How Much Does the Government Pay to Fund Your Annuity?

By on February 24, 2013 in News, Retirement

A FedSmith.com user recently claimed that 95% of annuity costs are paid by the Government.  This sounded high to me.  However, unlike the complex “which retirement system is better” issue, this one is a matter of simple fact, and can thus be put to rest with a bit of research.

The retirement trust fund is administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  As stewards for this huge pool of money, they know better than anybody how much is in the fund, how fast it is being paid out, how much is deposited by who, etc.  In the OPM series of Benefit Administration Letters (BALs), there is one each year on cost factors for the retirement fund. (There is just one fund for both annuity systems, by the way.)

Note BAL 12-307, Cost Factors.  Each percentage figure below represents the nominal total paid into the fund, as a percentage of the employee’s salary.  Employee contributions ares in parentheses:

CSRS Regular CSRS Law Enforcement FERS Regular FERS Law Enforcement
29.8 (7.0) 50.9 (7.5) 13.7 (0.8) 29.7 (1.7)

 

FERS is the predominant retirement system, and it will continue growing for years, while the ranks of CSRS folks are dwindling to the point where they will become extinct.  So, to clarify the meaning of the above FERS numbers, let’s look at them in terms of dollars.  Both below employees have a salary of $54,000.

Contribution
Type of Retirement Employee Agency* Total Percentage from Agency
Regular $432 $6,966 $7,398 94.16%
Law Enforcement $918 $15,120 $16,038 94.27%

Imputed Costs

The above cost factors are for accounting purposes and are sometimes called “service costs.”  Just to ensure confusion, “imputed costs” are the result of subtracting the actual contributions by both employee and agency from the service costs.  This is explained in BAL 03-309.

Who pays the imputed costs?  The taxpayers.  There is an annual appropriation by Congress for augmentation of the retirement fund.

FERS Revised Annuity Employees (FERS-RAE)

Most employees hired on/after January 1, 2013 are placed into FERS-RAE.  The RAE is for “Revised Annuity Employee.”  Ironically, despite the terminology, these new employees will NOT be receiving a revised annuity; instead, they will be paying a revised contribution to the retirement fund – 3.1% instead of 0.8%.  It appears total service costs will be unchanged from the “old” FERS, with the only difference being more paid by the employee and correspondingly less paid by the agency.

In other words, FERS-RAE is identical to FERS except employees must pay more.  This is the basis of the “savings” policy makers credit to FERS-RAE

In conclusion, for employees in the “old” FERS, the assertion that Government pays 95% of retirement costs is essentially correct.  For those in FERS-RAE it is a different picture.  The 3.1% they pay into the fund represents 22.6% of costs, with 77.4% paid by Uncle Sam..

(In one sense, the 95% paid-by-government claim is false.  That is, over the years, the money deposited into the retirement fund grows a great deal, due to the miracle of compound interest.  So, it could be said that the interest is a major contributor.  But this is kind of picky, or even misleading.)

This is just my opinion, but it looks like non-CSRS employees who want to ensure a decent income at the end of their Government careers need to invest heavily in the Thrift Savings Plan.

My website for calculation of federal benefits is here.

*as augmented by the annual congressional appropriation

© 2016 Robert F. Benson. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Robert F. Benson.

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About the Author

Robert Benson served 35 years in various Federal agencies, as both a management analyst and IT specialist. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.

143 Replies

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  1. Tip_off says:

    Okay, I just have to ask… My SigO is CSRS.  The publication referenced (BAL 03-309), found at the government web site “www(DOT)opm(DOT)gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/benefits-administration-letters/2003/03-309(DOT)pdf”
     states on the last table on page 2 of said PDF report, that the CSRS Regular employees Withholdings and Agency
    Contribution defined benefit retirement system receives Employee Withholdings of $35,000 from the employees and that the government basically matches that amount with $35,625 .   

    Now, I’ve always been told they receive matching funds from the government of anywhere from 7-8%, determined by time-in-service, and the amounts essentially validate that.   So… where does the 29.8(7.0) number come from?  Is the entire remainder just unfunded?

  2. Itsjustmeagain1 says:

    When graduating from High School having studied electronics, I looked at my options. I could work in a TV repair business and open one of my own some day. I was offered a job up on the Defense Early Warning Radar system (DEW Line) and make a good wage. I could go into the service (there was still the draft) and make a career of that. I could work at the Frankford Arsenal in Philly in an apprenticeship program and expect to work in the shops there.
    I reviewed all of the options, benefits promised, health insurance, retirement benefits and cross walk them to my long range plans. I chose the security in retirement, job growth potential and the wealth of job possibilities worldwide working for the DOD and US Army as a civilian. I started at the Arsenal as a Wage Grade OO/1 making $2.18 an hour and after 38 years retired as an equivalent GS-15. I was just lucky to be at the right place when opportunities arose.
    This was my choice. Any career path is the choice of each individual. I don’t begrudge a union worker making a good wage assembling a car, a contractor’s engineer working on a DOD development or someone employed elsewhere in a Corporation. That was their decision, and as a senior manager in a development command I can tell you my peers made much more than me. I stayed with the DOD because I believed there was a difference in my job, doing something important for the Nation. That’s just my need for fulfillment and I believe it is an innate characteristic of those of us who work in the government.

  3. ExposeDEMLiars says:

    In what world does the investment earnings count as the employer contribution? If I have an IRA and put in $1000, 40 years later it may be worth $6000. Does that mean that the bank contributed 90% of my retirement?

    This is the same one sided logic that allows CSRS employees to be double taxed. We are taxed on the money we earn before the CSRS 7% is taken out. There is no tax break like there is with IRA or TSP accounts. Then we are taxed on the money as we withdraw it. Of course the money we contributed is amortorized over 40 years so the dishonest arguement can be made that we eventually get the double payment down to a single payment of taxes, but the fact that it can be as much as 80 years after we paid it in doesn’t seem to matter. Does anyone really think that the money we get reduced taxes on 80 years later is the same value as when the double taxes were charged?

  4. Bob W says:

    In what world does the investment earnings count as the employer contribution?  If I have an IRA and put in $1000, 40 years later it may be worth $6000.  Does that mean that the bank contributed 90% of my retirement?

    This is the same one sided logic that allows CSRS employees to be double taxed.  We are taxed on the money we earne before the CSRS 7% is taken out.  There is no tax break like there is with IRA or TSP accounts.  Then we are taxed on the money as we withdraw it.  Of course the money we contributed is amorterized over 40 years so the dishonest arguement can be made that we eventually get the double payment down to a single payment of taxes, but what the fact that it can be as much as 80 years after we paid it in doesn’t seem to matter.  Does anyone really think that the money we get reduced taxes on 80 years later is the same value as when the double taxes were charged?

