Author Topic: Sequester vs. Complainypants  (Read 23378 times)

ExBex

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Sequester vs. Complainypants
« on: February 22, 2013, 10:10:03 AM »
So... it's shocking news, but the US government has been living on a very anti-mustachian budget for a long time.  And now they're trying to apply a few budget band-aids, like sequestration.  Here in the Department of Defense, the sequester will likely result in a furlough of one day per week for 22 weeks...  AKA a 20% pay cut for all civilian employees for 6 months.  The average pay is roughly 100k. 

As a result, the media is already out with stories about how this will push a large number of employees into bankruptcy... and then they'll lose their security clearances... and then they'll have to be fired. 

Boo-fucking-hoo. 

If you can't handle a mere 10% reduction in your (huge) annual salary without bankruptcy, you need a mustachian punch-in-the-face.  On top of that, if these people can't manage their own household finances, is it any wonder our nation's finances are so F-ed up?  Why are they entrusted with spending billions of dollars in taxpayer funds?

So frustrated. 

BlueBeard

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 10:15:15 AM »
Agreed.  I would love to trade a 20% cut at my job for a 4 day work week.  I think the media is spinning it the wrong way ;)

unplugged

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 10:22:54 AM »
Pay cuts suck, I know first hand. But no one is immune to them. A lot of people get pay cuts and don't get furlough day from it either. They work MORE hours, and do MORE work, AND get a pay cut. Then they do the additional labor for the poor sap who go laid off all together.

I wish my spouses pay cuts had equaled "days off". I would love 22 days extra with my spouse though the pay cut would still suck.

SwordGuy

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2013, 10:30:14 AM »
So... it's shocking news, but the US government has been living on a very anti-mustachian budget for a long time.  And now they're trying to apply a few budget band-aids, like sequestration.  Here in the Department of Defense, the sequester will likely result in a furlough of one day per week for 22 weeks...  AKA a 20% pay cut for all civilian employees for 6 months.  The average pay is roughly 100k. 

As a result, the media is already out with stories about how this will push a large number of employees into bankruptcy... and then they'll lose their security clearances... and then they'll have to be fired. 

Boo-fucking-hoo. 

If you can't handle a mere 10% reduction in your (huge) annual salary without bankruptcy, you need a mustachian punch-in-the-face.  On top of that, if these people can't manage their own household finances, is it any wonder our nation's finances are so F-ed up?  Why are they entrusted with spending billions of dollars in taxpayer funds?

So frustrated.

You are my hero.

Senatus

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2013, 11:19:52 AM »

"If you can't handle a mere 10% reduction in your (huge) annual salary without bankruptcy, you need a mustachian punch-in-the-face.  On top of that, if these people can't manage their own household finances, is it any wonder our nation's finances are so F-ed up?  Why are they entrusted with spending billions of dollars in taxpayer funds?"

This. 


 

the fixer

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 12:34:38 PM »
This could get political real fast, so I'll stick to this point:

The executive branch's job is to execute the legislation that Congress passes. The responsibilities of the various agencies in government are not changing, only the money available to them. If an agency fails to perform its duties, in many cases it can be sued (which just costs more time and taxpayer money, especially if the agency loses and has to pay attorney's fees to the plaintiffs).

This means if you furlough employees one day per week, they don't have any less work to do, they just aren't allowed to work on X day. This could result in employees having to put in (unpaid) overtime to do the work they would otherwise be paid to do on that furlough day. Some agencies, like FAA's air traffic controllers, can adjust the amount of work they have to do by limiting service, but many others--DOJ's defense attorneys who defend the government when it gets sued, IRS, NRC, etc--cannot. The employees of those agencies are bound by law and professional responsibility to perform at a certain level.

So this is not necessarily just a bunch of government workers getting a 4-day workweek in exchange for a 20% pay cut. If my employer offered me a 4-day workweek with 4 days' worth of responsibilities, I'd take it in a heartbeat, but that's not what this is. This just plain sucks for the civil servants.

And yes if they can't absorb a 20% paycut in the short term they're pretty antimustachian... I've seen and been tempted to post a story or two profiling such people.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 01:12:31 PM »
This could get political real fast, so I'll stick to this point:

Yeah - so hard for me not to touch this....but if you search my posts my perspective is clearly identified.

This means if you furlough employees one day per week, they don't have any less work to do, they just aren't allowed to work on X day. This could result in employees having to put in (unpaid) overtime to do the work they would otherwise be paid to do on that furlough day. Some agencies, like FAA's air traffic controllers, can adjust the amount of work they have to do by limiting service, but many others--DOJ's defense attorneys who defend the government when it gets sued, IRS, NRC, etc--cannot. The employees of those agencies are bound by law and professional responsibility to perform at a certain level.

So this is not necessarily just a bunch of government workers getting a 4-day workweek in exchange for a 20% pay cut. If my employer offered me a 4-day workweek with 4 days' worth of responsibilities, I'd take it in a heartbeat, but that's not what this is. This just plain sucks for the civil servants.


Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah......nevermind high pay before benefits/vacation days/sick days are even factored in and the fact they are probably not as productive in those 40 hours as they could be, but that is life in the private sector - so when I work 60 hours what do I get, oh yeah, the ability to come to work next week. 

Does a teacher get more or less money when they stay up late at night grading papers because they couldn't do it while actually teaching - no.

Screw that government workers (with some exceptions) have had so good for so long when compared to the private sector. Wah wah wah...but the did freeze my pay for a couple of years so I have already done my part.....tell it to the 25million people that are unemployed.


OP title says it all - big f'in complainypants.   The sequester, if it happens, will be a f'in rounding error.  $85B a year vs. $1.5T deficit ---- wow I feel so much better now that we will only have a $1.4T deficit.  F'in awesome.

Oh yeah - did you see that the federal pensions are underfunded by $761B - where the fuck is this money going to come from.  Wow - fed employees have to contribute 0.8% of their pay to get a f'in awesome pension on their high pay - that compares nicely to my 401k.  I hope this is f'in changed or blows up all together - it is an f'in crime to have such high pay and high benefits.

I am so pissed right now - I TRIED SO HARD TO STAY AWAY FROM THIS THREAD - but alas I am just a government bashing junky apparently.

http://www.moneynews.com/FinanceNews/unfunded-pension-liability-govt/2013/02/22/id/491518

tooqk4u22

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 01:37:32 PM »
I am back for more. 

Even the CBO thinks that federal workers are compensated 16% more than comparably educated private sector workers.....an we no this is likely understated.

I particuliarly like the this excerpt from the CBO "Even among workers with similar observable characteristics, however, employees of the federal government and in the private sector may differ in other traits, such as motivation or effort, that are not easy to measure but that can matter a great deal for individuals’ compensation."

