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  • Morning Bell: Don't Let Obama Pay Plan Freeze Real Reform

    The campaign to paper over President Barack Obama’s big government tax-and-spend record with symbolic political triangulation has begun.

    Yesterday, ahead of today’s meeting with House and Senate Republicans, President Obama attempted to preempt conservative calls for smaller government by announcing a Federal Employee Pay Freeze, which the White House says would save $2 billion over the rest of this fiscal year and $28 billion in cumulative savings over the next five years.

    While the President’s political motivations are transparent to all, he should be congratulated on policy grounds for making two key concessions to reality: (1) that, as Heritage research has definitively shown, federal workers are paid more than their private sector counterparts even after accounting for skills and education; and (2) that our federal budget deficits are driven by a spending problem, not a revenue problem. That said, however, conservatives should be vigilant to make sure that the President’s federal pay proposals serve only as the beginning of negotiations and not as a false solution that prevents real federal pay reform next year.

    A fact underreported by most newspapers today is that President Obama cannot freeze federal pay unilaterally. He is going to need Congress to act on his proposal, which calls for the freeze to begin effective January 1. This simply is not going to happen. Democrats still control both chambers of Congress, and the Democratic Party is controlled by government unions, which uniformly blasted the plan yesterday. With just one month left on the calendar to go, taking money away from the Democratic Party’s most powerful special interest group is just not going to make it onto an already very busy lame duck agenda.

    Furthermore, President Obama’s freeze is really just a partial freeze that applies only to 2011 and 2012 cost of living increases. Most federal employees will still receive seniority-based pay increases over the next two years, and no one’s federal benefits will be affected. And those federal benefits are a big reason why federal worker compensation is so out of whack with private sector reality. As The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk has extensively detailed, federal pay gives the average federal employee 30–40 percent greater total compensation (wages and benefits) than a comparable private sector worker. Worse, the current federal pay system does little to reward performance. As a result, the federal government is both overpaying underperforming workers and underpaying the most skilled federal employees.

    A much more fundamental reform of federal compensation practices is needed. Congress should replace the General Schedule with pay-for-performance systems tied to market compensation, federal benefits should be brought in line with private sector norms, and the federal retirement age should be raised from 56 to the Social Security retirement age. These reforms would bring real savings to the American taxpayer. President Obama’s partial pay freeze would save only $28 billion over five years. Sherk’s federal pay reforms would save taxpayers $47 billion every year. Which alternative do you think the American people voted for this November?

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    67 Responses to Morning Bell: Don't Let Obama Pay Plan Freeze Real Reform

    1. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      Quit Trying

      the HF is NEVER going to be Satisfied.

      NEVER

      I wish the HF WAS ON AMERICA'S SIDE.

    2. William Downey, JD L says:

      As William Proxmire would have said, a billion here a billion there and pretty soon you are talking real money.

      Perhaps they could also try and stop growing the government? That might cut down some of the spending.

    3. Sandy Schuyler, NC says:

      The Senior Citizens did not get a cost of living raise!

    4. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Smoke and mirrors from The POTUS. Its all political posturing and gamesmanship. Sure wish I had a government job! I would have retired nine years ago and Ken Jarvis would be paying my retirement. Rats.

    5. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Smoke and mirrors from the POTUS. It’s all political posturing and gamesmanship. Sure wish I had a government job. I would have retired nice years ago and Ken Jarvis would be paying my retirement. Rats.

    6. toledofan says:

      The government workers just got a raise, so, limiting their increase isn't a big deal; it's really just a symbolic gesture. In the long term what really needs to happen is the sze of government needs to be cut by at least 20 percent so some real saving can be gained. Does anyone think, I mean, really, that the Democrats are going to cut anything and face the prospect of losing votes in 2012? It's not going to happen simply because it's not in their best interest. The Democrats are out of ideas except to increase taxes, entirtlements and the welfare roles; it's the only way they can retain their power. Just ask Reid or Pelosi what new ideas they have, today, to make tomorrow better?

    7. G Davis says:

      I cannot begin to express my frustration with the Heritage Foundation's blinders regarding government service. As a federal employee in the contracting career field I make far less than my private sector counterparts. I chose the job security over pay. I also would like to know where in the bloody hell these remarks about our healthcare are coming from. I have Blue Cross Blue Shield, I contribute over $400 per month toward the premium which is going up just like everyone else's. The coverage isn't all that good either – I had better in the private sector. My dental coverage is expensive and the plan simply sucks. I contribute to my retirement just like I did in the private sector. Heritage is way off base when it comes to employees that are in the GS and below categories and I'm getting darned sick of hearing it repeated over and over and over.

    8. James - Longdrycreek says:

      Boehner and Mitch in the Ditch will roll over and claim victory. Nothing will change. The bureaucracy will be rewarded for patience, in spite of some impatient federal workers, but Obama and the unions are in bed and need each other for warmth.

      The Tea Party will only gather strength because the Blue Blood Republicans and the Marxists Democrats have amply demonstrated their inability to govern responsibly.

