Coping: America’s Crooked “Holiday Gap”

I love veterans (and thank you for your service).  But I hate the day in one way because it symbolizes two of the Great Problems in America that we could fix, if we had any glue left to hold us together as a country.

The first problem is the “holiday gap.”

If you’re in the private sector, you likely get a whopping half dozens days per year off.  More than that (and IF that) you get docked  Ready to be ticked-off?  Let me show you how “tough” federal workers have it.  (Might want to toke up, put down the coffee and take a deep breath first.  Have a baby aspirin ready, and 9-1-1 on the auto-dialer, too…)

(Continues below)

 

Here’s the fed’s  Office of Management and Budget list:

All of which means what?  Come on – you can count, right?  10 fully paid holidays.    How many outfits in the private sector do that?

UPS and FedEx will still work – and sure, the stock market will be open.  No rest for the wicked, there.  You won’t get SATURDAY mail because the Post Office pretends tomorrow is Veteran’s Day.  But bills will show up today – go figure.

My question is this:  What the floody-buck is the point of a freaking holiday if only half the country gets the day off?  Teachers and bureaucrats, brothers and sisters.

It reveals quite clearly who the tops and who the bottoms are.

I’m an egalitarian kinda guy.  I think all souls weigh the same.  So regardless of how many can dance on the head of a pin, how about a little equality on holidays?

When the government workers get a paid play day – like today – and us working stiff have to turn-out a day’s worth – it sends the tax-paying, Bent Over Workers read it as “We don’t have to work as hard as you civvies because we’re special.

Time to call bullshite.

Did I mention I’m starting the “Dog Party?”  BOW-WOW  – Bent Over Workers – Work On Winning…equality.

While I’m off ranting in the wind, let’s talk about government pensions, too, …

This is because in the coming economic collapse in ‘Merica, pensions will be failing right and left.

Care to guess who’s going to be threaded onto the hook to make good on excessive comp promises?

Ewe, my little sheep, ewe.

Which means us working stiffs (If you have to work today, Ure one of them)…are a special class of slave called wage slaves.

The lie often told is that we don’t have slavery in America, but when I look at who is working today – and who’s got a paid play-day…seems the stories fall apart.

We all (*us workers working today) are working for dah Man.

And his representatives have first names like GS-13, and so forth.

You won’t like this – ‘specially if you’ve been at the government trough – but out here in the cheap seat, pensions are obviously going to blow up and federal, state, and local workers better get effing used to the idea that at some point, We the Working People will be tapped out.  When that happens, we aren’t going to starve so GS-somethings along with State somethings and County somethings can have a fatter retirement than social security.

Ain’t gonna happen.

Think of retirement plans like lifeboats on a cruise ship.  The people in the suites get into the same lifeboats with the people with the balcony rooms, and in there are the “ocean view” rooms, and even the inside rooms from down in steerage.

Amazingly, when comes to retirement systems, the notion of equal is given a smoke and stood up against the wall.

Let’s go back to an old NY Post opinion piece from 2010 where this notion of the rich government retirees popped up.

Here’s a quote that’ll make you puke – especially if you’re not employed in  a  state or local government gig in New York.

“According to the Census Bureau, the average New York retiree receiving a corporate or union pension — a retiree from the private sector — was receiving an annual benefit of $13,100 in 2009. For state and local government retirees, that figure was more than twice as high: $27,600. And that average figure includes retirees who were part-time workers or only spent part of their careers in government; full-career retirees often do far better.”

My buddy Gaye (*of www.StrategicLivingBlog.com) and I commiserate about this every so often.  She started and sold several highly successful companies, and my corporate career was in the $100K and up range (in constant 2000 dollars).

Take 2001, for example:  Elaine and I had a pretty good year.  She didn’t work and I was making $146K (which is about $200K in today money) and living on our boat – so like no bills but moorage – and surprise! Life was a party.  Still, we paid like crazy into Social Security.  And a big wheel barrow of income tax.  No grudges, though.

My “return on investment”  (which would be higher if self-managed and not made at gunpoint) results in $2,350 per month of Social Security.

As I asked Gaye: “Why we didn’t both take our skillsets into government service, because either one of us would be shoo-in’s for GS-14 and higher?”

What do you think GS-14 is?  Step 10 is about $114.5K this year.

NOW, suppose I had joined government service in 1975 – and taken retirement after 40 years of service.  And let’s say my “High 3” average for Federal retirement calculations was $114K.    Just to see who got the “special” lifeboat.

