Author Topic: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system  (Read 10825 times)

Cork

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #150 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...
Prost!

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #151 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...
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #152 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.
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

bdylan

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #153 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 #154 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 #155 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 #156 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 »

neverrun

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #157 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 #158 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."

"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

wenchsenior

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #159 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 #160 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 #161 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.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #162 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).
"Take this job and shove it" - David Allan Coe

dude

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #163 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 #164 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 #165 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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CheapskateWife

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #166 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 #167 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 #168 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 #169 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 #170 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.
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DoubleDown

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #171 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."
"Not all quotes on the internet are accurate" -- Abraham Lincoln

kimmarg

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #172 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 #173 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.

Slow2FIRE

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #174 on: October 14, 2017, 10:31:41 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.

The benefit of that may be much greater for newer feds (post 2014 start date) as compared to keeping the pension if you've been a fed for a long time.  0.8% of pay won't amount to much compared to pension (we'd have to run the numbers for each of our individual situations).  OTOH if you've been paying in at 4.4% and you retire early, it could make sense but once again the numbers have to be run.

fattest_foot

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #175 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.

Cork

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #176 on: October 15, 2017, 02:48:47 PM »
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)

Nice job, man!

Yeah, I actually ran some rough numbers after the post and it might be able to provide $1K a year in income by the time I'd have hit MRA. That's versus the almost $1k a month the pension would currently give.

So you're saying NOT cashing out pension and contributing @ 4.4% delayed until payout at MRA is about 1k a month.  While cashing out pension is about 1k per year (lets say for 10 working years).  Did you calculate what that 10k compounds to until MRA?  Probably requires age assumptions.

I'd run the numbers but... it's the weekend :)
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sparkytheop

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #177 on: October 15, 2017, 03:29:24 PM »
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)

Nice job, man!

Yeah, I actually ran some rough numbers after the post and it might be able to provide $1K a year in income by the time I'd have hit MRA. That's versus the almost $1k a month the pension would currently give.

So you're saying NOT cashing out pension and contributing @ 4.4% delayed until payout at MRA is about 1k a month.  While cashing out pension is about 1k per year (lets say for 10 working years).  Did you calculate what that 10k compounds to until MRA?  Probably requires age assumptions.

I'd run the numbers but... it's the weekend :)

I know I need to run the numbers for myself as well, in case this all goes through and I decide to leave before 57 (my MRA).  If there is no COLA, no health benefits, and no SSS, it really removes my reasons for staying that long.  At 38, I have over $400k in TSP, 17 years into my pension, and a long time to go.  If I build soon, sell the current house, and save like mad for a couple years when I'm done helping DS with school, I might be able to go at my more-desired age of 46, but at least by 52.  Really wish my position was more likely to be eligible for early outs!  The retirement benefits are what would keep me to my MRA, but once they're gone, so is my desire to stay (and I really have a great job).

(As an aside, I'll be in your town for training this week!)

fattest_foot

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #178 on: October 15, 2017, 09:24:42 PM »
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)

Nice job, man!

Yeah, I actually ran some rough numbers after the post and it might be able to provide $1K a year in income by the time I'd have hit MRA. That's versus the almost $1k a month the pension would currently give.

So you're saying NOT cashing out pension and contributing @ 4.4% delayed until payout at MRA is about 1k a month.  While cashing out pension is about 1k per year (lets say for 10 working years).  Did you calculate what that 10k compounds to until MRA?  Probably requires age assumptions.

I'd run the numbers but... it's the weekend :)

I'm on vacation so the numbers are off the top of my head, but inflation adjusted I want to say it's about $12k a year for FERS delayed retirement, and cashing out is something incredibly small that would grow to $25k in 20 years, giving me $1k a month.

Unless you're a 2013 or later hire, seems like it'd be worth it to roll the dice and see what you get. Then again, if they bump up the employee contribution it may end up being significant one day.

dude

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #179 on: October 16, 2017, 12:22:42 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...