    9. G. Davis says:

      As a federal employee in the GS category, I'd like you to know that I make far less than my private sector counterparts. How do I know this? My husband does the same job for over $20k more per year. My health insurance is BCBS – nothing special and I contribute almost half of the premium through payroll deduction. The dental coverage is expensive and it sucks. At my level there is no cadillac plan, no bonuses, and I contribute to my retirement plan just like most people that have a 401k. I do not belong to the union, but I see why it exists – there are a lot of incompetent bureaucrats who like to push people around and make life miserable for the average person.
      I feel like I'm constantly under attack with these incessant articles about evil, overpaid federal workers.

    10. Robert E. Lee says:

      Jeb Bush says Obama should take a [3] month vacation;;he has been on a [22] month leave of sanity;; farq the food safety fiasco. obama's pay freeze is a sham; cival servants can continue to get STEP INCREASE, it's a joke.

    11. Philip Snyder, Houst says:

      Honestly what the Federal Bureaucracy needs more than pay freezes, is an audit. Some one outside of the system, maybe a couple of Representatives needs to go through and ask each and every employee to tell them EXACTLY what they do. Then cut the redundant jobs.

    12. JZ, Chesapeake says:

      Ken, The thing that you may not understand is that this can be bypassed with step increases. If a federal employee is eligible they can still get a step increase which I am sure most managers will use instead of the COLA increase. This is just smoke and mirrors. Why are they not going after their own pay?

    13. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      IF BHO was sincere inhelping the economy there would be two or three other things included in this declaration. Number one would be the freezing of hiring in the federal gov't, buy-outs on those that are near retirement age/time. then the most important, ROLL BACK the raises Congress voted themselves last year and for 2011, including POTUS', and if he is really sincere get rid of his czars. I don't expect these to happen as it is all talk and no action with this administration when it comes to BHO, Pelosi and Co.

    14. chk2595-Odessa, Texa says:

      If the President were sincere, he would not add any Federal Employees, he would get rid of the half of them that are not working for America, concentrating on his and his brides personal staffs, Hillary's entourage, and Labor, And Education Departments. The czars need to go or get enough exposure to learn why they are needed at the compensation they receive. Oh-many of his lawyers are expendable also.

    15. Lela Peaveler, Verna says:

      While I agree that that government needs to cut spending it just makes me mad that they start with the workers. How about pay cuts for the House and Senate and even this over spending President? How about making the Bush tax cuts permanent? To let them expire is a tax hike any way you look at it. How about no more government paid vacations and or "trips" for the House, Senate and President. No more private planes for those other than the President.Or maybe limit that amount of friends that tag a long on our expense!

      I could go on and on but I hope you get my point.

    16. jean bell says:

      Freezing the military pass is crazy. These are the men and women who gives the greatest price for freedom. Their Lives. What high official goes out and face death every second of their lives in a war zone. Wake Up president, senate and senators. Maybe they need to serve in a war zone for a year and then they might look at this all different.

    17. Chris Mahon, AZ says:

      Some good comments. However, I think rather than looking at reducing the federal budget as a whole, which has always ended with weak results as competing interests spar off; we should hold the 'plumbline' of the US Constitution up and 'tag' departments and services that are unconstitutional and phase out over 5-10 years. Then put a real axe to the remaining services. We live in an unusual time that presents great peril but also great opportunities. Here's my website where I blogged last weekend on my 'Napkin Math' Constitutional Alignment. http://ambidextrouscivicdiscourse.com/?p=599

    18. R Holland, Chandler, says:

      I agree with your conclusions and solutions. But don't let the federal employee be the only ones that have to sacrifice. All entitlement programs should be frozen also. The federal government should be cut in both money and personnel by 5% per year for the next 5-7 years.

      Most important is a federal income tax restructure. Go to a flat tax system with everyone that has an income must pay at least 10% tax with only a $5K deduction for each person up to $20K per family. Everyone needs to contribute to the operation of our government. Then citizens will be responsive to what Washington is during with their money.

      3 new constitutional amendments:

      1. Balanced budget.

      2. Line item veto.

      3. Term limits for congress.

    19. Anonymous, Perkasie says:

      It is clear that this article was conveying a message of Government overspending. However, in doing so, it blamed some of this problem on the salaries of federal government workers, suggesting that the average federal salary is higher than the salary offered in private industry. This is a gross misstatement.

      There are advantages and disadvantages to being a federal employment, and historically speaking, the salaries have never been one of the advantages. I am a retired federal employee. Because I am a retired federal employee I am NOT eligible to collect Social Security and I pay for a large portion of my health benefits.

      Before criticizing federal salaries consider the fact that the government hires many veterans, disabled veterans and disabled Americans. Government employees pay taxes unlike some small business owners who tend to hide their income or at least under report it. The federal government has an impossible time hiring when the economy is good because private industry offers higher salaries with better benefits. Your energy could be better spent increasing penalties for tax fraud, stopping people from working under the table, investigating college federal loan applications, and stopping people from having more than one social security number. Imagine the savings if people were honest.

      While "average Americans" are indeed suffering, when did government workers become "anti-American"? We work, pay taxes, purchase homes/cars/goods, raise children and support our communities. I am confused why anyone would want to destroy an entire segment of the population that supports our fragile economy. Attacks on civil servants are on the rise but serve no purpose other than to pit the masses against each other. Last time I checked, no government worker (excluding some politicians) is living the lifestyle of the rich and famous

      Right now we are suffering under an unprecedented budget deficit and national debt – attributed in no part to a federal civilian retirement system that is fully funded and actuarially sound. Times are tough and patriotic federal workers and annuitants want to do their part, but not if it means they are singled out for budget cuts while others are not asked to make similar sacrifices.

