Dozens, maybe hundreds of Defense Department employees lost the chance to pick up an extra $15,000 because they took buyouts earlier this year. The employees got up to $25,000 before deductions. That’s been the standard VSIP (voluntary separation incentive payment) since the Clinton administration’s major downsizing in the 1990s. The new $40K buyouts, for now, are limited to Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps civilian employees and run through 2018. But that could change and they could be extended to other agencies that now have buyouts capped at $25,000.
The new $40K buyouts, for now, are limited to Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps civilian employees and run through 2018. But that could change and they could be extended to other agencies that now have buyouts capped at $25,000.
So why the upgrade now? Because time marches on. And most things don’t get less expensive. Think back to a time when you had more hair and less waistline.
A $25,000 buyout in the mid-1990s was sufficient to lure thousands of people, many blue-collar males with veterans (job) protection, into early retirement. That allowed the administration to keep thousands of recent hires (who lacked seniority and VP job protection) while eliminating and privatizing between 300,000 and 400,000 civilian jobs, many in Defense. But that was then, this is now:
In 1995, a new house cost about $113,00 and the average income was about just over $34,000 per year. You could get a new car for less than $15,000, go to a movie for four bucks and get a loaf of white bread for a little over $1. A pound of coffee then cost about what a cup of fancy stuff at Starbucks or Peet’s costs today.
Last week, Congress cleared a Defense Department funding package (the National Defense Authorization Act) that included 21st century upgraded buyouts worth up to $40,000. But timing, as often happens, is everything.
Agencies like the Defense Health Agency have been quietly offering a limited number of buyouts to employees. Although many people had heard of the upgrade proposal by the Senate (we reported it several times earlier this year) most people didn’t take it seriously. Congress seemed to be even more bogged down than usual this year with pre-election campaigning and the legislative gridlock caused by partisan bickering. Many didn’t think the DoD authorization plan would be passed or, if it was, that the higher buyout amount would be lost in conference.
But it wasn’t.
Experts claiming insight into the Trump Administration’s federal playbook say that a governmentwide freeze (with many, many, many exceptions) will be one of the first orders of business. Some agencies will be targeted for weight loss. Others (including Defense) could grow big time. Whatever happens, it is possible (as in the 1990s) that the new $40,000 buyouts which are exclusive to Defense will be extended to other agencies. That would benefit many retirement age employees, as well as younger workers who might be able to move up the grade and career ladder if there are lots of buyouts.
Nearly Useless Factoid
By Michael O’Connell
White bread contains half the amount of magnesium found in whole-wheat bread.