Slightly used. Needs some work. Will sell, or trade for Ouija board or tarot cards. Call Mike at 334-7916.

Seven months ago federal workers were in an uproar because of a Reagan administration retirement rules change that would have forced U.S. workers to stay on the job an extra 10 years.

The president outlined the plan in his budget. Administration officials gave optimistic previews of the proposal to raise the retirement age to 65, and require feds to kick in more money to the retirement fund.

In February this column reported that the bill would be introduced "within a couple of weeks."

By mid-March we were starting to hedge a bit. Our forecast was that it would be "midsummer at the latest" before the controversial plan hit Congress.

Well, here it is midsummer, and guess what? Nothing has happened. More than that, there is a good chance nothing will happen.

The biggest scare to hit the U.S. work force since Andy Jackson is gone with the wind.

Now, when asked about the retirement plan, once confident administration officials who outlined a tough-fight-but-we-can-win scenario tend to go blank and mumble a lot.

What clouded the crystal ball is this: The Reagan administration, which RIFfed and reorganized the heck out of government in its first two years, has run out of juice. Officials of the Office of Personnel Management cannot drop an idea on Capitol Hill these days without activating a bipartisan congressional buzz saw.

Except for a few conservative Republicans (very few) in the House and Senate, the administration can't get anybody in Congress to listen to, much less introduce, any of its civil service reforms.

OPM published a set of proposed rules changes in March that would alter the way feds get raises and promotions and get picked for layoffs. OPM, which some members of Congress view as a mite uppity, said it would put the rules into effect on its own if the Congress didn't get off its legislative duff by Aug. 1.

When the General Accounting Office gave a Democratic House member a ruling that OPM was overstepping its authority, OPM got a friendly Republican congressman to ask the Congressional Research Service for a second opinion. OPM says the other congressional agency is on the right track, because it says OPM can do as it pleases in this case.

While the retirement and performance changes were being debated, OPM officials indicated that most of the opposition to them was coming from the Washington media, not federal folks themselves. They said that few federal workers had commented on the retirement and performance rules changes, and that many of those who had commented supported the idea.

So on April 17 we ran a ballot here, asking federal workers and other readers how they felt about the proposed changes. We asked if the changes were fair, and would they work?

We counted over 61,000 votes. In all we got over 80,000 responses. A batch came in last Thursday from Devine, Tex.

The votes showed that the workers were most upset by the plans. They said they were unfair (the retirement reforms) or would not work (the proposed new performance rating system).

Sadly, a majority of the people voting, the people who run our government, said they wouldn't take the job if they had it to do over again.

When you get on a plane you hope that the pilots, controllers and mechanics had a nice evening and are happy in their work. Given the events of the past few months, anybody who says government workers are as happy (and productive) as they should be needs to take the cure.

Morale in government may have been lower. But is hard to find anyone who remembers when that was.

Assuming the pro-Democratic bias of most federal union leaders, President Reagan would have had a tough--but given his personality a winnable--fight winning the hearts of his federal office staff.

But after some of the proposals that have been advanced in his name, odds are few feds would chip in for a birthday present.

If things are this bad, despite the fact that nothing has happened, imagine what morale would be like if the administration had succeeded at anything?