It Could Get Worse

December 1, 2011

The failure of the so-called congressional super committee to reach a deficit reduction deal by its Nov. 23 deadline temporarily spared federal employees from further pay and benefits pain. Any agreement likely would have included an increase in the amount individual feds contribute to their pensions -- a proposal with bipartisan support. But the failure of that panel to achieve consensus on spending cuts sets up a potentially worse scenario for federal workers who are worried about their salaries, retirement benefits and health care.

Because of the super committee's disintegration, federal employees should heed two words: Simpson-Bowles. That's the name of another fiscal commission that has received a lot of attention in the past year and that originated many of the deficit reduction proposals.

In 2010, the bipartisan fiscal commission, created by President Obama and led by former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson from Wyoming and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, released their deficit reduction recommendations, a few of which would affect the pay and benefits of federal workers. Arguably some of those proposals would have a greater impact on federal pay and benefits than an increase in individual pension contributions rates. 

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