FedSmith.com Readers Worried About Future Pay and Benefits

The debt debates in Washington are over. But according to a couple of recent surveys we conducted, a majority of FedSmith.com readers think that their pay and benefits will ultimately be jeopardized due to the growing federal deficit.

The debt ceiling debates are over, and federal employees undoubtedly were relieved to know that their jobs or paychecks were not interrupted by the debt debate standoff in Washington. But apparently a large number of the federal employees that read FedSmith.com think their pay and benefits will take a hit in the face of the growing federal deficit.

During and shortly after the debates, we asked our users what their opinions were of the situation. We asked what your overall opinion was of the debates, who stood to gain/lose the most politically, and also what your thoughts were on the government using your federal retirement money to fund its spending habits.

The responses from our surveys indicate that federal employees are not too optimistic about the fallout from the debt debates and what the future holds for their pay and benefits. Also, the responses indicate that a majority of our users believe that their retirement funds will not be secure in the future.

Here are the questions that were posed and the summary of the responses:

Which of the following best expresses your overall opinion of the debate on the debt ceiling?
It’s about time we started to rein in federal spending 41.0%
It is a manufactured crisis 26.8%
It will be harmful to many Americans 28.1%
It will be helpful to our economy 4.2%
Who is hurt the most by the political fall-out from the debate?
Barack Obama 34.9%
John Boehner 6.0%
Harry Reid 1.1%
Tea Party 18.5%
Democrats 13.0%
Republicans 26.5%
Who will receive the most political credit as a result of the debate?
Barack Obama 28.8%
John Boehner 9.9%
Harry Reid 5.8%
Tea Party 24.1%
Democrats 13.5%
Republicans 18.0%
What is your opinion of the federal debt which currently stands at about $14.3 trillion?
It doesn’t make any difference 23.3%
It is a disaster that will damage the country 76.7%
What impact will the debt ceiling debate have on federal employees and retirees?
It will reduce our benefits and income 91.9%
It will not have an impact on our benefits and income 8.1%
Do you agree with the federal government using federal retirement funds as a way to fund the government prior to the raising of the debt ceiling?
Yes 5.2%
No 94.8%
Do you have confidence the government will fully fund the federal retirement plans now and in the future?
Yes 16.7%
No 83.3%
Do you foresee the federal government taking control of federal or private sector retirement funds to help fund federal spending as has recently been done in several European countries?
Yes 51.3%
No 18.2%
Not sure 30.5%
Should Congress enact a law to prevent the federal government from using money in the G fund or federal retirement funds to avoid hitting the federal debt ceiling?
Yes 93.8%
No 6.2%


The following are a random sampling of comments submitted by respondents:

  • Govt. employees have become the whipping dog of congress.
  • I have had it with the GOP. They could care less for the Poor or Middle Class. Taking away a special tax break for corporations and the rich is NOT what I consider a tax. increase.
  • The debt started and increased during the Bush Adminiatration!!!!!!!
  • Who cares what side won or lost, America is losing in the long run…
  • If I was spending beyond my means to this extent, I would be in prison. I’d like to see Congress take a pay cut, convert their retirement and health care plans to the ones the rest of the US has to have, and see what they think of their big ideas now! We need to tighten our belts and calling the Tea Party a bunch of terrorists with bomb vests is not going to solve any problems. It just shows how unrealistic the Dems are.
  • It is all about politics. Congress truly does not represent the American people at all. I have never been so disgusted.
  • I wish the federal deficit was reduced by cutting foreign aid to the bone or eliminating most of it. We are NO LONGER the world’s bank account.
  • Unfortunatley it seems federal employees are bearing the brunt of all the fixes. It boggles my mind that members of congress take a break without major issues being resloved i.e. FAA furlough. Explain that rational.
  • I am a Federal employee and I agree that we need to rein in Federal spending. Obviously, I have bias but I don’t think that reducing benefits and pay for Federal employees will have any meaningful contribution to reducing the Federal debt. I don’t appreciate being used as a pawn in political gamemanship.
  • This failure to govern may hurt both the Tea Party and the Republicans.
  • The whole system of government has become a monster that needs to be drastically reined in.
  • Our debt grows at more than 4 billion dollars each day…..time to cut spending
  • Long overdue for a country-first, party-second approach to governing. The two-party system as it now exists and operates is an embarrassment and, worse, driven by dogma and “party patriotism” rather patriotism to the country.
  • It is unconscionable that the most vulnerable citizens in our country
    and the most productive citizens in our society, the middle class, are
    sacrificed at the alter of the wealthiest. It is now clear that the Tea
    Party and the Republicans are quite willing to destroy the US economy
    to protect entitlements and tax subsidies for the wealthy and elite.
    Even worse is the Democrats are allowing them to do it. It is a fact
    that the Bush tax subsidies for the wealthy have not and never will
    produce more jobs. Where are the jobs? We the people need to march
    into the streets and tell congress we are mad as he’ll and not gonna
    take it any more! Time to take the Tea Party and their oppressive
    ideology down!
  • Politicians have forgotten why they are in Washington. This debate should have NEVER taken this long. Our system is broken, we need to FIX it now.
  • A politician in a business suit can steal millions / billions / trillions more than a man with a gun but both are technically still a thief just the same – it’s simply a matter of magnitude!
  • Congress should also enact a law to prevent the Federal Government from using the Social Secuirty Trust fund to avoid hitting the Federal Debt ceiling. But I doubt if it will ever happen with our current crop of incompetent congressional leaders
  • I think it is unspeakable that they even dare to touch the money we all worked hard for to fund our retirement.
  • Mr. Obama never mentioned that the wonderful “change” that would occur if we voted for him was taking away or using my retirement funds in any way. Just as instead of wars in 2 countries he added a 3rd country. Do I trust Congress or the President with my retirement funds “NO”.
  • This is wrong for the government to “borrow” fund from my retirement which I have been putting away for over 20 years!!!!!!
  • I’m a government worker and I’m so tired from what they’re talking about doing to my retirement. I was planning on retiring Oct 31, but I don’t think I can. I’m scared. This country is heading down like the Roman Umpire. We can’t agree on anything, get along, or find ways of spending money properly or fairely. May God help us because we really need it.
  • What “gives” them the right to use the G Fund as a financial hedge against their spending? In the real world, would not that be called fraud, and would not people go to prison??? Are the retirement funds of congress included in this deception?
  • Whats the point of creating another law. Congress will do what it wants regardless of a law to protect private pensions.
  • If a private sector employer did what the federal government has done to the CSRDF and Thrift Savings Plan, the IRS would shut that taxpayer down. Why should the government be allowed to do this? Does anyone believe that “our government” would not resort to the tactics the European countries have recently done? It is time to get their grubby hands off our investments.
  • Spending needs to be cut, they do not need to take the funds from other places. The Government needs to start living withing it’s means like citizens have to.

Have other thoughts on the subject? Feel free to weigh in via the comments below.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to the surveys and share your opinions!

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.