Monday, November 29, 2010

The Federal Pay Freeze, In Context

A much bigger bus to handle all those government employees!
In the interests of full disclosure I spent 32 years in the service of my country, 25 of which were on the civilian side of the government.  I am now retired and subject to the whims of OPM and Congress when it comes to my retirement pay and I still must work to make ends meet.

I've listened for months to the chatter by fellow Conservatives about how the federal civilian work force was grossly overpaid and kept my silence not because I agreed but because I knew that there were cases where that was a true statement.  Unfortunately, for me and many in my government sector, the claim that we were "overpaid bureaucrats" was grossly misleading.  I say "unfortunately" because it would have been nice to have one of those cushy Washington jobs that paid SES salary and didn't require transfers every few years (sometimes to Third World countries), exposure to infectious diseases, gunfire and physical violence and irregular work hours that usually added up to well over 60 hours a week (for which I was paid at a rate of about 1/2 regular time).  Yes, a job like that would have been grand and I know those positions existed because I read about them on the internet where it said that those $100,000.00 a year jobs were all over the place in Washington, DC.  And they also said that those jobs gave you free health insurance when you retired.  I wish I had been able to get to one of those because I now pay 100% of my health insurance bill on my retirement salary...which is one of the reasons why I still work.

But I'm not complaining.  I enjoyed my time as a civil servant.  I do have a very bad back from a bit of a tussle with a criminal I was arresting back in the '80s but no regrets.  My last assignment was in Washington, DC, and I was able to finally buy my own home at age 58.  Quite a bit later than most of my civilian counterparts who didn't work for the government but still, thanks to Congress some aren't able to buy at all despite working hard and saving their money.  My house will be paid off when I'm 88 so then I can fully retire.

This morning I watched President Obama stand before reporters and announce that he was going to freeze the pay of civilian federal workers for the next two years.  He, reading from his teleprompter, of course, waxed eloquently about how there needed to be shared sacrifice and that the savings over the next two years would amount to a staggering $28 Billion (with a capital B, no less).  It was underwhelming speech so no wonder he took no questions.

Now this doesn't affect me monetarily because I'm retired..sort of.  The economic downturn--which is traceable more directly to Nancy "The Nanny" Pelosi's Democratic Congress under President Bush than to Bush himself (yes, I know he could have vetoed the spending but didn't)--has me underwater on my house and with no increase in my government pension this last year or in the foreseeable future.  But I started thinking about that savings of a whole $28 BILLION vs. the $1+ TRILLION debt that Obama and his minions have run up in the last 22 months and it occurred to me that it was really pretty small potatoes by comparison despite the build-up he gave it.  As a matter of fact, as I thought about it, it was clear that he'd just thrown the entire civilian side of government--minus Congress, of course--under his ever-present bus where they will join his grandmother and the Reverend Wright along with more than a few others that were necessary sacrifices in the name of his political ambition.  (The more I think about it the more it seems to me that he could have accomplished the same savings by just firing all those Czars.  Just sayin'.)

This from a man who just got 12 stitches in his lip from a wild elbow while playing basketball.  (Odd that, as I didn't think that he would play with TEA Party people.)  Despite the injury though he has returned to the court and, while heroically injured, played against his daughters.  I hope they were gentle on their daddy.

Now if like me you're actually wondering what the impact of his valiant effort to curb government spending is in comparison to his valiant effort to outspend every previous American President combined thus run-up an unconscionable debt, follow the link.  You'll be amazed.

1 comment:

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I read this post briefly and got that you enjoyed your time as a civil servant. I am impressed with your personality.