      I do feel reckless spending, stifling regulations, ever-rising taxes, endless debt and the government takeover of health care have brought this nation to a tipping point, and continuing down the current path would mean the end of the American Dream.

      The Federal civilian retirement is not part of the problem. Civil service retirement and health benefits are not modeled on social insurance, and they are not health-based or means “tested.” Regrettably, the public is often misinformed into believing that federal employees get “free” or “overly generous benefits.”

      ANONYMOUS

    20. Lily Putian, Texas says:

      @G. Davis, do you understand the meaning of the term "on average." Your personal anecdotal evidence is meaningless. You have not included all relevant information in your comparison, either. Health insurance aside, you have not mentioned your pension/retirement benefit plan, which most private sector employees no longer have. If anything, private sector employees have the option of contributing their own money to a 401(k) and the employer might match half up to 3%. That's scraps compared to a federal employee's pension plan. No private sector employee I know still gets any kind of pension. And retirement age? When can you retire? Is it 56? Seriously? My husband will be lucky to retire at 66 in the private sector.

      Also, when was the last time your pay was cut? My husbands private sector salary was cut 5% 18 months ago. And what is your fear of being laid off? Do you worry about that at all? My husband spent the last 18 months working the job of 2 people for less money, worried that he would be laid off if he didn't perform well. In spite of that, he was laid off anyway. The reason? Moving his job to lower paid workers outside the US. When was the last time that happened to a government employee?

      Your complaints are falling on the deaf ears of those of us struggling to survive in the real world of the failing Obama economy.

    21. TaterSalad says:

      Barack Obama is "not" pulling the wool over anyones eyes on this one. This is just a big "smoke screen" to the public. He gave these government/Union workers the biggest pay increases ever over the last couple years and now he is freezing their wages to save money. What a joke this is! Comparable work done by the private sector in wages is but 1/2 of what these federal workers are getting plus a pension and benefits. Time for a change and it will happen in 2012………for sure! Mark our words!

    22. Opiemuyo, GEG says:

      Pay for performance is part of the TSA, and you should see how the unions are fighting it. Great I tells them, I want to get paid the same as the slacker next to me that makes my job harder than it has to be.

    23. Lynn, Hawaii says:

      I am an "overpaid" federal employee. Our area is understaffed, we work long hard hours, and get verbal abuse from many on a daily basis. My hourly rate is $15 less than my private sector job was, but the cost of living allowance makes it comparable. I admit getting paid holidays is nice, didn't get that in private sector at all. OT and shift diff also help. Insurance plans suck overall, but I am healthy at this point and don't utilize much of that benefit. I see many who work hard and get paid very little. I also see many who work very little and get paid a lot. The do need a pay for performance plan, and not automatic pay increases just for showing up. I also see a lot of abuse by our "customers" who are on federal pay as well though. We could save a bundle of money if they were simply charged a small co-pay for their healthcare, and were not given free tylenol and OTC meds. Not to mention showing up at the clinic for every scraped knee or runny nose for 1 hour….the entire system is bogged down with people who abuse the benefit, and those who are in true need pay a price because the ignorant and selfish are inappropriately overusing. And, if we point out that they are using the facilities/benefit inappropriately, we get written up and scolded…

    24. laurie, Hawaii says:

      Keep this up, Party-boy in Chief and it will be another Eastern Airlines Fiasco! I worked for them. A few Union leader mongrels would not give up a little pay as all the rest of us did….in order to "win". Winning the battle, but we lost the War. EAstern Airlines went banirupt. So, these brainless mathless union leadr sharks only care about their fight, not the people members nor the company's survival. In this case, it is the whole nation at risk of collapse!!. thank you, union leader tyrants (in bed with federal corruption!!). Some day, we all must die, you can't take your corruption with you to heaven. You'll need to go the other way.

    25. C. Gardecki says:

      This pay freeze if congress passes it is just a joke, because I heard from a person who is a government worker, that their supervisor told them not to worry that they would just raise their pay grade, in other word promote them higher up the ladder. Thus they will get a raise for having been promoted. We need to freeze promotions also.

    26. TWatson says:

      Having been a federal employee for 17 years, I can tell you the pay raises are based so much on personal favortism that it makes one sick to the stomach. I was in Procurement for 9 years and believe me, it was a pressure cooker. Some of us were never rewarded for outstanding service monetarily wise. People in the clerical classification were denied raises time after time for years. A Special Rate was enforced and many of us in the clerical were denied the raises. One of the unions filed an unfair labor practice against the agencies; however, to get the thing resolved, it took the union and lawyers 17 years to come to an agreement. When the lawsuit was completed, those of us in the clerical field were awarded somewhere in the vicinity of $500.00 which represented our part of the settlement. The attorneys skimmed right off the top 17 million dollars even before the 200,000 odd employees received their share. Is this fair – I should think not. Clerical in the government is not where one should be if you think and are conscientious in the job you are performing for the researchers.

