President Barack Obama has announced that he is freezing pay for federal workers for two years. Citing growing concerns about the deficit and Republican pressure about federal pay and benefits, the president announced that he will stop pay increases for most of the 2 million people who work for the federal government. The freeze applies to all executive-branch workers — including civilian employees of the Defense Department — but does not apply to military personnel, government contractors, postal workers, members of Congress, congressional staffers, or federal court judges and workers. The Washington Post reports that the president stated, "Getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifices, and that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government," in a speech Monday afternoon explaining the decision. He added: "I did not reach this decision easily. This is not a line item on a federal ledger; these are people's lives." The freeze would take effect Jan. 1, pending congressional approval by the end of this year. A pay freeze for 2012 will be proposed as part of fiscal 2012 budget proposals to be unveiled early next year. The decision will save the government about $2 billion for the rest of fiscal year 2011 and $28 billion over the next five years, the White House said. The long-term savings come from lowering the government's base compensation over the next two years.
We hear the unions rumbling as we type, but this is supposedly what Republicans want. If the president is going to get anything done in the coming Congress, he is going to have to make concessions. Eliminating pay raises as opposed to jobs seems like a reasonable step. What do you think?
Read more at the Washington Post.