In his letter to the editor, Paul Anderson suggests having government employees enroll in the Social Security system to “fix this mess” (“Fix Social Security in one easy step,” July 31).

While I can’t speak for state or municipal employees, federal employees have been contributing to Social Security, at the same deduction rate as other workers, since 1983. Obviously, the contributions of approximately 2.7 million federal workers over 35 years hasn’t fixed anything.

I venture to say there is no easy fix for the Social Security system. Many economists have advocated a gradual increase in deductions and decrease in benefits to Entitlement programs, but Congress has declined to act.

As for phasing out government pension plans, you get for you pay for. The federal government does have a fixed-benefit pension and voluntary 401K-type plan in addition to Social Security. I worked for the federal government for just under 40 years, with 31 years in fleet support for the U.S. Navy.

That meant making sure the sailors we send in harm’s way had the best combat systems available to defend themselves. My co-workers were extremely intelligent and dedicated, but rightfully expected due compensation for their work. Government salaries are below those of comparable positions in private industries. Such benefits as a good pension, health insurance and leave policies are critical to maintaining a high-quality workforce.

For those wanting more information, check out the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website on the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS).

Joseph Blackwell


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