    27. Barbara says:

      For those who commented on the public sector workers and how YOU are different. I worked in the public sector too and I can tell you that just the 3 yrs I worked for them I made a NICE 401K. And even though I paid into my medical and dental plan, it was a LOT better than the one I have now in the private sector. I will also say, that when I started working for the State I wanted to give my best and work above what was expected of me. I felt that the public needed to know that their money was being wisely spent on us as workers. Instead, I was given a "meets expectations" and when I questioned that and told my sup I disagreed with that, I was told that everyone started out with that regardless of how well or how lousy they did the job. In that 3 yrs I worked there, I saw co workers refuse work, barely work at all, brought their babies to work and I mean BABIES and I thought to myself, why am I killing myself when all around me were still getting their yearly pay raises. And my dept was not the only dept that had bad workers. As far as I am concerned, working for the state KILLS your work ethic. I for one, agree with Heritage on their assessment and views on the workers in the public sector.

    28. Edward Kimble, 46725 says:

      Unprecedented inflation + president grieving over pay freeze forced by mean Republicans= fools paradise!! Stay on point, with thousands of cranes growing buildings full of government employees all over DC like popcorn, fire those puppies, Stop that construction. Get rid of the massive CIA-Homeland-TSA storm trooper buildup. Dismantle the government medical insurance business and fix the rules to protect citizens. Remove social security from the general fund and make it into the secure "sock in the dresser" it was intended to be. Infuse it with the stolen money needed to return it to solvency. Actually reduce the size of government and stop freaking reveling in the "beauty" of tax money gone government concrete. No more war memorials, no more "Kennedy Centers" or NPR's, no more massive computer programs to keep track of the computer programs that keep track of…..

    29. Fred D Oak Park Mi says:

      Government bureaucracy , from the administrators to the employees are far more inefficient than what is generally found in the private sector . Their compensation package , with benefits , is higher , and they retire earlier with greater benefits , than similar , ( sucessful ) ,private sector companies . This system has resisted modernizing , and the increased effeciencies that private businesses have achieved , because of one reason . Unions . Government ,at all levels are Monopoly's , and their inefficiencies (for which they can't be fired ), are just passed on to the productive sector , the tax payer . This model of government ' Unions ' is a failure , ( Soviet Union ) , and they are sucking the productive sector in the US dry . Get rid of the public unions and have the have ' Our ' emoloyees , deliver the services we deem necessary at an efficient and competitive rate . I would guess governments' would have 25 % fewer people at 30% less cost , delivering better services .

    30. Denise Johnson, West says:

      Another game or smoke and mirrors. Why don't they STOP the credit card with know expiration on the card should be riped out of ever one of there hands or be made to pay just like the people who put them there. And they should be made to attend sessions or if they don't then they don't get payed I can go on,on . They have this deal in there simple minds that they csn get what they want when they want and tehy can have late night select people to make sure thing go there way under cover or covert action so that tehy can get there might on any thing . Nothing like window dressing

    31. gerry, tx says:

      I'm not sure where HF is getting its statistics from, but the majority of Federal employees I know aren't compensated above the norm for industry, but, well below it. And lest ye claim I'm on the take, I'm in academia but work with the guys in public and private and public sectors, both. My parents were both civil servants (GS), and I can recall the differences in their pay vice that of friends' parents when I was growing up.

      Grow up HF. You're just wrong, and I suspect you know it. You just like to complain.

    32. ThomNJ says:

      "As a result, the federal government is both overpaying underperforming workers and underpaying the most skilled federal employees."

      SOUNDS LIKE A UNION ISSUE….this is the kind of stuff that happens when unions run the show – you can't reward the good workers without the sme reward going to the slackers.

      How about we dump EPA, Education, Energy and Commerce for a start.

    33. Norbert Stager, Ohio says:

      As long as the federal workers unions are so powerful real reform will not happen. I do not think the republicans have the stomach or the guts to take on the unions. Until the Tea Party takes a firm hold on the republican party, real reform will not happen. We need another election cycle if we are lucky.

    34. Brad, Chicago says:

      G. Davis, you might want to recognize one thing about the Heritage position. They do admit that some people in government work are underpaid for what they do. The idea is to allow those people to make more, while people who don't pull their weight stop getting automatic raises. Since you aren't part of the unions, this concept doesn't really apply to you, even. In fact, this is exactly part of the point. If the high compensation of the unions wasn't costing the government so much, they might care to pay you more. Consequently, if your husband makes that much more than you, might he just have a particularly good job in the field? No one is calling you evil for making as much money as you can, especially not Heritage. The evil is the choice made by the people in power to waste tax payer money on the wages of people who don't deserve it.

    35. Karl Quick, Diamondh says:

      The shocking thing is that a simple "freeze" for two years only would be rated as a $28B cost "savings" !!! Costs are astronomical if true, but we'd be idiots to think that a freeze for two years would not have been negated by pay raises in the next 3 years!

      Truly shameful smoke and mirrors!

      Remember: NO government paid for job adds revenue to the tax pool; resulting tax receipts merely return a small share of the tax money TAKEN OUT to spend on the project, job, grant, contract, etc.

      Want a bigger government? Then we must have a much larger profit making private sector to create the jobs and wealth to PAY for it! Government spending is much less inefficient as a stimulus than simply allowing people to keep and invest the money they earn. The investments are broader, better distributed, closer to the people, empowering of the people, less wasteful and less politically corrupting than government spending.

      Want a country that works? ….shrink government spending!

    36. Linda goodman says:

      If the pay freeze does go through, Congress should not only be included, they and the president should be first in line to accept the proposal. I would further ask that they take a 20% across the board DECREASE, since they are the ones that got us into this mess.