  5. Manage This! says:

    Article is well written – and although I don’t agree with the sentiment that onedonewong has or ever did intend that his statement about the government paying 95% of the retirement contribution was focused exclusively on the 1/3 addressed here – it is refreshing that the facts about the percentages are now disclosed at least for the 1/3. Including the rest as part of the calculation would be a bit more tricky – but could be addressed as part of the averages obtainable from TSP and of course the dependent amounts for the SS would be addressable as well as long as you identify a few of the wage levels as comparisons.

  6. Manage This! says:

    I was about to correct Rambo on the statement about the max contribution and then as I was checking – I discovered an inconsistency in documented amounts.  He is right about the max “Elective” contribution – what I was discovering is that the agency matching is not part of the max contribution for the TSP (include or not include the catch up contribution).  The rules are as they now state  a maximum contribution of $51,000 per year (elective and agency) but a cap on the elective of $17,500 under age 50 and $23,000 over age 50.
    My surprise was in the wording of the limits – IRS set a limit of $23K toward the TSP but TSP stipulates that the limit is only on the elective contribution – no consideration about the agency contribution thus only limit is the total cap of $51K which includes the agency part.  My apologies for previous postings indicating these were included in the $23K max contributions – I found the often missed clarification on this here:  https://www.tsp.gov/planpartic

  7. D Byte says:

    Data from a Report by the Institute for Policy Studies “A PENSION DEFICIT DISORDER”

    Percent of private sector workers having traditional pension at work in 1980 = 89%
    Percent of private sector workers having traditional pension at work in 2012 = 11%

    BUT for CEOs, 79% of Fortune 100 companies have traditional pensions

    • ExposeDEMLiars says:

      Your comments are extremely misleading.  Most private companies have retirement plans, but they are not pensions.  Most companies have moved to matching contributions to a 401K, similar to what the fed govt has done with FERS. The implication in your comment is that the employees are getting nothing is completely untrue. Just the type of retirenment has changed, and primarily by employee demand. Most people no longer stay with one company all their lives, so pension plans give them nothing. 401K plans can be moved from job to job with them.,

      Let’s be honest in citing “facts”

      • D Byte says:

        The data shows the slide down in defined benefit pension plans.  Those type plans are managed by the company’s actuaries and trustees – financial professionals that ensure the best returns in the trust assets.  Many times better knowledge than the general population that have little experience with financial principles or calculations.  Taking the retirement investment responsiblity away from professionals and placing it on the financially illiterate is poor policy.

  8. FedHRAtty says:

    Yes, but FredFEd, neither you nor I (or, in fact, the vast majority of federal employees save those with experience in high-level government contracts or insider experience with agencies such as the SEC) are employable at most of those companies. Those benefits are used to attract the BEST and the BRIGHTEST not, as with many federal employees, those looking for security. In fact, given the security that the government does offer, really they could still attract hundreds of applicants per job with worse benefits. We’ll see the results with the first crop of applicants who will pay more for their FERS benefits. I bet there is zero dip in applications. Just like with all the fed-bashing, applicants to my agency have still increased in this recession. If I were running my own business, there’s exactly five federal employees I can think of who I’d want to hire to work for me, and I’ve been in four different agencies.  I’ve also worked in private sector, long enough to know that as a 10-year fed, I’m now unemployable in corporate America, presumed to have lost a work ethic. The benefits are great, the competition is fierce. At least with the stock-option set. That’s why they have those–actually, Microsoft no longer has stock options for most employees as they once did. Now they have a stock plan, which is a big, big difference. You won’t become a millionaire with that one and retire at 30 like in the halcyon days of the early 90’s.

    • Japygid says:

      Good post.  I, too, am looking forward to see whether there is a dip in applications, and I agree there probably will not be.

      There was a comparable situation in the postal service, in about 1984.  The agency cut salaries across the board for all new employees.  I believe it worked out fine (for management, that is).

    • IcekingZ says:

      I agree with your sentiments on the quality of most federal employees. I worked in a law enforcement agency and was forced into an early retirement after tipping members of Congress off that there was widespread overtime theft by managers and supervisors in the agency. I ended up getting my teeth kicked in and transferred into a horrible non-job. There was an investigation which was a joke. I was forced to take a year off with pay then retired. Three days after my retirement there was an article in the Post that the top three agency directors were forced to resign after being forced to turn in 1500 hours overtime each that was earned illegally. This was after I was told there was nothing to any of my complaint. I’ve been retired now for over 5 years and can only wonder what’s going on there now.

  9. IcekingZ says:

    According to my annuity statement I put $101,000 in CSRS over a period of 30 years and 6 months. I withdrew that amount in the first 15 months of my retirement. That does not include the $1,000 per month I receive as a health care subsidy. It would appear based on that the government is paying for over 90% of my benefits amortized over 20 years. That doesn’t indicate the true cost however.

    • skisok says:

      Your statement is misleading.  If you would have invested that money, you certainly would have a lot more than $100K over a 30 year period.

      • IcekingZ says:

        Is it misleading? Ironically in 2012, the average amount in a 56 year old federal employee plan was $104,000.

        • skisok says:

          Let’s stick to the subject. We’re not talking about an average TSP plan which is voluntary. We’re talking about an individual’s social security contributions, which are not. You are not promised anything in a TSP plan, and TSP plans are not subject to being usurped in the governments general find, which was illegal to begin with. Social Security is a trust fund, yeah right!

          • IcekingZ says:

            I wasn’t talking about social security at all bu CSRS. If you return to my original statement you will see I state clearly that the contributions only doesn’t indicate the true cost.

            By the way, the government has “usurped” the TSP G Fund On several occasions only recently returning the money.

          • skisok says:

            Annuities and Social Security are one in the same!

          • IcekingZ says:

            No they are not. I currently can not collect any social security without a massive penalty due to the fact I receive CSRS. If my spouse passes away I can collect nothing from her social security.

          • skisok says:

            I meant they are both annuities.

      • theinnerring says:

        misleading how, and in reference to what?  the point is icekingz will be paid much more than contributed.  maybe more than if invested, assuming he would have had that money up front to invest from day one, which would not be the case.

        • skisok says:

          He still would have had a lot more than 100k and at least 25 % of that miney would have been invested in the first 10 years gathering interest or capital gains for the next 20 years. What are you saying, that there will be zero growth?

