Today’s News and Commentary — December 11
In a wide-ranging interview with the Wall Street Journal, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe touches on the future of the postal service, the postal workforce, and retiree benefits. He argues against privatizing mail delivery, maintaining that “[t]here’s a big difference between efficiency and privatization.”
The press is reporting extensively on a bi-partisan budget deal announced late yesterday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.):
The Washington Post notes that, under the proposed agreement, federal workers hired after January 1st will have to contribute an extra 1.3 percent of their salary toward retirement, a savings of $6 billion over ten years. Though federal employee unions strongly opposed the measure, it’s in fact milder than changes that President Obama had proposed.
The Wall Street Journal explains that an earlier White House proposal would have seen most federal employees’ contributions increase an extra 2 percent. House Republicans favored an even larger increase, expressing concern that the federal pension system is underfunded and will leave future taxpayers holding the bill. “We think it’s only right and fair that [federal employees] pay something more toward their pensions, just like the hardworking taxpayer that pays for those pensions in the first place,” remarked Mr. Ryan.
The deal is expected to meet its stiffest test in the House. The Washington Post notes that House Republicans have had “mixed, but generally positive” reactions to the deal. But Members of the Tea Party Caucus have expressed concern that the deal will result in a net increase in government spending.