Federal Employees Asked For “Shared Sacrifice”…And Then Some…And Then Some More

By Richard Thayer

Earlier this week (see below) we talked about how President Obama’s deficit-reduction plan, unveiled on Monday, would adversely impact the Postal Service, thousands of its employees and the nation’s customers. In responding to the President’s speech, NALC President Fred Rolando expressed the feelings of many letter carriers when he said, “The administration has missed the boat on many of its postal proposals.”

But that wasn’t the only boat the administration missed Monday. It also missed it in regards to federal employees in general, proposing that in addition to the burden they’re already bearing, they need to also pay more into their pension plans. At a White House briefing President Obama referred to this as “modest adjustments to federal retirement programs.”

These “modest adjustments” (saving the government $21 billion over 10 years) are in addition to mandatory furloughs, an extension of their current two-year pay freeze, and receiving a smaller retirement package.

Commenting on the President’s proposal, Carl Goldman, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 26, said: “Federal employees are working people who have already contributed to deficit reduction through a pay freeze and the taxes they pay. It’s not ‘shared sacrifice’ to make them give more.”

Adds John Gage, President of the American Federation of Government Employees, “The proposal amounts to a $21 billion tax increase on federal employees, a stunning violation of the president’s promise not to raise taxes on families earning under $250,000.”

While we’re all sharing in the sacrifice we should remember the people who got us into this fix in the first place. As Katrina vanden Heuvel observes: “No one should forget. Wall Street and big corporations had the party. They rigged the rules. They pocketed the rewards. They created the mess. They got taxpayers to save them….The fact is that most Americans have already sacrificed. They are the victims of bad policies skewed to benefit the privileged. Real shared sacrifice would require that we send the bill to those who had the party and created the mess, and ask them to pay their fair share.”

(Art Credit: Mexico, a Boomer’s Guide)


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