          • theinnerring says:

            no.  but he gets much more out than 100K put in.  100K is the employee contribution to his annuity.  i believe mine was about the same.  i will get much, much  more than that if i live just 10 more years.

  10. Big L says:

    I have been retired under the CSRS for almost 34 years following over 38 years service (including military).  Our CSRS retirement system is the best ever, and the health benefits are just super.  Iknow the FERS is not as good thanks to Ronald Reagan who was a triple dipper himself.

  11. DeathWatch says:

    Over a 30 year career FERS funds 30%.  Try living on 30% of your salary.  So the FERS paid by the employee and the remaining 70+% comes from the employees savings.  It may not be enough depending on how long you live.  Compare this to CSRS–and there is a signficant difference. 

    Research results on the amounts paid from CSRS/FERS to survivors would be interesting. 

    • Japygid says:

      I’m sorry, but my article makes it clear that for FERS employees – any time period – the Government pays 95% of the money, or whatever you want to call it, into the retirement fund.  The other 5% is paid by the employee.

    • theinnerring says:

      the point is you will receive much more back in FERS annuity than you have contributed.  this article is not about the percentage of your salary that will be your FERS annuity.

    • wombat1951 says:

      FERS was supposed to be different from CSRS.   FERS is a 3 legged stool — the pension; the TSP; Social Security.
      :
      Those who don’t maximize their contributions to the TSP are being stupid.   At a minimum, contribute enough to get the matching funds from the government.   But over a 30 year career of dollar cost averaging in the TSP, any employee should end up with a decent retirement fund to supplement the FERS pension and SS.

    • theinnerring says:

      no, 70% does not come from employee savings.  you will also get SS.  do you need 100% of your salary in retirement?  i get about 56% of mine  but i’m no longer contributing to: TSP, medicare, CSRS, taxes are lower.  look at your net, not your gross. right now my annuity is about the same as my take home was.

  12. pearls says:

    It is misleading to infer that government pays 95 percent of an employees retirement.  At 1% per year over a 30 year career I would suggest FERS employees funding is more than 70 % (adjusted for life span).  CSRS employees receive a significantly larger benefit. 

    Research on how much goes to beneficiaries would be interesting.       

  13. Guitran says:

    Why not put all this energy into examining “Farm subsidies” or the waste in the military (who are also FEDERAL EMPLOYEES), or the tax breaks given to large corporations and the “big oil” industry?  The obvious answer: pick on the low hanging fruit, the easiest target, the people with the least resources for defense.  Envy is no substitute for integrity, and all of these criticisms are directed at mostly hard working people who make up the middle class of the USA.  Nest question:  how many of these author’s jobs have required daily manual labor, getting up before 5:00 a.m., and worrying about one’s own salary?  I’ll match my work ethic with yours any day, and as a Federal retiree and veteran with over 34 years of government service, I do not fee over compensated for my loyalty and service.  I’ve had other jobs, the kind where there are no benefits and the pay is pathetic, and I stayed with the DOD mostly because BECAUSE of the pay and benefits, not because the work was “easy.”

  14. ReaperComing says:

    my question is why Law enforcement gets a better deal?? than all the other hard working employees isn’t that inheritly unfair??

    • LaborAttorney says:

      Mandatory retirement age and higher employee contribution.

    • redauburn says:

      Law enforcement get a lot more than that too.  They get to sit in the office and get 25% of their salary added to their retirement plus overtime for working out, talking to friends etc as long as they are on the job for 10 hours per week extra.  They don’t have to be actually be working.  They are allowed to get up to 35,000 maybe a little more in overtime.  They don’t have to be out on the street actually working, they can be pushing paper to get this.  So the better retirement they get has nothing to do with age or actual contribution. 

      • ReaperComing says:

        Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
        Caveats: NONE

        I understand having been a police officer in my younger years but that is a lot of difference for very little risk on their part just saying seems flaky

      • theinnerring says:

        guess you took the wrong job……

      • $31427826 says:

         Premium pay is in lieu of overtime, they don’t get both.  The job can get dangerous, ask any DEA agent or US Marshall

    • wombat1951 says:

      One reason is in the course of doing their job, they sometimes get shot.   

      • redauburn says:

        How, if they are in the office pushing paper??? I can see the Border Patrol people, they see a lot of trouble but the ones that just sit in the office and call themselves officers are a different story.  Most of them have never had to deal with drawing their gun since they never leave the protection of their government  office that needs ID’s and passwords to even enter the area. 

        • Japygid says:

          No question about it: FBI agents have excellent credentials, are highly trained, etc.  But as far as actual close-up involvement with dangereous people…  I would much prefer being in the company of an experienced police officer of a big-city police department.

          Some years ago, there was an incident where a suspect was being interrogated by two FBI agents.  He took the gun away from one of them, shot and killed both agents.  This would not have happened, in my opinion, if the questioning had been conducted by detectives from  big-city police department.

          My point is that ordinary police have lots more experience with real danger, and handle it much better.  But their pay is considerably less than the FBI.

          • $31427826 says:

             Fedbens you are generalizing here.  First many police officers make more money than FBI agents.  In fact, while Reagan was president 25% of the FBI resigned on a Monday morning to protest the pay.  I have a relative that is a dectective on a major police department.  He turned down an offer for the FBI because a patrolman make substantially more money.  Today he makes more than an FBI field agent.  As an aside, he was involved in a shoot-out where 2 people were killed.

          • Japygid says:

            Pay?  If you will take another look at my post, you will see I said nothing about pay.  Please check. 

        • $31427826 says:

           and, MOST police officers have never fired their gun while on duty.  So what is your point redauburn?

      • ReaperComing says:

        Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
        Caveats: NONE

        And who doesn’T just saying? Been there done that

    • $31427826 says:

       Because 1. there is mandatory retirement at a younger age and 2. they contribute a higher percentage.

    • Rambo1957 says:

      Most law enforcement positions have to retire at age 57. The retirement contributions are higher. You only have to 57 to put money in the TSP. Most can be recalled at any time of day or night. Whether the public or inmates, may be involved in dangerous situations that they must deal with. 34% for the first 20 years and 1% per year after that. Unfair? Apply, take a law enforcement position like a penitentiary and let me know.

  15. Comrade1917 says:

    We are all comrades now.