    37. CB, Perkasie PA says:

      There are advantages and disadvantages to being a federal employment, and historically speaking, the salaries have never been one of the advantages. I am a retired federal employee. Because I am a retired federal employee I am NOT eligible to collect Social Security and I pay for a large portion of my health benefits.

      Before criticizing federal salaries consider the fact that the government hires many veterans, disabled veterans and disabled Americans. Government employees pay taxes unlike some small business owners who tend to hide their income or at least under report it. The federal government has an impossible time hiring when the economy is good because private industry offers higher salaries with better benefits. Your energy could be better spent increasing penalties for tax fraud, stopping people from working under the table, investigating college federal loan applications, and stopping people from having more than one social security number. Imagine the savings if people were honest.

      While "average Americans" are indeed suffering, when did government workers become "anti-American"? We work, pay taxes, purchase homes/cars/goods, raise children and support our communities. I am confused why anyone would want to destroy an entire segment of the population that supports our fragile economy. Attacks on civil servants are on the rise but serve no purpose other than to pit the masses against each other. Last time I checked, no government worker (excluding some politicians) is living the lifestyle of the rich and famous

      Right now we are suffering under an unprecedented budget deficit and national debt – attributed in no part to a federal civilian retirement system that is fully funded and actuarially sound. Times are tough and patriotic federal workers and annuitants want to do their part, but not if it means they are singled out for budget cuts while others are not asked to make similar sacrifices.

      I do feel reckless spending, stifling regulations, ever-rising taxes, endless debt and the government takeover of health care have brought this nation to a tipping point, and continuing down the current path would mean the end of the American Dream.

      The Federal civilian retirement is not part of the problem. Civil service retirement and health benefits are not modeled on social insurance, and they are not health-based or means “tested.” Regrettably, the public is often misinformed into believing that federal employees get “free” or “overly generous benefits.”

      ANONYMOUS

    38. Pingback: Morning Bell: Don’t Let Obama Pay Plan Freeze Real Reform

    39. Henry says:

      The TENNESSEE democrat state passed bills to give federal employees a large raise ( teachers, administration, and the rest of government workers) Tennessee just passed a $28 billion for a 3% across the board increase in their salaries and another $164,000 million toward bonus for all Tennessee teachers, administration. So for a worker making $41,000, would receive around $1410 increase in pay, which increases each year, plus a $400 plus bonus, they just received a bonus two years ago.

      They announced this increase two weeks ago, I knew what the obambba crew was fixing to announce……A FREEZE ON FEDERAL WORKERS…..I was off by one year. I guessed three year freeze.

      So all federal workers are above the private society by 5 years in pay increase and 20 years ahead in benefits increase. Federal teachers have a life time job, as do the administrators and all their helpers. Any monkey can repeat year after year what our teachers perform. Same lesson plan. Not bad for a life time job without someone looking over your shoulder or filming what you do each day.

      THE IMPORTANT THING IS THEY HAVE JOBS! UNLIKE THE REST OF

      SOCIETY.

      I have a great plan, lets outsource all federal jobs, or better still lets put all the illegals in federal jobs. That goes for the President and vice prez.

      Just think and do the math, HOW MUCH WOULD THAT SAVE TOWARD OUR DEFICIT!

    40. Brenda Norfolk, VA says:

      Re: Federal Civil Service pay – Please remember – WE ARE THE MIDDLE CLASS WE ARE PAYING THE TAXES TO SUPPORT THE Social prgrms being volleyed about!

      If my pay is frozen will GROCIERES be too? how about my TriCARE health benefits I am paying a monthly premiums for? Agree the health care offered to Fed Civ Ser is TO Damn High! so I'm using my Navy retirement bennies.

      Will electric, gas (heat) gasoline, etc, etc have a price inctrease Freeze?

    41. Henry Felter says:

      28 billion, where have I heard that number before? Oh yeah a 28 billion emergency bill was passed at the end of August last year supposedly for the retention of teachers. By that time all cuts had been and the school system went forward with their school year. What did become of the money? Oh yeah it was put into teacher union pension funds, or really into the hands of unions to distribute a small amount into the November elections to aid the Demos, aid the union leadership and shore up their mismanaged and wasted pensions

    42. Sonja, Jonesboro, Georgia says:

      At this time – budget cuts are essential – federal employee pay and benefits are a drop in the bucket compared to costs of federal programs. The largest and most expensive departments are health and Human Services and the Department of Defense. The most expensive programs are Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and the war. Using Obama’s federal budget 2011 created a create a pie chart, those three are 3/4 of the annual federal expenditures. If I were congress I would order a flat 25% reduction across the board and leave the department heads to make the cuts. In this way avoiding all discussion regarding pay cuts, benefits etc. Departmental reorganization, benefits, pay scales, structure, programs, projects can all be discussed in 2011 for 2012.

    43. C, Perkasie PA says:

      It is clear that this article was conveying a message of Government overspending. However, in doing so, it blamed some of this problem on the salaries of federal government workers, suggesting that the average federal salary is more than the salary offered in private industry. This is a gross misstatement.

      There are advantages and disadvantages to being a federal employment, and historically speaking, the salaries have never been one of the advantages. I am a retired federal employee. Because I am a retired federal employee I am not eligible to collect Social Security and I pay for a large portion of my health benefits.

