In wonkier parts of the Washington area — Capitol Hill, Georgetown, Arlington and Chevy Chase — much of the table talk at the local Starbucks is about the fiscal cliff, sequestration and the upcoming elections. Lesser subjects include sex and the Washington Redskins, not necessarily in that order.
Children of politicians in Alexandria, lobbyists in Bethesda, lawyers in Potomac and talking-head journalists who reside in Cleveland Park are warned that the coming financial crisis if (fill in the blanks) is elected, might mean a furlough for their nanny or au pair. That’s their fiscal cliff.
Dogs that fail house-training lessons in Somerset or McLean are made aware they may wind up at the vets where they will be sequestered.
In short, the potential crises that politicians here have created, and are now fighting to save us from, is a big deal inside the Beltway. But how about in the real world?
In cities like Zanesville, Ohio; Bowling Green, Ky.; Reno, Nev.; Orlando, Fla.; and most other real-world sites, the fiscal cliff and the prospect of government belt-tightening don’t appear to top the list of things to worry about.
We heard from a fed with 37.5 years service who said:
“Here’s what’s missing that nobody has latched onto: Retired feds will get a 1.7 percent cost-of-living raise. But for long-service, long suffering feds who have continued to work during the two-year pay freeze, they will NEVER recover what they have lost … Those who retired before the pay freeze got a 3.6 percent COLA this year, and 5.8 percent in 2009.
“Those who continue to work will, eventually, get back most of the pay lost to the pay freeze. But it is the oldest, longest serving feds who have served their nation, the public and both Democratic and Republican administrations who are going to be the only ones who will never receive their frozen pay.” — Frozen Fed
The reader said he believes the White House and Congress should approve a bailout — similar to the one for GM and Wall Street banks — that would credit long-time, pay-frozen feds with the COLAs they missed while they were working — when they actually retire.
Another correspondent says he’s not concerned with the threat of furloughs or sequestration. He writes:
“I don’t know if I’m dumb or what, but as for what could happen to me here at IRS if Congress can’t get its act together, I think the answer is: Nothing, They can’t afford to lose the income I help bring in and I don’t think I’ll be furloughed since I have 25 years of service. The union was here a couple of weeks ago saying they are trying to keep any of us from being furloughed.” He said he’s more worried about his TSP account. “I’ve been 100 percent in the F Fund (bonds) since July of last year. My latest statement says my return for the last 12 months was 5.27 percent. That’s not as good as the C (stock) Fund return or the S and I Funds. But it is steady and better than the G (treasury securities) Fund. Some people said I was smart to have it all in the G Fund when the market fell apart. I’m not out to break the bank. Just be able to retire and do things, like a European river tour.” Tony IRS
Pay gap between government, private sector widens to 34 percent On average, feds earn 34 percent less than their private-sector counterparts, according to new data. Last year, the public-private pay gap was 26 percent. Over the last several years, the council’s analysis has shown the pay gap increasingly widening.
Cool Jobs: Air marshals opt for down-to- earth training for in-the-air threats Air marshal training takes about 16-1/2 weeks. New recruits are sent to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, N.M., where they receive about eight weeks of law enforcement instruction. This includes learning basic police techniques, like how to write an arrest report, the general authorities as a federal law enforcement officer and how to place handcuffs on a suspect. They also receive training in general defensive techniques.
‘Path to PMF’ offers step-by- step help for agency fellowships The online guide ‘Path to PMF’ gives applicants inside tips on how to land a Presidential Management Fellowship. This year, the prestigious fellowships opened up to more applicants, making the need for a step-by- step guide ever more important, according to the creators of ‘Path to PMF.’