I wonder which population (gov't or private) that this was elluding to?

Such BS.  F'in government.

2.3 million federal workers that individually on average make easily 50-75% more before benefits are factored in than the average HOUSEHOLD income of the united states - clearly there is no room for cutting. WTF. 

I need to stop, I can't, I have a problem - there I have admitted it.  Oh shit, the gov't is the my problem, damn I did it again.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 01:48:52 PM by tooqk4u22 »

DoubleDown

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2013, 02:38:44 PM »
Unfortunately government workers are not the bad guys, but they're paying the price. They are your neighbors, friends, relatives. They're regular people doing the same kinds of jobs and raising families like everyone else. They're firefighters, librarians, policemen, lawyers -- and sure, there are some "bureaucrats" in there as well, just like in private industry. They didn't ask for Congress (who sets the budget) to be so completely f*ed up, and they certainly do not deserve to have their daily livelihoods as the casualty for Congress' ridiculous inability to govern, do they? Congress f*ed it up over the last decades, but somehow it's the everyday worker's burden to bear? And everyone wants to jump on the workers as the bad guys in all this?

Pay in the private sector vs. pay in government is a hot issue open to quite a bit of debate. Different examinations have shown opposing results over "who makes more." And of course there are other factors at play as well -- for example, federal workers typically have far higher education levels than private counterparts, and would be expected to earn more. Much of it depends on the work itself; some occupations as a government worker might pay higher than their private counterpart, while others will receive demonstrably less (particularly higher paid professions like doctors, lawyers, computer programmers).

Anyway, I don't see why the federal workers are held up as the problem. Of COURSE some of them have high salaries and are going to be one paycheck away from financial ruin and complain about it, but how is that any different than just about anyone else in this country who is not being frugal and saving? Would anyone in private industry (who is not sitting on a gigantic stash of money waiting to ER) be so cavalier about having their pay cut by 20%?

tooqk4u22

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 03:06:43 PM »
Unfortunately government workers are not the bad guys, but they're paying the price.

I don't think they are the bad guys but I also don't think they are paying the price either - no matter how you slice and dice it (regardless, see below) federal workers are compensated better and were not subject to the inherent risk of unemployment, pay cuts, benefit cuts, and furloughs that the private sector was.  I have seen whole business groups get canned - I bet they would have loved a 20% cut at the time.

Bigger cuts can be made elsewhere for sure - but that is no excuse to leave a certain class alone because they are not bad guys or are my neighbors.

And of course there are other factors at play as well -- for example, federal workers typically have far higher education levels than private counterparts, and would be expected to earn more.

This is addressed in my comments above because the CBO based it on comparable education.

Would anyone in private industry (who is not sitting on a gigantic stash of money waiting to ER) be so cavalier about having their pay cut by 20%?

Nope and that is not my problem that is theirs, and I don't pay for them so why would feel bad about the gov't worker having to do the same.   

And besides if someone chimed in here that was a private sector worker and said "I make $80k and pay little for my benefits but I may have to give up a paid day of work a week for the next six months and I don't know how I will pay my bills and survive wah wah wah" - I am guessing the face punches will commence.

And it is not a 20% pay cut exactly and it is only for six months year - so it sure it may suck but it shouldn't be insurmountable - so they have to ditch cable or eating out for a few days, too bad.

And lets not kid ourselves - most of them will not be working more on a non-paid basis to make up for the work load of being off for a day.

Annual federal spending has gone up over $1trillion in the last 10 years, which far exceeded the pace of inlation or any other reasonable growth measure.  Sure the wars added to some of it, and the stimilus/meltdown cures that didn't work and a big chunk is the multitudes of new federal employees that have been added over the last few years for who knows what.

Bottom line is we should be cutting, actually cutting and not just barely slowing spending growth, and if slowing spending growth is the best option then it should be slowed to near zero.


simonsez

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2013, 03:14:57 PM »
There are two main federal government retirement systems, CSRS and FERS, and the benefits are different.  FERS is the newer of the two that has the .8% pension, up to a 5% match 401k, and ability to collect S.S.

.8% does indeed go to a pension plan, but it is not the old pension plan that is/was highly unsustainable in terms of being awesome for the recipient and awful for the citizens to pay for it. 

Old pension plan required 7% paid in and a nice pension was received.

New pension plan is .8% for a pension with greatly reduced benefits compared to the old one.  (6.2 FICA + .8 magically equals that old 7% number)

Just stating facts, not saying anything one way or the other.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2013, 03:57:26 PM »
Let go at it from a different view and by no means is the questioning the intelect, experience, skills, education of any of the gov't workers or clainming that they are inherently the problem (look if someone gave me the same deal I would take to) but:

Most people do look at a gov't job and say that is my dream or I expect to have the most dynamic career ever, no most go into it precisely because of the good pay, benefits, and stability of employment. Sure there may be some exceptions like those in applied sciences and such that do it because that is their field/passion  and they get to play with great tools with an endless budget - but these people aren't doing it for money they are doing for the love of research.

So gov't workers don't like being subject to the whims of taxpayer a-holes like me well then go to the private sector!

Honest Abe

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2013, 05:42:00 PM »

Most people do look at a gov't job and say that is my dream or I expect to have the most dynamic career ever, no most go into it precisely because of the good pay, benefits, and stability of employment. Sure there may be some exceptions like those in applied sciences and such that do it because that is their field/passion  and they get to play with great tools with an endless budget - but these people aren't doing it for money they are doing for the love of research.

So gov't workers don't like being subject to the whims of taxpayer a-holes like me well then go to the private sector!

You're entitled to your perspective however in my case and in the cases of the teachers who I am proud to work with day in and out, you couldn't be more wrong. We went into education because we are passionate about our fields and are excited to be making a difference in the community. Our kids are what matter and while I know I'll never make a killing in this career I put my head on the pillow every night knowing that I made a difference.

It sounds like you feel that private sector work is inherently superior due to the more tentative nature from a stability standpoint, but we all made our choices in life and need to learn to live with our own choices without being critical of others'.

smalllife

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2013, 06:08:23 PM »
@HonestAbe: I think that tooqk4u22 is referring to the cushy federal jobs, not state and local employees who are mostly underpaid and overworked.  Comparing teachers to overpaid government contractors is a bit of a strawman .  . .

ExBex

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2013, 06:15:25 PM »
Great discussion.  So much I could comment on, having seen first-hand the stereotypical worst of govt workers and wasteful spending and unaccountable actions, as well as surprisingly dedicated and patriotic service, which often goes unrecognized.  There's enough truth on both sides of that discussion.

There are really two veins here, the personal level we each control directly and the macro/societal level we influence indirectly (such as through taxation and representation in govt).

