According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most dangerous jobs in America in rank order are:
Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
Federal civil servant
Refuse and recyclable materials collectors
Producer on the “Dr. Phil” show
Surprised? Me too. I lived and worked on a farm and cattle ranch for three years and while it was tough, it didn’t strike me as all that dangerous, at least not at the time.
Full disclosure: I added a couple — Nos. 4 and 9 — that the BLS experts overlooked either because they were too modest or, in the case of Dr. Phil, they are all still at work when the TV show, which increasingly tackles tough, sometime volatile issues, is on at 4 p.m. in the Washington, D.C., metro area.
While there are some really, really dangerous federal jobs, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, prison personnel, test pilots, health care workers, inspectors and more, even the 9-to-5 office positions are pretty scary now. Top officials from the president on down have made it clear they aren’t happy with the performance of folks at the Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department, Justice Department, the FBI and the CIA to name a few.
Although politicians, including presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama often ease up on feds in an election year, the Trump administration has once again proposed gutting the Federal Employees Retirement System, which covers 95% of the current workforce. It would freeze pensions at time of retirement by eliminating any future cost of living adjustments to keep pace with inflation. As living costs rise each year, current and future FERS retirees would lose around $53 billion (with a B) in purchasing power over the next decade, according to the White House. The budget package also proposes to end the special FERS supplement, which can be worth thousands of dollars each year, for FERS workers who retire before becoming eligible for Social Security at 62. That would be a double-blow for those feds forced to retire at age 57: Air traffic controllers, firefighters and law enforcement.
Eliminating COLAs for FERS retirees while putting Civil Service Retirement System retirees on diet COLAs for life could have unintended consequences. It could induce or force tens of thousands of retirement-age workers to hold on to their jobs with both annual and longevitiy pay raises assured, rather than risk retiring to a guaranteed lower standard of living.
The cuts have been proposed before and fizzled in Congress, and will probably run out of steam this year. Knowing that the boss and half the board of directors isn’t dangerous. But it can’t be easy to live with.
Sixty-nine years ago today, Emmett Ashford became the first black umpire in organized baseball when he was authorized to be a substitute in the Southwestern International League. He was known for his booming voice, flamboyance and animated umpiring style that enamored fans and annoyed players. He was hired by the American League in 1966 and retired in 1970.