GOP Budget Targets Federal Jobs, Pay, Pensions

A highly punitive anti-worker budget, put forth by House GOP members this week, is on its way to the House floor after the House Budget Committee approved the deeply-flawed piece of legislation Wednesday.

The “Path to Prosperity” plan, drafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), calls for substantial cuts to federal jobs, salaries and retirement benefits. It reduces the top individual and corporate tax rates to 25 percent, giving the wealthiest Americans an average tax cut of at least $150,000 a year. The money would come from massive cuts and overhauls to programs for the elderly, lower- and middle-class families, and the poor – Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and student loans.

“Rather than laying out a ‘Path to Prosperity,’ the Ryan Budget sets our nation’s federal workforce on a path to destitution,” said President of NFFE-IAM Federal District 1 William Dougan on behalf of federal workers. “The budget resolution plays like a greatest hits album of anti-federal worker political attacks, calling for 200,000 jobs to be eliminated, salaries frozen for an additional three years, and the hollowing out of federal pensions. In total, these cuts will rob $368 billion from the pockets of middle-class federal employees over the next decade. Congressman Ryan calls this a path to prosperity? Give me a break.”

Economists for the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) say the budget’s biggest problem is that it fails to address the most important issue facing the nation right now: jobs. “Paul Ryan’s latest budget doesn’t just fail to address job creation, it aggressively slows job growth,” writes EPI economist Ethan Pollack. “The shock to aggregate demand from near-term spending cuts would result in roughly 1.3 million jobs lost in 2013 and 2.8 million jobs lost in 2014, or 4.1 million jobs through 2014.”

“I have news for Paul Ryan,” wrote former Department of Labor Secretary Robert Reich in an op-ed. “Almost 23 million able-bodied people still can’t find work. They’re not being lulled into dependency. They and their families could use some help. They could use better schools, access to higher education, lower-cost health care, improved public transportation, and lots of other things Ryan and his colleagues are intent on removing.”