Another ‘peanut’ pay raise?

When they learned that the President wanted to give them a 9.1% raise, delegates to the convention of the largest federal union booed for five minutes. But that was then, this is now. And things change.

Or do they?

The hissing at the mention of a 9.1% raise came in 1980, a time of runaway inflation. Data used by Uncle Sam to determine what workers should get, based on private sector wage gains, showed rank-and-file...

READ MORE

When they learned that the President wanted to give them a 9.1% raise, delegates to the convention of the largest federal union booed for five minutes. But that was then, this is now. And things change.

Or do they?

The hissing at the mention of a 9.1% raise came in 1980, a time of runaway inflation. Data used by Uncle Sam to determine what workers should get, based on private sector wage gains, showed rank-and-file feds were due at 13.49%. Just to catch up. In those days federal workers got pay raises on Oct. 1 (the start of the fiscal year).

The official pay raise announcement was made by then President Jimmy Carter. It was one of the largest increases proposed in history. And it fell flat with an audience he needed most: labor. He was about to kick off his campaign for reelection. His challenger was former movie star and California Governor Ronald Reagan. The rest, as they say, is history.

It’s highly unlikely that the “peanut pay raise,” as critics labeled the Carter plan, was the primary reason he was trounced by Reagan. There was the Iran hostage situation, among other things. But it probably contributed to the runaway electoral and popular vote victory Reagan scored. So is there a history lesson here?

While history doesn’t exactly repeat itself, sometimes, in times like now, there are a lot of similarities to the way things shape up. And shake out.

Inflation, which has been long dormant, is roaring. Getting worse with each monthly report. And the Ukraine war, which is driving much of it, has just started. Here at home potential voters — from farmers to air traffic controllers — are subjected to a relentless 24/7 news cycle which didn’t exist, for most, in the Carter years. And the round-the-clock woe-is-me news reports are frequently led by “price at the pump” which for many is their nerve center for inflation pain. And reminder that when oil prices spike — for whatever reason — so does everything else, except maybe salaries. President Biden, who got the support of every national federal and postal worker union, has proposed a 4.6% pay raise in January. That would be the highest in decades. Yet the sound you hear in major federal-employment centers — from New York and Washington to San Antonio and San Francisco — isn’t workers dancing in the street. Friends of feds in the House, led by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) are pushing for a 5.1%. They say that data shows in order to catch up with their counterparts in industry, the raise should be more. And there are those devilish round-the-clock “price at the pump” reminders. The idea that white collar (non-postal) feds will get get a 4.6% in 2023 is almost a done deal. And 5.1% isn’t out of the question. But will either amount be enough, both realistically and emotionally? Or will this one also be perceived as another peanut pay raise?

Nearly Useless Factoid

By David Thornton

The government of Thailand directly supports the proliferation of Thai restaurants around the world, as part of an effort known as “gastrodiplomacy.”
Source: Vice

Related Stories

    (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., is interviewed about the Relay, an electric autonomous vehicle, in Fairfax, Va., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. The future of transportation arrived in northern Virginia, looking like a big blue toaster on wheels that can seat six and drive itself through the region’s notorious traffic.  State and local officials debuted the Relay system Thursday, an all-electric, autonomous vehicle that will provide free shuttle rides back and forth from the Dunn Loring Metrorail stop to the bustling Mosaic District in Fairfax County, Va.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

    House legislators push 5.1% pay raise for all feds

    Read more
    Joe Biden

    For feds, White House 2023 budget request is more than just the 4.6% pay raise

    Read more

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

May 19, 2022 Close Change YTD*
L Income 22.4943 0.0056 -3.32%
L 2025 11.3051 0.0037 -6.04%
L 2030 38.8006 0.0156 -8.58%
L 2035 11.5381 0.0053 -9.48%
L 2040 43.2533 0.0219 -10.33%
L 2045 11.7451 0.0067 -11.10%
L 2050 25.5287 0.0157 -11.80%
L 2055 12.3000 0.0068 -13.56%
L 2060 12.2991 0.0067 -13.56%
L 2065 12.2981 0.0068 -13.57%
G Fund 16.8702 0.0014 0.65%
F Fund 18.9486 0.0409 -9.33%
C Fund 59.2289 -0.3416 -12.91%
S Fund 63.3279 0.4298 -18.83%
I Fund 33.6967 0.229 -12.73%
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.