If you live and work in Washington long enough a certain amount of paranoia becomes the norm. Not to the point where you think you need a food-taster, but you do become more suspicious.
You stop taking people’s — especially politicians’, lawyers’ and talking heads’ — statements, actions and facts. You run them through your own filter and then figure out what they “really” meant and said, not what they said they said.
Take the federal retirement program.
It is better than Social Security. It is better than almost anything in the private sector, and it has been around in modified form for a long, long time.
Politicians have been after it, although they are covered by an enhanced version of it, for decades. And that pressure has increased with the advent of the Trump administration.
The latest proposal to reform and/or slash the dominant Federal Employees Retirement System plan, which covers most working federal and postal workers, came this week. The Office of Personnel Management announced a four-point White House plan to raise employee contributions, eliminate future cost of living adjustments for retirees, drop a valuable bridge payment workers get if they retire — or are forced to retire — before age 62 and, finally, cut take-home pay by 6 percent by raising most employee contributions to the FERS fund by one percent each year for six years.
That the four-point attack was launched is no surprise. The proposed reforms/cuts have been around for decades.
That it was launched this week — Public Service Recognition Week — may have been coincidence. The American Federation of Government Employees got the OPM paper and made it public. Or was it an intentional leak? Or maybe a deliberate but subtle kick in the slats to federal workers and their unions during the one week each year when they blow, modestly, their own horns?
This is Washington, where the obvious is often cover for something entirely different. Run the timing issue through your job-paranoia filter and see what you get.