Senators Propose to End Defined Benefit Pensions for New Federal Employees

By on November 13, 2013 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 367 Comments

Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) have reintroduced legislation that would end the defined benefit pension portion of the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) for new federal government hires starting six months after enactment. Current federal government employees and retirees would not be impacted by the changes.

Known as the Public-Private Employee Retirement Parity Act, the Senators say the legislation is necessary to cut costs that have become unsustainable.

The bill would leave the Thrift Savings Plan fully in place with the current match (up to 5%) for both current and future federal workers. The cuts it makes would also apply to members of Congress.

The Senators said in a press release that federal employees currently enjoy a costly benefit that is unavailable to the average private sector worker which is creating an untenable cost burden for taxpayers. “Federal workers enjoy both a defined benefit pension and a Thrift Savings Plan (equivalent to a 401(k)) with up to a 5% match, paid for by the taxpayers.  The average private sector employee gets a 401(k) with a 3% employer match and no pension.  Federal workers also continue to enjoy federal health care benefits (FEHBP) after they retire, a benefit that is becoming increasingly rare in the private sector,” according to the press release.

Speaking on the legislation, Senator Burr said, “Right now, federal government workers receive far more generous retirement benefits than private sector employees.  The cost to taxpayers of these benefits is unsustainable and we simply cannot afford it. We cannot ask taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for public employee benefits that are far more generous than their own.”

Senator Coburn added, “Generous pension plans for members of Congress have helped turn congressional service into a career rather than a calling. At the same time, federal workers enjoy a better benefits package and higher overall pay than most taxpayers – even at a time when many Americans are still simply looking for a job.  This status quo is unsustainable and needs to be reformed.”

The legislation will require the Administration to make the annual report on the actuarial status of the federal retirement system publically available online by January 31st each year. 

According to the most recent Office of Personnel Management’s Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund annual report, the FERS system is currently underfunded by $20.1 billion for fiscal year 2012.  In the coming years, as more of the retirement burden falls on the FERS system, the required federal government contributions to FERS will skyrocket, especially in comparison to what federal workers will put into the system.  In 2012, the Federal government contributed about $22.2 billion to FERS. By 2065, those required contributions will rise to $239.5 billion, with the government paying out $415.3 billion in benefits.

© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

Tags:

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

367 Replies

Comments RSS

  1. george says:

    My neighbor is 62; draws a $9,000 dollar a month federal pension; and a $1,600 amonth social security; plus benefits; he has got it made; he grills steaks; i eat scraps………….

    • Itsjustmeagain1 says:

      If that is how you feel, I can only suggest you chose your career path poorly. No one is more responsible for their lot in life than themselves.

  2. IT Lady says:

    “federal workers enjoy a better benefits package and higher overall pay than most taxpayers”…I hate to point this out, but federal workers are also taxpayers… They make it sound like we don’t pay taxes! Funny how there isn’t enough money to give American citizens good benefits, but there’s plenty of money to give to illegal aliens…

  3. /mgh406 says:

    Stop complaining, just switch from Solid White Tuna to Cat Food and from picnic Ham to pig’s feet, etc. The current formula for COLA already understates inflation. And btw, Obama has already approved these CUTS. Just bend over, grab your ankles and brace yourself.

  4. Jim Mattis says:

    Its time to put a end to Life time Benefits for all Politicians. After they serve the position they ran for. It’s should be GET A JOB & do your part & pay some taxes. Stop giving money to other countries.. close the Borders, Oh he can’t do that those are his next supporters

  5. heinleiners says:

    30 years ago, a career in the government wasn’t that great of a living compared to with what you could make in the private sector. The pay and benefits for government workers kept up with inflation while 30 years of Reaganomics trashed the private sector middle class.

  6. Roman_P_Head says:

    That’s how they do it: Compare federal workers to private industry and incite resentment of the “privileged worker”, thereby dividing and conquering. Conservative voters fall for it. Their enemies are their fellow Americans who seemingly have it too good. By bringing others down to their level, they somehow win. The politics of envy and deceit. Oldest trick in the book used by Caesar, European Fascists, Totalitarian Communists and now by our Corporate US Masters.

  7. B Smith says:

    FERS is really not the issue. Its that the government is taking money from the FERS coffers to pay CRS individuals. Like social security the government is paying other things and then comes up with this story on how the system doesn’t pay for its self!

    • Tough Love says:

      ANY retirement Plan, be it Defined Benefit (DB) or Defined Contributions (DC) (of which 401K Plans are one example), can be DESIGNED to provide very rich benefits or very modest benefits … or anywhere in between. E.g., certainly, nobody would argue that a DC plan with annual employer contributions of 50% of pay is extraordinarily “RICH” and should provide for a VERY comfortable retirement after a 30 year career with such high annual employer retirement contributions. Now of course THIS high contribution level is FAR FAR greater than the 3-5% of pay PRIVATE Sector employers typically contribute into their employee’s 401K Plans.

      Well, guess what…… to fully fund the TYPICAL California Police officer’s 3% @ 50 COLA-adjusted pension (over his/her working career … and NOT pass the cost unfairly onto the next generation of Taxpayers) requires AT LEAST that 50% contribution mentioned above. Did you think a COLA-adjusted pension starting at 90% of final pay, increasing annually with inflation, and often starting at ages 50-55 comes without GREAT cost?