      Before criticizing federal salaries consider the fact that the government hires many veterans, disabled veterans and disabled Americans. Government employees pay taxes unlike some small business owners who tend to hide their income or at least under report it. The federal government has an impossible time hiring when the economy is good because private industry offers higher salaries with better benefits. Your energy could be better spent increasing penalties for tax fraud, stopping people from working under the table, investigating college federal loan applications, and stopping people from having more than one social security number. Imagine the savings if people were honest.

      While “average Americans” are indeed suffering, when did government workers become “anti-American”? We work, pay taxes, purchase homes/cars/goods, raise children and support our communities. I am confused why anyone would want to destroy an entire segment of the population that supports our fragile economy. Attacks on civil servants are on the rise but serve no purpose other than to pit the masses against each other. Last time I checked, no government worker (excluding some politicians) is living the lifestyle of the rich and famous

      Right now we are suffering under an unprecedented budget deficit and national debt – attributed in no part to a federal civilian retirement system that is fully funded and actuarially sound. Times are tough and patriotic federal workers and annuitants want to do their part, but not if it means they are singled out for budget cuts while others are not asked to make similar sacrifices.

      I do feel reckless spending, stifling regulations, ever-rising taxes, endless debt and the government takeover of health care have brought this nation to a tipping point, and continuing down the current path would mean the end of the American Dream.

      The Federal civilian retirement is not part of the problem. Civil service retirement and health benefits are not modeled on social insurance, and they are not health-based or means “tested.” Regrettably, the public is often misinformed into believing that federal employees get “free” or “overly generous benefits.”

      ANONYMOUS

    44. john arizona says:

      Isn’t it amazing how the king of spending (POTUS) can all of a sudden claim we need financial discipline and reduced spending? At least you’ve got to give him credit for having gall! Who else would try to spend the country into bankruptcy and then establish a debt commission?

    45. Jane Ingram says:

      I’m getting sick and tired of YOUR paper-overing the issue of federal workers being overpaid. I sent a letter to one of your writers (female) over a month ago spelling out my disagreements with her article. She has not even had the courtesy to answer my letter. Your arguments on this subject are just as stubborn and non-responsive to alternative viewpoints as those you disagree with. Did you bother to ask ONE reputable federal worker their input about your research — if it covered all the relevant factors??? Don’t be the “Pot calling the kettle Black.”

      By the way, I am not a federal worker, but I know several who are.

      Jane Ingram

      • Conn Carroll Conn Carroll says:

        Jane-
        I have not seen your disagreements with our data on federal worker pay. Please do detail them in this thread and I'll do my best to get you answers.
        Thanks.
        -Conn

    46. Robert Foresta Southgate, MI says:

      This political posturing by the President is insulting to the private sector work force, especially the salaried employees/retirees. I really feel sorry that that they won’t receive Cost of Living Increases. I don’t recall in my forty plus years of working in the private sector getting Cost of Living increases. And adding insult to injury they (government employees) will still continue to get merit increases. I wonder how many unemployed workers would just be happy if they could get a moderately decent paying job? If the President was really concerned about America, he would not only stop COLA for government employees,he would cut their salaries by at least 10% until those that pay their salaries (the private sector) get back to full employment. His union buddies won’t like it? So what? I thought they were Americans also and concerned about all of the ‘little people” (President Obama’s term of endearment for those us that don’t ‘get it’).

    47. RUTH WEDGEFIELD SC says:

      LETS FACE IT, NOTHING OBAMA DOES IS FOR THE WORKING CLASS OF PEOPLE, IF IT DON’T MAKE HIM LOOK GOOD IN THE EYES OF HIS VOTERS, HE WON’T LET IT HAPPEN. HOW SAD IS IT THAT HE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE WORKERS WHO FOOT THE BILLS AND RARELY GET A BREAK, IF THEY ARE NOT HIS VOTERS THEY CAN JUST POUND SAND IN HIS WORLD.

    48. Pingback: There’s More the Obama Pay Freeze than meets the Eye. Here’s the rest of the story « Romanticpoet's Weblog

    49. Karl Quick says:

      I worked as a government employee (Civil Service, CS R&D at a Navy Lab) for the first half of my career. Back then civil servants WERE paid less than those in the private sector. I quit during the Carter administration and went to work for a Government Contractor where I worked for the rest of my career.

      Conclusion: NO government employee or contractor EVER adds to the government’s revenue pool. The best we can do is reduce the waste by demostrating what does not work before the government blows Billions on half baked schemes designed to fill the pockets of political contributors.

      If anyone you know wants a BIGGER government, tell them this:

      NO government paid for job, project or development every ADDS revenue to the tax pool. The taxes paid as a result merely put back in to the pool some of the tax money take out (or borrowed and later paid back with interest) to pay for the job, project, grant, etc.

      Want a bigger government? Then you have to have an EVEN BIGGER profit making private sector to fund it. There simply is no other reality, as much as your political leaders would like to pretend there is. If you confiscate the golden goose, it dies. It must be healthy, producing jobs and profits, before any increase in tax revenues will appear.

