Feds and middle-class workers

Senior Correspondent Mike Causey is on vacation. This is the first in a series of guest columns written by Federal Report readers. Today’s column is from federal employee, David A.

Middle class workers represent the largest number of jobs in the country. Feds are no different than middle-class workers in many ways. The value of their wages are being diminished over time. They have relatively no union protections. And health benefits are taking more out of their pockets. They are beginning to follow a pattern not much different than that of service workers, like those at Walmart.

Each year, new federal hires are offered a poorer benefits package and must work longer in order to reach retirement. Those joining the federal workforce since 1984 have gone from a defined-benefit retirement to a defined-contribution situation. That means, what is defined is how much you contribute, but you have no idea what you can count on in retirement. Ain’t it great?

And it seems things are getting worse day after day. We, as a nation, are moving to retirement packages of Social Security plus whatever people can stuff into the crapshoot known as the stock market. There was a recent issuance from the government that said in order to get a maximum Social Security benefit, you will now have to wait until you are 70. Waiting until you are 70 will get you maybe $30K a year. Not much money in this day and age. Feds have gotten no more money (well 1 percent in five years) while health care, food, gasoline and electricity rise, and the value of their houses has been cut in half. Yet, we are being told there is no inflation.


Some groups are doing better than others. For instance, the Congress is allowed access to insider trading information. (How long would it take to become rich if you had that info?) Last year, hedge-fund managers, 25 of them, made $21 billion (with a capital “B”). That’s more than twice the combined salaries of all the kindergarten teachers in the nation. Traders make their money because of tax advantages. And they spend their wealth to influence our leaders that they deserve it. The wealth of the top 1 percent has increased 400 percent since 1970, while that of the middle class has dropped 6 percent for the same period of time.

In the last ten years, the morale of the federal workforce has deteriorated, posing a gigantic problem that is being largely ignored. Those who would try to rein in government power from within — whistleblowers — if they are smart and in touch with reality, should always fear retribution. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

While all kinds of hot-button issues swirl around us like a lack of good jobs, adequate and affordable health care or wellbeing in retirement, we as a nation seem incapable of changing anything for the common good or, even worse, recognizing what the common good is anymore. So, we anesthetize ourselves with the pleasures of Western culture and think “Life is Good.” — Dave A.


People in the United States on average use about 50 percent more toilet paper per person than other Western countries “primarily due to the reluctance of Americans to adopt water washing systems like bidets.”

(Source: Today I Found Out)


Obama gives feds right to request more flexible work options
Federal employees now have the right to request a more flexible work schedule and managers must “carefully” consider those requests, President Barack Obama told agency heads in a June 23 memo on expanding workplace flexibility in the federal government. The memo, which coincided with a White House conference on working families, also encourages agency heads to expand flexible workplace policies, such as telework, alternative work schedules and temporary part-time duty “to the maximum extent practicable.”

VA reshuffling leadership team
Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson announced Friday the nomination of Carolyn Clancy as interim undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs.