Sunday, January 9, 2011

We're not the enemy

To whom it may concern, which means any politician and more so those in Congress and especially the President. Federal government active and retired employees are not your enemy. We are not the enemy, of the people, of the economy or the failues of everyone else to use as a political scapegoat. We were not involved in the buildup to the recession or the cause of it.

And we should not be seen as the enemy to take your frustration and poltical anger out on. We're just like every ordinary citizen working in the private sector. We work hard. We're paid decently but still about 20% less than the private sector. We have an average benefits package (retirement annuity and health insurance - in the middle of the top 100 corporations). And we have nearly the same job security (it takes just 3-6 months to terminate an employee).

But we keep getting described as the enemy of or for nearly everything, and especially more pay, annuity, insurance, etc. than we really have. The federal employees trust fund is quite independently solvent, the retirees don't add to anything and all retirees are paid out of this fund and not from other sources. Yet while my health insurance premiums went up just under 20% in the last two years, my annuity has only gone up less than 2%.

That's because our annuity is contolled by Congress and our health insurance by the companies and the Office of Management and Budget (more the former than the latter). In short we took an equal hit as everyone else. And now President Obama has chosen to freeze the salaries of active employees and the annuity of retired employees because it's what Republicans would do, and he becoming one, acted accordingly.

And while Obama promised to make federal employment "cool" again during his early days in office, he has now decided to treat us as the enemy. So, outside of a few in Congress, we have no friends. The Republicans have done a great job to present us as the enemy of the free market, enemy of prosperity and enemy of democracy, and chose to crave out of pay and benefits, crave out our protections, and more so, crave out our numbers.

And the President has obliged them because it's good politics leading up to the 2012 election campaign. We have become his enemy too. And so Mr. President, exactly how do you expect govenment to run without us and how do you expect we'll feel supported by a president who not only thinks we're the enemy, but publically says we're the enemy.

Gee, that gives employees and retirees who worked their careers in federal service, a warm and fuzzy feeling. And you expect to believe you're our president when you'll offer a modest pay raise for 2012 to get our vote while it was frozen for two years in the face of increasing living expenses? You expect we'll forget your words and actions we're the enemy?

We'll let you know in the voting booth, just like every citizen. It's our right and our voice, and who we consider our enemy.

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