  16. Fed Up! says:

    “So, it could be said that the interest is a major contributor.  But this is kind of picky, or even misleading.)”  Why is interest misleading or picky?  There is not a major public or private retirement fund that is not invested and relies on a return to grow.  Some like the 2nd largest public retirement fund CALPERS and many state employee funds are heavily invested in the markets, not just compounding simple interest.  Sounds like you take too much of your retirement advice and data from onedingdong. 

    • Japygid says:

      Interest is misleading or picky because the article was about contributions, or deposits, into the retirement fund.  Interest is not contributions, or deposits, into the fund.

      • Fed Up! says:

        You and onedingdong are ignoring the fact that a FERS retirement program consists of three parts – its a “retirement system” as OPM and your article call it.  To look at only one part of it and conclude that the govt. pays 95% of FERS retirement as onedingdong does, is looking at only 1/3 of the “system”, i.e. cherry picking his conclusion for his own irrational ‘reasons’.  If you don’t know that then you shouldn’t be advising anyone on federal retirement policy and are likely smoking the same fish as onedingdong.    

        • Japygid says:

          If you will take another look at my article, you will see that it was about funding of annuities.  It was not about anything else, like TSP, Social Security, or what have you.  Check it out.  You will find it was only about funding of annuities.  Okay?

          • The Master says:

            That’s right. Your article was only about 1/3 of the FERS. What happens when you take the other 2/3 into account?

          • theinnerring says:

            READ THE ARTICLE.  you are trying to generalize while the issue addressed in the article was a very specific one.

          • Fed Up! says:

            I read the article, apparently you don’t understand what you wrote – you generalized the annuity portion to the whole system, as does onedingdong:

              “FERS is the predominant retirement system, and it will continue growing for years, while the ranks of CSRS folks are dwindling to the point where they will become extinct.  So, to clarify the meaning of the above FERS numbers, let’s look at them in terms of dollars. ”   

            Sorry but you cherry picked the numbers just to find and agreement with dingdong.  And this conclusion about FERS talks about the whole system;  has always been well known and the reason why almost no CSRS, like me, converted to FERS when given the chance:  “This is just my opinion, but it looks like non-CSRS employees who want to ensure a decent income at the end of their Government careers need to invest heavily in the Thrift Savings Plan.” –

    • wombat1951 says:

      The interest credited to the pension is as phony as the IOUs being put their in lieu of your own money.   Not real money.  Just a promise to pay.

      • Fed Up! says:

        Please send me your account numbers so I can accumulate whatever interest and earnings your accounts will never get.  thanks!

  17. wombat1951 says:

    Your article contained a key mistake that serves to continue the myth that there are any assets in the pension fund:
    :
    “As stewards for this huge pool of money, they know better than anybody how much is in the fund, how fast it is being paid out, how much is deposited by who, etc. “  
    :
    As this site’s Ralph Smith detailed in a very informative article just the other day [Feb 21] there is nothing in the fund except non-marketable debt instruments.  No money.  Just promises to pay.  IOUs.
    :
    When the government “pays” anything into or out of these pension funds, it is trading in what is called “inter-governmental debt”.   Not money.  Not assests.  Nothing marketable.  Just promises to pay in the future when needed.
    :
    The fraud behind the scheme is that the government has taken actual money from its employees in the form of whatever contribution they have made, and instead of socking that money away somewhere, has given it to Treasury for expenditure from the General Fund, and then replaced this money with some of those non-marketable IOUs.   Just like Social Security — nothing in THAT “trust fund” except debt.  IOUs.  As a matter of fact, the combined inter-governmental debt in all of the Federal “trust funds” and “pension funds” comprises about one third of the almost $17T National Debt.
    :
    http://www.treasurydirect.gov/

    • LaborAttorney says:

      So you favor a lockbox?

      • wombat1951 says:

        Nope.  Because there really is no such thing with the government.    But if a “lock box” is deemed necessary, then mandate that every penny of excess tax revenue taken in is invested in gold and silver and similar hard assets, and prohibit the government from borrowing on these assets.   No more IOUs.
        :
        I would favor having the SS tax rate and/or earnings cap reset each year to reflect the best estimate for how much revenue is needed that year to pay benefits.   This would serve muliple purposes:
        :
        1.  It would completely expose to taxpayers what it costs to deliver the entitlement to beneficiaries.
        2.  It would eliminate the chronic over-taxation that has occurred whenever the politicians “fix” SS when they raise taxes.   As we’ve seen, the excess revenue always gets spent right away.  
        3.  As the true costs of sustaining benefits becomes transparent, the possibility of more rational discussion about exactly what benefits should be provided can occur.   In the end, the voters will decide how much entitlement they want to pay for.
        :
        In addition, I would make sure that SS is run completely separate from the rest of the budget [and this might be the best way to run Medicare and similar entitlements as well].    Completely remove the possibility for Congress to use SS or Federal pension programs as slush funds for general revenues.

        • SuperDave says:

          Why not start with just dropping the earnings cap altogether and let millionares pay more than 1% towards Social Security, unlike most everyone else that pays 6%?. That would probably save Social Security by itself.

          • HRGuy71 says:

            Social Security was not set up as a welfare program. It was established so that everyone would benefit when they obtained future benefits as a supplement to a person’s retirement funds. Taxing people who make more money (not just millionaires as implied by your note as many people who are not millionaires would pay the extra tax you are advocating) turns it into a bigger welfare program than it has already become.

            Your idea of redistributing wealth in various ways is currently fashionable— just as providing for your own future retirement or looking out for ones own needs has become increasingly unfashionable as more people look to the government to provide them with more benefits.

          • grannybunny says:

            Well, actually, Social Security was set up as a welfare program, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • Japygid says:

      What is set aside in the retirement fund for future needs?  Non-negotiable Government bonds?  Intra-Government obligations?  IOUs or promissory notes of some kind?  Paper that has no real value?

      MONEY would be better, right?  But money is printed on paper, too.  Paper money is properly called “fiat” money, meaning it is issued by the Government and we should all treat it as though it has value.  And we DO treat it as though it has value.

      If paper money has value, then why on earth don’t the paper instruments mentioned above have value?  They are issued by the same Government that issues the paper money!

      Aside from the above, the independent auditors of the retirement fund saw no problem in this. They were independent, were they not?  If the paper flowing into the fund were somehow bogus, they would say something, wouldn’t they?

