It's Monday Morning Quarterback time, when the readers do the work. Today's lineup deals with the "chaos" of proposed pension tax changes, a retiree who suggests lucky feds count their blessings and a worker who feels many gravy train commuters are military retirees.
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*"Does the House Ways and Means Committee have any idea of the chaos their tax reform bill has already caused in the federal government? For months . . . retirement-age workers have stewed because of the proposal to change pension tax rules.
"I work in headquarters personnel. We have had many hundreds of calls from employees asking if they should retire by June 3, or June 30, or not at all. The field people are the most pathetic because their newspapers don't cover civil service matters. In some field offices we could lose half our people to premature, and possibly unnecessary, retirement.
"The committee could do the government (and the taxpayers) a favor if it would state that any changes (unfair though they are) that are made will be made effective in January. This would give employees time to make a rational retirement decision, put an end to this heart-stopping, morale-damaging uncertainty and allow them to concentrate on getting their work done." J.W., Arlington
*"The more I read you the angrier I get. I retired at 55 after 35 years of service. When you bellyache about federal employees I wonder if any of them ever stop to express gratitude for their government employment?
"Most people who work in private business don't have such a generous pension system. Most of the federal gravy train was enacted by Congress to benefit Congress. No government employee would have a generous pension if Congress hadn't given it to them.
"When employees gripe I wonder if they have ever bothered to find out how the other half lives? Your main object seems to smear President Reagan without facts.
"I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say 'I'm going to private industry and get more money.' In six months they were back trying to get their old government job.
"What you get is the griper. Many people in government are down on their knees grateful that they have such easy jobs with good salaries, wonderful leave privileges, etc.
"There isn't a day I don't thank God for my federal pension. Inflation has come down. The stock market is up. What do you want? The fact is the lower inflation has helped us all. By what right do we have to expect the government should constantly increase our pension?
"Workers should see how little they contribute toward their pensions. Who pays the rest? The hard-working taxpayer who isn't on the gravy train. Too bad you can't put a little balance in your column. All I've heard is 'gimme, gimme more.' " Diane in D.C.
*"Why do people pick on civil service benefits? What about military retirees who double dip and triple dip, some collecting civil service pensions, military retirement and Social Security?
"I work in a military clinic. Many of the military retirees work for the civil service, or did work for civil service.
"The military health program (CHAMPUS) costs the taxpayer a bundle. If they don't want dependents to go to a military doctor, they go to a civilian doctor with Uncle Sam paying most of the bill. If they don't want dependents in a military hospital, they get a 'statement of non-availability' from a military hospital and CHAMPUS pays most of their civilian bills." D.C.B., Washington