Listen to this week’s archived ”The Financial Physician” radio show on Voice America’s Business Channel. .-Lou
There are Federal employees and then there is the rest of us. Read this liberal dribble lamenting a 1.2% increase in employee contributions toward their pensions. In the private sector we must fund 100% of our pension but in public sector they pay very little and cry about it as if taxpayers paying for their retirement is their right. It’s downright “demonic”-Lou
Hidden disaster in new budget: Demonic plot to raid pensions
2013 has not been a pleasant year if you work for the federal government. You’ve been subject to pay freezes, furloughs and shutdowns. One of you got yelled at by a Tea Party Republican at the World War II memorial. And if Congress passes the budget deal announced Tuesday night by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray – a big if – you will get a final Christmas present: You’ll have to pay more into your pension, an effective wage cut that just adds to the $114 billion, with a “B,” federal employees have already given back to the government in the name of deficit reduction.
The deal between House and Senate negotiators Ryan and Murray would reverse part of sequestration for 2014 and 2015, itself a major source of pain for federal workers. But negotiators want to pay for that relief in future years, with the overall package cutting the deficit by an additional $23 billion. And one of the major “pay-fors” is an increase in federal employee pension contributions. President Obama’s 2014 budget included such a proposal, which would have raised the employee contribution in three stages, from 0.8 percent of salary to 2 percent. Congress had already made this shift for new hires; the Obama proposal would affect all workers hired before 2012.
That proposed increased contribution translated to a 1.2 percent pay cut, and a total of around $20 billion in givebacks over 10 years. Negotiators were pressured by the powerful Maryland Democratic delegation, including Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen and Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, into softening the blow on federal employees, many of whom live in their districts. According to Sen. Murray, the increase in contributions now equals about $6 billion over 10 years. But negotiators traded some of the cuts to federal employee pensions with different cuts to military pensions, also totaling $6 billion. So whatever the occupation, people who work for the government will bear the brunt of the pain.
A small pay cut doesn’t sound like much. But you have to add that to the pile of hits federal workers have taken over the past several years. Government pay has been frozen since January 2010. The only way you’ve gotten a raise over the last four years if you work for the government is if you received a promotion or a similar advance. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this has reduced the purchasing power of a government salary by over 7 percent since 2010. The deal to avoid the government shutdown in October finally broke this fever with a 1 percent pay raise starting in January. This budget deal would wipe much of that out.
Pay freezes are just the beginning. In February, hundreds of thousands of federal workers were forced into unpaid furloughs in accordance with sequestration’s across-the-board budget cuts. In virtually every federal agency, workers had to take as many as 15 unpaid days off during the last fiscal year. Then, when the government shutdown occurred, workers were again sent home without knowing if they would ever get paid for the missed time. The lack of cash flow stressed workers and made it difficult to pay bills on time. Fortunately, Congress did provide back pay for the 6.6 million work days missed during the shutdown. However, that comes out of agency budgets, and workers have to still complete their tasks without the ability to hire additional personnel to make up the time.
The Federal Workers Alliance, a coalition of unions representing federal employees, estimated in a message to the budget negotiators that between the pay freeze and furloughs, federal employees have sacrificed $114 billion in pay cuts over the past three years, an average of over $50,000 per employee. Yet somehow, budget negotiators are going to the well again.
It’s notable that this attack targets public pensions, which have been under assault all over the country. Last week, a federal bankruptcy judge allowed Detroit to enter bankruptcy and impair pensions for city workers and retirees, and Illinois passed a sweeping law that would cut pensions significantly. Both of those states have constitutional protections preventing cuts to pensions, but no matter. Now, under the proposed budget deal, federal pensions would be subject to higher employee contributions. The Federal Workers Alliance notes that the average annual pension benefit for federal employees is just $12,800 per year. The proposed increased costs amount to close to hundreds of dollars a year in lost take-home pay without any increase to that meager benefit. Moreover, they represent a weakening of public pensions generally, at a time when the loss of pensions in the private sector, in favor of shaky 401(k)-style plans, has contributed to a retirement crisis. The threat to a dignified end of life is now coming to government workers, who explicitly forgo wages in exchange for the promise of a modest retirement benefit.
Stockman: Budget deal a ‘joke and betrayal’
CNBC-House Republicans “capitulated” in agreeing to the two-year budget deal reached last night and left the country to deal with an unsustainable fiscal situation until the peak of the presidential primaries in 2015, when nothing will get done, former federal budget director David Stockman told CNBC on Wednesday.
