Simpson-Bowles recommendations would replace 88,000 military servicemembers performing commercial activities such as trash removal, fire prevention, and recreation activities, with 62,000 civilian federal employees filling those same the positions.
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Simpson-Bowles Replaces Military Employees, Freezes Military Pay: Advance or Step Backwards?

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What are we saying about the value of our military servicemembers if we replace 88,000 military employees with 62,000 civilians?

In November 2010, Alan K. Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming, and Erskine Bowles, White House Chief of Staff during the Clinton administration, made 58 recommendations to cut federal spending in the Simpson-Bowles proposal including a 3-year freeze on federal salaries; noncombat military to be held pay at 2011 levels; elimination of 200,000 positions which reflects 10 percent of the federal workforce by 2020; and raising health insurance fees for federal civilian retirees.

Critics noted that the Simpson-Bowles proposals would set a new precedent for widespread acceptance of both military employee reductions and public service program cuts.

FEWER FEDERAL EMPLOYEES FOR MILITARY JOBS?

Specifically, Simpson-Bowles recommendations would replace 88,000 military servicemembers performing commercial activities such as trash removal, fire prevention, and recreation activities, with 62,000 civilian federal employees filling those same the positions.

According to Simpson's report, less civilian workers are needed because they can devote more time to the assigned commercial-job task, as opposed to military personnel who currently split their time between civilian duties and military tasks. Simpson and Bowles estimated that replacing military employees with civilian employees would cut $5.4 billion by 2015.

While looking for ways to reduce the federal budget deficit, the Simpson-Bowles proposal creates personal financial problems both for federal employees and for military service members.

FEDERAL PAY VS CIVILIAN PAY

Federal employees are taking the brunt of budget cuts in the economic budget deficit. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, federal workers receive 24 percent less pay than people in comparable private sector jobs, a percentage that is steadily rising.

FEDERAL BUDGET CUTS FOR MILITARY MEMBERS

Critics argue that the Simpson-Bowles proposal for cutting the federal workforce doesn't show how these cuts would really translate into public and military services. For example, service cuts may mean longer lag time for veterans' benefits claims processing. Replacing military employees with civilian employees could also mean fewer safety regulations, which could translate to less public safety for all.



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