On a personal level, everybody has control over what they spend.  These are my friends and neighbors, and I don't feel bad if they didn't make any safety margin in their lives for this potential.  Every sukka with a job is accountable to a boss, and in the public sector, that d-bag boss is ultimately the taxpayer (or his agents in Congress).  And his decisions might piss you off.

From my personal perspective, I wish we'd have had a furlough the last 5 years.  Like BlueBeard says, I think the reduced hours would be great!  Unfortunately, I'll probably miss out by making my early retirement exit this year anyway.

But the macro level affects us all, as taxpayers. There are 800,000 DoD civilians slated for furlough.  800,000!  That's a crazy high number of people to employ.  And this doesn't include any uniformed military, (who are exempt from the furlough).  The sequester, as mentioned, does not reduce the overall spending level.  It simply reduces the rate of the growth of the budget.  The budget will still increase every year, including this one.  The really disappointing aspect of the sequester is that leadership is not making structural changes for a long-term solution.  The furlough is a short term "crisis" response to a budget problem.  It's another way to kick the can to the next fiscal year.  It is limited to 22 weeks specifically to avoid a reduction-in-force layoff.  The government cannot continue to function as employer of last resort.  Madness!

This means if you furlough employees one day per week, they don't have any less work to do, they just aren't allowed to work on X day. This could result in employees having to put in (unpaid) overtime to do the work they would otherwise be paid to do on that furlough day.

Yup, Congress gave birth to this problem with layer upon layer of BS regulations and mandates.  But, the command has already made it clear: NOBODY will be working unpaid overtime (ie volunteer).  It would open an HR nightmare of liability for discriminatory promotions and performance appraisals/bonuses.  Rather, workload will be prioritized for the time/resources available. 

tooqk4u22

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2013, 06:43:30 PM »
@HonestAbe: I think that tooqk4u22 is referring to the cushy federal jobs, not state and local employees who are mostly underpaid and overworked.  Comparing teachers to overpaid government contractors is a bit of a strawman .  . .

Exactly.  In fact, look above and you will see a reference I made to teachers. Although I the state and local workers are really case by case because there are areas (NY, CA, NJ to name a few) where it is very similar to the fed scenario.

Honest Abe

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2013, 07:58:44 PM »
@HonestAbe: I think that tooqk4u22 is referring to the cushy federal jobs, not state and local employees who are mostly underpaid and overworked.  Comparing teachers to overpaid government contractors is a bit of a strawman .  . .

Exactly.  In fact, look above and you will see a reference I made to teachers. Although I the state and local workers are really case by case because there are areas (NY, CA, NJ to name a few) where it is very similar to the fed scenario.

Well I happen to be a teacher in one of those three states you mentioned. Please share.

Crash87

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2013, 08:18:21 AM »
If government jobs are so cushy, why not get one? www.usajobs.gov

Some people would say I have one of those cushy jobs (grade 11), but when we try to hire new employees at my POD we don't have many applicants to choose from. Maybe this is just an isolated incident?

100k average salary does sound high, but without knowing what their private sector peers make its hard to tell.

ExBex

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2013, 08:42:51 AM »
My personal political beliefs tilt toward smaller leaner govt.  And while I'll continue to work toward that, until the system changes/collapses I still tell everyone to check out usajobs.gov!  There are good opportunities to build a 'stache and then get out.  (And maybe do something mildly rewarding for a couple years.)

The 100k average may be high overall, but it's on target at my location, where the jobs are overwhelmingly white collar professional, with a huge group that has been there for decades, climbing the pay grade ladder.  We also have one of the highest locality pay percentages in the nation, due largely to the historically high auto union private-sector peer group.

Matt K

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2013, 09:17:19 AM »
@HonestAbe: I think that tooqk4u22 is referring to the cushy federal jobs, not state and local employees who are mostly underpaid and overworked.  Comparing teachers to overpaid government contractors is a bit of a strawman .  . .

Please list for me cushy federal jobs. I'm very curious what their roles, responsibilities, and educational requirements are. Are these positions purely federal in nature, or do they have local or state equivalents, and what are the roles, responsibilities, and educational requirements of those?
In one sentence you talk about cushy federal jobs, but in the next line you say "government contractor". A government contractor is by definition not a government employee.

I don't work for the US government. I work for the Canadian government. But I hear the same talk thrown around up here all the time. The average income in my office may well be above $100k, but everyone I work with has at least a bachelors (many have masters and PhDs). The contractors who get paid the big bucks have zero job security, zero benefits (no sick leave, no unpaid leave, no nothing). Most the civil servants have decades of highly specialized experience, and those that don't (such as myself) get paid less than our private industry peers. I make less than most of my friends who all graduated at the same time with similar degrees.

There appears to be a 'federal employee' boogeyman out there who has an easy job, who didn't have to work hard to get it, and gets paid really well. So far, I've yet to meet the fellow.

DoubleDown

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2013, 12:52:49 PM »
I agree with Matt K about federal workers being held up as the boogeyman. I've worked in federal government, in private industry, and in the military. I've encountered lazy, incompetent, or a-hole people in all of the above sectors. I've encountered hard-working, talented, awesome people in all the sectors. Fundamentally, there was no difference, people are people everywhere. For every slacker in government, I saw one in private industry.

And like others said, if working for the government is such a gravy train, why isn't everyone applying? And if everyone is trying to get in on the lucrative, overpaid jobs, but not getting hired, maybe that speaks to the qualifications of those that are hired? It's not like it's some secret, good-ol'-boys private hiring network. All are welcome.

I think most anyone who's worked in government would likely agree that there are cuts that can and should be made. 800,000 civilian DoD workers sounds like a lot, as an example. I don't know if that's too many or not enough, although it sounds like too many because it's such a big number. Who knows. But once again, the federal workers didn't decide how many workers there needed to be or where the taxes should be spent. Congressional appropriations and the executive branch decided that. Now they should get their freakin' act together and quit acting like it's some mythical bloated federal worker's fault for getting us in this mess.

We could all argue if there are too many FBI agents or food inspectors, but it seems harsh to blame the FBI agent or the food inspector for our country's screwed up spending and priorities, or for earning whatever pay and benefits they are getting in exchange for their labor. Does an FBI agent make too much? Do food inspectors or forest rangers in government make too much? If so, doesn't competition within the free market handle that? But hell yes, I really wish government overall would be cut back to realistic levels.

the fixer

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2013, 01:05:01 PM »
Yup, Congress gave birth to this problem with layer upon layer of BS regulations and mandates.  But, the command has already made it clear: NOBODY will be working unpaid overtime (ie volunteer).  It would open an HR nightmare of liability for discriminatory promotions and performance appraisals/bonuses.  Rather, workload will be prioritized for the time/resources available.

Are you referring only to DoD? Because I know other agencies do not limit hours worked for exempt employees. In fact, some agencies/divisions try to make sure their employees are billing as many hours as possible to justify additional funding.

