“Further” is the key word here.
When politicians talk about shared sacrifice, it seems they sometimes forget that so far feds are the only folks who have sacrificed in the effort to prevent massive budget cuts and significant tax hikes.
“To date the federal workforce has given $103 billion back to the US treasury,” said the letter from the Federal Workers Alliance (FWA). “That equates to an average of $50,000 in compensation per federal employee over ten years — a huge sacrifice for any worker to have to incur.”
The sacrifice will be shared by everyone if the cliff is not avoided. Federally Employed Women (FEW) has issued a series of possible sequestration scenarios showing how the cuts could affect the general public.
“[N]onsensical across-the-board cuts will prove to be disruptive, detrimental and extremely harmful to our children, elderly, travelers, workers and all Americans in all areas of our society,” FEW said. “From food safety to healthy children to research to safe skies to our economy as a whole, to name just a few, sequestration cuts will have a devastating impact on our nation.”
Feds, of course, will suffer the same cuts as everyone else, plus those directed at the workforce.
The $103 billion figure over 10 years comes from $60 billion attributable to the two-year freeze on basic pay rates for federal workers that was originally scheduled to end next month, $15 billion from changes to retirement for workers hired beginning next year, and another $28 billion that workers effectively will lose because of a proposed pay raise that has been reduced and delayed at least through March.
“Considering that no other group has yet to give anything toward reducing our debt, we believe that federal workers have already more than done their part,” the Alliance said. “Federal workers have not only answered the call to public service, but their individual sacrifices have been significant.”
The union letter said the current freeze will cost $16,500 over a decade to a federal worker earning $40,000 annually.
“These numbers more than reflect the fact that federal workers have stepped up to the plate,” the unions said.
Stepping up to the plate includes getting hit with a tax increase during a period when Democrats and Republicans are united in their opposition to tax hikes for the middle class, argues the American Federation of Government Employees. The $15 billion from retirement changes amounts to a tax hike because “under Congressional budget rules, increases in employees’ salary contributions to retirement costs score as tax increases,” says a Nov. 14 letter to senators from Beth Moten, AFGE’s legislative and political director.