In today's leadoff letter to the Monday Morning Quarterback, a fed-up fed says he'd be happy to unburden the taxpayers. He suggests that Uncle Sam let him quit early and abolish his job or pay his replacement less.
Another MMQ objects to last week's letter from a private-sector type who said feds gripe too much and have it made. Finally, there are comments on tax reform and the frozen retiree raise. This is what people are saying:
*"Your words of warning about the potential effect of budget cuts on the federal retirement program strike a new note of terror in my 52-year-old heart . . . . I've finally had enough. Here is my suggestion:
"If the idea is to really save money, and not merely be vicious, the government should offer an early-retirement option for everyone over 50 with 20 years of service.
"In conjunction with the early out, close examination should be made to each vacated position -- either filling it at a lower grade to encourage young people to work hard for promotion, or it may be that some jobs should not be filled at all.
"It seems all too clear that the civil service is being cheapened and that this trend will continue for years to come. Some day we will arise to read that the shambles of public service must be reconstructed and that people should be encouraged to go into government. There will be talk of incentives to bring in the brightest and the best. But for now, and forever, a career in government is something that we warn our children against." Ready to Go, Washington, D.C.
*"I'm happy that private sector employes read and respond to your column but amazed and saddened at the apparent antagonism of the community. Feds don't assail their right to increase their fees nor complain about their business lunches and tax benefits, yet some dare complain when we feds object to pay freezes and loss of retirement benefits for which we worked and paid.
"We don't get free medical or bonuses. The community should expect to pay for services they want and not degrade civil servants. We've been degraded enough by Congress, the administration and the press. Private industry employes would never accept a cost-of-living freeze. I'm tired of the discriminatory attitude by all elements of the country against federal workers and retirees. Find another scapegoat!" C.R.M., Arlington
*"Did the congressmen who killed the retiree raise at the last minute think how much it cost the government in overtime to reprogram computers for 1.9 million checks? Do you know how much computer workers earn? Almost as much as it would have cost to let the raise go in effect." Small Town Resident
*"What next? The president's 'scare' proposal last year to cut federal pay 5 percent worked and generated an 'acceptable' pay freeze. Now they want to get at retirement contributions that have already been taxed.
" . . . The money I paid into retirement fund has already been taxed and belongs to me . . . like bonds or money in savings. I'm offended anyone would try to cheat me out of it. I should be able to withdraw my contributions . . . . " C.B., Lexington Park
*"It was an honor to serve my country in World War II and serve my government in civil service for 30 years. Now my government has let me down by freezing my cost-of-living raise . . . while allowing other benefit programs to grant the raise. This is an unfair way to balance the budget by neglecting only civil service and military retirees." K.L.M., Washington