Many highly-skilled professionals in government--scientists, doctors, lawyers, etc.--work well beyond 40 hours per week now, some of whom I know personally. Things will get seriously bad if they're told they can suddenly only work 32.

And my original point comes into play even if this were feasible: government does what Congress tells it to do, or it gets sued. So if, say, Interior cuts corners or delays an impact statement, the government gets sued for violating the law and more work is created for DOJ (and for Interior to cooperate with the lawyers). If DOJ says "well gee all our lawyers are maxed out" the courts find the government in contempt and/or hand down default judgements, costing more money that's not in the budget.

ExBex

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2013, 03:27:04 PM »
Are you referring only to DoD?
I can only speak for my chain of command.  I'm sure it varies between leadership even within the same agency.  My leadership recognizes the inherent inequality of furloughing the workforce and then penalizing the people who follow that furlough order, in regards to future promotions or bonuses, etc.  It is a bad road, and will certainly lead to problems with the union, for morale within the workforce, and to HR liability.

Many highly-skilled professionals in government--scientists, doctors, lawyers, etc.--work well beyond 40 hours per week now, some of whom I know personally. Things will get seriously bad if they're told they can suddenly only work 32.
Not sure if you mean they were getting overtime pay or just working for free.  If they were dependent on any overtime pay for those hours, they really set themselves up for hurt.  You can't furlough and pay overtime!  If working for free, well, it's funny how the most "educated" folks are the ones most willing to enslave themselves, regardless of public/private sector, for their "career".  It's an idiotic culture.  But maybe I'm just missing that career/employee mentality.

And my original point comes into play even if this were feasible: government does what Congress tells it to do, or it gets sued. So if, say, Interior cuts corners or delays an impact statement, the government gets sued for violating the law and more work is created for DOJ (and for Interior to cooperate with the lawyers). If DOJ says "well gee all our lawyers are maxed out" the courts find the government in contempt and/or hand down default judgements, costing more money that's not in the budget.

Not exactly.  The federal government would first have to waive its immunity from any such lawsuit.  But the bigger picture is that Congress cannot legislate reality.  If there are no resources to carry out business as "normal", it's not gonna happen.  I understand the point you're getting at, and it is similar to the argument by folks who think the sequester was too blunt of an instrument and makes no real changes to the underlying legislated workload.  But since Congress can't seem to logically and intellectually reduce the scope of their funded and unfunded mandates, it's the only tool left.

I don't quite know what alternative action you're suggesting?  That federal workers should work for free for as many hours/week as it takes, with some moral imperative to fulfill Congress's whims and save their agencies from lawsuits (that they could simply claim immunity from)?  Balderdash!

sol

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2013, 05:05:11 PM »
I don't quite know what alternative action you're suggesting?  That federal workers should work for free for as many hours/week as it takes, with some moral imperative to fulfill Congress's whims and save their agencies from lawsuits (that they could simply claim immunity from)?  Balderdash!

Our sequestration orders came down today, which suggests to me that nobody is expecting any last minute deals.  It looks like individual cost centers will get to decide how to meet the budget caps, which means some centers will get furloughs and others might squeak by with some combination of hiring freezes, travel reductions, and infrastructure cuts.

Our agency has started with those; no new hires for any reason, no travel of any sort, no working capital fund expenditures.  This is going to severely limit my local office operations, since about half of our staff is in the field on any given day and now they won't be allowed out of the building.  Limiting travel for scientists is hurtful but not fatal; limiting travel for field techs basically makes them useless.  If they can't do their jobs from the office, and you don't allow them to leave, then you might as well just furlough them five days a week.  Otherwise you're paying them to sit on their hands.

My wife and I are both feds, and we won't mind furloughs.  Hell, I'd much rather work four days a week for 80% pay and have the rest of my job unaffected.  But to avoid furloughs, it looks the plan is instead to keep everyone in the office, but limit what they can do.  No publications, those cost money.  No cooperative agreements with other agencies, those cost money.  No field work, no scientific meetings, no replacing broken computers, no replacing the 15% of our workforce that is currently vacant due to attrition during the hiring freeze.  No new projects, no vehicle maintenance, nothing.  Basically we're all going to sit around the office and drink coffee (also not provided, we have to pay for our own office coffee pots by federal law) and try to figure out a way to be useful without spending any money on work.

Which sucks for those of us who have jobs to do, but is better for a lot of the lower end folks who are just scraping by.  If you make $9/hour on 32 hours per week, a 20% pay cut is going to hurt.  I can absorb that 20% and not really notice, except in my lengthening time to retirement.

If we do end up with furloughs, the debate is whether we should try to stagger them to keep the office running five days a week, or just close the place down every Friday to save money on heat and electricity while the building is unoccupied.

Jamesqf

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2013, 05:27:37 PM »
it's funny how the most "educated" folks are the ones most willing to enslave themselves, regardless of public/private sector, for their "career".  It's an idiotic culture.  But maybe I'm just missing that career/employee mentality.

I don't know about that.  (Well, I do know, I'm just being rhetorical :-))  Suppose you happen to like doing say biomedical research, particle physics, or any of a number of other things that pretty well need to be done on the government or big industry dime?

ExBex

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2013, 07:25:08 PM »
I don't know about that.  (Well, I do know, I'm just being rhetorical :-))  Suppose you happen to like doing say biomedical research, particle physics, or any of a number of other things that pretty well need to be done on the government or big industry dime?
True!  I suddenly see a silver lining.  We'll find these people and eliminate their salaries!  They'll still come to work for fun, and we'll save $$$.  We can maybe take up a collection to keep them in sandwiches and cots.

Basically we're all going to sit around the office and drink coffee (also not provided, we have to pay for our own office coffee pots by federal law) and try to figure out a way to be useful without spending any money on work.
Good points... it's an unfortunate cop-out by the leadership there, imo.  As "the fixer" was getting at, there is still a mission to do.  If leadership cuts back the supporting resources such that you can't complete the mission, it entirely defeats the purpose.  They should be maximizing the percent of mission completion, using the more limited resources available.  It's compassionate to the people to protect payroll 100%, and I get that motive.  But government is not an employment charity.  Mission should come first, as in the private sector.

DoD has made the same cuts you mention, and similarly, each org is still working out how to schedule the furloughs.  Given the red ink at DoD, it is almost a certainty that the furloughs will be required, on top of everything else.

Emerald

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2013, 08:41:55 AM »
You're right.  I'm nothing but an overpaid, underworked, GS-09 employee working in a bloated agency wasting your/our taxpayer money.

After years of budget cuts, hiring freezes, and an impending RIFF we are simply out of money and manpower and can no longer maintain our services.

