Today's Monday Morning Quarterback letters deal with reaction to double payments to the federal pension plan and media coverage of the retirement issue.
If you want to make a point, or comment, on what is happening, drop me a note, c/o The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071. Some items from last week's mailbag:
*"So Congress and the White House have tossed us [new federal workers] into the briar patch of double-coverage. As of this month my colleagues and I are paying the full fare for civil service retirement protection, plus making contributions for Social Security.
"My next paycheck will be reduced $26 per week. But down the road, things may not be . . . so tough. Once I retire from government (probably before age 60) I'll get civil service benefits. At age 65 I'll get Social Security, too. I figure it will take less than three years to get back my contributions to both systems. After that, I'm home free.
"Perhaps when Congress and the White House realize they've done us a good turn . . . they will reconsider and remove us from the double-coverage briar patch. Meanwhile, I'm prepared to pay a little more to get a lot more . . . . " E.R., Alexandria
*"The requirement that feds hired since 1984 pay for double coverage under the civil service retirement system and Social Security is another example of why I'm having second thoughts about a government career.
"The politicians had more than two years to create a new retirement system. However, they went to the wire again and ended up doing nothing. Until they do something, all new employes will have 15 percent deducted from their gross pay for double coverage. That would be fine if we could anticipate getting double coverage . . . but the political facts of life are such that both civil service retirement and Social Security are subject to annual changes (always for the worse). Is there any company (still in business) in the United States that operates this way? As a consumer, I hope not!" New Worker in Gaithersburg
*"The Reagan administration, as expected, repeated its call for significant changes in the civil service retirement system. What wasn't expected was the support of those proposed changes by The Washington Post in a May 3 editorial statement.
"It suggested that it was time to restructure the overly generous benefits of federal workers and reduce the cost to the taxpayer. At least two recent publications have challenged the validity of these claims of generosity of benefits as cost to the taxpayer.
"On July 11, 1985, The Washington Post reported on a Labor Department survey of private sector pensions. It indicated that private employes received equal or greater benefits as compared to federal employes. An April 1 article in The Federal Times . . . shows the civil service retirement fund continues to grow . . . and at the end of 1983 totaled more than $109 billion.
"Why has the Reagan administration misrepresented to the public federal employe benefits and their cost to the taxpayer? Why has The Post allowed this to happen and now joined the administration in their misrepresentation?
"The civil service fund should be self-supporting and actuarily sound. Benefits should not be legislated that cannot be properly funded . . . all employes should be included in and contribute to it . . . and the retirement system should be depoliticized and the management given to an independent organization to make prudent, effective investments and adjustments." C.L.S., Centreville