    50. rosemarie, fresno says:

      HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR AMERICA TO GET O OUT OF OFFICE
      ALL OF AS ARE KIND OF O WELL LETS SEE, THAT IS NO WAY TO GO
      TROW OUT THE GARBAGE

    51. Karl Quick says:

      G. Davis… Is your husband working in the real private sector or is he a government contractor, lobbyist, or employee of a company with extensive government contracts (or lawsuits?)

      As a retired employee who worked first in the Navy Labs (up to GS-14) and then in the Federal Systems side of a major telecom contractor to the U.S. Gov, I can assure you we never… back then… were paid excessively, BUT….

      I never actually paid a dollar in taxes that wasn’t first collected from tax payers and passed through the IRS into the government’s revenue pool.

      The best I EVER did was to demonstrate (somewhat cost effectively) the foolishness and impracticality of some government standards/requirements before the government spent BILLIONS on systems built to those standards. Beyond that, I can assure you I never added to the government revenues.

      If you truly want a bigger government, remember this: NO government employee or contractor ever adds to the revenue pool; they pay taxes with tax money, merely returning a small part of the tax revenues with which they were paid.

      If you truly want a bigger government, you MUST be for a MUCH LARGER private sector, creating jobs and profits NOT first taken from the revenue pool. There is NO other way to fund a larger government then to have a much larger private sector creating wealth. If we were to become a dictatorship and confiscate the wealth, we will kill the golden goose, as has been demonstrated in every dictatorship around the world. You must see this reality before the “happy talk” and the “victim talk” destroys you and our country.

    52. Mike, Chicago says:

      While "freezing" salaries of government employees is a start, real savings could be made by cutting public aid. There are so many receiving government aid that don't need to. They are living subsidized lives while having a job, home, etc. Only the truly disabled should receive government assistance.

    53. Captain John C. MacKercher, Sr. U. S. Navy Ret. Florida says:

      I recall Hoyer winning a seat in the House. I watched his progress as he became seasoned. He was a light weight (he weighs too much to qualify for fly weight consideration) from the outset. Imagine a fairness doctrine that pertains to people in combat with compared withwhat we military dubbed sand crabs. The only circumstance under which we military personnel encountered danger at the five sided wind tunnel is when we happened to enter the Pentagon anytime between 1600 and 1700. This hazardous time never pertained on week-ends or holidays. Why not? The civilians were done with the work day. No overtime for them. Steny will be re-elected. As long as we Americans fail to do our homework and keep track of performance, the Stenys will always slide in under the tag.

    54. Mike, Chicago says:

      Cut public aid along with “freezing” salaries. Too many are living subsidized lives that don’t need to be. Only the truly disabled should receive government assistance.

    55. norma,tx says:

      i think we should go higher up to start with the cut!!! Senators and Congress need to be cut in their salaries to the basics, 80,000 a year for new members to 24 years as a reminder that their jobs are civil servants as well. I would put a cap of 100,000 on the senior members with 25 years or more. i would let them keep the perks in their jobs( postages,mail and transportation)but would stop all else as a reminder they are in those positions to serve the people and not to be self-serving as many are wont to be.if they truly have a desire to serve their constituents this would be a true test of their heart to serve our country. We need to come back to reality!! when we remove the extras and make them retire on the social security system that is in place , i believe the groups would fix it and stop letting others rob it!!!If they had to learn how to live on 80-100 grand a year i believe they would be grateful to have the meager SS benefits that they dictate and command the rest of us will have!!! nuff said from a girl raised in the great state of Texas

    56. Steve C. in Tennesse says:

      That performance based pay, which the company I work for changed to is only good if everybody stays honest, other wise its prime opportunity for favoritism of some employees while the better workers get a smaller pay raise. Cause there time is spent working in stead of following the boss around blowing smoke up his back side. Theres only so much money coming for employee pay and it must be dispersed to everybody. If all the employees fulfilled there maximum duty's in there contract there wouldn't be enough money to go around. A good worker who spends there time working does not get as much face time with there boss as the one who makes friends with the boss, and if your good at manipulating people you can get a better raise, so some one else gets less.

    57. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Is the Obama pay freeze a real pay freeze? No.

    58. Mike Gilley, Tenness says:

      So, why does Wesley Snipes get 3 years in prison for tax evasion while Barney Franks only gets censure? I am confident that if i "forgot" that i had taxable assets that i should have paid taxes on, that i would not now be walking around free. So, again, help me with the double standard.

      Mike Gilley

    59. Brandon, Philly says:

      My name is Brandon Wooton, I am a federal worker and I am FOR the pay freeze. While I am one federal worker who absolutely busts my ass for the Navy and spends most of the year away from my wife, family and friends serving the country I DO believe that pay should be equal or slightly less than private sector due to the fact that our jobs are more secure.

      I have started a face book group, Federal workers FOR Government Fiscal Responsibility. If there is anyone out there interested in joining the group maybe we can get our message across.

      Thank you,

      Brandon

    60. Paul Mullins, Felton says:

      I am familiar with the so-called merit system, and firmly believe it should be abolished and replaced in a manner that recognizes exceptional skills and talents, and streamlines termination of substandard performance. Abolish the mindset of "the government owe me employment for life." The 'entitlements mindset' permeates government employment. (been there, saw that)

      Abolish annual performance reviews.

