Author Topic: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system  (Read 20356 times)

sparkytheop

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #100 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 #101 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 #102 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.

DoubleDown

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #103 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.

mm1970

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #104 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 #105 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 #106 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 #107 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 #108 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 #109 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!

sol

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #110 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 »

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #111 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.

partgypsy

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #112 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 #113 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 #114 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?

doggyfizzle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #115 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.

bdylan

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #116 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 #117 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."

Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #118 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 #119 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 #120 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 #121 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 #122 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).

BTDretire

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #123 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 #124 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 »

Cork

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #125 on: October 07, 2017, 12:38:06 PM »
Are any Fed workers considering a change in employment if the increased contributions go thru?

As Sol has mentioned, required increased pension contributions is really painful for people working towards FIRE...

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #126 on: October 07, 2017, 12:43:26 PM »
Are any Fed workers considering a change in employment if the increased contributions go thru?

As Sol has mentioned, required increased pension contributions is really painful for people working towards FIRE...

Yes, I'm planning to FIRE.  Of course, I'm planning to do that either way...

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #127 on: October 07, 2017, 12:53:57 PM »


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.

Neither have you.  You've just waved your hand and said we'll end most of what the government does and not worry about the consequences.  And now you're drifting into racism.

Don't forget - you're the one who crashed the thread and started throwing around invective about how worthless the government and its employees are.  If you have a serious proposal to make, complete with an assessment of the consequences and a plan to deal with them, then please make it.  Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

bdylan

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #128 on: October 07, 2017, 03:18:35 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.

CBO's report is Federal civilian employees. Would include DoD civilian but not enlisted personnel.

So, the point stands -- and again, BAs receive a 21% compensation premium compared to the typical BA in the private sector. 

I don't think there is actually much of an argument amongst anyone who looks at it that Feds are on average paid more than they could receive in the private sector.  That's why when you look at JOLTS data you'll see much lower quit rates for federal employees in than in the private sector. And again, none of these compensation comparisons control for job security, which is much, much higher in the federal sector.



 

Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #129 on: October 07, 2017, 03:21:25 PM »


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.

Neither have you.  You've just waved your hand and said we'll end most of what the government does and not worry about the consequences.  And now you're drifting into racism.

Don't forget - you're the one who crashed the thread and started throwing around invective about how worthless the government and its employees are.  If you have a serious proposal to make, complete with an assessment of the consequences and a plan to deal with them, then please make it.  Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

This thread has provided great optics for private sector employees into the minds of their Fed betters, complete with Godwinning for pointing out their failure to provide for an adequate border defense despite spending $4 trillion per year.  You've got "Take this job and shove it" on your signature line for crying out loud and expect us to believe that you're a tryhard civil servant worthy of all you get, which is more than us.     

I think I'll be calling my Senator as well. 

wenchsenior

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #130 on: October 07, 2017, 03:30:26 PM »


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.

Neither have you.  You've just waved your hand and said we'll end most of what the government does and not worry about the consequences.  And now you're drifting into racism.

Don't forget - you're the one who crashed the thread and started throwing around invective about how worthless the government and its employees are.  If you have a serious proposal to make, complete with an assessment of the consequences and a plan to deal with them, then please make it.  Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

This thread has provided great optics for private sector employees into the minds of their Fed betters, complete with Godwinning for pointing out their failure to provide for an adequate border defense despite spending $4 trillion per year.  You've got "Take this job and shove it" on your signature line for crying out loud and expect us to believe that you're a tryhard civil servant worthy of all you get, which is more than us.     

I think I'll be calling my Senator as well.

I'm certain your call will make all the difference.

BTDretire

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #131 on: October 07, 2017, 04:26:00 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.
Quote
  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!
Quote
Not quite sure what you mean? Feds also pay taxes and also pay into SS and are subject to the same SS rules. 

Just mean we all get changes from the government we don't want.

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.

