Nearly 14 million Americans are desperate for work. The nation is 14 trillion dollars in debt. As we'll illustrate all week - the government is bleeding red.
Everyone is being forced to make sacrifices - everyone except federal workers. Keep in mind you and I pay for these workers.
The Wall Street Journal points out they didn't feel the recession the way the average private sector worker did. Amidst high-level of layoffs, it wasn't until the most recent months that government workers even saw pink slips.
In fact they saw raises upwards of 4% and bumps in salary due to seniority. I can already hear you at home saying, "But wait Gerri... didn't this happen back in November?" Yes - Obama did call for a federal pay freeze, but many employees are still receiving raises through "step increases."
Under the federal pay formula, employees are eligible for a regular pay raise every one-to-three years, depending on their seniority. When they get a raise they move up a "step" on the Federal pay scale,
A new report out today from the Congressional Research Service shows more than 77,000 federal workers drew higher salaries in 2009 than the governors of the states they worked in. It's not just pay - their benefits are out of this world.
The Journal says employees are entitled to a 5% match from the government to their retirement plans. The average private sector worker usually only gets 3% and once these workers retire at the ripe old age of 62 - they take home more than 1% of their three highest year's salary - times the number of years worked.
So let's do the mathif someone was making $80,000 a year, after 30 years, they get to live off of more than $26,000 a year - that's just their pension.
What's worse is that the vast majority of that sum is paid for by you and me. The American taxpayer foots nearly 12% of that bill because the fed workers themselves only contributed less than 1% of their pay.
There are movements in congress to change thatRepublicans are trying to make that contribution requirement 6% and that could save the government anywhere from $50 to $114 billion over the next decade.
But as is the case with anything in Washington, there are too many voices being heard in this debate and the chance of real reform seems as far off today as ever.
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I'm not saying we screw over hard working men and women in the government. I just think it's time to balance the scales and have the people paying their salary on the same level.
And have everyone make the sacrifices needed to get this country back on solid ground.