Obama Announces 2 Year Federal Pay Freeze

Lets get serious!  President Obama announced a proposal today to freeze pay for federal workers for two years in order to ease the government’s deficit woes.

Some 2 million federal workers will be effected by this freeze if it is enacted. From Yahoo News:

President Barack Obama on Monday proposed a two-year freeze of the salaries of some 2 million federal workers, trying to seize the deficit-cutting initiative from Republicans with a sudden, dramatic stroke. Though signaling White House concern over record deficits, the freeze would make only a tiny dent in annual deficits or the nation’s $14 trillion debt.

“Small businesses and families are tightening their belts,” Obama said in brief remarks at the White House. “The government should, too.” The administration said the plan was designed to save more than $5 billion over the first two years.

The proposal, which must be approved by Congress, would not apply to the military, but it would affect all others on the Executive Branch payroll. It would not affect members of Congress or their staffs, defense contractors, postal workers or federal court judges and workers.

Democrat Senator Hoyer opposes excluding the military from pay freezes.  If you ask me they are the most qualified public servants worthy of pay increases.  From The Hill:

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said including the military would have increased savings and add “an element of fairness.” He made the comments in a statement about he president’s announcement of a two-year pay freeze.

“While I appreciate that the president reduced the length of his proposed pay freeze from three to two years,” Hoyer said in a statement, “it would have produced significantly more savings had that sacrifice been shared between federal civilian and military personnel — with a strong exception for the members of our military and civilian employees risking their lives on our behalf in Afghanistan, Iraq, and anywhere else they are serving in harm’s way.”

Hoyer referred to Obama’s decision to not take the deficit panel’s suggestion to extend the pay freeze out three years.

This move by Obama is more political than practical.  I certainly applaud the effort to prevent spending from increasing, but when you consider a debt nearing $14 trillion and a deficit exceeding $1 trillion freezing the wages of 2 million federal works is hardly going to make a dent.  We need to reduce spending, not just freeze it!

Furthermore, if “fairness” is to be accounted for as Hoyer suggested, then perhaps he should suggest cutting federal wages starting with Congressional wages.  After all, the private sector has endured an unemployment rate over 9 percent and falling wages due to their anti-business policies.