 OK I missed the ONLY feds on this thread. As I think did, about 80% of the respondents.
 I think feds would definitely vote no, none of us want a cut in benefits.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 11:50:43 AM by BTDretire »

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #132 on: October 07, 2017, 06:34:51 PM »
Personally I could care less about high 5 vs High 3.  I'm OK with a bit higher of a pension contribution.  I'm "moderately FI," (Above bare bones but below I don't have to think hard about spending), I'm truly sticking around for Health care for life and an early immediate pension.  (I'm a LEO so am currently under generous time rules).  If Health care disappearing/being more expensive + no cola + whatever else they cut happens I'm going to get my life guarding certificate and getting a job at the local gym (It was advertising the other day and I've been one before).  My incentive not to pull the Trigger and RE right now is because the retirement/health benefits make it worth while, if that changes I'm gone.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #133 on: October 07, 2017, 07:24:13 PM »


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.

Neither have you.  You've just waved your hand and said we'll end most of what the government does and not worry about the consequences.  And now you're drifting into racism.

Don't forget - you're the one who crashed the thread and started throwing around invective about how worthless the government and its employees are.  If you have a serious proposal to make, complete with an assessment of the consequences and a plan to deal with them, then please make it.  Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

This thread has provided great optics for private sector employees into the minds of their Fed betters, complete with Godwinning for pointing out their failure to provide for an adequate border defense despite spending $4 trillion per year.  You've got "Take this job and shove it" on your signature line for crying out loud and expect us to believe that you're a tryhard civil servant worthy of all you get, which is more than us.     

I think I'll be calling my Senator as well.

Do you have anything besides hot air and libertarian fantasies? 

Well, I guess you have personal attacks against people you know nothing about.  Let me fill you in.

While I can't speak for other feds, I can tell you that I took a substantial pay cut, as well as a reduction in health benefits, when I moved from a private sector consulting firm to a federal agency.  After nearly 15 years in, I am again making decent money, but not nearly as much as I would be making in a similar position in the private sector.  Why did I make the move to government?  So I could work for an agency that serves the public good instead of working for clients that were maximizing their profits by damaging public resources. 

Through the course of my government service, I've worked countless hours of unpaid overtime, donated or forfeited substantial amounts of my annual leave, and when I resign, I will leave $70,000 worth of sick leave on the table.  I've done this because I am dedicated to my agency's mission, despite my frequent frustration with political leadership that, like you, views my colleagues and me as lazy good-for-nothings.  The "do more with less" mentality has prevailed throughout my time in government.  The ever-increasing workload has everyone in my unit stressed to the breaking point.  We all made a bargain with Uncle - we'd accept lower pay than we could make in the private sector in exchange for meaningful work, work-life balance, and a bit more retirement security.  Well, the work-life balance is long gone, the Cheeto administration's bullshit politics have made the work a lot less meaningful, and now Congress wants to renege on the retirement security.  No wonder I'm ready to shove my "cushy government job."


wenchsenior

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #134 on: October 07, 2017, 07:53:03 PM »


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.

Neither have you.  You've just waved your hand and said we'll end most of what the government does and not worry about the consequences.  And now you're drifting into racism.

Don't forget - you're the one who crashed the thread and started throwing around invective about how worthless the government and its employees are.  If you have a serious proposal to make, complete with an assessment of the consequences and a plan to deal with them, then please make it.  Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

This thread has provided great optics for private sector employees into the minds of their Fed betters, complete with Godwinning for pointing out their failure to provide for an adequate border defense despite spending $4 trillion per year.  You've got "Take this job and shove it" on your signature line for crying out loud and expect us to believe that you're a tryhard civil servant worthy of all you get, which is more than us.     

I think I'll be calling my Senator as well.

Do you have anything besides hot air and libertarian fantasies? 

Well, I guess you have personal attacks against people you know nothing about.  Let me fill you in.

While I can't speak for other feds, I can tell you that I took a substantial pay cut, as well as a reduction in health benefits, when I moved from a private sector consulting firm to a federal agency.  After nearly 15 years in, I am again making decent money, but not nearly as much as I would be making in a similar position in the private sector.  Why did I make the move to government?  So I could work for an agency that serves the public good instead of working for clients that were maximizing their profits by damaging public resources. 