      You see, Private Sector employers have CHOSEN to contribute at a level that might replace 1/4 of a full career worker’s final pay in retirement, with Social Security and personal savings each providing another 1/4, the theory being that 75% of final pay is generally sufficient in retirement. And the PRIVATE Sector (which includes 80-85% of all workers) sets “MARKET COMPENSATION”, not the much smaller Public Sector with 15-20% of all workers.

      There is no reasonable justification for overcompensating Public Sector workers VS

      their Private Sector counterparts via these grossly excessive and unjust pensions DB pensions that ALWAYS require many times greater Taxpayer contributions to properly fund than the contributions Private Sector employers contribute to their workers’ retirement Plans. In fact, the only reason they exist is because our self-interested elected officials SELL their favorable votes on the excessive pensions in exchange for campaign contributions and election support.

      And why should ONLY Public Sector workers (who make no less in “cash pay” than their Private Sector counterparts), be excused from the obligation to save from each net paycheck for their own retirement?

      Taxpayers must demand an end to this abuse, by freezing any further growth in these grossly excessive DB Plans for CURRENT, and not just new workers. Future service retirement contributions should be (as a % of pay) NO GREATER that the average of such contributions that Private Sector workers receive from their employers.

      • retired worker fed says:

        I enjoy how you pick the extreme examples including California peace officers. How about the regular civil service employees? What are their benefits? And how many of those officers actually work 30 years?
        FERS employees get up to a 5% match of their 403b plans.
        The paymaster is the one who compares our compensation to private industry. The 1990 pay comparasion actacknowledged we were far behind the private sector. What federal study do you have to show we are overpaid?
        I still save 10% of my pay in addition to contributing 7% of my pay to my pension plan. You forgot about my pension contributions.

        • Tough Love says:

          Yes, the CA police officers’ pensions are the most egregious, but using the (still excessive) but somewhat less egregious formulas more common to non-safety workers doesn’t change the overall conclusion at all …….that ALL Public Sector pensions are grossly excessive relative to those of their Private Sector counterparts.

          If I had chosen a 2.5% @ 55 formula or a 2.25% @ 60 formula perhaps the public Sector worker’s pension would only be 2-4 times greater in value at retirement rather that 4-6 times for the Police officer.

          ALL of these pensions should be frozen for CURRENT workers and replaced for future service with a Taxpayer contribution (into a DC Plan) no greater than the average contribution afforded Private Sector workers by their employers.

          Public Sector workers are NOT “special” and deserving of a FAR FAR better deal on the Taxpayer’s dime.
          ————————–
          I’m quite sure your “paymaster” himself being a Public Sector employee participating in the same DB pensions, seeks out the comparisons which help justify these excessive pensions. It’s like asking the fox,to guard the hen house.
          ————————-

          And I haven’t omitted consideration of the Public Sector workers’ own pension contributions. With equal Public/Private sector “Total Compensation” (cash pay + pensions + benefits) as the appropriate goal, and with public & Private Sector “cash pay” alone being quite close, there is ZERO justification for ANY greater TAXPAYER contributions toward your retirement Plans than the 3-5% of pay typically granted Private Sector worker as contributions into their 401K accounts. And to fully fund Public Sector DB Plans over their working careers ALWAYS requires Taxpayers contributions many times that 3-5%.

          These excessive pensions are unnecessary (to attract and retain a qualified workforce) and unjust to Taxpayers …who should demand an end this massive ripoff.

          right now EVERY PublPrivateSectorTaxpayers

          • Lee says:

            To: Tough Love

            “to fully fund the TYPICAL California Police officer’s 3% @ 50 COLA-adjusted pension…….”

            “There is no reasonable justification for overcompensating Public Sector workers VS their Private Sector counterparts………”

            http://www.floridastatefop.org… ***

            ***
            I know, don’t tell me. let me guess, because this study was conducted
            by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Ofc., FL and is therefore bias and full
            of lies because they’re all a bunch of union thugs out to rape the
            taxpayer, etc., blah blah blah….

            (Q: What are the salary and benefits of a Police Officer in the PRIVATE
            sector???)

          • Tough Love says:

            Lee, Wow, that BS about Police officers having shorter life expectancies was exposed years ago. In fact, when questioned if it was correct, Ron Long, the Chief actuary for CALPERS (the California Pension Plan with a retiree database so large that it’s statistical credibility is undeniable). shot that BS down stating that the life expectancy of safety workers (cops & firemen) is IDENTICAL to CalPERS non-safety retirees. In fact, CalPERS was so pissed at him for letting that cat out of the bag, that they forced him to retire. Perhaps he too had grown weary of CalPERS lies and distortion.

            Here’s a story all about it…………..Enjoy!

            http://davisvanguard.org/index

            ————————
            Of course I know that we don’t have Private Sector Police officers to make a direct pay comparison. Where I live the total compensation package (cash pay+pension accruals+benefits) approaches $200K even for the lowly patrolman.