We take the $114K times 1.1% which ain’t much: $1,254 per year.  But now multiply THAT times my 40 years of “service” and bingo: my “retirement” pencils out at $50,160 per year or $4,180 per month.

Compare this with the Social Security bennies for non-“made” people: $2350 per month or $28,200 per year.

Let’s hold up two George’s here:

George #1 worked his ass off on the bleeding edge of technology, launched new companies, made others rich, helped develop key intellectual property (got patents for his work) and worked three jobs in order to never miss a support payment back when that ship went down.  And still he scrimped enough to fly and sail and own a Porsche, or three in the process.  His SS?  $2,350 a month.

George #2 has turned into a career bureaucrat.

In 40 years, he actually worked half a year less.  Four more holidays than the sucker who actually paid taxes – and wasn’t smart enough to get on the receiving end of taxes.  4-holidays (like today’s joke) times 40 years is 160 work days.  Toss in the weekends and I can make a pretty good case George #2 worked 224 fewer days.

And vacations?  Paid conferences and training?  Nope, that dumb-sh*t George 1 paid all his own way…

George #2 would have spent his 8-5 time writing press releases for a living and today would reap about $4,180 per month.  Unlike stupid George #1, #2 never had to worry about his job.  Government doesn’t fire people.

George #1, sucker that he was, bounced up the food chain.  Never stayed anywhere to get the full retirement deal at 10 years, or whatever.

See if you can figure out – no fair asking for help, now – who’s gotten the better deal?  George #1 or George #2?

So when pension programs of government workers begin to blow up, you’ll have to pardon me.  George #1 is telling you in advance “It ain’t me babe…”

I think all pensions ought to be tossed into the same SINGLE federal hopper – one for all and all for one kind of thing – instead of this bullshit about how “we’re special.”

Exceptional effort?  Pay ’em more, sure.  Cops, firemen, air traffic, and medical types – but the criteria is shift work because the data says that leads to higher cancer rates.  You following, here?

Most days I’m open to a different point of view.  But since government workers (except line services) get a slacker day, Ure is pissed.  They aren’t (generally) going to honor vets – they’re taking a play day.  Check your local golf course if the weather is warm enough.

And if you’re in the private sector – having the lifeblood sucked out of your hard work with what’s coming up on a 40 percent real tax rate with the bonus continuous debasement of the currency option – you oughta be as pissed, too.

Or, you’re just stupid.

I hope not, but  the crazy dream that democrats ought to rejoice at is the notion of a single national retirement plan.  (They won’t – they’re too special, too…)

Since we all get  the same average time on earth, the least government could do – if it really stood for the notion of  equality they peddle – is make sure all retirees are equal.

But as evidenced by closed government offices today – We the People aren’t served by government any more.

We serve them.

And don’t you forget it.

Don’t even start me on their better-than-Medicare health plan…but it’s another reason the deep state is loyal – Hell, they can’t afford to be otherwise…  More FedGov employee largess?

Part D: There is a monthly premium for Part D coverage. Most Federal employees do not need to enroll in the Medicare drug program, since all Federal Employees Health Benefits Program plans will have prescription drug benefits that are at least equal to the standard Medicare prescription drug coverage.”

Right off the OPM website, for crying out loud.

WTF?  We should have all work for government!  See how well it worked out for the Soviet Union?  Hello?

Of course, if you are or were one, you might just abbreviate this to Ure’s an idiot.  Besides, there was only so much room at the trough…and Ure ain’t special.

Write when your blood pressure drops,

George@ure.net

Comments

Coping: America’s Crooked “Holiday Gap” — 23 Comments

  1. Couple items. The Fed Employee Health Benefits program IS that collection of group plans that employees choose from & are usually enrolled in – AND PAY FOR – while they’re employed. They can carry that into retirement IF they continue to pay for it. It functions no differently than anything someone else would pay for to augment Medicare & provide the coverage Medicare doesn’t (Rx coverage, etc.)

    Your 1975 example is stated disingenously because you conveniently omit things that Fed employees also pay for (can’t speak about individual states) – they are taken out of their check, and only draw SS (tiny amount, decremented) if they also had enough quarters they paid in at a job that deducted SS premiums.

    Yes, it remains difficult to fire the chaff, which remains a source of sandpaper on the balls to many good folks. Take your anger to the Dem commie pols who’ve always sought to protect the unionized-worker because “…equality!” Go take a look at the conveniently dovetailed days off that many teachers get in school districts that oddly seem to mirror Federal or state holidays.

    Frankly, you sound like someone who’s purveying Obama’s income redistribution scheme.

    • And another perc: In some states, federal and state government employees are exempt from paying state income taxes on their retirement income.

  2. “Which is a greater threat to liberty? A government willing to destroy the liberties of its people in the quest for greater power? Or a complacent, uninformed, citizenry that refuses to protect their liberties from government bribed and owned by major lobbying firms by voting in the same group election after election?”

    https://www.senate.gov/CRSpubs/ac0d1dd5-7316-4390-87e6-353589586a89.pdf

    https://www.thoughtco.com/salaries-and-benefits-of-congress-members-3322282
    https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2010/03/the-retirement-announcement-la/
    Oh I could go off on a rant here.. but then what good would it really do.. the guy with the gold front tooth and fur hat that is a congressman of old will be voted in again the next election.. we hear every two hours how some russian was supposed to have influenced the president to obtaining his office ..Yes what about the puppet masters that openly flaunt how they can run and manipulate our legislators with money and gifts.. our legislators haven’t written a bill in years and years and come right out and say they refuse to read any of that crap..I don’t care if they vote yes or no but read it.. actually go to work sit at the desk crack the cover if your to lazy to read yourself or you don’t know how to read then get someone to sit there and read it to you then vote according to your own convictions no because someone paid you some money or sent your family to Disneyland or the islands or got you laid etc.
    oops her I am going off on a rant..
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS9mbl4twdU

  3. And you forgot about the 240 paid vacation hours FedGov gives us more senior GS types earn each pay period. But when the FedGov goofs up and runs short on ca$h, they raid our pension fund and leave a nice IOU. At least until the Deep State appropriates (ie. taxes people) and “ replaces” it then taxes us on it. And I could go on about the idiots that get promoted instead of fired. But that’ll require more space than I’ve got.

  4. Given the “silence” in the comments section, I’m guessing many of your readership either work in govt. or are living on govt. pensions? LOL

    • when I worked a govt job.. we got to pick what federal holiday there is to take off.. as a joke we picked and yes it is a national holiday many federal holidays you have multiple days off to.. …. Poinsettia day was our day LOL LOL.. and we took it off religiously every year LOL LOL december the 12 LOL LOL we would joke with people coming in.. nope sorry we won’t be here it is a holiday..

  5. To George1: I have personally enjoyed this lifestyle and would probably be shoveling coal if had been tied to same desk for 40yrs. At 74 handed a new born and took care of her for 3 years day and nite. Pure fun. Now in line of work that am the only one in Abq. engaged in. Really feel sorry for my retired neighbors that are getting that Rocking Chair money.

  6. two things I have noticed living in an over-55 independent community
    1. the retired people who do extensive and frequent leisure/pleasure travelling throughout the year (like 3 or 4 trips/year that last at least 3-4 weeks-to foreign and exotic places)-
    AND who are not complaining/stressing about everyday living expenses – just about everyone that I personally know (over 700 individuals in just this community) – ALL were government employees.
    Those from the private sector – maybe, maybe 1 two week USA vacation a year, plus serious budgeting for all the everyday increases-taxes, utilities, medical etc, OR they end up having to move to another state where the cost of living is less.

    2. Private pensions are not a guaranteed pension – think back to when United Airlines defaulted on their employee pension plan. This after years of employees making salary cuts. Once again, quite a few former UA employees retired in our community. These retirees worked their entire lives for UA-only to be rewarded by having their pensions cut anywhere from 25-40%. Now, that certainly is a shining reward for years of service!
    But as UA said “company regretted the employees’ pension losses but had to abandon its pension obligations in order to stay in business”….and who today is reaping the benefits? Certainly not the retirees who, over the long years, helped build that company. Those employees have had to sell their homes, go without medical care, and even, if a few instances, go the bankruptcy route – all because they were vigilant in planning for a future that a company took away from them – but not the executives who ran/run the company.

  7. I work at Valmont Industries, we make engineered support structures, light poles, electrical poles, etc. Big manufacturer, self insured, 9 holidays a year. After reading today’s column I feel pretty lucky to work at a place like this. We are 100 employees short, welders, machine operators, positions like that. Nobody wants to work anymore. I think we are one of the last large manufacturers left in America.

