Federal employees have already lost more to deficit reduction than any other group of Americans. We've lost $90 billion in three years of frozen pay. We've lost $15 billion in higher mandatory retirement contributions for new hires. We've lost billions more from Sequestration furloughs.
Nobody dislikes Sequestration more than federal employees. Last year it was furloughs, canceled training, hiring freezes, and no replacement of equipment. This year it will be layoffs, permanent furloughs, and nobody wants that. We want Sequestration cancelled altogether.
But some lawmakers want additional cuts to federal retirement and Social Security as the price of ending Sequestration. They want to force federal employees to pay even more for their pensions, even though the pension plan is fully funded and plays no role in the deficit. And they want to cut Social Security benefits and federal pensions by using a different Consumer Price Index ("Chained CPI") for calculating COLAs.
Lawmakers who are proposing these cuts are totally out of touch. Sequestration is hurting the economy and preventing the government from providing services the American people want and need. Sequestration should be ended. But higher retirement contributions for federal employees and lower COLAs for Social Security are NOT acceptable alternatives to Sequestration.
There is another alternative. Lawmakers should end sequestration and do so by closing loopholes for big corporations who are shipping jobs overseas and avoiding taxes through offshore bank accounts.
We've paid more than our fair share. Now it's time to ask those who haven't to do the same.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Arnold Cooper is president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 1938.