But with pensions for non-government workers on a path toward extinction, federal employees get little sympathy from most experts. “Their private sector counterparts would be jealous of the benefits they’re maintaining,” said John Ehrhardt, a principal at the actuarial and consulting firm Milliman.
While 38 percent of private industry workers received pensions in 1979, just 14 percent did so in 2011, the most recent figures from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, which advocates for benefit programs. Besides retaining their pensions, most federal workers also can contribute to a 401(k)-like savings program, the Thrift Savings Plan.
That combination is far better than what’s available to most private industry workers. In 2011, only 11 percent of employees in the private sector had both savings plans and monthly pension payments, according to the research institute. For federal workers, the government matches up to the first 5 percent of employees’ contributions to their retirement savings. SOURCE: Federal workers’ pensions targeted in budget deal – Yahoo News.
Up front I want to admit that this is likely a very contentious post where many might not agree with me. But when has that kept me from saying what I think. 🙂
I have very mixed feelings about this topic. Should our government employees be able to benefit from plans no longer available to private sector employees? Or should they also go the way of current non-government trends? As the above article mentions in 1979 close to half of all employees received a defined benefit pension. I am one of those employees. I was lucky enough to get in my thirty years while that plan still existed.
My pension along with Social Security allow me to live a pretty comfortable life as long as it is lived with simplicity in mind. No I can’t dash off to the latest hot spot in the world for a quick get-away but I don’t have to worry about whether the bills are paid and especially where my next meal will come from.
Government exist to do the people’s business. Congressmen are there to represent us in political matters. Soldiers are to protect us from foreign enemies. EPA workers to help keep our environment clean. Government workers are solely there to do our corporate will. Should they be treated and paid more than those they represent? I think the answer to that is no. Their circumstances should reflect those they are serving. So, yes when the private sector losses a particular benefit government employees should have to follow suit.
If only a 401(k) is good enough for the private sector then it should be good enough for the everyone. But of course we know that those in certain positions of power in both sectors are treated differently than the rest of us. When you leave the Oval Office you will lead a rather lavish lifestyle for the rest of your life at the expense of the taxpayers. When you are in the military you can retire before age forty with a pretty lucrative pension only dreamed of in the private sector.
Living in a perfect world everyone should be treated the same. But, of course, our world is anything but perfect….