(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Bobby L. Harnage, National President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), today issued the following statement in response to reports that the Bush Administration is planning to borrow money from federal employee retirement funds:
“Federal employees suffered almost 20 years of pay cuts, benefit cuts, job losses and program cuts, totaling some $270 billion, in order to balance the budget. President Bush’s tax cuts for the rich erased the benefit of all those sacrifices overnight. He gave the surplus and more to his wealthy supporters, and now he wants to go after our retirement savings. We say: HELL NO!
“Refusing to increase the debt ceiling is nothing more than a political ploy to hide the fact that the surplus was squandered on tax cuts for big corporate contributors. Now, to avoid acknowledging that they have raised the deficit above the current debt ceiling, they want to raid the pensions of federal employees. This is after dipping into the Social Security Trust Fund. Yet, when the Bush Administration argues in favor of privatizing Social Security, they claim the Trust Fund is full of worthless IOUs.
“The same House radicals who tried to hold the Clinton Administration hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling in 1995 to force a budget settlement, are now desperate to avoid a debt ceiling increase which would reveal the scope of the fiscal impact of Bush’s tax cuts.
“Federal employees did not support Bush’s tax cut for the wealthy. Why, now, should their own pension contributions be raided to help pay for tax cuts they’ll never receive.”
The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, is the largest union for government employees, representing 600,000 federal workers in the United States and overseas, as well as employees of the District of Columbia. Visit AFGE’s Web site—www.afge.org—to learn more about AFGE.