      • wombat1951 says:

        As has been explained, NOTHING has been set aside for the future.  Every penny of federal employee contributions taken in over the years was spent.   In lieu of this money, non-marketable “special bonds” were put into the “pension fund”.   These are nothing but promises to pay.
        :
        You are correct that we have a “fiat currency”.    But the holder of any specific $1 Bill can exchange this with anyone in the world for something those in the exchange agree holds the same “value”.   The “bonds” in the “pension fund” cannot.
        :
        It’s not that the paper in the pension funds are gogus — it is just that they have no intrinsic value to anyone in the world except the issuer — the Federal government.    When they need to be used, the government MUST find the actual money to disburse from another current source — taxes or borrowing.

  18. The Master says:

    The problem is that the individual making that claim says it for our entire retirement, not just the pension.  The pension is only going to account for 1/3 of all retirement benefits. What about the SS piece or the TSP piece? When you factor those in, the percentage changes, significantly.

  19. Rambo1957 says:

    I’m sure some will not agree with these numbers. One thing is beyond dispute, you need to stuff as much money as you can in the TSP. Those in law enforcement positions have a limited time to do so.

  20. FredFedFERS9988771 says:

    Employees at a large number of Fortune 1000 corporations pay absolutely nothing towards their pensions.  FERS annuities nearly worthless compared to pension plans of Exxon-Mobil, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Chevron, Ford, HP, GE, Siemens, P&G, DuPont, IBM, Chevron, BP and hundreds others, etc.   Not to mention numerous lifetime perks and far superior, and in some cases, free or substantially cheaper health/vision/dental benefits.   Give me a break already.   Stock options can be massively substantial towards retirement packages not to mention routine five and six figure bonuses.    FERS = 1% per year of service.   What a pitiful joke. 

    • HRGuy71 says:

      I have never thought that we should have the biggest and best retirement system in the country. Some companies do have better plans. Our retirement system is much better than most. Our health insurance is better than most–and many companies are now dropping having a spouse on the same health plan because of penalties under the new health care act. Plus, unlike most companies, we can carry our health insurance into retirement.

      I would not bitch too much. We don’t have a bad benefit plan despite the protestations of some who are posting comments.

      • PublicCitiZen says:

        I don’t think the majority of complaints are about our retirement plan.  It’s about the characterization of it as an overly generous, undeserved benefit plan that is screwing the taxpayers.

        I think the vast majority of federal workers are just sick and tired of being portrayed as some sort of parasite.

        • Rambo1957 says:

          Do you really care about what someone you don’t even know thinks? What matters is what you and yours thinks.

          • PublicCitiZen says:

            If you mean someone like onedonewrong, of course not.

            But when those people are elected officials who have the power to royally muck things up, I do care.

          • ExposeDEMLiars says:

            Yes because uninformed, self impressed people are the ones that elect uninformed, self impressed politiicans.

        • $15300432 says:

          Its an earned criticism seeing as how the avg Fed makes $130,000 a year and pays next to nothing towards their pension

          • Proudfed says:

            You are obviously misinformed or an idiot.  Not sure what you are including in the “avg Fed makes”, but I am a GS-14 Step 7 and don’t make $130,000, and know that is not an “average” grade.  I pay 7% for my pension, and agree it’s not a huge amount, but next to nothing is an exaggeration.  When I started Civil Service our pension and benefits were considered good, but nothing overly generous.  The country has obviously changed, and it seems that now corporate greed rules, which has pretty much gutted private industry benefits.  Not sure doing the same to Civil Servants is in anyone’s best interest.     

          • Tip_off says:

            Just as a side note. 

            onedonewrong is a retired military COL, turned government contractor, living in Virginia who simply hates civilian employees.  But I must say, his sources are not imaginary.  USA Today, and a number of other publications have touted erroneous DOL statistics.  The numbers he spouts are effective for ONLY certain high cost areas having excessive numbers of high level military and civilians, like the Beltway in Virginia.

          • Oshunbrz says:

            That’s absolutely false!  My husband has worked as a federal employee for 35 years and will retire soon and he has not earned anywhere near $130,000 annually and he’s certainly paid a lot into his retirement and health care insurance.
            The retirement pension is not nearly as much as you would expect!!   Not so great in some ways, it’s true the private sector pays more.  He has not had a raise for 5 years due to the damned government pay freeze. 

        • ExposeDEMLiars says:

          Unfortunately there are a lot of local governments that have gone overboard giving away massive retirement plans without any employee contributions.  Simple minds like onedonewong can’t distinguish the difference nor grasp the concept that all public retirement plans are not the same.

          CSRS earned an reputation for being a very generous plan because when it was introduced the private sector had nothing to compare to it.  That is no longer true.  While CSRS is still a very good retirement plan, there are far better ones in some private sector companies (of course there are also far worse ones).  Also, Federal employees recently have been earning a lot more, but for most people in CSRS, we earned about 35 – 40% less than private sector equivilant jobs because we got the benefits instead of salary.  Also,  Fed employees are only overpaid compared to private sector when you look at low level positions where they make 2x what they would earn in private industry.  In managerial, technical anf professional positions, fed employees still earn far less than private industry.

    • wombat1951 says:

      Unlike the Federal government, all of those companies are businesses that earn money and make profits.   EVERYTHING a Federal employee receives in compensation is paid for by the taxpayers.

      • $17594902 says:

        That’s a matter of semantics.  The money business earns is also paid by those same taxpayers.  So wether it is public or private is irrelevant since each element provides something in exchange for the money. Your argument assumes that what the private sector provides is somehow more valuable to the consumer.

        • wombat1951 says:

          Without the private sector generating wealth, there would be no public sector tapping that wealth to exist.
          :
          No questioning the nessecity of government, or that those working in government need to be compensated fairly and reasonably.   But never forget that government gets ALL of its revenue from taxing the private sector.   The private sector generates the wealth by providing things and services that people want or need.

          • WVFarmer says:

            The Postal Service does not use one cent of tax-payer’s money

          • FedQA says:

            Just to make sure you understand, I work for the Government and I also “PAY TAXES” thus I generate revenue for the Government.   Some of the largest companies are DOD contractors, Locheed Martin, General Dynamics, etc etc that rely on the Government to provide THEM revenue to provide things and services.

          • $17594902 says:

            And ipso facto without a government there would be no private sector.  

            I fully understand the government gets “ALL of its revenue” from taxing the private sector.  But they share a common goal of mutual concern and one cannot exist without the other.  If it weren’t for  national defense, education, & international affairs, business would not have the environment it works in today.  So they need each other.  

            People don’t pay taxes because they enjoy it, they understand there is an infrastructure required to enable our daily lives or business lives.  Third world governments/economies are good examples of how that can fail.  

            Additionally, business doesn’t pay taxes, their tax burden is wrapped up in their production costs which is passed on to the consumer.  So in the end, people pay both government and business for everything that exist from a trading perspective.

            I think we are in agreement, but I’m confused about your point to remember the private sector generates revenue to enable the government.  Are you simply saying government wouldn’t exist without the private sector?  If so, agreed and I’ll move on.  But from my perspective your comments seem to indicate the private sector has some sort of advantage or ….what, because it earns a profit?

          • skisok says:

            And he also seems to forget that taxpayers bailed out the likes of the AIGs, Bank of America’s, GM, Chrysler, Goldman Sachs, etc, etc.

          • wombat1951 says:

            Government [ours anyway] is formed by the people, who are, of course, the “private sector”.   
            :
            There are countless examples around the world and in history where governments exist that do everything they can to suppress freedom of the people to even have a “private sector”.   Our form of government is an exception, in that our Founders wanted one that protected freedoms and liberties in all things — including economic — rather than controlling or suppressing them.
            :
            The people choose to tax themselves in order to establish and sustain the government they need and want.   But make no mistake — government is, by definition, a drain on private sector wealth.   Necessary, but a drain nonetheless.   Hence — the eternal struggle to define what is “necessary” in government and by government, and what it is worth, and what is should cost.
            :
            Yes…we probably are in substantial agreement.     But without wealth creation and profits, the economy doesn’t grow.   And without economic growth, the government growing only drags the rest down with it.

          • The Master says:

            Where I work now, we provide services to other agencies and compete with the private sector to do so. We collect a fee for those services. Whether an agency selects us to process payroll (among other services) or some private sector company is up to them. Those fees are what fund our office and pay for all our salaries and benefits. Any profit we make is actually paid back to the Treasury. We actually got an email telling us that even if the sequester goes into effect, we won’t be furloghed because of this.  

          • skisok says:

            I guess public service is not something that people want or need to put it your way.

      • Uhhhhh - hang on.... says:

        Wrong. In my position a fee is colleceted for one of the benfits provided to the public (dont get hung up on the details). In FY 2012 there were enough fees generated to at least cover my salary, and then some. Blanket statements that cover “EVERYTHING” are generally very rare.

      • Ecjp404 says:

        Just want to make sure you and others understand that Federal employees also pay Federal Taxes. So in essence they pay themselves to work to ensure they have benefits that they pay in addition too! Got that? 

      • DAC says:

        Yes Wombat1951 and you know what those same Federal Employees usually pay a higher percentage of their salaries for Federal, State and Local Income taxes. See one hand washes another, attacking one segment does more harm than good and focuses people’s attention away from the real problem in all of this. Overspending by Congress as a whole. Those 12 privately held Federal Reserve Banks that get our tax money and loan it back to us and charge interest. This is where the real fraud is occuring when the interest on that so-called debt eats up 1.3 trillion of the tax revenues that are taken in each year and to fund our government programs they have to borrow money to fund programs.

      • skisok says:

        Well I hate to tell you, but ultimately everything whether private or public sector is paid for by the tax payer.

      • $31427826 says:

         Actually that is not true.  There are revenue generating programs in a number of agencies that actually charge for services.

      • gunruner says:

         Wombat 1951 or strawman? Your data / thought process appears to be written to provoke a response. So here is a brief comment.

        The  services provided by federal employees to the citizens of the US is needed to support our way of life. Either you hire federal employees to perform the task or private industry; either way, most of the services are still needed to make government run.  So your choice  is to hire a government employee whom you pay fairly and provide a fair benefits package or you hire out the required work to private contractors, who must make a profit to pay stockholders as well as pay their salary and a benefits package to them as well as the CEO/COO and private business  employees and office space.  Historically, it has been documented that lost government jobs which are farmed out to a private industry workforce winds up costing more than the federal employee including their benefits costs……Check out the facts from OPM.

        Also, most federal employees don’t make anywhere near $100K and regardless of pay, we paid our fair share of taxes, retiremenmt and health care, etc….just like most everybody else in a job / base pay / range in private industry.  “Everything a federal employee receives in compensation is paid for by the taxpayers” is incorrect as many federal employee groups/commands compete against private companies for the “needed” work and are paid from the proceeds of the contract(s) won.  Although private industry has been known to low ball a bid to get in the door, but in the long run, costs  have wound up costing more by private industry for the same work performed by feds within one or two years.

        So, wombat 1951, Concerning “all those businesses that earn money and make a profit”… they also get their money in compensation from the taxpayers… because they sure don’t get it from people not paying taxes and earning a living.   

    • RetiredFed says:

      They pay absolutely nothing towards their pensions?  Really?  Where do you think the money comes from?  Just because there might not be a “pension deduction” on their earnings statement, doesn’t mean the employee doesn’t ultimately pay for their pension.  No employees, no money generated, no profits, no pension.

    • Rambo1957 says:

      Less and less private companies are offering traditional pensions. Show what these companies you state offer, especially to new employees. Lets see to compare. If what you receive is a joke, why stay? I read where pensions are becoming rare in the private sector.

      http://money.usnews.com/money/

      • grannybunny says:

        You are correct about the increasing rarity of private sector pensions.  In 1980, 4 out of 5 private sector workers could look forward to a company-sponsored pension.  Now, it is 1 out of 5, as private companies continue to sack out employee benefits, in favor of increased executive compensation, including bonuses and golden parachutes.  People attack government benefits as excessive, when — in actuality — private sector benefits are what has changed, and concerted efforts are needed to restore some balance in private sector compensation.

        • $17594902 says:

          From what I read private sector retirement plans are waning.  

          I would think the argument among people should be, as you point out, to push for re-establishing retirement benefits.  

          I would wager a guess that every executive has a retirement plan, so other than saving money for the company, why shouldn’t everyone who enables a company receive similar benefits. 

          Otherwise the outlook of eliminating retirement plans is a pretty bleak landscape.  Bigger demands on Social Security and a lesser quality of life at the end – which will not speak well for society or success of business in the long run since people are their greatest asset.
           
          The real issue is, where does the balance between profit margins and sustainability intersect.  Business can continue to cut their bennies to save money, but to what end.   Clearly at some point people are not content & business fails (check out the Chinese sweat shops).  But as long as business can convince the people they are lucky to have a job, as they are doing, they merrily keep their advantage. But the opposite side of that coin is that business is lucky they have employees to deliver a product.  

          The advantage in that argument goes to the business simply because their position is protected by a management team that can use company resources to enforce their advantage.  I’m not a union fanboy, but there is a reason behind the idea of unions which puts the employees on more equal negotiating ground.  