            That’s quite an executive compensation package in the Private Sector….paid to someone with great knowledge, broad management skills, long experience, (and most likely intelligence) far above that of the local police officer. Any conclusion OTHER THAN that such a compensation package is grossly excessive is ridiculous.

            —————–
            Is “blah,blah,blah” what you say when you have nothing meaningful to offer?

          • dellett says:

            Good job on the facts Tough Love.

            I often don’t have the patience. The difference in pay between unionized and even non-unionized public employees and the private sector is so often just grossly obvious that I get annoyed just discussing it.

            Our government leaders have been selling pieces of the company to get reelected for decades and now those chickens are coming home to roost.

          • retired worker fed says:

            Maybe it is because the non union private sector is grossly underpaid and the owners make a huge amount of money at their expense. Walmart is a prime example despite their propaganda.

          • dellett says:

            RE: “Maybe it is because the non union private sector is grossly underpaid and the owners make a huge amount of money at their expense.”

            That’s why workers everywhere are clamoring for union membership right?

            That is why the unions have to practically bribe or threaten others to join.

            That’s why wherever unions go wages go up, but employment goes down. Some employees get paid more, at the direct expense of those who lose their jobs.

            That’s why wherever unions are, union members lose jobs.

            That’s why whatever unions produce or service they provide makes the rest of us pay a higher cost, which is then the equivalent of a pay cut for everybody else.

            Which is why we all shop at Walmart and get the equivalent of a wage increase.

          • retired worker fed says:

            200,000/per year is a good job? Are you kidding?

          • retired worker fed says:

            200K per year for a patrolman? Wish I got that. I am a public employee. My total compensation has recently gone over $100,000 per year.

          • Tough Love says:

            Lee, Oooophs, Brain freeze … the CalPERS chief Actuary’s name is Ron Seeling (not Ron Long, as I stated above).

            In any event, here are 2 more articles on the same subject …. (Enjoy!):

            http://www.utsandiego.com/webl

            :http://www.utsandiego.com/webl

          • retired worker fed says:

            Read it. The people investing the money did not do such a good job. How is that the employees’ fault?

          • retired worker fed says:

            First, you are making negative comments against the paymaster without knowing how he arrived at the underpaid figure. It is based on the reasons for the 1990 Act that was supposed to bring us up to near parity. That was never properly implemented.
            You commented about us being overpaid as compared to the private sector. You wrote that government stats show this. I know of no government stats that show this. That is why we have a better pension plan than private industry on average.
            It partially makes up for the fact that we are grossly underpaid.

          • Tough Love says:

            VERY simple example ….Why does the NYC Subway system token booth clerk TYPICALLY make in annual total compensation TWO-THREE times that of the typical Bank teller ….and more than the typical bank branch manager ?

            Answer…..Ridiculous demands from Public Sector Unions and cowardly elected officials who refuse to confront the Unions (and risk losing their campaign contributions and election support) and say NO! Our self-interested elected officials don’t give a rat’s ars about the Taxpayers. They should be thrown out of office and the Taxpayers should REFUSE to fund these absurd pensions.

            The financial “mugging” of the Taxpayers by the insatiably greedy Public Unions and the bought-off elected officials that allowed it to happen…..must end.

          • retired worker fed says:

            I am a fed. These are local employees. I am also a professional. I deal with mostly CPA’s and Attornies on technical issues. My pay is no where in the ball park of these people. They gross $200/hr and above.

          • Hopeisnot_A_Plan says:

            Are you a CPA or attorney?

          • retired worker fed says:

            Please site your pay comparability statements and cite the responsibilities for each.
            And please substantiate your allegations as to why.

          • retired worker fed says:

            And how are you sure that the paymaster is manipulating figures?
            and please show me that we are paid near private sector employees. I have the paymaster. What do you have?

        • Tough Love says:

          There would only be a marginal difference from my above demonstration/conclusion if non-safety worker pension formulas were used. Instead of the Public Sector pensions being 4-6 times greater in value at retirement (than that of the comparable Private Sector worker), they would be 2-4 times greater.

          Still ridiculous and still an enormous and unjustified Taxpayer ripoff.

        • dellett says:

          The study that uses the only free market (true gauge) of our pay comparability is the BOL one which shows that we are at a minimum 3-4 times less likely to leave our jobs as the private sector. The day when WE leave our jobs at the same rate as the private sector is the day WE will believe WE have pay comparability. Until then, it is clear by our vote that WE clearly believe that WE are paid much more than the private sector.

          We can talk studies all day, and those that are objective are pretty overwhelming that we are overpaid, but when we put our money where our mouth is we show what we really believe.

          They need to stop our COLAs until we reach parity and start targeting raises to those specific occupations or regions where there is a lack of qualified applicants.

          • retired worker fed says:

            “The day when WE leave our jobs at the same rate as the private sector is the day WE will believe WE have pay comparability. Until then, it is clear by our vote that WE clearly believe that WE are paid much more than the private sector.” your comment. Really. This means there are no other reasons for staying or leaving a job. How about in the private sector there are layoffs. How about in the public sector, I had many years in my pension plan that I would lose if I left. I could keep it but the value would be small. Your claity is like a dark smog. It is totally untrue. Valid stats represent the pay issue.
            What “objective studies are you writing about?
            Wow, are you really a fed? You keep referring to yourself as a fed but the things you write are a problem to me.

