UPDATED: Freezing Federal Pay Is Nice, But…

…it’s hard to get excited about saving $5 billion over two years when you’ve got a trillion-dollar deficit in one.

The Smarm Factor involved in the announcement of this grand gesture is off-putting as well.

“This is a difficult decision. Federal workers are hard-working and dedicated,” said Jeffrey Zients, deputy director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. “Today the president is clearly asking them to make a sacrifice. We believe it’s the first of many difficult steps ahead.”

Freezing pay for two years isn’t a sacrifice. You’re making double the market rate for your work, continuing to make that isn’t a sacrifice at all.

Cutting that pay would be a real sacrifice. No raise in the midst of a recession? Boo-friggin-hoo.

Or how about a bunch of layoffs in the federal workforce? That would be sacrifice.

Ed Morrisey at HotAir nails it at the link above:

We need a pay freeze a lot less than we need a reduction in the size of the federal workforce and a smaller, more effective government focused on areas of its actual jurisdiction.  We need a federal government able to account for its money more successfully than the one we have built to this point.  COLA freezes aren’t a solution’ they’re a way to look busy while business goes on as usual.

UPDATE: Sen. Vitter’s office just put out a release…

U.S. Sen. David Vitter today commented on President Obama’s decision to seek a freeze in federal employee pay, excluding pay for military personnel.  A federal pay freeze proposal is part of a larger debt-reduction package that Vitter intends to introduce as legislation on Wednesday.

“This proposal by President Obama takes a common-sense approach that I fully support, and I believe it should go even further.  Millions of Americans in the private sector have had their pay frozen – or worse – as we fight our way back through this recession, so it’s insulting to many taxpayers who see federal government employees continuing to get pay and benefit increases at this time.  A pay freeze provision, as well as other spending cuts, is part of a larger debt-reduction package I propose to introduce as legislation this week,” said Vitter.

Vitter’s plan incorporates the bipartisan debt commission’s recommendation of a three-year pay freeze, one year longer than the administration’s proposal.  On Wednesday, he will introduce a debt-reduction package that would trim the federal vehicle budget, reduce federal employee travel, cut the federal work force by 20 percent and reduce the congressional and White House budgets by 15 percent.

Vitter also co-authored language that was passed into law earlier this year to freeze automatic congressional pay raises for 2011, and he has long led the effort to permanently end the automatic pay increases for members of Congress.



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