And come March 1, I will be sitting at home while all you complainypants wonder why my office is closed and why you aren't getting in services.  At least I won't be at work to hear you complain.

Congratulations, you've fixed the economy.

 

Jack

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2013, 09:05:35 AM »
Basically we're all going to sit around the office and drink coffee (also not provided, we have to pay for our own office coffee pots by federal law) and try to figure out a way to be useful without spending any money on work.
Good points... it's an unfortunate cop-out by the leadership there, imo.  As "the fixer" was getting at, there is still a mission to do.  If leadership cuts back the supporting resources such that you can't complete the mission, it entirely defeats the purpose.  They should be maximizing the percent of mission completion, using the more limited resources available.  It's compassionate to the people to protect payroll 100%, and I get that motive.  But government is not an employment charity.  Mission should come first, as in the private sector.

Being perceived as operating an "employment charity" instead of "completing the mission" is why the sequestration is happening in the first place, so departments reacting in the way Sol described only confirms the problem.

DoubleDown

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2013, 10:02:07 AM »
I've seen the real crime in federal budgets, and it's not employee salaries and benefits. It's the gigantic sums of money the government pays to private contractors to do jobs that could have been done at a fraction of the cost by hired employees. Examine the revenue of companies like Lockheed, General Dynamics, Halliburton, and the myriad others that are earning hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars annually from government contracts, and then we'll see what's bloated.

As just one example, we've discussed the DoD budget -- just how much does the DoD pay to private entities to staff its operations, develop weapon systems, develop and operate computer systems, handle logistics, administrative work, and everything else. Hundreds of billions? Trillions? Look at the size and growth of those companies (particularly post-9/11) and where their revenue comes from (100% federal contracts in many cases). Entire Fortune 500 companies built around the idea of earning federal $.

I've got nothing against those companies or their employees by the way, for any of you who might work for them. You're in the same boat as the federal worker, earning your pay for a job you were hired to do. And more power to a company who is going after federal revenue, I'd do it too. At the macro level though, it's outrageous how much the government pays contracted firms. Typically 2 - 3x the cost of a federal worker to do the same work. All because private industry is "leaner" and more efficient, and the government could fire them on a dime if they wanted -- riiiiiiiight.

cbr shadow

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2013, 10:28:28 AM »
If government jobs are so cushy, why not get one? www.usajobs.gov

Some people would say I have one of those cushy jobs (grade 11), but when we try to hire new employees at my POD we don't have many applicants to choose from. Maybe this is just an isolated incident?

100k average salary does sound high, but without knowing what their private sector peers make its hard to tell.

The St. Louis school system can't really be compared to other govt jobs as I would think it's an extreme outlier.  I have experience with the school system there and there's a reason nobody is applying to work there..

Compare that to Chicago, or even worse a suburb of Chicago where I am from.  For every available teaching job there are a hundred applicants and you literally have to know someone to get in.  Graduates here work at Applebees because teaching positions are so competitive.  The benefits here are insane, the pay is very high ($113k for a retiring gym teacher at the local high school.  He also coaches girls Jr. Varsity soccer) and will get a pension that gives him 70% of the average of his highest paid 5 years..forever.


sol

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2013, 11:31:16 AM »
Being perceived as operating an "employment charity" instead of "completing the mission" is why the sequestration is happening in the first place, so departments reacting in the way Sol described only confirms the problem.

This has more to do with macroeconomics than agency mission.  The plan to keep everyone employed is not employment charity anymore than unemployment insurance is charity.  It's a conscious decision to sustain our consumer economy by making sure that people who buy things can afford to buy things.

If the federal workforce, which is already shrinking under Obama faster than at any time since WWII, were to shrink another 10% overnight, the national unemployment rate would jump significantly.  This really comes down to what you believe about our economy, that rich people with piles of money propel the economy when they increase the supply of businesses, or that poor people consuming goods and services  propel the economy by creating demand for businesses.  I tend to fall in the latter camp.

It's a purely academic debate to me, since we live so far below our means that even being outright fired would not be catastrophic for us.  I'm not personally invested in the sequester outcome, other than that I have a lot of friends who don't earn so much and are struggling to raise families who will suffer if they take a big pay cut.

sherr

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2013, 12:24:17 PM »
Being perceived as operating an "employment charity" instead of "completing the mission" is why the sequestration is happening in the first place, so departments reacting in the way Sol described only confirms the problem.

This has more to do with macroeconomics than agency mission.  The plan to keep everyone employed is not employment charity anymore than unemployment insurance is charity.  It's a conscious decision to sustain our consumer economy by making sure that people who buy things can afford to buy things.

If the federal workforce, which is already shrinking under Obama faster than at any time since WWII, were to shrink another 10% overnight, the national unemployment rate would jump significantly.  This really comes down to what you believe about our economy, that rich people with piles of money propel the economy when they increase the supply of businesses, or that poor people consuming goods and services  propel the economy by creating demand for businesses.  I tend to fall in the latter camp.

I think I disagree with both possibilities you suggest. The economy is not driven either by rich people creating supply of businesses or by poor people consuming and creating demand for businesses. It is driven by people creating things / having specialized skills that other people want and are willing to pay for.

Any employed person - regardless of whether they are employed by the private or public sectors - who is not involved in some way in the creation or production of goods or services must be having a net negative effect on the economy. Public sector employees who are unproductive but still paid cause a negative net effect on the entire economy as a whole - that's one fraction of a penny more that every productive person will be taxed and not have to reinvest in productivity. Unproductive private sector employees nave a negative net effect on their company.

The only way to have the economy grow is to produce more goods / services than you did last year. Paying people to be unproductive does not make the economy grow. Their personal lives may be easier if they remain employed, but on a macroeconomic level it can't possibly make a difference whether they are employed or not since they are not producing anything either way. So I agree with Jack, that is actually employment charity, does not help the economy overall, and is indicative of the problem with government (that they don't have as much incentive to remain focused on productivity as the private sector does).

unplugged

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2013, 12:40:40 PM »
I feel for both sides on this. Again I don't want anyone to get a pay cut. See my side though, the government employees are 5 years behind. By 2013 many of us have had SEVERAL pay cuts by now that did not result in any furlough days. Just more work and less pay. No one is immune. When thousands have gotten pay cuts over the last years, it never made the news. We for sure don't get any pensions, much less 70% of our highest pay like the coach listed above? How in the world do we afford to pay people like that 70% of his highest 5 year earnings? For most of my life having someone in your immediate life get laid off was RARE. Now it's weekly. I never ever heard of anyone getting multiple pay cuts but being expected to work the same exact hours or more?