          • Tough Love says:

            Of course they are a problem for you….because you, as someone riding this grossly excessive pension/benefit gravy train, don’t want it diminished. That’s called GREED.

          • dellett says:

            RE: “This means there are no other reasons for staying or leaving a job. How about in the private sector there are layoffs.”

            Absolutely True! I agree.

            I left Honeywell and took a pay cut to work for SocSec for 3 reasons:

            1. Most importantly, I was working 55-65 hours a week and my 3 children were teenagers and needed me to be home more.

            2. Honeywell Defense & Space was cyclical and often went through constant hire and fire phases. I did not want to lose a job unexpectedly. I wanted job security.

            3. When one loses a job, one starts over for benefits. Health insurance, 401k matching, and leave accrual were among those that I valued the most. With Federal government, I can go anywhere in the US and many places in the world and still retain my benefits – if I so choose.

            There is a value to that. A value that not many private sector employers have. The question is whether you agree with it since it contradicts the intent of your assertion “Valid stats represent the pay issue”. Is it only stats or not?

            Further, why is the federal employment attrition rate statistic not a valid statistic? Private employers use it to gauge whether they are retaining their employees effectively. If their attrition rate is below their competitors, one of the very first places they look at is pay and benefits. Then they look at other factors like attitude, workplace happiness and management.

            RE: “I had many years in my pension plan that I would lose if I left. I could keep it but the value would be small.”

            And that is different from the private sector how?

          • dellett says:

            RE: “…are you really a fed?”

            After doing 20 years in the Army, then taking a year off, then working very short stints at Costco and the Census and then a couple years at Honeywell, I have been working for Social Security for the past 11 years.

          • Leigh Andrews says:

            People will often stay at a job for reasons that are not purely monetary such as having family in the area or realizing that though they may be paid more in salary and benefits in another location, the cost of living in the new location would more than wipe out the increase in pay or that the other job has conditions that the person would prefer to avoid, such as 50%+ travel.

          • Pete Juenemann says:

            You are comparing apples to oranges. Many stay at government jobs because they are stable and locally available. Private companies and corporations often hire and fire depending on the results of the last year or even the last quarter. A plant or factory can be re-located to save on labor costs or to gain tax advantages. You don’t see government facilities closed and re-located for temporary financial gain.
            If you believe that you are overpaid, why not quit your job and find one that pays you what you deserve ? Why not give up the benefits that you don’t think you earn ? Some people would think it immoral to take more than you are worth.

          • dellett says:

            PJ: “You are comparing apples to oranges.”

            DE: If true then orange employees can’t allege being underpaid compared to apple employees then can they?

            PJ: “Many stay at government jobs because they are stable and locally available. Private companies and corporations often hire and fire depending on the results of the last year or even the last quarter.”

            DE: I already agreed with you. See my comments below.

            PJ: “If you believe that you are overpaid, why not quit your job and find one that pays you what you deserve? Why not give up the benefits that you don’t think you earn?

            DE: I believe WE – federal employees in general and over all – are overpaid because we are paid more than is necessary to hire and retain us. I believe that if we were paid less, most of us would still choose to work at the same job and in the same place as substantiated by the Bureau of Labor and other statistics that clearly show our rate of attrition is far, far less than the private sector.

            In general, I BELIEVE WE ALL EARN EVERY PENNY WE ARE PAID every bit as much as the private sector. If there is anywhere I stated or even implied otherwise, please point it out.

            If you are sincerely speaking the truth according to your beliefs, then you will not have to mischaracterize my statements or beliefs in order to make your arguments appear true.

            PJ: “Some people would think it immoral to take more than you are worth.”

            DE: Would you be some people? Regardless, it seems irrational to me to suggest that morality has anything to do with any employer paying me the same amount as it pays anyone else who does the same job. In fact, the opposite would be more likely immoral. It is the employers choice. It is only immoral to refuse to do the job that we agreed to do while accepting the payment for it.

          • Pete Juenemann says:

            You believe you are overpaid and you also believe you earn every penny you are paid ? You don’t see how that seems illogical ?

          • dellett says:

            No and I explained exactly why.

            Overpaid has more than one meaning. Let’s say a guy hires me to mow his lawn for $30 and then sends me a check.

            1. If I only mow 2/3 of their lawn, then I have been overpaid by 1/3 and I owe him $10.

            2. If he sends me a check for $40, then I have been overpaid by $10 because that was not the agreement and I owe him $10.

            3. The going rate is $20, and I would have mowed it for $20 had he offered it, but he offered $30 instead and that is what we agreed to.

            Further, if he then sends me a check for $20, he has then underpaid me.

          • Pete Juenemann says:

            If you do $20 worth of work and you get paid $30 you have not earned $30. You have still only earned $20 but you have been paid $30. You did not earn 10 of those dollars. You were paid $10 you did not earn You earned less than you were paid. You may claim that you earned every penny but others would disagree.
            The word earn also has more than one meaning.

          • dellett says:

            There are two people in the example who get to determine whether mowing the lawn is worth $20 or $30 and YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THEM. Neither do you get to choose or define what work is worth for anyone in this world besides yourself.

