Lots of comment from readers -- some bad, but mostly good -- about our Monday Morning Quarterback feature.
Reader reaction ranges from that of a Bowie man, who says this is a waste of good newsprint because it is "a forum from crackpots," to the Energy Department lawyer who says she doesn't always like what she reads, but finds it interesting to know what issues motivate people to write.
You are welcome to join in. Space is limited, so please keep comments brief.
Today's writers tackle the subject of federal vs. private industry pay raises, and comment on earlier letters from nonfederal workers about the government's holiday policy. Also included is a letter from a longtime federal worker who describes what she considers the real drain on the federal-military retirement system: benefits to people who never worked for the government. Here goes:
The Oct. 22 issue of U.S. News and World Report says that salaried workers are getting raises averaging 6.6 percent this year, according to a national survey of 875 companies. This is the lowest percentage increase in a decade.
"Who says federal employes and retirees are given inordinately large raises?" -- L.R.B., Annandale
"For the private-sector worker who complained about having only three holidays a year, and complained about having to work on Columbus Day, I say: 'If it is so good -- become a government worker!' " -- Postmarked D.C.
"Permit me to get my nickel's worth in the Monday Morning Quarterback on the subject of federal pensions. The public reads much about the drain on the systems . . . yet I doubt they know where the real drain is coming from.
"Individuals who work and earn a pension, be it Social Security, military or federal, should not be criticized for what they draw . . . . Rather, those who did not work a day for it should be criticized.
" . . . An individual who is married to a federal employe can immediately qualify for benefits as long as they are married for one year. . . . The survivor can also work for the government at any grade, and retain the survivor benefit while working -- plus all the cost-of-living raises -- and, upon eligibility, draw his/her own pension plus the survivor benefit.
" . . . Military retirees can work for government, keep their pensions and earn $50,000 to $80,000 in pay and pension . I might add that they don't contribute a dime toward their military pensions, but get them free.
"Under Social Security, a survivor would have the pension deferred to age 60 unless minor children are involved. It would make sense for Congress to think seriously about doing the same with federal pension survivor benefits.
"I am fed up with everyone harping on how good the federal retiree has it. Baloney. The one who had it made is the survivor whose husband not only leaves a nice healthy pension but a car, home, bank accounts, life insurance and never put in a single day's work for it. . . . Those of us who worked many years, remain single and have no one to rely on financially but ourselves should not be criticized for what we get.
" . . . Let the public know just who the real dippers -- double and triple -- are and why the federal-military pension system is costing so much: It is the survivors able to draw lifetime benefits at any age." -- Ex G-Girl, Arlington