As the lame duck session is about to begin Federal workers in every department are concerned. Concerned is to nice a word, they are scared sh*tless! Why because they only conversation that is happening right now in Washington DC is about how they have to cut the Federal Budget.
Many of the GOP are pushing a plan created by Senator Alan Simpson and Former White House Chief of Staff Esrkine Bowles. The Simpson-Bowles plan would save the government money. However it is not enough to balance the budget or not stop our mounting debt. The Simpson-Bowles was not adopted or sent to the US House for a vote do to the fact that the ‘fiscal commission’ could not agree on it.
The Bowles-Simpson commission needed 14 of the 18 votes. It failed on an 11-7 vote, with four Democrats and three Republicans, including (Paul) Ryan, voting no.
While Simpson-Bowles also has drastic reforms to other programs like Social Security healthcare I want to focus on the Federal workers. Here are a few highlights of the Simpson-Bowles plan as written by Kellie Lunney at GovExec.com
Extended pay freeze: The panel recommended a three-year civilian pay freeze across government. The commission estimated the freeze would save $20.4 billion in 2015. The plan also freezes lawmakers’ pay. Obama and lawmakers extended the current two-year pay freeze at least until the end of March, when the continuing resolution expires. Obama wants to give feds a 0.5 percent pay bump when Congress passes a budget next year. But that assumes that one, Congress will pass a budget and two, lawmakers won’t vote to extend the current federal pay freeze.
Smaller government workforce: The Simpson-Bowles report recommends shrinking the government rolls by 10 percent by hiring two new workers for every three employees who leave service. The commission claims such a reduction would save $13.2 billion in 2015.
Increase employees’ health care contributions: The panel suggested adopting a voucher plan and slowing the growth of federal contributions to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.
Review military and civilian pension systems: Simpson-Bowles recommended creating a task force to look at changing the pension system for feds and eligible retired service members. One possibility the commission suggests is increasing the amount feds contribute to their pensions. It’s worth noting that Obama and several lawmakers also support making feds pay more for their defined retirement benefit.
So to recap, they have created a plan that starts by cutting workers pay. Mind you these are the same workers who have not seen a pay raise in over three years already.
They want to increase their workload by reducing the number of people to do the job. So the lines at your local Social Security office are not going to be getting shorter any time soon. Make employees pay more for health insurance.
They are planning on using the same failed logic and create a voucher program for the Federal Employees Health Plan. This is similar to the plans they are suggesting for Medicare and Social Security that sound great but fail the reality check.
Lastly they are going to stick it to our bravest men and women. The same men and women who fought to preserve our way of life and the Government that is now trying to hose them. Changing the retirement system right before or just after someone retires is absolutely wrong.
Congress is once again looking to take from the workers to pay for their mistakes. They need to stop using the Federal workers as their own personal piggy banks and start working together to find real solutions, not temporary bandaids that hurt workers. Real solutions start with changes on every level. Increasing revenue, making discrete and calculated cuts not broad base hack jobs, and working together to make these decisions.
People always say we should run the government more like business, well Enron was once a successful business once too.