            The first and foremost person who decides the worth of work is the employer who is hiring someone to do a job. If the employer does not think it is worth that,
            then an employer will not offer it.

            Second is the person who agrees to do the work. Regardless of what such individuals may say, if the they do the work, then they clearly believed it was worth it or they would not have done it.

            There are situations where the employer may add a bonus or incentive for doing the work, and perhaps which was not agreed to. The employer may even intentionally and knowingly pay $10 more for the work than he could have otherwise. That is the employers choice. It is still paid for doing that work and the employer would not have paid it unless the employer thought it was worth it and for whatever reason the employer desires.

            The fact that the employer may think it is worth more than I do does not change the simple fact that if the employer offers it, and I accept it, then it becomes the contractual legal worth of that job, which is enforceable by law. In no case does what you or I or anyone else believe to be it’s worth have any bearing or any relevancy on what the employer and employee believe is worth it.

            Further, on what basis of reason or authority do you determine that the worth
            perceived by the employee is somehow the controlling or determinant value as
            opposed to the employer?

            And before you answer, I will tell you why I believe the opposite MUST be true. It is because the employer is the offeror and payer, and therefore the final authority on the “worth” of the employment. While the employee may negotiate, he is essentially agreeing or not agreeing to accept the offer from the employer.

            Also, if I believe that the job is worth $40 and the employer only pays me $30, does that mean the employer owes me $10? Or that the worth of the job is inherently $40 simply because I believe it is?

            And lastly, if the employer offers me $30 to do a job that I believe is only worth $20, and I completed all the work that the employer agreed to pay me $30 to do, then I EARNED the whole $30.

          • Pete Juenemann says:

            Yawn. Sophistry.

          • dellett says:

            BTW, while you state that the word EARN has more than one meaning which includes your definition, but you don’t clearly state what that meaning is.

            I looked in the dictionaries online and nothing in any of the definitions supports your allegation. Of course, I could easily be missing it, especially since I am not clear on what you allege the other meaning of earning is.

          • Pete Juenemann says:

            I agree, you are not clear.

      • dellett says:

        Very much agree. And either we agree now to start moderating our excessive pay or when the music stops and the half-asleep/don’t-care-now taxpayers actually wake up and take a real look, we are definitely not going to like what happens. It’s called backlash. And as we know, the government can change the rules anytime it wants.

        I came to the conclusion that DB plans should be terminated long ago.

        I was about 16-17 years (1994-95) into my 20 years of active duty when retirement from the Army became an obvious reality. I was going to be 37 years old and drawing a pension. Even back then I thought that was crazy from a taxpayer/Libertarian point of view. It was around the time that I first began reading about congressional studies on military pay reform by congress. I came to the conclusion that DB plans, even for the military, were ludicrous. I wrote letters to the editor and my Senator John McCain saying as much.

        Of course they are still doing studies today as we speak and talk, talk, talk, talk.

        The military is vastly different of course, but that is where contribution plans excel. People who serve in combat zones could not only get combat pay, but substantial combat contributions for their presumed reduced working life.

        Those who work in combat occupations like infantry, where there are very limited after service options and in which service work is mentally and physically intensive and in which their working life is significantly diminished, would also receive higher contributions to their 401k/TSP.

        This would result in monthly, one-time taxpayer contributions to a TSP/401k like we do now with federal employees, but with no further obligations like DBP’s which will someday factor in our coming bankruptcy.

        If we can do this for the military, then we can darn sure to it for us as federal employees. To do otherwise after all we know and understand about our dishonest government is both short-sited and foolish.

        I would further argue that we need the ability to choose whether to participate in the TSP/future IOU account, or in the private sector. However, if the government isn’t doing it job of policing the private sector, which it isn’t, then it can be a tossup.

  8. j r says:

    hey, private industry gets the best, government gets the rest……….and the end of the DB will certainly ensure that. Of course, it’s already happened at the presidential and congressional levels……..!

    • retired worker fed says:

      Eliminating DB will reduce the quality of the government employees. As far as your first comment, you are dead wrong. I deal with private industry.as well as government workers. Some are good and some are not so good in each area.

      • Tough Love says:

        What “quality”?

        • retired worker fed says:

          Since you cannot get a federal job you would not know anything about the quality of the federal worker.These are the people who do inspections of your food and test the drugs. Guess you would prefer the magic elixirs of the early 20th century. These are the people who enforce tax laws in spite of the handicaps placed on them. Guess you would prefer the haphazard enforcement of tax laws. As it is, we get blamed for the tea party nonsense, a totally political group. We also go after people like Madoff, among others. Guess you would prefer the big wigs getting away with their nonsense. Guess you think the private sector would be better at law enforcement plus enforcing the rights of citizens.
          You would not know true quality if it bit you…..

          • Tough Love says:

            I must admit that my interaction with Public Sector workers is more at the State, County,and local level that at the Federal level. To put it mildly, I’ve rarely impressed and most often distressed at the very poor work ethic and mind-numbingly slow pace. Why does it always seem to take a crew of 5 to fill a pothole… 2 to do a bit of work and 3 to supervise.

