Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Bonus content

December 17, 2013

Congress targets fed workers' pensions for savings

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top lawmakers have found easy prey in their hunt for savings for Congress' budget deal: Federal workers' retirement programs, which are notably generous compared to the norm in private industry.

Most federal civilian employees hired beginning in January will contribute 4.4 percent of their pay to their pension plans under the bipartisan budget agreement. Current government workers' rates will remain unchanged: Those hired in 2013 will continue paying 3.1 percent, while most on the payroll before then will keep contributing 0.8 percent.

The workers say they've been singled out for a painful hit in the measure, which the House approved last Thursday and the Senate is expected to complete this week.

"These are working class people," said Jackie Simon, policy director for the American Federation for Government Employees, citing Border Patrol agents and nursing assistants at Veterans Administration hospitals. "These are not people who can afford it."

But with federal employees low on voter priority lists and a scant presence in most congressional districts, they proved an irresistible target for lawmakers. And at a time when pensions for private industry workers are edging toward extinction, some said diminished retirement programs are a sign of the times.

"This is not your parents' retirement you're looking at," said Olivia Mitchell, a professor and pension expert at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school.

While 38 percent of private industry workers received pensions in 1979, just 14 percent did in 2011, the most recent figures from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, which advocates for employee benefit programs.

Besides having pensions, most federal workers can also put money into a 401(k)-like retirement savings program, the Thrift Savings Plan, to which the government makes matching contributions.

That combination is far better than what's available to most private industry workers. There, only 11 percent of employees had both savings plans and monthly pension payments to look forward to in retirement, according to the research institute's 2011 figures.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Bonus content
  • 062612 COAL EXCAVATOR For Indiana coal mining town, EPA climate change plan threatens stability DUGGER, Ind. – Peggy and Martha Marlow collect artifacts of this small town’s history for a storefront mining museum that Martha helped open more than 30 years ago. Tin dinner buckets, carbide headlamps and battered hard hats line the museum’s crowde

    July 30, 2014 11 Photos

  • Film Review Get On Up [Duplicate] Review: Boseman drips with charisma as James Brown There's a delicious moment in "Get On Up," Tate Taylor's new James Brown biopic, when Brown — played by Chadwick Boseman, in a thrillingly magnetic performance — is about to appear on the T.A.M.I. Show, a multi-act concert filmed in 1964. Backstage,

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Settlement erases debt for 261 Indiana military members INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Attorney General Greg Zoeller says a new settlement will erase $1.5 million of bad debt for 261 military members from Indiana. Zoeller and attorneys general from 12 other states filed suit against the lender Rome Finance. They acc

    July 30, 2014

  • Smart phone app helps navigate Indiana State Fair

    The Indiana State Fair is offering a free updated mobile app for smartphones aimed at helping visitors navigate their way around the fairgrounds on Indianapolis' north side.

    July 30, 2014

  • Highway Money [Duplicate] Senate passes highway bill, sends it back to House WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Tuesday voted to change the funding and timing of a House bill to keep federal highway funds flowing to states in an effort to force Congress to come to grips with chronic funding problems that have plagued transportat

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden faces federal charges

    INDIANAPOLIS — Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement working to protect the public from criminals, but on Tuesday he was treated as one. Rodden, charged with lying to federal investigators about his relatio

    July 29, 2014

  • Hepatitis Drug [Duplicate] $1,000-per-pill Sovaldi now hepatitis treatment of choice WASHINGTON (AP) — The price may be high but so is demand. A new $1,000-per-pill drug has become the treatment of choice for Americans with hepatitis C, a liver-wasting disease that affects more than 3 million. Even with insurers reluctant to pay, Sov

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Madison County voting records sought in US probe ANDERSON (AP) — A federal grand jury has subpoenaed Madison County voting records after absentee ballots cast in Anderson's 4th Ward determined the winners of several races. The subpoena issued by federal prosecutors seeks several records from the Ma

    July 29, 2014

  • Coroner rules Lafayette toddler's death a homicide LAFAYETTE (AP) — A coroner has ruled as a homicide last week's death of a 14-month-old Lafayette girl who succumbed to a traumatic head injury. The Marion County Coroner's office reported Monday that the cause of Skylar Foster's death was blunt force

    July 29, 2014

  • Veterans Health Care-3 [Duplicate] Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of Vetera

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller