is, after all, who the OP asked to respond.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 12:26:42 PM by wenchsenior »