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By Phil Piemonte

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Bad timing for feds nearing retirement

With the leaders of the president’s debt reduction panel calling for a three-year freeze on federal civilian pay, and with budget hawks about to take control of the House, chances are probably good that President Obama’s proposed two-year civilian pay freeze will get through Congress and make its way back to his desk.

If that’s the case, then it will be a major bummer for feds a year or two away from retirement, many of whose high three calculations—barring step increases or promotions—could be squeezed by two years of static pay.

Worse yet, the president has just announced his decision to invoke his emergency powers to freeze 2011 locality pay (which also factors into annuity calculations) at 2010 levels.

We’ll wager that a lot of prospective retirees are running the numbers right now.

Will your plans change?

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Dec 01, 2010 at 12:13 PM

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Reader comments

Fri, Dec 17, 2010

Will the President and the Congress also be giving up raises for the next 2 to 3 years? They are the ones who actually overspent and caused the problem, or as usual will they be exempting themselves? I am two years from retirment and see this as a very unfair burden being placed on me.

Fri, Dec 10, 2010

I worked for the government and back in the 70's they put a freeze on all salaries, this was done under a special act because we were so in debt. It was a very long time before we received raises and to think we now have such a debt - it just really bothers me, all those government workers made sacrifices.

I think the all the judicial should not be receiving the salaries that they are - the President shouldn't be receiving what he is either - and I don't want to hear what CEO's make, they too make too much. I think the entire system should be revamped.

Thu, Dec 9, 2010 Bruce

I'm not that concerned with the pay freeze here -- unfortunately, I'm way too far away from retirement for it to impact me. However, I wonder why the military is always given a pass in all of the budget discussions.

The last time I checked, the military-industrial-congressional complex was still free-spending on Star Wars, multiple task forces, etc as if they were still ramping up for major confrontations against major super-powers. (The 50th anniversary of Ike's speech on the military-industrial complex -- he tactfully left off congress -- is coming up.) We spend a higher share of our GDP on defense-related costs than just about any other country. Wikipedia is showing that related expenses are over a trillion dollars a year. Obviously, our defense is necessary but I suspect a good chunk of their budget is overkill. Why should it be universally excluded from pay freezes?

Tue, Dec 7, 2010 Oklahoma

When are we going to come to the realization that our government has become the most effective, influential tool for the wealthy in this country to maintain and grow their worth and power? All at the expense of (and manipulation of)the middle and lower working class, who end up having to pay for whatever minimal government support they are allowed to have in maintaining life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? I will venture to say that the majority of our elected executive and legislative officials are either part of that echelon of wealth, or on the fast track to becoming lifetime members soon and in the foreseeable future. It was never meant to be this way. To have and make a substantial and lucrative career at the expense of the federal government as a civil servant is just wrong on any level.

A government FOR the people should be dedicated equally to ALL of the people, not just those who have greedily and abusively obtained the power and influence to control it. It is the taxpayer who ultimately funds our foreign wars, huge loans to other countries in the form of foreign aid, bailing out of failing, wealth-backed industries, and increased government spending to support its further expansion and control. But it is the wealthy who ultimately reep the majority of benefit from the political machine which they abuse and call OUR government.

It is time for those who have recognizably, substantially benefitted most from this country's government to step up and do their part in helping to recover from this black hole of debt we are ALL in. No more spinning the brunt of the burden away to the everyday taxpayer. Tax increases for the wealthiest for two years would be a welcome and needed respite for this country. An outward sign of recognition and acceptance of and for their part in recovery.

The federal working class, like everyone else in this country, knows it has a part to play in helping with this financial recovery. A temporary freeze on fed salaries and budgets might be something we need to accept for the greater good, but it should definately extend into the executive and legislative elected federal employee ranks so they too can do their part (because of the part they played or chose not to play?). Everyone benefits when the financial health of our economy is good, and consequently suffers when it goes bad; likewise EVERYONE should pay their part and cinch up their belts to make it better again.

Tue, Dec 7, 2010

I was already hurt by the GS to NSPS back to GS conversion and now this. I don't mind it so much if everyone takes a hit, but will Congress and the President take the same hit? Why didn't they freeze health insurance rates while freezing pay? My retirement plans are now on hold and I was 2 1/2 years away.

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