President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget proposal, which may be viewed more as a window into his priorities than a roadmap for lawmakers, reveals that federal government workers do not rank high on his list of importance.
According to Vox, more than 2 million federal employees would see their retirement benefits slashed under the president’s proposal: one provision would “cancel cost-of-living increases to pension income for retirees in one program,” and another would “lower the annual adjustment to another pension program by 0.5 percent.”
The budget proposal also does away with certain for those who retire prior to becoming eligible for Social Security.
Further angering millions of federal workers, they would end up paying more for their benefits, Vox said, but get nothing in return.
In total, Trump’s budget would slash $148.9 billion from employee pensions over the coming decade, which comes to about a $75,000 loss per federal worker.
Randy Erwin, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees labor union (NFFE), accused the president on Monday of using federal workers to cover deficits caused by his 2017 tax cuts for the wealthy.
“President Trump again sacrifices the middle-class families on behalf of the wealthy through his proposed pay freeze and needless cuts to earned benefits for federal workers,” Erwin said in a statement. “We saw during the 35-day shutdown earlier this year that many federal workers live paycheck to paycheck.”
These elements of Trump’s budget proposal are far the first that the president has attempted to rein in spending for government employees.
Vox noted that Trump “announced the across-the-board pay freeze in August, saying the federal government couldn’t afford the automatic 2.1 percent pay bump employees were supposed to get in 2019.”
Trump said the raises were “inappropriate”, pointing to the $1 trillion budget deficit as evidence of a fiscal crisis, and suggested that “employees should only get raises based on performance and merit, disregarding increases in cost of living or other factors.”
Of course, Trump failed to mention the 2017 tax cuts, which — as Vox described it — “blew a hole in the federal budget.”