Obama freezes federal worker pay for 2 years

"President Barack Obama announced a proposal Monday to freeze pay for federal workers over the next two years, one of several “very tough decisions” coming from the administration as it attempts to rein in government spending and address the looming federal deficit.

“In these challenging times. we want the best and brightest to join and make a difference, but these are also times where all of us are called on to make sacrifices,” Obama said in a statement at the White House. “And I’m asking civil servants to do what they have always done. Play their part.”

The freeze, which applies to civilian federal employees including non-military personel serving at the Department of Defense, will save $2 billion during the rest of the current fiscal year and $28 billion over the next five years, the White House said."


This will affect millions of people. Is this a smart political move to show that he is serious about addressing the deficit? Or is it a mistake that will come back to haunt him?

How will it come back to haunt him? People who work in the private sector and have seen their own pay level frozen or even reduced aren’t going to be outraged that public sector workers are taking a much smaller hit than private sector workers.

I wonder what the federal union will think of this. Also, remember, Obama is pissing off a lot of government workers. This could cause him grief come election time.

What I wonder is how this will play against the backdrop of earlier initiatives to move away from using contractors and vendors to do the actual work and move projects back to being done by government workers. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, as I couldn’t see those initiatives working in the first place, and now I definitely can’t see it. I also don’t know how much this will REALLY save…guess we’ll see.

It will also be fun to see the collective explosions of certain types of lefties who think austerity programs are really right wing oriented policies doomed to failure.


What types of lefties think that?

The one’s of the horned rabbit variety I should say…


Do you actually have an opinion on the freeze?

By the way, the answer to your questions is that it won’t bother federal workers very much, and it’s not like any Republican candidate is going to be able to campaign on promises to raise federal salaries anyway, so there’s no poliocal downside for Obama. The Republicans can’t criticize it without sounding like commies.

This CBS News article has a quote from the union:

*American Federation of Government Employees president John Gage told the Associated Press that the move was “a slap at working people.” He suggested federal employees were being made into scapegoats.

"Working people’s wages are not the issue with this deficit or what is going on in our country,’’ he told the AP. *

I don’t think this can hurt him much. It doesn’t do much for the deficit either, of course.

The only thing that can help the deficit is getting rid of the unfunded tax givaways to rich people. That’s what’s killing us. The top tax brackets need to start paying their own bills again instead of sponging off the working class.

I think it is a smart move for him. The biggest risk is those Fed employees not voting in 2 years (I doubt the Unions will suddenly support the Republicans).

Longtime fed employee here. Will be interesting to see how this plays out. It is not as tho Obama has the sole say on this. My understanding is that he had previously proposed a COLA in the area of 1.5% or so. Any bump is nice, but the difference between 0% and 1.4% ain’t exactly going to change my lifestyle.

I think all governments are going to have to look carefuly at all categories of spending, so I’m not going to cry too much about personally taking a minor hit. But I feel this type of move is essentially grandstanding, and of little import.

I also tend to be leery about across-the-board cuts like this, same as proposals to cut ALL spending by x%. It may well be that some categories of fed employees are significantly overpaid - or even superfluous. But I also believe that a significant number of fed employees - especially those at the lower pay grades - are not exactly raking in the bucks.

It’s a very smart move. This will give Obama all kinds of political cover when negotiating with Republicans. Now when the Republicans try to stall something Obama wants done, he can legitimately point at the federal worker freeze and say, “Look, I’ve been meeting you guys halfway. Time for you to give a little.” Without making a move like this, Obama is very vulnerable to charges that he’s just an ideologue unwilling to cross the aisle and work together with Republicans. By doing this up front, he can short-circuit that whole avenue of attack by Republicans.

In terms of absolute dollars it doesn’t add up to that much, but symbolically it’s important. One of the things making the private sector mad has been the perception that government workers aren’t sharing in the pain that everyone else is feeling.

Nope…no opinion. I think federal workers, like anyone, would be upset by this. It seems that this is the first thing Obama has considered to cut the deficit. I’m willing to bet that the majority of federal employees would rather have the agencies’ spending cut before cutting their own salaries.

I think you are mistaken. Cutting spending for an agency would be seen as meeting Republicans halfway. Shrinking the size of government would be better political cover than stiffing the government employees.

Politically smart. It helps symbolically.

In terms of impact, won’t amount to a hill of beans.

Much better would be to take large chunks out of entire federal agencies, or eliminate tem altogether.

Eliminating the entire Federal Dept of Education, for example, would save $80 billion per year and nobody other than the employees and their families would ever notice.

I see the Tea Partiers are already having a good effect, even before taking office. Now if only some of the other fat-headedness from him and his party can be done away with as quickly. Then we can get to the real cuts that will reduce the deficit.


Look, if Social Security recipients are going on their second year of not getting a COLA, anyone with a job for Uncle Sugar (myself included) would have to be a first-class whiner to get all upset at not getting a 1.5% raise.

Spending cuts don’t do shit. We need to stop handing out free money to rich people.

And how do you think you cut spending for an agency? Ultimately, all money goes to paying someone’s salary.

Well, nobody other than every single American and a great deal of non-Americans. In the long run, no investment pays off as well as education, and it pays off for everyone.