          • jh1289 says:

            As a state government employee, I can tell you from experience that you were probably dealing with some very poorly compensated people. When you can’t compete, you have to hire lesser-skilled and educated employees. Get used to it… in state government, that’s what you pay for.

          • Tough Love says:

            You’ve got that wrong. While we indeed have sub-par State & local workers, they are STILL significantly OVER-COMPENSATED.

            A hard freeze to their pensions…ZERO future growth …will BEGIN to reverse that over-compensation.

          • dellett says:

            Sometimes that is true at the state and local level. But far more often, they have no competition and therefore have no incentive to work harder, smarter and faster.

          • retired worker fed says:

            Really? Are you an expert at what is needed to fill a pothole? Are you watching long enough to see how long the 5 are there and what they are doing?

          • dellett says:

            Just as the federal government is prohibited by the constitution from performing non-government functions like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid etc., the private sector is prohibited from performing government functions such as law enforcement.

            The private sector can, however, perform some functions that police and law enforcement currently perform, but which do not actually involve the use of force such as administrative functions, and would certainly be more effective at doing so as all history so amply demonstrates.

          • retired worker fed says:

            The constitution does what? This has not gone to the Supreme Court? of course, you are more qualified than the Supreme Court to make the decision-sarcasm noted.
            And history demonstrates? prove it?

          • dellett says:

            RE: …you are more qualified than the Supreme Court to make the decision…

            I didn’t say that and nor did I imply that. Your sarcasm somewhat reflects a little hypocrisy since there is not one single one of us here on these pages including you that does not second guess Supreme Court and other government decisions based on our laymen’s understanding.

            Further, the founders of our country specifically stated that our government and laws were set up and defined so that any person of normal intelligence can understand them.

            Some things are just so plain to anyone who has learned the most basic fundamentals of our constitution can understand most things that are right and wrong according to law.

            Slavery was clearly, and without any equivocation whatsoever, against the Constitution of the U.S. from the day it was formed. There was no exception for people of other race in the Constitution. And yet it was still held so firmly to be lawful by most judges and legislators in the South that our ancestors had to fight a civil war to destroy such an evil notion.

            Overt and unconscionable racism continued exist as law under the SCOTUS for almost 2 centuries before the Civil Rights Act was was passed in 1964, specifically because the SCOTUS did not correctly and honestly interpret the Constitution.

            And if you studied the SCOTUS, which I have only read about and not studied, you would be hard pressed not to have some contempt for it’s corruption which is not one whit less than the legislature and executive and probably more.

            Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution “enumerates” the powers of the federal government. If the power is not specified in the Constitution, then the federal government cannot do it.

            Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid are not enumerated powers of the federal government. It really is just that simple.

    • jh1289 says:

      Government “getting the rest” will always happen as long as government continues to compensate less. You don’t win with the lowest bid.

      • dellett says:

        If the government compensates less, then why do WE stay with government so much longer and are at least 3-4 times less likely to leave our jobs than private industry?

        Either that is evidence that we are overcompensated or that you are right about government “getting the rest” and you and I and all the other federal employees here are essentially stupid morons.

        Wouldn’t you agree that “stupid” would apply to those who believe they are under compensated, and have been all there career, and yet are still working for government?

        • retired worker fed says:

          there are plenty of personal reasons for staying with thegovernment. I do not need to tell you other people’s personal business. Your conmclusions are not demonstrated to be reasonable. Your last sentence is senseless as there could be other reasons instead of stupidity.

          • Tough Love says:

            Yes there ARE other reasons to stay with a Gov’t job, and all of them suggest their pay should be even LOWER. Some of those reasons are:

            (a) fixed work day and out the door the second the clock hits 5PM.
            (b) absurd job security, even for incompetents

            (c) almost ZERO accountability

          • dellett says:

            RE: “there are plenty of personal reasons for staying with the government.”

            Right. There are also plenty of reasons for staying with private industry too. If I had stayed, I might be getting paid more. My ability to move up is much more dependent on my working hard and making good decisions.

            In the public sector, I could become president of the U.S. and earn a half mil a year and I could be a complete idiot too.

            In the private sector, I could earn billions but I would have to outsmart all of my competitors IN RESULTS! (unless the government manipulates the used-to-be free market and chooses winners and losers)

            If pay parity stats were accurate, then we should be paying the president billions for destroying our freedoms.

          • dellett says:

            RE: “Your conclusions are not demonstrated to be reasonable.”

            I note the lack of reason for your assertion. Just because?

            RE: “Your last sentence is senseless as there could be other reasons instead of stupidity.”

            Apparently you are not aware of any.

          • retired worker fed says:

            Can’t find the post to answer, am I really a fed? I am sure it is there. The above comment by you is not worth responding to.
            I am an IRS employee under CSRS.

    • Tough Love says:

      The Article in your link is written by the Utah Education Association …. essentially a self-interested Public Sector “UNION” biased in the direction of continuing the grossly excessive pensions & Benefits afforded ALL Public Sector workers.

      • retired worker fed says:

        And which statements and conclusions are wrong?