      Big Unions (greed and power of union bosses) are a big problem (and a threat to democratic process), skewing a representative system.Union dues of individuals are going to Democrats with the individual members having no say in it. This is self-serving of management (greed), and does not serve the greater cause of the nation. It serves the special interest of only 'union bosses.' This relationship needs to be abolished, for the good of the country. Union leadership has habitually abused and misdirected its power. Power corrupts. Unions should never have as much power as they do in the USA. Look at the historical problems with the "British Disease" in the UK.

      Regarding the this senator's demanding a military pay freeze also. He not having served, he may not appreciate the incompatible comparisons, the differences in duties, in off duty combat life-styles, the sub-poverty living and working conditions in Afghanistan, high levels of individual responsibility/accountability at any pay-grade (House and Senate should take note), the environmental hazards risk: PTSD, loss of arms or legs, face, quad-paraplegic, internal organs, destroyed eyes & ears, the absence of overtime pay, canceled leave days, inability to provide basic care to frustrated-stressed-out young wife trying to make ends meet but not always succeeding, broken or unreliable used car, and sick babies. The GI may work 36 consecutive hours without sleep followed by resting on an improvised bed of whatever materials and equipment is available, even so he will sleep (sometimes a concrete slab, sometimes rocky ground, whatever). Then there's the three square meals (hot) daily that isn't included in the deployed military tour.

      Bottom line, I can't see the Senator's rationale in comparing 37.5hr/wk of administrative workers to the rigors dealt with daily by the American military. But then, Congress has never understood the military because of their lack of experience. It would be good to have a mandatory minimum military service (as does Israel for every man and woman as I understand it) for all government officials, for broadening prospective. Six years minimum operational experience after college and law school (excluding: training, administrative and support time). Yes, I like it. I think it has merit.

    61. Linda, Louisiana says:

      Politics, Politics, Politics; over and over again. Is this the first time nice, sweet words have flowed out of Obama's mouth. NO. He is a professional at this. He believes that the American people will think he is making a good effort to reduce the Nation's deficit. He knew before he or someone wrote the speech that the ban on cost of living raises would never get through Congress, but doesn't he look pretty. Why should any federal government employees get a cost of living raise when Social Security recipients did not get one this year and will not next year. But that's ok; he thinks we are dummies and will swallow everything he says "hook, line, and sinker." Yes we know about the step increases that will remain, we know about all the extra people he and MIchelle hired – the czars and her many secretaries that we can't begin to guess what they all do. It seems she is seen rarely at government functions, other than White House Dinners, or has any special causes she is addressing as First Lady, what can all these people be doing. I will admit that Obama may need the czars, goodness knows, he needs some help. I will bet you a dollar to a donut that those czars don't even have job descriptions, let along, know what they are suppose to do. And, the labor unions, their wings need to be clipped. When the unions were formed, they had a mission that was needed, but now they have put more people our of jobs, closed down businesses because they are always negotiating for pay increases for the employees. Maybe the Social Security Recipients need to have a union so we can threaten to strike if we don't get more money and better benefits. But wait a minute, what will they stopped doing to go on a strike; these are retired people and not doing anything anyhow. What is the answer to the deficit? Cut back everywhere, government jobs, but wait, what will those people do? The Private Sector is not hiring, no jobs are being created. Reduce foreign aid. A little is good, but does anyone really believe we can buy their love with the aid we give them. Sure there is all kinds of devastation in other countries, but it certainly appears we are pretty devastated here, too. Anyone want to argue that point? I think not.

    62. Michael S. Rockport says:

      Wonder why he didn't announce this before the elections??? Then we would not have had all the rigged voting machines!! Everyone knows government employment is the next thing to welfare, like professional athletes ie overpaid juvenile delinquents, although the government workers are mostly worthless!! That is why none of these agencies are unable to perform their job descriptions.

    63. Larry PA. says:

      REAL CHANGE FIRE ALL THE CZARS THAT WE DID NOT HAVE TO PAY BEFORE OBAMA GOT IN THAT WOULD SAVE A GOOD AMOUNT OF MONEY.

    64. stacy Lanferman says:

      A pay freeze on our military wow, something is wrong with this picture!!! How many of our men and women put their life's on the line to save our country and most of our military join because they can't find a job. Like I said before they need to start at the top and start cutting. It must be nice to live a luxury life and look at all the people that have been in trouble pocketing the money like the CEO'S there is a major problem in our country.. The unemployment rate is very high, because they move our jobs over sea and pay them lower wages.. Putting a freeze on our military, well good luck getting people to join to serve our country!!!!

    65. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Yeah! I agree. Obama is a boxer and he threw a feint with his right hand. Republicans are supposed to drop their guard. But you put your crosshair on the right spot! 30% higher salaries than regular Americans? That calls for a cut in Federal Salaries of 30%. So, yeah 2% is a chickens–t deal for Republicans. I like our new Speaker.

      This is exactly why you can't unionize the government! Destroy that 'industry' like the other unionized Industries were destroyed by usurped Union power. Destroy the governments the same way! Using democracy to destroy democracy. Boy! That's patent evil.

    66. HawkWatcher, Mi. says:

      Conn, I also anxiously await Jane's submission of the information "spelling out my disagreements" that will dispose of the HF notion that there is a disparity between public and private employee compensation. I'm also expecting Ken to specify evidence for the anti-American bias he sees at Heritage, as well as his other off-topic burbling claims. Heh.

      Do you think we'll have to wait long?

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