Retirement programs private and public are being hustled to achieve better results, both for bottom lines and for retirees.

The most recent attempt is Obama's new plan to trim the deficit, which takes aim at the federal retirement system. Over the next 10 years, the president wants to  salvage $21 billion by having the employee contribution increase by 1.2 percent (0.4 percent a year over three years beginning in 2013). On top of that, he's proposing to eliminate the FERS Annuity Supplement for new employees.

It's an attempt to muster funds to pay for a huge jobs plan and to repel arguments that federal benefits are way too generous. Just look at the amount that private versus public workers contribute to retirement costs, for example. The average contribution split for the Federal Employees Retirement System is 67 percent to 33 percent for federal employers and employees respectively.

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