No way, can't do it.  For starters, I'm 20 years in with only 1.5 to go until eligibility. Second, the increased contributions would reportedly be phased in, so doubtful much impact would occur to me over that period.  What would kill my FIRE dreams is abolishing the SRS and COLAs. If those are taken away, then I'll likely have to forego retiring in 2019 and continue to age 57 in 2022. Which would make me one disgruntled and spectacularly unmotivated employee.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #180 on: October 21, 2017, 04:31:30 AM »
The budget resolution passed by the Senate does not include any changes to federal retirement:

https://federalnewsradio.com/budget/2017/10/senate-passes-budget-resolution-without-instructions-for-retirement-cuts/

Will be interesting to see if this holds up during reconciliation.
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Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #181 on: October 22, 2017, 09:41:07 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.

What is the effect of all this?  Do you ever step back to look at the big picture?  Is global terrorism on the wane?  We're STILL in Afghanistan after 16 years.  It's become the longest war in US history. New leaders have filled the gap left by OBL.  Our own government had a hand in making OBL who he was in the first place when he and his mujahideen were fighting the Russians.  Al Qaeda is still active in Afghanistan along with the Taliban and the Haqqani network.  Meanwhile, our politicians are still completely in bed with the House of Saud which spends a lot of money exporting jihad globally. 

What was the effect of our war in Iraq? ISIS?  Ethnic cleansing of Christians, Druze, and other minorities who'd lived there for thousands of years?  Yes the government is definitely better at all this than the private sector. 

Lance Burkhart

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #182 on: October 22, 2017, 09:50:18 PM »

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.

At some point, I have to accept that your reading comprehension does not depend on me, especially when you have no incentive to understand.  The original link I posted at the CATO institute called for about $500 billion in cuts the first year phasing in enough over a 10 year period that we pay off our national debt.  Even those cuts don't amount to 2/3 of the Federal budget.  I proposed about $700 billion in cuts this year which is just enough to get us into the black for this year counting all of the natural disasters we've paid for.  Elsewhere I mentioned a uniform 20% reduction. 

We spend roughly 4 trillion a year.  What's .7/4?  It's not 2/3.  If you can't do these basic back-of-the-envelope calculations, you shouldn't be lecturing anyone on how we can't cut the budget because some people will get the sads.

Quote
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.

No one's slashing your bennies.  Did you even read the proposed bill or just some fakenews hack report on it?  Here's the only way I can see federal employment benefits getting cut: we continue down our national path to insolvency and then all bets are off.

 
« Last Edit: October 22, 2017, 09:59:05 PM by Lance Burkhart »

wenchsenior

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #183 on: October 23, 2017, 04:12:53 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.

What is the effect of all this?  Do you ever step back to look at the big picture?  Is global terrorism on the wane?  We're STILL in Afghanistan after 16 years.  It's become the longest war in US history. New leaders have filled the gap left by OBL.  Our own government had a hand in making OBL who he was in the first place when he and his mujahideen were fighting the Russians.  Al Qaeda is still active in Afghanistan along with the Taliban and the Haqqani network.  Meanwhile, our politicians are still completely in bed with the House of Saud which spends a lot of money exporting jihad globally. 

What was the effect of our war in Iraq? ISIS?  Ethnic cleansing of Christians, Druze, and other minorities who'd lived there for thousands of years?  Yes the government is definitely better at all this than the private sector.

Congratulations, this is by far your dumbest post (of several whoppers, including the one below) in this thread.  If you truly are not a troll and can't see why your post is ridiculous, then I suggest you stop posting altogether until you figure it out.  If you secretly know you are posting drivel but can't seem to stop doing it, then perhaps step away from the keyboard until you figure out and deal with whatever personal issues are driving you to embarrass yourself in this way. 

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #184 on: October 27, 2017, 03:47:11 AM »
The House just passed the Senate's budget resolution unchanged, so the cuts appear to be off the table for now.  I guess we'll see what comes out in the actual spending bills.

https://federalnewsradio.com/your-money/2017/10/feds-saved-from-retirement-cuts-in-2018-budget-resolution-with-house-vote/
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dude

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Re: Fellow Feds...proposed changes to our retirement system
« Reply #185 on: October 27, 2017, 07:13:03 AM »
Yep, that's good news. Another article:

http://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/retirement-planning/2017/10/benefits-spared-budget-ax/142087/?oref=retirement_planning_nl

Now I just gotta see how the tax cuts will affect me. It doesn't look good.  And of course, if the tax cuts pass, when, as is inevitable and predictable, federal deficits start to balloon as a result, the GOP will blame fed workers' benefits and make a renewed assault on them.