Having said this, from what I have researched I don't think this sequester is going to truly help. In might even cost us money?
This news has made me again try to learn how the government "budgets"..... Seriously though studying that will give you a migraine.
I wish it could be simplified because the current set up is very ANTI MMM for sure LOL. I mean they are basically a huge over spending group LOL. Why can't we start small and work our way up. For example, Congressmen do not need free haircuts! I'm using a Flowbee and a Creacut while they get cut free? That's too out of touch. I would rather take away government employees perks than have workers sit on their hands in an office during the sequestration? Haircuts are just one tiny example.

Sequestration hits the wrong folks I think? Let's go after the people living high on the hog! I am avoiding certain obvious points on this one to keep this post unpolitical. But..... It's too hypocritical to hear we are about the sequester people then you look at how the big wigs have $pent their last $everal weekend$.........


the fixer

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2013, 01:06:22 PM »
Not sure if you mean they were getting overtime pay or just working for free.  If they were dependent on any overtime pay for those hours, they really set themselves up for hurt.  You can't furlough and pay overtime!  If working for free, well, it's funny how the most "educated" folks are the ones most willing to enslave themselves, regardless of public/private sector, for their "career".  It's an idiotic culture.  But maybe I'm just missing that career/employee mentality.

I mean they work the extra hours for free. The types of employees I mentioned are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (I am too, but in the private sector). We are officially working 40 hours per week but could be expected to put in as much time as required to get the job done. I don't have a problem doing it every now and then, as long as it's not a regular expectation to do so (spoken or not).

Furloughed government employees CANNOT work during a furlough, but I don't know exactly how that would work for one day per week (e.g. you can't do any work on Wednesday, or you also can't work more than 32 hours this week)

Not exactly.  The federal government would first have to waive its immunity from any such lawsuit.

The government has no general immunity when it comes to meeting their obligations imposed by Congress. States or private citizens can file lawsuits against the federal government as long as they have standing (were affected somehow by the action/inaction), and this happens all the time. There's an entire court set up to hear cases involving financial losses: the Court of Federal Claims https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Court_of_Federal_Claims

The government regularly shields individual employees from liability, though.

I don't quite know what alternative action you're suggesting?  That federal workers should work for free for as many hours/week as it takes, with some moral imperative to fulfill Congress's whims and save their agencies from lawsuits (that they could simply claim immunity from)?  Balderdash!

This is exactly the trap that many salaried people fall into. You're given the responsibility to do something that you personally feel is really important and useful, so you start to love your job. Then one day you realize that your employer doesn't care about what you do nearly enough, or maybe they say they do but aren't willing to fully fund it. You can put in extra time to make up for the lack of support, which helps you get ahead in your career and makes you feel more empowered. Your other option is to just do exactly the amount that's expected of you within a 9-5 schedule, which is essentially giving up and admitting failure.

I've been in that situation before, but it pales in comparison to what government employees are experiencing under the current Congress and political environment that demonizes all of them.

adam

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2013, 02:04:21 PM »
I didn't realize there was a brush broad enough to paint the 3-4+ million people working for the federal government as all the same, but apparently you guys have found it.  Congrats.

One link I saw while trying to figure out exactly how many federal employees exist said there were 2.65 million in the executive branch alone.  Another link said just under 500,000 federal employees make $100k a year or more.  Lets be conservative and say there are 3 million federal employees, that means approximately 16% of the workforce makes more than $100k.

Oh, and the 20% cut is misleading.  Certain things, like your health/life insurance premiums will not adjust down with your pay.  So in my case, and in many of my coworker's cases, the 20% cut actually nets you a 25-27% cut, depending on the person (they sent out a spreadsheet calculator).

Given that, and given the pay freeze of the last 5 years, and the general consensus that we're all worthless, whats to keep a highly skilled individual from leaving federal service for greener pastures?  I'd like to say in my case its because I'm proud of what I do, even if I get paid less than my private sector counterparts.  But what if I'm the minority?  How is it going to look a few years down the road when we lose all our best and brightest people due to issues like this?  That's when you end up having to use those massive government contracting companies put in inherently government positions like 'lead system integrator' and you get projects like JTRS, Army FCS, the F-35, and the LCS (just on the DoD side of things).  Enormous, constantly behind, and hilariously expensive projects.

Guitarist

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #35 on: February 26, 2013, 02:28:48 PM »

Screw that government workers (with some exceptions) have had so good for so long when compared to the private sector. Wah wah wah...but the did freeze my pay for a couple of years so I have already done my part.....tell it to the 25million people that are unemployed.


OP title says it all - big f'in complainypants.   The sequester, if it happens, will be a f'in rounding error.  $85B a year vs. $1.5T deficit ---- wow I feel so much better now that we will only have a $1.4T deficit.  F'in awesome.

Oh yeah - did you see that the federal pensions are underfunded by $761B - where the fuck is this money going to come from.  Wow - fed employees have to contribute 0.8% of their pay to get a f'in awesome pension on their high pay - that compares nicely to my 401k.  I hope this is f'in changed or blows up all together - it is an f'in crime to have such high pay and high benefits.

I am so pissed right now - I TRIED SO HARD TO STAY AWAY FROM THIS THREAD - but alas I am just a government bashing junky apparently.

http://www.moneynews.com/FinanceNews/unfunded-pension-liability-govt/2013/02/22/id/491518

I have seen a few comments in this thread that take the same stance as that first paragraph and I just have to laugh. So what? Your employer fucks you over and the best you can do is rely on schadenfreude? If you have it bad then everyone better get it bad? Instead of say, being pissed at your employers for having shitty vision for the company? So we all just need to fight on the scramble for the bottom. What a genius strategy.

Your knowledge on the federal retirement system is outdated. As someone mentioned, there is a difference between CSRS and FERS.

I agree that the sequester isn't such a bad thing. It is a drop in the budget. But you want to get pissed at someone? Get pissed at your representative. It isn't the federal employees that decide HOW the money is spent. They are given orders that ultimately stem from congress and the white house. Get pissed at them and their sequester-free salaries and benefits.

For the record, I am a federal employee who started as a GS-5 in an electrical engineering position (with a BS in EE). So I request that you take your overpaid/overcompensated/lazy comments about the work federal employees do and kindly shove it. Want to hear what the problem is? Remember the GSA scandal last year? One of the Senators asked the head of GSA why those responsible for the abuse hadn't been fired immediately. The Senator had to be told that the person could not be fired before a full investigation was complete. THE SENATOR DID NOT KNOW THE OWN LAWS SHE PASSES AND ABIDES BY!!!
I have seen some federal workers who are taking advantage of the system, but trust me, they are few and far between. Most of the ones I have come in contact with work their asses off for less money then their private sector peers gets. Perhaps we are doing jobs the private market should handle, but is that their fault? Get pissed at your representatives, not the man or woman working to provide for his family.

mpbaker22

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #36 on: February 26, 2013, 02:37:17 PM »
The St. Louis school system can't really be compared to other govt jobs as I would think it's an extreme outlier.  I have experience with the school system there and there's a reason nobody is applying to work there..