“First, let’s be clear—it’s a joke and betrayal,” Stockman, who served under President Ronald Reagan, said on “Squawk on the Street.” “It’s the final surrender of the House Republican leadership to Beltway politics and kicking the can and ignoring the budget monster that’s hurtling down the road.”
Stockman added that the budget deal means lawmakers would take a “two-year vacation” from dealing with the country’s fiscal situation and revisit it in 2015 at around the same time as the Iowa straw polls. Without an incumbent in the presidential race, both political parties will be too busy to touch the budget, he said.
“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”, yea right.-Lou
Crushing Obamacare consequences: This doctor’s practice-closing newspaper ad says it all
Nothing every really changes for the better in Washington, this is more of the same garbage that has been going on for years. Deficits forever, or at least until we go belly up.-Lou
This is what Mark Levin thinks about the deal:
Ryan and Murray announce budget deal
BY MARY KATHARINE HAM, Hot Air
—Brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray, it’s an attempt to get back to some kind of normal order budget process
—Two-year deal, would avert government shut-down Jan. 15 but not deal with debt limit
—Spares $63 billion in sequestration cuts scheduled for January
—Allows overall projected spending to go up from $967 billion to a little over $1 trillion
The “sequestration relief,” which America is not clamoring for is brought to you by raising “fees,” which is pretty much just another word for taxes:
But higher fees would generate as much as $65 billion to replace the unpopular cuts in military and domestic spending mandated under the budget-trimming sequester. Those cuts are set to take effect in mid-January.
Details of the fee hikes remain under wraps, but lawmakers have considered increasing fees on airline tickets and new mortgages, raising insurance premiums for pension funds and requiring federal civilian employees to contribute more toward their retirement.
A new budget deal that will be debated by the U.S. Congress in the coming days would trim some military spending as well as outlays for federal workers’ retirement programs, Senate Budget Committee chief Patty Murray said on Tuesday.
The deal would cut $12 billion from the two accounts, the Democratic senator said.
“This bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion, it does not raise taxes, and it cuts spending in a smarter way,” Ryan said at Tuesday night press conference. “I see this agreement as a step in the right direction.”
“I’m proud of this agreement,” Ryan added. “It reduces the deficit—without raising taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter way. It’s a firm step in the right direction, and I ask all my colleagues in the House to support it.”
“This agreement breaks through the recent dysfunction to prevent another government shutdown and roll back sequestration’s cuts to defense and domestic investments in a balanced way,” said Murray. “It’s a good step in the right direction that can hopefully rebuild some trust and serve as a foundation for continued bipartisan work.”
They’re both hailing it as a starting point. Conservatives are wary of fee hikes and erasing sequestration. Democrats are wary of any bill that requires anyone to pitch in more for their pensions and doesn’t include an extension of unemployment benefits (right now, this does not).
“This agreement doesn’t include everything I’d like – and I know many Republicans feel the same way. That’s the nature of compromise,” Obama said. “But it’s a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come together and break the cycle of short-sighted, crisis-driven decision-making to get this done.”
Party leaders on both sides of the Capitol, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) also issued statements backing the deal.
Where does this madness end?-Lou
Latest casualty of ObamaCare: Volunteer fire departments?
Just when one thought the news surrounding the damage being caused by ObamaCare can’t get worse, the Scranton Times-Tribune reports that ObamaCare may well end many volunteer fire departments:
A local congressman wants answers on whether volunteer firefighting companies could be unintentionally swept into the national health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs has asked the Internal Revenue Service, which has partial oversight of the law, to clarify if current IRS treatment of volunteer firefighters as employees means their hose companies or towns must offer health insurance coverage or pay a penalty if they don’t.
The organization representing the fire chiefs has been working on the issue with the IRS and White House for months.
While the Department of Labor classifies most volunteer firefighters as volunteers and thus not employees, the IRS currently classifies them as employees. That means that, if a particular department puts in more than 1500 man-hours while using at least 50 volunteers and employees in a week, it must provide health insurance for those who put in at least 30 hours in a week starting in 2015, or sooner if a court decides to toss the administrative 1-year delay in the employer health insurance mandate.
Not only is Obamacare destroying the economy, it is destroying marriages. What a mess. Rush Limbaugh discussed this on his program last Friday. The second clip is from CBS news in New York talking with a woman who is getting divorced because by being single they will qualify for Obamacare subsidies and will save thousands of dollars a year. Obama, the destroyer of everything.-Lou
Rush Limbaugh Show
CBS News On Couple Divorcing Because of Obamacare