On The Chopping Block: Federal Worker Pensions - by Stephen Lendman
Bipartisan support endorses ending vital social benefits incrementally, principally Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, healthcare for those who can't afford it, and public pensions.
Notably, deep Medicare cuts were made. Much more is planned, including slashing Medicaid. Now federal pensions are being targeted. Civilian federal employees receive benefits under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), consisting of three components:
-- a FERS annuity defined benefit plan;
-- mandatory Social Security participation; however most Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees aren't part of Social Security unless they qualify separately from additional private sector employment; and
-- the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a 401(k) type defined contribution plan.
On March 19, Senators Tom Coburn (R. OK) and Richard Burr (R. NC) introduced S. 644: Public-Private Employee Retirement Parity Act to prohibit federal annuities for employees hired after 2012. In other words, beginning January 1, 2013, they want defined pensions for newly hired federal workers ended, eventually eliminating unfunded ones altogether.
Although the other two FERS components are maintained, S. 644 is another step toward halting all federal obligations to working Americans to provide more funds for imperial wars, corporate handouts, and greater tax benefits for America's super-rich. But don't expect Congress, Obama, or major media reports to explain.