Obama announces two-year federal pay freeze
On Monday, President Obama announced that in order to tame the massive federal deficit, plans have been created to institute a two-year federal pay freeze. It is projected that this move will save the U.S. $28 billion within five years and $60 billion over the the next decade. The federal pay freeze would affect all civilian federal employees, but not military employees.
Federal pay freeze: First of many fiscal sacrifices
Jeffrey Zients, the deputy director of the Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget, touted the federal pay freeze plan – which must still be approved by Congress – as a major belt-tightening. “It is the first of many difficult steps ahead,” said Zients, in reference to other moves that the administration believes the government must make to ensure that the United States regains solid financial ground.
Spending cuts and federal job cuts
“Fiscal responsibility” have been the buzzwords of late in the nation’s capital as government seeks to find ways to pare back deficit spending. Some proposals have been unpopular, such as former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wy.) and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles’ federal job cuts proposal that would have eliminated 200,000 federal jobs over the next decade and cut 250,000 non-military private contractor positions. President Obama has avoided such dramatic tactics and focused more on the spending cuts that could be obtained via a moratorium on earmarks.
The problem with a federal pay freeze
Numerous Washington, D.C., insiders believe that Obama’s federal pay freeze is more a symbolic gesture than anything of great fiscal meaning. There is also fear that talented workers will avoid government jobs if there is a pay freeze. Yet others think the symbolic gesture by the president is exactly what is needed. It’s the proverbial olive branch extended across the political aisle.
Federal employees making more money than ever
A recent USA Today study found that there has been a swell in the number of federal employees who make more than $150,000 per year. Over the past five years, the number has grown tenfold, and it has doubled since President Obama took office. However, much of the recent swell has included doctors at veterans hospitals. Considering that the U.S. is mired in two ongoing wars, the workload has increased.