Through the course of my government service, I've worked countless hours of unpaid overtime, donated or forfeited substantial amounts of my annual leave, and when I resign, I will leave $70,000 worth of sick leave on the table.  I've done this because I am dedicated to my agency's mission, despite my frequent frustration with political leadership that, like you, views my colleagues and me as lazy good-for-nothings.  The "do more with less" mentality has prevailed throughout my time in government.  The ever-increasing workload has everyone in my unit stressed to the breaking point.  We all made a bargain with Uncle - we'd accept lower pay than we could make in the private sector in exchange for meaningful work, work-life balance, and a bit more retirement security.  Well, the work-life balance is long gone, the Cheeto administration's bullshit politics have made the work a lot less meaningful, and now Congress wants to renege on the retirement security.  No wonder I'm ready to shove my "cushy government job."

I so appreciate that.  My husband dragged himself out of multigenerational poverty via the military, then worked in law enforcement, and finally became the first person in his family to GO to college, let alone get multiple advanced degrees.  He wanted to work for the feds for the exact same reason as you did, serving the public good, which he viewed as a much higher calling than pure buck-raking capitalism.  He loves being a scientist, and he busts his ass at it now mostly out of a labor of love.  He has zero complaints about his pay and benefits and would absorb some small cuts to his benefit package without complaint, just as he was fine with pay freezes the civilian feds endured many years since 2008.  But he sure is getting tired of a decade of being asked to "do more with less money" while simultaneously being scapegoated as the cause of all evil by by half the government (civilian fed + scientist = antichrist, apparently), not to mention the poorly informed, mouth-breathing segment of the population he originally signed up to serve.   


bdylan

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #135 on: October 07, 2017, 08:09:15 PM »


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.

Neither have you.  You've just waved your hand and said we'll end most of what the government does and not worry about the consequences.  And now you're drifting into racism.

Don't forget - you're the one who crashed the thread and started throwing around invective about how worthless the government and its employees are.  If you have a serious proposal to make, complete with an assessment of the consequences and a plan to deal with them, then please make it.  Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

This thread has provided great optics for private sector employees into the minds of their Fed betters, complete with Godwinning for pointing out their failure to provide for an adequate border defense despite spending $4 trillion per year.  You've got "Take this job and shove it" on your signature line for crying out loud and expect us to believe that you're a tryhard civil servant worthy of all you get, which is more than us.     

I think I'll be calling my Senator as well.

Do you have anything besides hot air and libertarian fantasies? 

Well, I guess you have personal attacks against people you know nothing about.  Let me fill you in.

While I can't speak for other feds, I can tell you that I took a substantial pay cut, as well as a reduction in health benefits, when I moved from a private sector consulting firm to a federal agency.  After nearly 15 years in, I am again making decent money, but not nearly as much as I would be making in a similar position in the private sector.  Why did I make the move to government?  So I could work for an agency that serves the public good instead of working for clients that were maximizing their profits by damaging public resources. 

Through the course of my government service, I've worked countless hours of unpaid overtime, donated or forfeited substantial amounts of my annual leave, and when I resign, I will leave $70,000 worth of sick leave on the table.  I've done this because I am dedicated to my agency's mission, despite my frequent frustration with political leadership that, like you, views my colleagues and me as lazy good-for-nothings.  The "do more with less" mentality has prevailed throughout my time in government.  The ever-increasing workload has everyone in my unit stressed to the breaking point.  We all made a bargain with Uncle - we'd accept lower pay than we could make in the private sector in exchange for meaningful work, work-life balance, and a bit more retirement security.  Well, the work-life balance is long gone, the Cheeto administration's bullshit politics have made the work a lot less meaningful, and now Congress wants to renege on the retirement security.  No wonder I'm ready to shove my "cushy government job."

By libertarian fantasies I hope you mean hard evidence that the typical federal employee enjoys a large pay premium compared to his private sector peer.  Again, the CBO found that the average individual with a BA enjoyed a 21% compensation premium.

I thank you for the service -- but according to you you were happy to trade lower pay for better work/life balance and meaningful work.  Now that it appears you don't like it, I'm sure you can find better employment in the private sector.

