Today's Monday Morning Quarterbacks include a fed who has had enough, an employe who is itching to retire early, an air traffic controller who wants to go back to work and two retirees who are proud of their time in government.
This is your space -- every Monday. So if you want to sound off, drop me a note at The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071. Here's a sample of what some of your friends, neighbors and colleagues are thinking:
*"As a 12-year government employe I've seen benefits promised me deteriorate. I've tolerated higher taxes, higher health premiums and delayed and frozen raises, involuntary enrollment in Medicare and threats to raise the retirement age. But I refuse to be taxed twice on the same salary!
"If Congress eliminates the tax-free period following retirement I'll leave government and invest my pension contributions where I'll get interest -- not threats. As a 31-year-old professional I can match my salary in industry and work at least 25 years. When I retire I'll have investments, pension and Social Security. I hope Congress realizes that feds are not going to sit back and let the budget be balanced on our backs." J.B.W., Upper Marlboro
*"As a mid-career employe, if I leave government voluntarily or am laid off, I can get back my pension contributions or accept an annuity . . . . If this happens I will have made an interest-free loan to the government for 16 years. The value of the interest I would lose equals about 18 months of salary, so I would be making a gift to the government of that amount.
"The early-retirement proposal [by Republican Sens. William Roth of Delaware and Ted Stevens of Alaska] . . . would rectify this in part and make leaving possible without making a stupid move financially.
"Why criticize the proposal just because of who introduced it? Sounds like a witch hunt to me. Let's get an early-out bill passed as soon as possible." L.J.A., Washington
*"Regarding the bill to rehire former controllers and the comment of the FAA official who doubted they could requalify for their positions: An air traffic supervisor at National told me I could be requalified within three weeks. Many others could do the same." J.T., Fort Washington
*"I find your April 5 remarks that 'not all federal retirees were world beaters, but the majority did nice work' to be somewhat unfair and condescending.
" . . . At least seven current and former feds have been awarded the Nobel Prize. Many others, although not prize winners, are of the same caliber. As a Navy engineering supervisor I'm sure I did more than just 'nice work.' I'm afraid you have been unduly influenced by the propaganda of the administration [which is] intent on cutting the deficit at the expense of employes and retirees." H.K., Wheaton
*"Your April 5 column -- and the letter from the 'old-timer' -- reminding younger people of the accomplishments of retirees was most appreciated. Much of what we did, whether we were recognized or not, has made it possible for this country to remain strong and free. A little study of the recent history of this country by younger people would be of value to them, and to those of us who did our share when we were younger." L.H., Arlington