Trump Proposes Ending Federal Pensions

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The IBEW reports that Trump wants to stop pensions, end raises and take away paid holidays for federal workers

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Jan 16, 2018

Trump Administration officials have suggested ways to save the government money in the next budget. And, no surprise, some of the savings are expected to come at the expense of working people.  

The proposals call for slashing the wages of federal workers, endangering their retirement, making them pay more for health care – even taking away paid holidays.

“This is a continuation of the near-constant attacks on federal employees,” said Government Employees Department Director Paul O’Connor. “Just like the tax plan, it’s about paying dividends to the richest and leaving pennies for the rest of us.”

According to a leaked memo, officials in the Domestic Policy Council submitted a list of recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget for incorporation in the fiscal 2019 budget that President Trump will send to Congress in February.

The recommendations cover several agencies and issues. Among those, the memo’s authors suggested the Office of Personnel Management freeze federal workers’ pay, which they singled out as the most important cost-saving measure because it’s the only one the Trump administration can do unilaterally. The memo also recommended slowing seniority-based raises, eliminating the defined benefit retirement plan and retiree health benefits for new hires and bringing paid leave “in line with private sector norms,” which could mean fewer paid holidays.

“The rights of working people are being eroded in the private sector,” O’Connor said. “A 401(k) doesn’t compare to the security of a pension. In a lot of ways, the federal government is the last bastion of solid employee compensation.”

The architect of most of the attacks on working people is Trump’s labor advisor, James Sherk. Formerly with the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, Sherk has authored a number of anti-union briefs, claiming that public sector collective bargaining damages the economy and advocating for right-to-work laws and changes to election rules in favor of employers. He’s also referred to unions as cartels.

Sherk is also behind the memo’s recommendation to raise the budget of the Office of Labor-Management Standards from $38 million to $55 million. “The agency does not have the resources necessary to fulfill its mission of robustly investigating union corruption,” he wrote.

The recommendations have no immediate legal force but, like the president’s budget itself, reflect the administration’s priorities, making it an ideological blueprint.

“Even if this doesn’t go through, a lot of people will still be stressed, wondering what will happen,” O’Connor said.

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Trump’s Tax Cut One Year Later: What Happened?

Many corporations made good on promises to raise wages and pay bonuses. But others announced layoffs, even as the $1.5 trillion tax cut added billions to their bottom lines.

By Jim Tankersley
Dec. 27, 2018
Apple employees during the announcement for a new campus in Austin in front of the map showing the layout.CreditRicardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman, via Associated Press

Apple employees during the announcement for a new campus in Austin in front of the map showing the layout.CreditRicardo Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman, via Associated Press
There was a point in early 2018 when big American companies couldn’t stop talking about the Trump tax cuts. Flush with the projected savings from a $1.5 trillion law, they promised to raise wages, hand out bonuses to workers and invest in big projects. They scored headlines, along with applause from President Trump.

The fawning faded quickly. Analysts noted that the handouts to workers amounted to a relatively small share of the roughly $200 billion in federal income taxes that corporations avoided thanks to the cuts. Wages across the economy ticked up, but not by nearly as much as some Republicans had promised when they voted for the law. Capital investment surged at the start of the year, but the rate of growth fell sharply in the third quarter.

Continue reading “Trump’s Tax Cut One Year Later: What Happened?”

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