Compare that to Chicago, or even worse a suburb of Chicago where I am from.  For every available teaching job there are a hundred applicants and you literally have to know someone to get in.  Graduates here work at Applebees because teaching positions are so competitive.  The benefits here are insane, the pay is very high ($113k for a retiring gym teacher at the local high school.  He also coaches girls Jr. Varsity soccer) and will get a pension that gives him 70% of the average of his highest paid 5 years..forever.

My sister is one of those Chicago teachers that is overpaid (makes far more than I do), but yes, St. Louis is also underpaid.  There's a reason why the St. Louis public school district hasn't had accreditation for most of the recent past.  1) Because of the poverty in the city, north and southeast,2) because of government policies and 3) low pay.
 note - I live in the county, less than a mile from the city border.

Quote

As just one example, we've discussed the DoD budget -- just how much does the DoD pay to private entities to staff its operations, develop weapon systems, develop and operate computer systems, handle logistics, administrative work, and everything else. Hundreds of billions? Trillions? Look at the size and growth of those companies (particularly post-9/11) and where their revenue comes from (100% federal contracts in many cases). Entire Fortune 500 companies built around the idea of earning federal $.
I can neither confirm nor deny whether I work for one of those companies and whether I agree with your post ;)

unplugged

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #37 on: February 26, 2013, 03:54:21 PM »
This site is interesting and the news section is also. There are some articles from people who will be effected by the sequester.
Looks like some will totally lose their jobs all together......

http://www.dailyjobcuts.com/

sol

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #38 on: February 26, 2013, 06:21:46 PM »
A friend of mine at the forest service says their plan to deal with the sequester is to not hire any seasonal workers.  USFS usually doubles its workforce in the summers with seasonal firefighters. Could be a bad fire year.

He thinks it's part of a political ploy, like let a few hundred private homes burn down and then direct people to call their congressperson to find out why.

ExBex

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #39 on: February 26, 2013, 07:23:28 PM »
This thread has gone in many interesting directions!  I think it's a reflection of the conflict inherent in how a Mustachian lives in an Anti-Mustachian world.  We can separate most of our actions from the consumerist society, but taxes are one area of forced interaction.  We make a lot of calculated decisions in our household budgets, and I think most folks want to know that the precious money given in taxes is treated with the same care we would give it ourselves.   Unfortunately it seems like our Republic is ruled by the Complainypants Status-Quo.  Instead of finding solutions to get things done with less (in true Mustachian fashion), the leaders are making choices that deflect responsibility and attempt to shakedown more funding next year. (Like the forest service example.)

I've seen the real crime in federal budgets, and it's not employee salaries and benefits. It's the gigantic sums of money the government pays to private contractors [...]

As just one example, we've discussed the DoD budget -- just how much does the DoD pay to private entities to staff its operations, develop weapon systems, develop and operate computer systems, handle logistics, administrative work, and everything else. Hundreds of billions? Trillions?
Good point.  If we assume for argument that all 800,000 DoD civilians make $100k, that is still only $80B from a post-sequester DoD budget of $603B!  Payroll is just the path-of-least-resistance in getting within a budget at the last minute.  It's a red herring.  Funds for defense contractors were obligated long before this budget crisis, and they can't be cut now (at least not without termination liability).  That would have taken actual planning.

Sequester didn't have to mean furlough, but Congress creates a mentality of short-term financial crisis and shortcuts are the solution.  What we need is long-term structural changes.  It's a broken system, and most of those 800,000 are not to blame.  (Although I still wonder if their personal Anti-Mustachian financial habits invade their public functions.)

If it weren't for the Canadian blood, I'd say: MMM for President in 2016!

Gubmints

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #40 on: February 26, 2013, 08:35:09 PM »
Wow, LOTS of comments to address here. I'll start with:

1) Federal workers are overpaid.
I've experienced life on Active Duty, in the private sector, and as a Federal Employee.  While many Feds have a bad case of 'retirement-itis', I've got some employees working for me who are grossly UNDERpaid for what they do, and some employees working for me who are grossly OVERpaid for what they do.  There's no one-stereotype-fits all.

2) Feds are a bunch of sissy panty-wearing wussboys for complaining about a 20% pay cut.   
Today I received a DoD-generated email with a Furlough Pay Calculator xls attached.  From crunching the numbers, it looks like most employees will take a NET (take-home) cut of over 24-30% due to fixed allotments (health insurance premiums, allotments to FSAs etc) that cannot be changed.  If/when some DoD command officially posts this spreadsheet online I will promptly provide a link to it (I'm sure the media will get their hands on it in the next 24 hrs or so).

3) As for sequestration, there are 2 levels of cowardice involved.

3a) Everyone on the JCS collectively stuck their heads in the sand early in FY13 (coincidentally, during the election cycle) and continued to burn cash faster than the pro-rated monthly burn rate prescribed under the Continuing Resolution.  So the Military Brass created half the crisis- even without a sequestration event, the Navy is out of Gas Money and the Air Force can't afford to fix its aircraft.

3b) The congressional/executive setup for sequestration mandates a 10% across-the-board cut from all DoD programs.  There is no wiggle room for the JCS to 're-program' money and get rid of the programs, systems, and military bases they already have identified as non-essential.   They also can't offer early retirements (RIFs) to civilians because of the up-front costs that would occur all in FY13.
It's like you and me being forced to take a 10% pay cut and being told that you have to keep your present cell phone contract, cable TV contract, auto insurance deductible, etc instead of having the authority to 'cut the fat' out of your family budget.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 08:36:49 PM by Gubmints »

sol

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #41 on: February 26, 2013, 10:45:12 PM »
3b) The congressional/executive setup for sequestration mandates a 10% across-the-board cut from all DoD programs.  There is no wiggle room for the JCS to 're-program' money and get rid of the programs, systems, and military bases they already have identified as non-essential.   They also can't offer early retirements (RIFs) to civilians because of the up-front costs that would occur all in FY13.

This is part of the reason why the furloughs of federal employees have to be spread out over EVERY worker, rather than just furloughing the ones who aren't critical to mission objectives.  If we just furlough some subset of employees and those individuals exceed 30 days per fiscal year of furlough time, then federal law considers them RIFfed instead of furloughed.  RIFs come with a whole huge bureacratic headache of seniority and geographic constraints, so they would cost more to implement than they would save.  Hence, we have to furlough everybody regardless of what they do, in order to meet the budget caps while keeping everyone under the 30 day limit.

It seems like a dumb law, like an artificially created obstacle to doing what needs to be done, which it totally is.  But then again, the whole sequester is an artificially created obstacle, isn't it?  I appreciate the irony in a manufactured crisis being unsolvable because of another manufactured crisis.

Gubmints

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #42 on: February 27, 2013, 07:49:44 AM »
Seventh Fleet has posted the Furlough Pay Calculator spreadsheet on their facebook page.

Here's the link: http://gubmints.com/2013/02/27/calculate-your-federal-furlough-take-home-pay/

DoubleDown

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #43 on: February 27, 2013, 09:42:13 AM »
I think it's a reflection of the conflict inherent in how a Mustachian lives in an Anti-Mustachian world. 

Congress creates a mentality of short-term financial crisis and shortcuts are the solution.  What we need is long-term structural changes.  It's a broken system, and most of those 800,000 are not to blame.  (Although I still wonder if their personal Anti-Mustachian financial habits invade their public functions.)

Excellent.

  I appreciate the irony in a manufactured crisis being unsolvable because of another manufactured crisis.


Excellent.

And tooq4u22, where are you? Have you handcuffed your hands behind your back to keep yourself from commenting in this thread?!

As ridiculous as I find our leaders' (lack of) governance and runaway spending over the years, I also saw a comment in the Washington Post from one of the many federal workers who were sounding off about the upcoming planned furloughs. One 67-year old worker commented how she'll probably lose her house as a result. What a sad commentary on the typical, consumerist lack of planning. Feds don't deserve the current treatment, but there's no excuse for living this close to the edge of financial ruin (particularly at that age).

So, the title of this thread should be "Sequester AND Complainypants"

ExBex

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #44 on: February 27, 2013, 10:04:38 AM »
Today I received a DoD-generated email with a Furlough Pay Calculator xls attached.  From crunching the numbers, it looks like most employees will take a NET (take-home) cut of over 24-30% due to fixed allotments (health insurance premiums, allotments to FSAs etc) that cannot be changed. 
Seventh Fleet has posted the Furlough Pay Calculator spreadsheet on their facebook page.

Here's the link: http://gubmints.com/2013/02/27/calculate-your-federal-furlough-take-home-pay/

This spreadsheet is disingenuous on two fronts:

1)  It is not taking into account the portion of the health insurance still being paid by the govt on your behalf, a contribution that is not being cut 20%.  Including only the expense portion of the insurance and not the compensated portion is obviously going to skew the percentages a bit.  It's spin.

2)  It's also like saying any pay cut is worse because the price of bread didn't get cut by the same percentage!  Your health insurance premium is a payment for an optional service you receive, and of course it will remain fixed.   Just because it is taken out of your paycheck for convenience doesn't make it any different than groceries or car insurance or any other optional household expense.  It's a mathematical fib to include it.

ExBex

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #45 on: February 27, 2013, 10:20:46 AM »
One 67-year old worker commented how she'll probably lose her house as a result. What a sad commentary on the typical, consumerist lack of planning. Feds don't deserve the current treatment, but there's no excuse for living this close to the edge of financial ruin (particularly at that age).

EXACTLY!!!  That was the gist of my first post.  We can choose to be victims, sucker-punched by things beyond our control.  Or, we can take responsibility for the things we do control and make ourselves much less vulnerable (albeit not immune) to those externalities. 

noob515

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #46 on: February 27, 2013, 01:52:47 PM »
One 67-year old worker commented how she'll probably lose her house as a result. What a sad commentary on the typical, consumerist lack of planning. Feds don't deserve the current treatment, but there's no excuse for living this close to the edge of financial ruin (particularly at that age).

EXACTLY!!!  That was the gist of my first post.  We can choose to be victims, sucker-punched by things beyond our control.  Or, we can take responsibility for the things we do control and make ourselves much less vulnerable (albeit not immune) to those externalities.

Yes, THIS was the point of the thread.  Politics aside, federal workers are no different than anyone else, and there are bound to be plenty of anti-mustachians in the lot. 

I'm a federal worker, and I can afford a 20% cut if that's what it comes to.  Some of my colleagues are mustachian, some aren't, and some make me want to shake them silly for their completely anti-mustachian ways.  But that's exactly how it was at all my private sector jobs too. 

adam

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2013, 09:02:01 AM »
Today I received a DoD-generated email with a Furlough Pay Calculator xls attached.  From crunching the numbers, it looks like most employees will take a NET (take-home) cut of over 24-30% due to fixed allotments (health insurance premiums, allotments to FSAs etc) that cannot be changed. 
Seventh Fleet has posted the Furlough Pay Calculator spreadsheet on their facebook page.

Here's the link: http://gubmints.com/2013/02/27/calculate-your-federal-furlough-take-home-pay/

This spreadsheet is disingenuous on two fronts:

1)  It is not taking into account the portion of the health insurance still being paid by the govt on your behalf, a contribution that is not being cut 20%.  Including only the expense portion of the insurance and not the compensated portion is obviously going to skew the percentages a bit.  It's spin.

2)  It's also like saying any pay cut is worse because the price of bread didn't get cut by the same percentage!  Your health insurance premium is a payment for an optional service you receive, and of course it will remain fixed.   Just because it is taken out of your paycheck for convenience doesn't make it any different than groceries or car insurance or any other optional household expense.  It's a mathematical fib to include it.

Except you can shop around for cheaper bread whenever you want.  Once a federal employee picks their health insurance they are stuck with it until Open Season, which is once a year (around November I think).   So its not exactly an option for you to pay/not pay/switch to a cheaper one.

And what does any of that matter?  The bottom line is the bottom line, I  take home 27% less than I used to if this goes into effect, not 20% less. 

Math.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 09:06:43 AM by adam »

kendallf

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #48 on: February 28, 2013, 10:47:46 AM »
I haven't bothered to post to this thread thus far, as I don't have much to contribute that hasn't been said by others already: there's no public sentiment in favor of us 'overpaid slackers', yada yada.  :-)

I did go and use that spreadsheet today though, as I was curious as to my net pay cut like everyone else.  My net pay cut will be 32%.

Yes, there are several artificialities in that number, foremost in my case the 15% of my salary I'm putting into the TSP.  I could cut that back to 5% and reduce my "net pay cut" to 11%, if necessary. 

However, I think I'm going to take this as a challenge to get our spending under that net amount; that would give me close to the savings percentage I'm striving for over the next few years and it needs to be done anyway.

unplugged

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Re: Sequester vs. Complainypants
« Reply #49 on: February 28, 2013, 11:09:07 AM »
There was a sequester protest yesterday in my state. Can you imagine if we non government employees has protested when we got our pay cuts? I think we would have been fired and possibly arrested because our numbers are small and spread out through various companies and time frames. These people for example can't protest: http://www.dailyjobcuts.com/

Anyway, I am so afraid this sequester is going to haunt us forever. It will divide and already terribly divided country.