    • nobody wants to work.. or do they not hire anyone. I worked at a place that kept telling me that.. even when I was sending people in to apply.. then one day I decided heck with all these people how would they remember me.. so I went in and applied for my job.. they told me.. oh we aren’t hiring at this time but we would be glad to take your application.. I left that night the DON was telling me how sorry she was that just no one wanted to work or would apply.. my response was.. speaking about that.. I applied for my own position.. they hired someone that use to be my best friend..I lost him when he tried to work the kind of hours I did and it killed him..had a heart attack in his sleep..
      If your fifty to sixty five you are unemployable to.. they don’t want someone that would require an income or they think would require an income. we ended up to not have any income for a year it about killed us.. luckily we had savings.. over forty applications a week for just about anything.. the excuses were horrible..

      • what is funny is that incident happened in 1996 or 97 I went in a couple years after I pulled that stunt and everyone knew who I was.. I was in the same place a couple of months ago and this kid came out and he called me by name and asked if I wanted a cup of coffee.. now I wonder.. and had looked.. do they have my picture posted someplace that says beware smart ass.. LOL the kid that called me by name and asked about a cup he was in diapers when that incident happened LOL LOL LOL

    • in many cases.. just like at home.. you have your set necessities.. the environmental costs are set in stone. the only flexibility you have is with wages and commodities.. for us at home it is food entertainment. of course you can do away with cable internet phone and if you decide to gamble do away with insurances and save a huge bundle.. for me it would be way over two grand a month.
      most kids are downsizing smaller homes the tiny home movement low overhead small heat bills etc.

  8. Working in the private sector, I have seen my benefits reduced every year since the mid 90’s. The medical coverage has eaten up all the other benefits that I once had. Now instead of full coverage, I get “subsidized” coverage. Which means that I get to pay for some of mine and all of my spouse. No paid sick leave and paid vacation. That is now PTO, personal time off. Get sick? No vacation this year. And don’t ask me when the last time I got a raise was. Three years ago we all took a 12% cut. I have been kicking myself for years for not seeking government work right out of school.

  9. Not only do they get gold plated health care on top of everything, many get it after retiring. I know triple dippers with gov’t jobs and “service related disabilities” such as sleep apnea, pulling in $250k.

    Then we see the Drudge headline that three Americans have more wealth than the bottom 165 or so million Americans.

    And people wonder why Trump won. Bernie would have won as well, I reckon, because he also talked about the need to overhaul the System.

  10. It’s simple George, but painful to acknowledge. The ruling oligarchs see us regular folks out here as livestock to be managed, used, milked and nudged towards the head knockers after retirement.

  11. George and friends,

    I work at the USPS as a letter carrier. My pay was negotiated at -26% by our union and the single person appointed as mediator by the federal gov. between union and USPS binding all carrier hires after Jan. 2013. So we work at the discount wage. Is this legal? I doubt it but what is now in our society?

    I have been “mandated” to work on my “holiday” off the past three major holidays… This one I do get to enjoy as I recover from the workload…

    I work quite hard. Letter carriers are usually going on their second surgery or so at my age 56,in their careers…not including broken bones, sprains, etc…

    So I didn’t make all the great money, money choices you did… Not an engineer…but can understand how things work… Am an artist… but not a commercial one…LOL I guess I am in the waste category… not a contributor to our fine system…

    By the by, I will be eligible for a bag of groceries each month if I carry the mail for 11 yrs. and retire at 61. as my retirement (about $314) for you quantifiers…

    Many of the rest of us can count too…

    Wake up, tired of the “smart kid” approach to everything… it hasn’t done our nation so well has it…

    And please how to get the “two-tiered” wage system removed… a strategy…

    • You problem is you are in the ‘actually do something” category – carrying mail is work and my SIL works a machine at a USPS facility – he too has measurable output.
      But now, take the high rollers in EPA – tell ’em to ban coal, then unban it, then plan for rebanned, unbans, and partial bans…that’s the kinda shit makes those of us funding the paychecks more than slightly nuts.

      • Sadly, I have to agree. I knew a bureaucrat(of necessity) who was a high roller in BLM. He had massive discretion regarding permit issuance and used it to his advantage, though always within the “law”. He retired with more income going forward than most folks can expect during their working life. I never felt right using unearned and delegated power, and would rather do honest work, but the temptation is great, if only for the social benefits. I wonder if the age discrimination laws apply here, or if we could apply for these jobs at our ages based only on civil service tests? I doubt that I could do such a job without feeling nauseous though.

  12. Robing Hood did not rob from the rich to give to the poor, as the story has been told… he took back excess taxes and returned them to the overburdened taxpayers.

  13. In Georgia, my County employees are working today. Don’t fret, they still get 10 days off a year. 2 days for Thanksgiving and 2 days for Christmas (sic).