        • Tough Love says:

          Many outright mid-statements and half-truths and obvious omissions clearly demonstrate a bias for DB Plans and downplay the excessive pension promises.The entire write-up is clearly biased to enhance the positives of DB Plans while passing over the negatives, and with the opposite for DC Plans. For example, referring to the numbed items under the caption “Defined Contribution Plans”:

          Under#1… “Historically” is the correct word. Public Sector cash pay has long since caught up to and (in most occupations) surpassed that of comparable Private Sector workers.That being the case,there is zero justification for greater pensions or benefits.

          Undfer #2 …The heavily backloaded nature of DB pensions does indeed create a huge incentive to stay in the job for 30+years.Unfortunately, very often to the detriment of Taxpayers who would prefer the deadwood not worth their pay move on. And as to “experienced” educators, virtually every study shows that teaching ability peaks with 5-7 years experience and then remains flat, so nothing justifies the continued “step increases” in pay beyond the7 years. Taxpayers are simply paying more for no incremental benefit. In the Private Sector employers only pay more when they get more in return.

          Under #3… Yes a switch from DB to DC Plans doers means 2 Plans must be administered (unless the DB Plan is frozen and annuitized via a private carrier), but unbiased studies show VERY VERY substantial saving with DB plans replaced with DC Plans with a benefit comparable to what Pribvate Sector employers typically grant their employees. Are you arguing that Public Sector workers are “special” and deserving of a better deal than the Private Sector Taxpayers that pay their way? And….. the results of an analysis sponsored by CalPERS is about as biased as it can get. An independent actuarial firm (not dependent on Public Sector engagement for its livelihood) would mostcertainly come to the opposite conclusion and show very substantial savings.

          Under #4 … The GASB does not “require” any specific level of funding,it only recommends funding levels. Most economists agree that there is no reason the shorten the funding period once a DB Plan closes. Also, it is patently absurd to think that a DB Plan’s survival “depends” on the continued contributions of new employees,because those contributions are almost ALWAYS inadequate to fund the promised benefit accruals for the new employee alone,let alone include additional amounts to help fund the pensions of other existing Plan participants.

          Under #5 ….With VERY VERY few Private Sector workers having DB Plans, that argument falls flat because implies that Public Sector workers are deserving of a better deal and better protections than those afforded Private Sector workers.

          Under #6…Of course the Nebraska DB Plans produce a smaller retirement income than DC Plans would …. not because the DC contributions rates are any lower than what Private Sector employers grant their workers (In fact, they are HIGHER), but because the DB Plans were grossly excessive and TYPICALLY multiples greater than the DC Plans. There was never any justification for such extraordinarily rich DB Plans….on the Taxpayer’s Dime.

          Under#7 … This addresses the matching of Assets and liabilities. While the scholars still argue this point, many feel there is no justifiable reason to shorten the average investment duration when closing a DB Plan.

          Under#8 …Look at the last sentence. Private Sector workers (VERY few of whom actively earn credits in DB Plans today) deal with every day. What justifies Public Sector workers getting a better deal and better protections … with the Taxpayers (who get so much less) being the backstop for market downturns impacting DB Plan assets?

          Under #9…Same issue …Public Sector workers are not “special” and deserving of a better deal and greater protections ….all at great cost to Taxpayers….who do not get such deals or protections.

          Under # 10…see my comment under #9

          Under #11 … overall less than 25% of Public Sector workers do not participate in SS today so this issue only impacts a small share. Also, the DB Plans are far far more generous than SS. Recent studies have shown that the pension promises to the 15-20% of PUBLIC Sector workers will yield greater total pensions than all of the SS payment to the other 80-85% of Private Sector workers who are not in SS.There is MORE than sufficient justification for very material reductions in the future service pension accruals of CURRENT workers.

          Under#12 …Absurd…..the typical very rich Public Sector DB Plans encourage young productive workers to leave the workers far before they should and MANY years before their Private Sector counterparts. Why is this fair to Taxpayers. If you accumulate all of the typical Public Sector worker’s contributions throughout their career (including investment returns on those contributions, RARELY would the accumulated sum at retirement be sufficient to buy more than 10-20% of their very rich promised pension. TAXPAYER contributions (and the investment earnings thereon) are responsible for the 80-90% balance.

          Under#14… Recent pressure on the industry has substantially lowered the cost spread between DB and DC Plans.

          Under#15 .. A non-issue since DC plan proceeds can also be used to buy a life or survivorship annuity with no additional tax issues upon purchase.

          Under #16 … again,same issue … Public Sector workers are not “special” and deserving of a better deal. It’s not the DB Plan perse that’s the problem.It’s that PUBLIC Sector DB Plans are ALWAYS WAY more generous than necessary, justifiable, or fair to Taxpayers.

          Under #17… Ancillary benefits such as life insurance and Disability insurance can be provided outside the DC plans. The cost of a specific benefit is no less barbecue it is buried inside the DB Plan. This is just another of the many”:distractors” the Unions use to discourage Pension reform.

