Gov Careers

By Phil Piemonte

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No, not death panel … DEBT panel

Well, it doesn’t look like the president’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility ventured too far from the recommendations released last month by the two chairmen of the panel.

For the record, the report—officially titled “The Moment of Truth”—suggested freezing federal civilian wages for three years (which has received a LOT of comment on this blog), switching from a “high three” to a “high five” scheme for calculating annuities, cutting 200,000 federal jobs over the next decade through attrition, and fooling around with the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Another ominous recommendation from the report: “Create a federal workforce entitlement task force to re-evaluate civil service and military health and retirement programs and recommend savings of $70 billion over ten years.” The reason for this re-evaluation, it says, is that “military and civilian pensions are both out of line with pension benefits available to the average worker in the private sector …”

To the relief of federal employee unions, the panel’s Dec. 3 vote on the bundled recommendations failed to gain the 14 votes needed to move the entire package to Congress. The American Federation of Government Employees said “lawmakers should consider President Obama’s deficit commission plan dead on arrival.”

Nonetheless, the report could set the stage for members of Congress to pick up and champion one or more of the report’s ideas separately.

Ditto the White House. In a Dec. 3 statement, President Obama said: “The commission’s majority report includes a number of specific proposals that I—along with my economic team—will study closely in the coming weeks as we develop our budget and our priorities for the coming year.”

As they say, “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.”

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Dec 03, 2010 at 12:13 PM


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