By Richard Thayer
As a federal employee, do you ever get the feeling that there is a bull’s eye painted on your back? If not, maybe you should. Perhaps a little more concern on your part would make you more sensitive to the fact that there are people out there who think you earn way too much money and that your benefits, like your health insurance, is way too extravagant. And in order to “level the playing field,” they would like to see to it that you too are among the nation’s working poor.
Whether you realize it or not, there are forces at work at this very moment that are developing plans that could potentially harm you and your family. These various threats are in the form of “proposals” being tossed about by the government hierarchy that could cut your take home pay and negatively impact your future retirement plans, or your current retirement plans.
One of the most immediate threats to you and me is a bi-partisan proposal that would reduce the take home pay for 80 percent of federal AND postal workers at an estimated savings to the government of around $4 billion. Under this proposal, EVERYONE under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) would pay 5.8 percent of their income to help finance future retirement benefits. Currently FERS employees contribute only 0.8 percent of their income. This would be in addition to the 6.2 percent that you already pay into Social Security.
And there are other proposals being floated around in Washington that are just as bad, if not worse. Among them are these:
A plan to terminate any federal or postal employee who gets “seriously” behind in their taxes. So far no monetary figure has been attached to “seriously.”
Another plan would freeze ALL federal hiring. So, if you’re a letter carrier who is presently being required to carry one-and-a-half routes (whether you’re on the ODL or not), you can look forward to carrying three routes in the future. Oh, and by the way, we expect you back in eight.
Yet another plan has future retirement benefits being based on length of service AND the highest five year average salary. At present the average is three. You can find more information on this proposal by going here.
There’s also a plan to change the formula for COLA raises. This particular proposal would reduce all future annual COLAs by a full percentage point per year. That’s reduce not increase.
And the powers-that-be are feverishly working on a new formula to determine how much of your future health premiums the government will pay. Today the government pays for about 70 percent of each premium for most of the plans with the exception of the Postal Service. Thanks to our various union contracts, we pay even less. HOWEVER, if this proposal becomes law, that would no longer be the case. Under this proposal the government would pay an increasing smaller portion of the premium with each passing year and you would be required to pay more. Want more information on this? Go here.
And these are just a few of the proposals out there that are designed to save the government money while increasing your indebtedness.
If you would like additional information on these proposals and others, listen to “Your Turn with Mike Causey” radio show.
If you think these proposed laws would be great for America, do nothing. You will be blessed with these laws in the next year or so.
BUT, if you think these proposals would be harmful to America in general and you and your family in particular, I would strongly encourage you to become well acquainted with your senators and your congressional representative. The sooner, the better.