What are the odds that a legislative body — the House and Senate — will take care of benefits (like retirement, and health care) for the 2 million plus federal workers in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government? Like their pensions.
Many if not most members of Congress are fixed for life. They are under a modified version of the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System that replaced it in the mid 1980s. Many will be able to retire on life-time annuities that go up when inflation rises. And continue even into death of the representative or senator provides for a survivor benefit for his or her spouse. While they voted to leave the Federal Employees Health Benefits System with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, the Office of Personnel Management ruled — with a nudge, nudge, nudge from Congress — that the government would continue to pay the lion’s share of their health premiums. That amount — about 72 percent — remains the same no matter how much premiums go up each year for federal-postal and retirees, or for members of Congress in their special D.C. exchange.
The state of mind (and wallet) of members of Congress could be a factor in the few remaining 2017 workdays Congress will have after it returns next week. One of the key items on its plate is your pension plan. The CSRS, FERS or CSRS Offset retirement packages. There are serious proposals to whack the programs, to cut future benefits, reduce or eliminate inflation-protection, require workers to pay more for their retirement. Included is one proposal to drop the FERS program for future hires and limit them to Social Security and whatever they can set aside with an enhanced 401(k) plan (the Thrift Savings Plan).
Earlier this week, the highly respected Congressional Budget Office issued a report on five of the potential changes, which if enacted, would also apply to CBO workers too. So what’s the diagnosis? Checkout the report an analysis. After you’ve digested it you may want to contact affluent persons who ‘represent’ you to let them know you haven’t made it yet, but you do live, work and vote in their districts.