        • Rambo1957 says:

          We have no business sticking our noses in a private companies manner in which they set up their pensions. We have seen here people insist that the private sector has better benefits then federal employees. Now you say we need to have the government make sure the private sector bring their packages up to the federal level? You post often here it seems yet I have never read you taking anyone to task for arguing how much better the private sector is. Most employees aren’t on the executive level nor do they qualify for any golden parachute. You are stuck on looking at those at the top of the pay of the top companies. That is, very few people. Using these few as examples is classic class warfare. If shareholders wish to pay these packages, as exorbitant as they may be, that is on them. The reality is all federal employees know full well what is offered as benefits and are free to accept or decline employment. Whining after the fact is petty and childish. In the scheme of things, we have it good.

          • skisok says:

            As a taxpayer, I think it’s high time that executive compensation and retirement benefits are capped.  I’m tired of seeing the lost revenue going towards personnel salaries and retirement benefits.  If a company wants to pay exhorbitant salaries to their executives and retirement plans, they should have to eat some of it.

          • HRGuy71 says:

            Perhaps we should just turn over all of the country’s assets to the federal government and it could determine how much each person gets. To quote Karl Marx: “To each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” By doing away with the private sector, we would not have to worry about how much companies were paying. They would all essentially be owned by the government anyway.

          • skisok says:

            If you don’t like what’s happening on this country under President Obama, why don’t you just move to another country and take your millions with you. Watch the door on the way out.

          • contspec says:

            Well that is obama’s philosphy.  After all, he knows best what is good for us.  Jus ask him.

          • grannybunny says:

            Whether it’s our business or not, alot of people these days are comparing government and private sector pay and benefits.  In most cases, private sector executives — not shareholders – are driving the decisions regarding their own compensation and benefits; the shareholders just ratify, after the fact.  Just as the resources of government — beginning in the 1980’s – have been increasingly skewed to benefit the wealthy, so have the private sector resources.  Whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between these 2 trends remains to be seen.  I’ve never said the government needs to “make sure the private sector bring[s] their benefits up to the federal level.”  But, we are all aware that our tax code is used to influence private behavior, through its system of rewards and penalties.  Just as the tax code needs to be revised to no longer encourage companies to move jobs offshore, it could also be amended to incentivize the private sector to distribute benefits in a more equitable manner.  The last thing our Country needs is a greater percentage of retirees relying solely on Social Security.  Private sector employees can also engage in concerted action.  Right now, due to high unemployment, it’s an employer’s market, and individual employees don’t have much clout to improve their benefits.  But, as the economy continues to improve, that situation likely will too.  No whining, just facts. 

          • Rambo1957 says:

            “Whether its our business or not”. That’s all I needed to read.

          • grannybunny says:

            Right, everyone is making it their business.

          • Rambo1957 says:

            Uh, no.

      • skisok says:

        I’ll bet any money that the CEOs of these private companies are getting a golden parachute and it’s high time that they give their employees the same.

    • Rambo1957 says:

      General Electric, for comparative purposes. Doesn’t sound much, if any better:

      http://suite101.com/article/ge

      • D Byte says:

        Generral Electric CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, has $53,301,387 in his pension plan but EMPLOYEES of GE have a $21,756,000,000 deficit. However, GE has $85,461,000,000 cash on hand.

        Immelt is estimated to receive $292,220 per MONTH for his pension.

        • Rambo1957 says:

          So you choose one person and use that as the standard for compensation in regard to retirement? So are we to assume that all federal employees receive what a member of Congress with, say 30 years gets? Would you be happy with that comparison?

          • D Byte says:

            David Cote (Honeywell) CEO assets $78,084,717 ==== Honeywell Employees assets deficit $2,764,000,000
            Randall Stephenson ( AT&T) CEO assets $47,001,565 ====AT&T Employees assets deficit $10,756,000,000
            W James McNerney (Boeing) CEO assets $39,089,893 ====Boeing Employees assets deficit $16,598,000,000
            Michael Ward ( CSX) CEO assets $32,292,517 ======== CSX Employee assets deficit $818,000,000
            John McGlade (Air Prod) CEO assets $24,513,351 ===== Air Prod Employees assets deficit $762,000,000

            There were more to be listed but the jist of the lesson here is that employees pension plans are underfunded but CEO plans get fully funded.

          • Rambo1957 says:

            I could honestly care less about what someone else gets. If the shareholders wish to pay it, then pay it. This has absolutely nothing to do with our pension or benefits. I’m quite sure if you had the knowledge or talent, you would take these packages too. Still doesn’t represent pensions or benefits. You don’t make what the President makes either. Are you working for these companies? If not, don’t worry about it. Funny how some here are complaining about how well the private sector has it but you state their pensions are underfunded. I guess you’ll agree we Feds have it damned good!

          • Gnatman says:

            Would you prefer that GE give its shareholders the $85 billion in cash on hand, don’t deposit pensions assets for its employees, and then maybe some day declare bankruptcy and kick the pension responsibility over to the GOV?

    • Oxe says:

      Well, it’s 1.1% if you work over 20 years, which is not unusual for those about to retire. We also get social security, and if you’re at all smart, you will have gotten a free five-percent bump by contributing the matchable amount to the TSP. It might not be better than a lot of prestigious companies, but it ain’t bad either.

    • $15300432 says:

      HUH???? most Fortune 500 companies no longer offer a defined pension. Ford as an example hasn’t offered a define plan since 1997. The question to be asked is why the taxpayers should be forced to fund 95% of FER’s

      • The Master says:

        According to Ford Motor Company:

        Ford Motor Company-UAW Personal Retirement Plan
        •Funded entirely by company contributionsFunded entirely by company contributions• Adopted in 2007Adopted in 2007• Effective January 1, 2010Effective January 1, 2010• Covers entry level wage employees hired or rehired on or after November 19, 2007Covers entry level wage employees hired or rehired on or after November 19, 2007• Skilled trade direct hires continue to be covered under the Ford-UAW Retirement PlanSkilled trade direct hires continue to be covered under the Ford-UAW Retirement Plan• Cash balance defined benefit pension plan providing:Cash balance defined benefit pension plan providing:• Contributions to each participant’s notional account equal to 6.4% of the employee’s base hourly wagerate multiplied by the number of straight-time hours workedContributions to each participant’s notional account equal to 6.4% of the employee’s base hourly wagerate multiplied by the number of straight-time hours worked• Interest credits based on rates specified under the Pension Protection ActInterest credits based on rates specified under the Pension Protection Act• 3-year cliff vesting and portability provisions3-year cliff vesting and portability provisions• No provisions for supplements, temporary benefits, or 30 and out retirement benefitsNo provisions for supplements, temporary benefits, or 30 and out retirement benefits

        media.ford.com/images/10031/20…

        • HRGuy71 says:

          “During the current earnings season, companies including UPS, Boeing Co., Ford Motor Co. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. have disclosed yawning pension-fund deficits, even though they have plowed billions of dollars into their plans and strong stock markets have boosted their investment returns. Across America’s business landscape, the gap between the amount that companies expect to owe retirees and what they have on hand to pay them was an estimated $347 billion at the end of 2012.”

