Letter to the editor

In 1968, I was hired on to the federal government at an accelerated rate as a mathematician. I received $7,239. Today the same entry level is $27,474. If my starting salary is inflated by the official consumer price index factors over the years, that starting salary should be $35,500.

The various combinations of annual funding limits, special congressional limits and pork barrel politics have had the effect to reduce the government's overall federal spending on the backs of its own employees.

Currently the total of my losses due to my wages being underfunded (with raises less than the inflation rate) is $231,722.

If you look at the table below, you can see that federal wages kept up with inflation until the mid-1980s, when I was pretty well settled in my community, in debt and had children starting college. So changing careers was not an option.

Just think, if the federal wages had even kept up with inflation, I could have paid for my children's college (instead of them being in debt), paid off my house and been out of short-term debt.

Perhaps the current "aging workforce" problems would not exist had the government decided to increase wages just at the inflation rate.

James Hochstein
Naval Undersea Museum
Keyport, Wash.

Ending Calender YearGS RateActual SalarySalary 68 rateBase 68 Compound inflationCPI Annual Inflation rateSalary Scale(68)Scale (68) Initial + inflation InflatedLoss to InflationSalary Loss annualTotal Loss To date
19685.5$7,239$7,239100%
$7,265$7,2650%($26)($26)
19697.2$9,169$8,691106%5.5%$9,078$9,577-4%($408)($434)
19709.4$10,836$9,717112%5.7%$10,718$11,952-10%($1,116)($1,550)
197111.2$13,036$11,197116%4.4%$10,543$12,2746%$762($788)
197211.3$14,197$11,817120%3.2%$10,883$13,0758%$1,122$333
197311.4$16,138$12,648128%6.2%$11,223$14,32011%$1,818$2,151
1974
$17,029$12,024142%11.0%$11,223$15,8957%$1,134$3,285
197511.5$18,423$11,923155%9.1%$11,563$17,8673%$556$3,841
197612.2$21,123$12,921163%5.8%$12,580$20,5663%$557$4,398
197712.3$23,341$13,406174%6.5%$12,986$22,6093%$732$5,130
197812.4$25,397$13,557187%7.6%$13,392$25,0881%$309$5,438
1979
$27,172$13,032209%11.3%$13,392$27,923-3%($751)$4,687
198012.5$30,543$12,906237%13.5%$13,798$32,654-7%($2,111)$2,576
1981
$32,013$12,264 261%10.3%$13,798 $36,017-13%($4,004)($1,428)
198212.6$34,269$12,362277%6.2%$14,204 $39,376-15%($5,107)($6,535)
1983
$34,464$12,047286%3.2%$14,204$40,636-18%($6,172)($12,707)
198412.7$36,657$12,285298%4.3%$14,610$43,595-19%($6,938)($19,644)
1985
$37,000$11,969309%3.6%$14,610$45,164-22%($8,164)($27,808)
1986
$37,943$12,045315%1.9%$14,610$46,022-21%($8,079)($35,887)
198712.8$40,169$12,309326%3.6%$15,016$49,004-22%($8,835)($44,722)
1988
$40,972$12,060340%4.1%$15,016 $51,013-25%($10,041)($54,763)
1989
$42,651$11,980356%4.8%$15,016$53,462-25%($10,811)($65,574)
199012.9$45,377$12,092375%5.4%$15,422$57,872-28%($12,495)($78,069)
1991
$47,237$12,081391%4.2%$15,422$60,303-28%($13,066)($91,135)
1992
$49,221$12,221403%3.0%$15,422$62,112-26%($12,891)($104,026)
199312.10$51,042$12,304415%3.0%$15,730$65,253-28%($14,211)($118,237)
1994
$54,438$12,790426%2.6%$15,730 $66,949-23%($12,511)($130,748)
1995
$56,555$12,926438%2.8%$15,730$68,824-22%($12,269)($143,017)
1996
$58,018$12,887450%2.9%$15,730$70,820-22%($12,802)($155,819)
1997
$59,451$12,908461%2.3%$15,730 $72,449-22%($12,998)($168,817)
1998
$61,230$13,085468%1.6%$15,730 $73,608-20%($12,378)($181,195)
1999
$63,489$13,276478%2.2%$15,730$75,227-18%($11,738)$192,933)
2000
$66,656$13,585491%2.6%$15,730$77,183-16%($10,527)($203,460)
2001
$69,237$13,700505%3.0%$15,730 $79,499-15%($10,262)($213,722)


$1,251,732$414,251

$467,564$1,465,454Total Lost($213,722)
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