Can't Wait

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #136 on: October 08, 2017, 04:41:00 AM »
I took a huge a pay cut to work for the Feds. I did it for the work/life balance and job stability. I make over 6 figures as a fed and never have to work over 80 hours in a 2 week period. I work from home 3 days a week and get a 3 day weekend every other weekend. My job is completely stress free and once I leave the office or log out, it never even enters my mind. All of this is well worth the pay cut I took to leave the private sector.

The pension and health benefits aren't anything all that special in my opinion. The FERS pension is kind of shitty and would net you something like $30k a year after a 30 year career and $120k final salary. The pension would be much less for people who RE. I have no complaints about my health plan, but I pay a lot for it. It's not like it's free like some people seem to think. Hell, I could probably buy a cheaper plan on my own.

Private sector employees and Govt contractors definitely earn WAY more than we do as Feds. However, most Govt contractors don't get the work/life balance. They can't work from home at my agency and they can be fired at the drop of a hat. I believe there are plenty of private sector employers that offer a great work/life balance, but you have to worry about being downsized, or a boss on a power trip, etc.

Most of the far right folks that I've come across that complain about us Feds are just butt-hurt that they can't get a Federal job. We literally have hundreds and even thousands of applicants per job opening and that allows us to be choosy. As a result, almost everybody has an advanced degree of some sort. I've never worked with more intelligent, talented individuals ever in my life. Federal employees are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the Federal budget, so it's annoying to be constantly used as a political pawn. Like denying Federal employees a raise for 3 years saved truck loads of money or something? It's mostly to appease Republicans whose constituents are largely blue collar, white, and uneducated. It's like they are mad that they have to work 120 hours a week at the steel mill and then they see Johnny Fed next door only work 40 hours and then take 4 or 5 vacations a year.

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #137 on: October 08, 2017, 05:17:42 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.

Neither have you.  You've just waved your hand and said we'll end most of what the government does and not worry about the consequences.  And now you're drifting into racism.

Don't forget - you're the one who crashed the thread and started throwing around invective about how worthless the government and its employees are.  If you have a serious proposal to make, complete with an assessment of the consequences and a plan to deal with them, then please make it.  Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

This thread has provided great optics for private sector employees into the minds of their Fed betters, complete with Godwinning for pointing out their failure to provide for an adequate border defense despite spending $4 trillion per year.  You've got "Take this job and shove it" on your signature line for crying out loud and expect us to believe that you're a tryhard civil servant worthy of all you get, which is more than us.     

I think I'll be calling my Senator as well.

Do you have anything besides hot air and libertarian fantasies? 

Well, I guess you have personal attacks against people you know nothing about.  Let me fill you in.

While I can't speak for other feds, I can tell you that I took a substantial pay cut, as well as a reduction in health benefits, when I moved from a private sector consulting firm to a federal agency.  After nearly 15 years in, I am again making decent money, but not nearly as much as I would be making in a similar position in the private sector.  Why did I make the move to government?  So I could work for an agency that serves the public good instead of working for clients that were maximizing their profits by damaging public resources. 

Through the course of my government service, I've worked countless hours of unpaid overtime, donated or forfeited substantial amounts of my annual leave, and when I resign, I will leave $70,000 worth of sick leave on the table.  I've done this because I am dedicated to my agency's mission, despite my frequent frustration with political leadership that, like you, views my colleagues and me as lazy good-for-nothings.  The "do more with less" mentality has prevailed throughout my time in government.  The ever-increasing workload has everyone in my unit stressed to the breaking point.  We all made a bargain with Uncle - we'd accept lower pay than we could make in the private sector in exchange for meaningful work, work-life balance, and a bit more retirement security.  Well, the work-life balance is long gone, the Cheeto administration's bullshit politics have made the work a lot less meaningful, and now Congress wants to renege on the retirement security.  No wonder I'm ready to shove my "cushy government job."

By libertarian fantasies I hope you mean hard evidence that the typical federal employee enjoys a large pay premium compared to his private sector peer.  Again, the CBO found that the average individual with a BA enjoyed a 21% compensation premium.

