Ryan/Republican Budget Cuts Federal Worker Take-Home Pay

Dave Johnson

Last week House Republicans passed the “Ryan budget.” It won’t become law because it won’t get through the Senate and President Obama would veto it. But because it’s the budget statement of the Republican Party going into the fall elections, it shows voters who the Republicans are.

This budget by House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) dramatically cuts taxes on the wealthy and their corporations, paying for it with enormous cuts in the safety net and in the things government does to make our lives better. This tells us who the Republicans feel they represent – and who they don’t.

One of the things this budget does is give federal government employees a big cut in take-home pay. Specifically, instead of the government funding the pension obligations they have promised to people who come to work in public service, it increases the amount the federal employees have to pay into to their pensions. It also eliminates a special retirement supplement for certain employees who retire before the age of 62 and have nothing until they start to receive Social Security. Under the Republican-passed budget, employees enrolled in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) enrollees would contribute 6.35 percent of their paycheck.

In other words, it’s a cut in their take-home pay.

Currently under FERS, federal employees who were hired before 2012 must contribute 0.8 percent of each pay check to their pension, those hired in 2013 contribute 3.1 percent and those hired in 2014 contribute 4.4 percent.

This breaks two deals. One, the deal that government would provide a certain wage and a pension. Two, cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations breaks the deal that We the People would get something back from those who prosper from our investment in education, infrastructure and protection of businesses and the monetary system.

Note that in last year’s budget deal with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ryan negotiated a similar cut in take-home and pensions for military employees. However Congress voted to restore these benefits.

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