      • $31427826 says:

         Better check your post on FMC retirement plan or lack thereof.  Taxpayers do not fund 95% of feds retirement plan, only the civil service portion, which is a small piece.

  21. happy dyatte says:

    This is a wonderful article and everything written by authors are so good and non-biased.  I really appreciate the truth and whole truth because lazy cs who now calls itself one done wrong-can stick his/her head in sand on this one!

    • Japygid says:

      I’m glad you like my article.  But, just to be fair, I must give credit to onedonewong.  He made the ridiculous claim about the 95% in the first place, and I set out to prove him wrong.  Learn something new every day, I guess!

      • killyouwithtruth says:

        A non-biased author?  Your mention of a “ridiculous claim” by a Fed Smith user tells us all we need to know about how non-biased you are.  

        • grannybunny says:

          Onedonewong, you’ve added yet another pen name!

        • Japygid says:

          First, I am not, and have never claimed to be, a non-biased author.  I have loads of biases, just as virtually everybody does.  Many times I let the biases show.

          Second, when I said onedonewong’s claim was “ridiculous” it was an ironic comment.  The reason it was ironic was that in this particular case, onedonewong was correct.  So, his claim was not really ridiculous at all.

          • The Master says:

            That’s not entirely true. When onedonewong talks about FERS, he means the entire retirement is 95% funded by taxpayers, not just the pension. When we look at the other two peices, it’s different. Significantly so.

          • Rambo1957 says:

            What do we pay towards the supplement? Social Security kicks in at 62. All US employees pay towards this. The TSP? Employees do not have to put any money towards it if they wish. Yet, doesn’t the government still kick in 1%? Of course he was talking about the defined pension portion. It’s what sets us apart from most places of employment. Most places MAY have a 401k with various matches. Plus, obviously, their social security. And, I wonder how many can carry their health benefits into retirement? How fortunate are we? Very!

          • The Master says:

            And waht about those who never get the supplement? What about those who put up 15% of their pay in TSP? And how many do carry their insurance into retirement? It’s easy to pick only the variables that suit your bias, what about the ones that don’t?

          • Rambo1957 says:

            Facts are not bias. We are talking about the defined pension portion. You cannot qualify the other two portions. You can what if all day long. The facts are the facts. Honestly, 15% is not the limit. $17,500 is and another $5,500 if over age 50. That is not including the 5% match. Hell, some people pay into social security and never collect a dime! I was not the person who insists that SS and TSP were part of what was involved in the 95% equation. As the author has repeatedly said on this forum, he was talking about the annuity portion. Is it so hard to accept that the government kicks in 95%? Do you feel that is not enough?

          • The Master says:

            The facts are that people pay more in than the 5% for the pension. Selectively taking only 1/3 of a retirement system is not an objective approach. I fully accept the data for the pension. The issue I have is the person who made the comments didn’t just make them about the pension, he made the comments about the whole of FERS. And on several occasions made that clear. If the assertion is that all of FERS is 95% taxpayer funded, we should address all of FERS.

          • grannybunny says:

            Yes, it is ironic that onedonewong was actually right about something, but, hey, even a stopped clock is right twice a day!  🙂

          • PublicCitiZen says:

            The stopped clock is right more frequently than onedonewrong. 😉

          • grannybunny says:

            So true.

          • Rambo1957 says:

            Well, that’s ironic coming from you! Can you share when he was wrong if it that often?

          • grannybunny says:

            How many times has he claimed that the average government employee makes $130K, works 20 hours per week and has zero accountability?

          • Rambo1957 says:

            Never read that but I agree, that would be wrong. However, not to be mean, but I don’t often find you accurate. I think you are very bright but it seems to me you are biased. I recently retired but I feel strongly we have it better than most and feel fortunate to have fallen this way in regard to employment. Many on this forum seem to take for granted what is provided. Honestly, it annoys me.

          • grannybunny says:

            It is not my intention to annoy you, and I am sincerely sorry if I do.  I agree that we do have it better than most.  There’s nothing wrong with that; government is supposed to be a model employer.  However, I do not agree that the solution is to worsen our workplace conditions, but rather to try to improve conditions for everyone.

          • Rambo1957 says:

            You don’t annoy me, we just see things differently. I’m quite sure I’d like you. I don’t see workplace conditions worsening. I see this as a transitional phase due to the world wide global changes economically. I’m grateful I stepped in it so to speak. I feel like I get paid to stay home. Wait until you retire. It’s pretty neat!

            I don’t wish to make it sound as if I am against anyone. I am not. I just feel we are more fortunate than most. Do some have it better? Sure. I don’t care. I have good health, a wonderful family and enough to enjoy life. I hope you and everyone else ends up with more than I. As I said before, I get annoyed when people complain, especially with so many Americans struggling.

          • grannybunny says:

            You make some good points.  Congratulations on your retirement.  I can’t wait to join you!  🙂

      • Msgrowan says:

        I also enjoyed the article, but I would have wished that you would have also responded to the valid point made by wombat1951 above, citing Ralph Smith’s relevant earlier article on this issue.  When I read the above article, I winced when I saw your comment regarding OPM supposedly sitting as a “stewards for this huge pot of money … ” as though there really exits such a monetary pool out of which civil service retirement benefits are paid.  In actuality, we’re in the same boat as Social Security, the “trust fund” of which is also merely, for all intents and purposes, a pile of non marketable bonds, i.e., in effect IOUs issued by the U.S. Treasury in return for the actual monetary retirement contributions made by employees and their employing agencies, whcih have been used to fund general government operations over the years; in other words, it ain’t there no mo’.  This comforting illusion that retirement contributions are in some sort of “lockbox,” which is squirreled away beyond the greedy grasp of the pols of both parties is just that – an illusion.

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