I thank you for the service -- but according to you you were happy to trade lower pay for better work/life balance and meaningful work.  Now that it appears you don't like it, I'm sure you can find better employment in the private sector.

By libertarian fantasies, I meant Lance Burkhart's kooky idea to eliminate 2/3 of the government without so much as thinking about what that might mean for the American public.  I don't dispute the fact that Uncle pays more than the private sector for run-of-the-mill, low complexity work.  I myself am not in such a position and could easily make more if I went back to the consulting world.  I could actually support adjusting the GS pay schedule and/or reclassifying positions so that base pay better reflects the work that is being done.  But don't slash promised retirement benefits for people who've put in a full career and are counting on those benefits.

Apparently you missed the part of my post where I said the work/life balance doesn't exist any more due to the pervasive "do more with less" strategy that is being applied to many non-defense agencies (including mine).  But rather than go back to the higher paying but even more soul-sucking private sector, I'm just going to bail altogether.  Which, by the way, means that I will not be getting most of my "cushy" federal retirement benefits (no health insurance, no SS supplement, and my pension will be worth less than $7,000/yr in today's dollars once I finally get to take it).

dude

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #138 on: October 12, 2017, 09:14:24 AM »
Unsaid also is that a significant percentage of Fed employees are military veterans who received a veteran's preference boost in Fed hiring decisions. I am one of those. I served for 6 years on active duty, then went to college and law school and took a LEO job with the Feds. I make FAR less on an annual basis than my law school colleagues who went private.  On an hourly basis, the gap is not as wide, because I have reasonable work hours as compared to private sector lawyers, but they still make considerably more than I do. Hell, starting Big Firm law jobs make more than I do right out of law school than I'm making after 20 years of service, and I'm ok with that.  But what I'm not okay with is somebody who doesn't know shit about what I do telling me I'm lazy and overpaid. That is a bullshit stereotype. And this pitting of people against one another is just fucking horrible. You know why they don't put lids on crab buckets?  Because the crabs keep each other down.  That is exactly what's going on in this country right now. GOP politicians who are in the pockets of the wealthiest people in the world are pitting citizens against federal workers to divide us and make it easier to shit on everyone and for their billionaire benefactors to siphon more and more from of nation's wealth. It is truly sickening to me that people fall for this shit. Rather than seeking to lift others, they would pull everyone else down to their level. Jealous of federal pensions? Then for fuck's sake, start a movement to bring back pensions in the private sector and make them unassailable so companies can't renege. My federal pension, for which I've paid in for 26 years, is FULLY FUNDED for as far out as the actuarial tables can see (2090's). Federal pensions are not responsible for this country's debt woes. Stupid, pie-in-the-sky tax cuts for the wealthiest among us are the primary culprit.

mrigney

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #139 on: October 12, 2017, 12:29:42 PM »
I guess I'll throw in my two cents and stick up for the feds. I'm a civil servant w/the DoD. I'm in an R&D role and work a physicist. I work with contractors and civilians on a daily basis, mainly engineers and computer scientists and every once in a while another scientist like me. The group I'm in does physics based modeling of weapon systems.

First, I think there are a couple of misconceptions that need to be dispelled.

1) That civil servants are a dominating presence in my (DoD) industry driving up the federal budget. The reality is that in my branch, we have about 17 civil servants and 85 contractors who work with us. I'm the last permanent civil servant (e.g. government employee) hire in my branch. That was in 2011. We have hired a few people as government employees since then as "term" employees (e.g. a 3-year position after which the position is in essence terminated). My perception (as a generally libertarian/conservative politically leaning person) is that the war that Repubs have waged on "overpaid civil servants" is a smokescreen. We have not been allowed to make government hires for the past 6 years. But we have no problems having our support contractors bringing on new folks (who the government pays for). And bringing on additional contractors most definitely costs more to the government than hiring a new government employee. However, it is definitely easier to surge and reduce the contract workforce than the government workforce.