          • retired worker fed says:

            The first thing is where do you get the idea that we are on par with the private sector? The paymaster says we are 26% underpaid. The 1990 pay act was never implemented the way it should have been.
            Where do you get the idea that, just because we make the job a career that we are dead wood?
            I agree that DC costs less than DB. The benefits are much less also. Retirements are supposed to be secure. DC is not secure.
            I will agree with you that DB pensions plans should not require new funding. This assumes that the employer properly funds the plans in the first place.
            Just because the private sector is screwing its employees with very poor DC plans, should the public sector do the same?
            Social security was not meant to be used for full support of a retiree. DB plans are supposed to do that although that is not true with FERS.
            And what makes you think that FERS plans are very rich?
            I am stopping here because your response is all your opinion and not a rebuttal.

          • Tough Love says:

            Well…the “paymaster” says?While I’m not sure who your “paymaster” is, the US Gov’t says otherwise … that is, in all but the highest professional occupations (e.g.,doctors,lawyers,certain IT professionals), the opposite is true,and Public Sector cash pay alone is higher.

            I never said all long careeer workers are deadwood, but there is a great amount of deadwood that stays around just for the pension. Our taxes pay for your salaries, pensions, and benefits….. the deadwood should be fired, not carried by the productive workers. That’s the way it works in the Private Sector. And considering the link was from aTeacher’s Union, some of the worst case of long career deadwood are teachers, because of the added protection that tenure provides.Everyone knows a few teachers who should have been put out to pasture long ago.

            Quoting…”I agree that DC costs less than DB. The benefits are much less also. Retirements are supposed to be secure. DC is not secure.”

            That begs the question…making no less in cash pay, why are you entitled to a better deal (MUCH greater pensions, MUCH better benefits, and MUCH greater protections from reduction) than the taxpayers who pay your way ?

            Quoting…”I will agree with you that DB pensions plans should not require new
            funding. This assumes that the employer properly funds the plans in the
            first place.”

            “Funding” is no the problem. The ROOT CAUSE of the problem is excessive DB Plan “generosity”. Funding” FOLLOWS “generosity”.

            Quoting…”Just because the private sector is screwing its employees with very poor DC plans, should the public sector do the same?”

            The Private Sector is 80-85% of the workforce. The wages of THAT group are “market wages”,not the inflated compensation of Public Sector workers, mostly gained by their Unions buying the favorable votes of our elected officials with campaign contributions and election support.

            Quoting…”Social security was not meant to be used for full support of a retiree.
            DB plans are supposed to do that although that is not true with FERS.”

            I agree, but at least at the State and Local levels, Public Sector Unions/workers demand (and most often receive) such generous pensions that (for full career workers) they fulfill all of their retirement needs, Private Sector workers must save mightily OUTSIDE they employer-provided retirement contributions to have a secure retirement. Why should Public Sector workers be excused from the same obligation, with the taxpayers making up the shortfall by being forced to pay for excessive DB pensions?

            Quoting…”And what makes you think that FERS plans are very rich?”

            I never said they were, but they are MOIRE than what most Private Sector workers get …and THAT is the relevant comparison. If you want to be rich …save on your own.

          • jh1289 says:

            Would you please be a little more specific. When you say “public sector workers”, you include state workers, who are dramatically underpaid in my state (and probably other states).

            We have software developers with 20+ years experience working for $38k in my state government. We were able to snag him because he’s been out of the workforce for a long time, working in another field. Would we have preferred someone with 10 years experience that had actually stayed in IT that entire time? Of course! But we can’t afford people like that–people who at the top of their game. Beggars can’t be choosers.

            So when you talk about how “public sector workers” are so highly compensated, you need to quantify that to mean “FEDERAL public sector workers.” At the state level, we’re unable to hire anyone qualified.

  9. Tough Love says:

    Not enough….. the current DB Plans should be frozen with all FUTURE service retirement benefitaccruals of CURRENT Public Sector workers ONLY via a DC Plan.

    And when I say “Public”, it’s even MORE important that we freeze any further growth in the Public Sector DB Plans of State and local workers than federal workers. At least the Feds have a printing press.

    At the State and Local level there is a dangerous confrontation brewing between these Public Sector workers who demand these grossly excessive pensions and benefits (multiples greater than what their Private Sector counterparts get) they have been promised (by self-interested politicians who betrayed the Taxpayers) and the Taxpayers who are being told to pay for it.

  10. Retired Fed says:

    I wonder how much “pork” they brought back for their supporters.

  11. thx1111 says:

    I have an idea, the Congressman-Minimum Wage Earner Parity Act, as congressmen enjoy benefits substantially higher than minimum wage workers who are wholly more efficient and beneficial to society

  12. thx1111 says:

    Yep, pension benefits for future soldiers risking their lives for this country, citizens who perform services everyday are a major economic drag apparently. Forget Obamacare, the bank bailouts that cost untold billions in taxpayer cash, not to mention forget about those nice plump congressional benefits, yeah, let’s go after the troops. -Love, your friendly GOP senators

  13. Cw says:

    Prior to looking to cut from middle class working employee’s let’s cut waste fraud and abuse of programs for those able but unwilling to work. Let’s strip the disability payment to the guy who chooses to live as an “adult baby”. No benefits to those here illegally. Let’s get rid of free cell phones and ethanol subsidies. The conservatives attacking a group of employee’s who support conservative canidates.

  14. Steve Neal says:

    They ALL need to concentrate on unscrewing ObamaCare and leave us federal pawns alone…

Top