November 30, 2010
Tim Kauffman
[email protected]

Deficit Commission Cuts Target Federal Workers, American Taxpayers



WASHINGTON  - President Obama’s deficit commission plan would have a devastating impact  on the federal work force and on federal programs that Americans count on each  and every day, the head of the largest federal employee union said today.

The recommendations, issued today by the National Commission on Fiscal  Responsibility and Reform, would freeze federal wages for three years, slash  the size of the federal work force by 200,000 jobs, cap discretionary spending  through 2020 and create a task force to consider major reductions to civil  service and military retirement programs. The commission also proposes turning  the federal employee health insurance program into a voucher program that would  shift more of the cost for health insurance onto federal employees and retirees  and serve as a model for doing the same thing to Medicare.

“Rather  than rely on the experience and knowledge of federal employees to recommend  ways to save money, the deficit commission decided to treat federal employees  as the problem and one of the main causes of the massive deficit,” American  Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage said. “If these  recommendations are enacted, it’ll be a race to the bottom for the federal work  force and American taxpayers will be the ones who will ultimately suffer.”

The  commission also proposes slashing Social Security and Medicare benefits that  working-class Americans rely on to make ends meet, while retaining the Bush-era  tax cuts for the rich.

“This  misguided plan would do little to address our nation’s real financial problems,  but it would have a devastating impact on millions of hard-working men and  women,” Gage said. “Congress should consider this plan dead on arrival.”

Even  though mandatory spending accounts for more than 60 percent of the federal  budget, three-fourths of the savings proposed by the deficit commission would  come from slashing discretionary spending. Everything from veterans care and  homeland security to law enforcement and public health programs would have to undergo  drastic cuts to meet the arbitrary budget reduction targets proposed by the  commission.

The  commission also recommends slashing the federal work force by 10 percent –  roughly 200,000 jobs – by hiring only two new workers for every three that  leave. Although the commission says that these cuts should be accomplished  without risking a decline in essential government services, it’s foolhardy to  believe that services won’t suffer as scores of jobs go unfilled.

What’s  more, agencies no doubt will turn to costly and unaccountable private  contractors to take up the slack – largely undoing any spending reductions from  the federal employee cuts. The plan released Dec. 1 deleted proposals in an  earlier draft that would have eliminated 250,000 non-Defense contractor  positions and cut Defense service contracting positions by 4 percent.

Deficit Commission Report

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka On The Deficit Commission Report

AFGE Denounces Obama Administration Proposal to Freeze Pay

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