As an aside, in a lot of ways, this dependence on contractors to do a large portion of our technical work puts the government in a precarious position. If for example, we re-competed the current contract we have w/a the company who provides most of our technical support and they lost the contract to a new company, there is a real risk of losing significant institutional knowledge. In many ways, long-term costs to the government could be lowered by accumulating more institutional knowledge "in-house" with government employees.

2) Civil servants are "generally" or "all" (or pick your adjective) overpaid. I've worked for state agencies (a university as a researcher after grad school), for private companies, and now for the federal government. I also interface with contractors (e.g. private companies) on a daily basis. I can say that right now, the starting salaries for fresh grads is higher for the private company who supports us than it would be if a grad came and worked as a government employee. Two caveats to this, though. First, if you come in as a government employee, I do believe that initial advancement is faster than with a private company. Second, government employee pay scales are "squashed" on the top end. E.g. our contractor technical lead makes more than our government technical lead. Around here, this would be the evolution of salaries (assuming you're good at your job)....

         Fresh Grad------>5 years------>10 years------>15 years
Gov't      $55k                $75k               $90k            $100-110k
Private    $60-70k           $75-80k          $83-90k       $120-175k

The numbers for the private sector are based on a combo of my own experience in the private sector and conversations with private sector companies in our industry and what they're currently offering.

Look...the reality is that there are crappy employees in every organization, government and private. There are also stellar employees in every organization. Within the government there are stellar organizations and crappy ones. To try to stereotype "government workers" is trying to stereotype employees and people that cross so many different skill sets, career types, etc, that it's ludicrous. Are we (civil servants) overcompensated? I think that depends on what you value. I obviously left the private sector to become a civil servant. I valued the work that I'd be able to do and some of the benefits (work life balance, a generally stable retirement system, etc). But, I gave up benefits that the private sector would have provided (back end career earnings, partial ownership in a employee owned company that paid out ~10% of my annual salary in company stock every year). Could there be fields w/in federal civil service that are grossly overpaid relative to private sector counterparts? I'm sure there are. I suspect there are also segments that are underpaid. Are there government organizations that are bloated? Sure. Are the private organizations that are bloated? You bet.

Ultimately, I think many of the complaints against federal employees are rooted in a desire to blame politicians for the terrible positions they've put as in as a country financially. However, I don't think the answer to making things better is to reduce the attractiveness of federal employment. As someone who has recruited for the government at multiple career fairs, I can tell you that it is generally difficult for us to "win" the best candidates (for a multitude of reasons). Cutting benefits will make it more difficult to attract top talent...which will end up leading to more people complaining to about how lazy and spoiled we are:-)

Cork

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #140 on: October 12, 2017, 03:51:43 PM »
Thanks for sticking up for the Feds, @mrigney.

Was it naive of me to expect this thread to stay on topic?   

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #141 on: October 12, 2017, 03:57:04 PM »
Thanks for sticking up for the Feds, @mrigney.

Was it naive of me to expect this thread to stay on topic?
I'm the OP and I got tired of the foam on page one.  :)

Thank you to all of you who have attempted to help our more cynical members see things from our perspective.  The divisiveness is exactly why the President and our current batch of representatives believe they can do this to us....the civilian population has been effectively trained to see us as the enemy, undeserving of the benefits we were promised. 

sol

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #142 on: October 12, 2017, 03:57:35 PM »
Was it naive of me to expect this thread to stay on topic?

Yes.  Mentioning federal employees in public is kind of like mentioning abortion.  You just KNOW some hateful motherfuckers are going to show up and start arguing.

sparkytheop

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #143 on: October 13, 2017, 12:05:07 AM »
We deal with the whole "dragging others down" thing internally as well.

A few years ago, a lower grade got rid of a position that was dragging their pay down when the wage rates were figured out (we are not GS).  So, this bumped their pay up to match the next grade up (and actually calculated even higher).  Instead of saying "hey, they got this huge raise, and we are technically more skilled, etc, we need to fight to get our wages up higher", everyone just yelled "that's not fair!  You need to cut their wages so they don't make as much as us."  Those of us who didn't want to just lower someone else's wages tried to point out that you should use their gain as a reason to fight for your own.  But, no one was interested in going that route.

