Bad news may be good news for feds, retirees

Whether its Stormy Daniels, North Korea, climate change, Russia, the latest on the Kardashians, Facebook’s latest “ooops,” or the upcoming midterm election, the nation’s got a lot on its plate right now. More, it seems, than most times. Most bad or potentially bad news at least at first glance. And yet…

The good news — and it may be very good news for federal workers and retirees — is that Congress has a plan to deal with the country’s various problems. The plan is:

It will take roughly 140 days off this year (not counting weekends). This is necessary, we’re told, so that incumbents can campaign for reelection. So that they — or party members who replace them —can come to a place (the undrained swamp) they profess to hate. The good news for members of the federal-postal-retiree family is that it is unlikely that any of the by-now-too-familiar “reforms” Congress and the White House want to make in government are likely to happen this year.

Lobbyists representing federal and postal workers, retirees, managers and executives used to work to get good stuff enacted into law for their people. But for more than a decade they’ve been fighting a rear guard action each year just to maintain the status quo. When nothing happens that is good news for the feds.

President Donald Trump has proposed a zero percent federal pay raise in 2018. Although Congress could overturn it, that is a long shot. The White House and Congress will again call for changes — as in cuts — in retirement benefits for FERS employees and retirees. And higher retirement plan contributions (which would cut into your take-home pay) for FERS workers. And zero COLAs in future years for FERS retirees, with slightly reduced (0.5 percent) inflation-adjustments for those under the old CSRS program. If that happened and inflation picks up the pace, it could dramatically reduce retiree income in just a few years.

This time last year many insiders said it wasn’t a matter of is anything bad going to happen, but rather which items on the hit list would make it into law. But by the end of 2017 Congress had run out of time to do anything that would whack feds. Meantime, its brace for the worst but hope for the best. Which in this case is: nothing.

Politics: The American Federation of Government Employees has endorsed Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a San Antonio Democrat who is running against incumbent Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican. AFGE says there are nearly 200,000 feds in Texas making them the potential tie-breakers in a close vote this November. The union’s 10th district which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Panama has nearly 45,000 dues-paying members.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

Traveling at 60 miles per hour, it would take someone just under 6 months to drive a car to the moon.

Source: Science Focus

Related Stories

Comments

Your Turn with Mike Causey

WEDNESDAYS at 10 A.M.

Learn about everything from pay, benefits and retirement, to buyouts, COLAs and pay freezes. Dial 667-930-9385
to listen live from any phone. Follow Mike on Twitter and send him an email with your questions and comments. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Podcast One.

THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN TICKER

Dec 01, 2021 Close Change YTD*
L Income 23.1960 -0.044 4.32%
L 2025 11.9735 -0.045 7.70%
L 2030 42.2743 -0.2193 9.58%
L 2035 12.6972 -0.0728 10.38%
L 2040 48.0510 -0.3023 11.19%
L 2045 13.1625 -0.0896 11.85%
L 2050 28.8361 -0.2104 12.55%
L 2055 14.1720 -0.1275 15.21%
L 2060 14.1720 -0.1274 15.21%
L 2065 14.1719 -0.1274 15.20%
G Fund 16.7164 0.0007 1.26%
F Fund 20.9750 0.0215 -1.14%
C Fund 68.0518 -0.8086 23.16%
S Fund 80.5943 -2.3631 11.80%
I Fund 37.6397 0.1119 6.04%
Closing price updated at approx 6pm ET each business day. More at tsp.gov
* YTD data is updated on the last day of the month.