ROF Expat

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #144 on: October 13, 2017, 06:41:45 AM »
I was a Federal Employee for over 30 years.  I think there's room to talk about how we can make our government more effective and efficient.  There's room for a discussion of compensation of Federal employees.  That said, I don't think the Government should be in the business of making unilateral changes to its agreements.  I view my own work/retirement agreement as a contract.  I lived up to my part of the deal, and the government should live up to its part.  Defaulting on its debt to me should be no different from defaulting on government bonds. 

It bothers me that some posters felt the need to turn OP's question about proposed changes to the retirement system into personal attacks on federal employees.  During my career, I certainly saw some low performing people, just as I did, and do, in the private sector.  I was also privileged to work with many, many fine men and women who did outstanding work under difficult and dangerous circumstances.  I had many close friends and colleagues give their lives and even their family members' lives in service to America.  Many took pay cuts to serve their country, and most routinely worked far more hours than they were paid for with no additional compensation.  Work/Life balance was something people talked about a lot and wished for, but I frequently saw colleagues working close to 24/7 in emergencies.  When I see malicious comments about federal employees, I tend to think about these people.   

DoubleDown

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #145 on: October 13, 2017, 01:44:01 PM »
^^^^ Great post @ROF Expat

The dude calling all government workers lazy, dumb, and overpaid made me wonder how my workplace managed to track down and kill Usama Bin Laden (along with several hundred other top terrorist leaders over the years). That was a feat accomplished by bringing together so much hard work, technical wizardry, intelligence (the kind we possess and the kind we gather), risk, multidisciplinary expertise, patience, personal sacrifice,and lots of other things I haven't even thought of. But no doubt the private sector could have pulled it off in 2 weeks since it's unburdened by lazy people and bureaucracy, plus all those overpaid people with degrees but no actual abilities or smarts. So go ahead and keep vilifying us government workers, we're all sucking off the teat of useful society.

DoubleDown

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #146 on: October 13, 2017, 01:57:10 PM »
Was it naive of me to expect this thread to stay on topic?

Yes.  Mentioning federal employees in public is kind of like mentioning abortion.  You just KNOW some hateful motherfuckers are going to show up and start arguing.

I try to imagine any other class of people or occupation mentioned in a thread, and then a whole bunch of haters feeling free to launch a bullshit-laden attack full of ugly stereotypes, because.

Q. "Hey, any other plumbers dealing with how to adapt to the new national code standards just released?"
A. "All you plumbers are just a bunch of fat guys showing your butt crack and charging us way too much money just to show up and turn a wrench, which a fifth-grader could do with 5 minutes of instruction."

kimmarg

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #147 on: October 13, 2017, 07:06:11 PM »
Staying on-topic the potential changes to retirement came up at the office again today.  Basically people who are within about 1-2 years of retiring (which our office happens to have quite a few of) were saying that they would retire now if they thought the benefits would change. us young folks are pretty much ignoring it because what can you do and the Feds is the biggest employer in our field so it's not like people want to leave.

In super exciting news my TSP passed $200k with the last paycheck so maybe I won't need to stick around for traditional retirement! (I'm 34 now)

fattest_foot

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #148 on: October 14, 2017, 01:09:02 PM »
In the "How much do you pay in taxes" thread started yesterday, this link was posted http://rootofgood.com/make-six-figure-income-pay-no-tax/

And he mentioned cashing out his pension. I figured he was state but decided to see if FERS employees can cash out, and sure enough you can!

So now I'm thinking if significant changes to FERS take place, that may be a better option where I can invest that money on my own. It will still be a raw deal as I bought back my military time and it won't be worth as much as the pension would be, but I'd have better control over it and could put the money in a taxable account and use immediately. Plus, it means not having to worry about 20+ years of threats by Congress before I'm even eligible to withdraw.

fattest_foot

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #149 on: October 14, 2017, 10:38:24 PM »
Yeah, I actually ran some rough numbers after the post and it might be able to provide $1K a year in income by the timd I'd have hit MRA. That's versus the almost $1k a month the pension would currently give.

Would take a pretty major change to make it worthwhile to pull it out. Oh well.