Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Freeze Play

If a fat person declared that he was going to lose weight by eating exactly the same amount of junk food which caused the problem, we'd say it's stupid. If an alcoholic proclaimed that he was going to dry out by drinking exactly the same amount of liquor he's currently chugging each day, we'd say it's stupid.

And now, Barack Obama has suggested that his bold plan to reduce the national deficit is to keep federal salaries exactly the same as they are now. But we won't say it's stupid, because we don't want to be called racists.

Still, in an economy with millions of people unemployed, the president's proposed two-year "salary freeze" for non-military federal employees sounds suspiciously like a salary guarantee
that the average private sector worker would give his left arm for. Moreover, federal employees are already receiving far higher salary & benefits packages than people doing equivalent jobs in the private sector (back when there were any).

In fairness, there is at least one report which claims federal employees are underpaid compared to their private sector counterparts. The report was prepared employees, and you paid for it. In spades.

But getting back to the point at hand, we're starting to think that Barack Obama doesn't really understand what a "cut" is. After all, he believes that keeping tax rates exactly the same as they are is a "tax cut" for the wealthy. But he also believes that keeping federal salaries exactly the same is a "wage cut" for federal employees.

And the truth is that neither one is a cut. These are political wordgames, and they're killing the American economy at a time when real leadership is needed. And we'd say that playing wordgames is stupid, but we don't want to be called anti-semantic.

The Barack Obama miracle diet: eat the same number of "Fed Burgers" every day.


drjim said...

He's a typical liberal elitist, who's never had a real job in his entire life, has ZERO business experience, and yet thinks he knows how to fix the economy.

Sea_Dog52 said...

If I remember correctly, didn't they just have an across the board pay raise for all federal employees, like last month? Still doesn't eliminate the step raises (time in title/job) nor 'bonuses'.

Anonymous said...

At least give Obama credit for cutting his lower lip. He probably even bled a little. (Anti-semantic:funny!)

John the Econ said...

But drops in the worlds biggest bucket. It's not the salaries, but the sheer numbers of employees, benefits and pension system that will break us, along with Social inSecurity and Medicare/ObamaCare. We could send their pay back to 1990 levels, and still it would break us.

Suzy said...

A federal worker got on Rush Limbaugh the other day and just said it kept salaries from getting "inflation" adjustments...but they still get their regular bonuses, promotions, and raises...just no "inflation" raises or whatever that's really its not hurting the federal workers at all.

The "cuts" Obama has been coming up with have been really random...I think the one on his lip has made more sense than any of the others.

Pete(Detroit) said...

1) fire everyone hired in the past 4 years (take it back to Bush era, to be "fair")
2) cut pay to everyone left to '06 levels
3) if they don't like it, encourage them to find a 'real' job
4) eliminate / drastically curtail the Dept of Ed, EPA, DoT, HUD and all those other depts that do nothing but meddle w/ freedom
5) flat / fair (either is ok w/ me) tax to eliminate IRS
6) Nat Endow Arts / PBS / NPR truly would be a drop in the bucket, but a very symbolic one..

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Suzy- You (and others above) are right; the alleged "freeze" is only on "cost of living" adjustments. But seniors have just recently been denied such adjustments because according to government statistics, the "cost of living" hasn't gone up. In other words, Obama is offering to freeze something that's already moot, and wouldn't have made any difference anyway. It not only demonstrates that he isn't serious about the debt, it shows his casual disdain for both logic and the American taxpayers.

Bobo said...

I don't know how anyone can say the cost of living hasn't gone up. Have you checked the price of ice cream lately?? And don't even get me started on hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. Crimony!!!

Bobo said...

As a loyal state employee for almost 30 years, I went through many ecomomic bad spells where raises and COLAs were nonexistent. My wife went 7 seven years when she was first hired without any pay adjustment of any kind. We survived rasing two teenagers at the time. The federal employees will survive without any change in their pay, including bonuses, COLA, incentive pay, longevity, won't kill them.

What about Oblah blah blah telling the IRS to go out and collect the past due income taxes from members of his staff, the staff employees in Congress and other federal agency employees who owe about a billion dollars in back taxes? If it we you or me, the IRS would be on us like sharks on a bleeding lip.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Bobo- The Jarlsberg household also has experience in government employment and the financial ups and downs. And we're not against individual employees, nor do we have a wish to make them suffer. But all Americans, whether public or private sector, should be forced to swim in the same economic waters.

Bobo said...

Stilton - I do not support federal employees not receiving pay increase as it will do nothing to affect the national debt. The point I was trying to make is it wouldn't be the end of their world if they didn't receive raises for a couple of years.

Many people across this country are unemployed, many have already taken pay cuts, many have not received pay increases of any kind, many are homeless. So, in effect, we are all already swimming in the same economic waters, just adding some more folks to a pool that has no possibility of reducing the national debt.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Bobo- We're in complete agreement; the gesture was (and is) meaningless. Real debt reduction is going to take huge cuts and changes, not just the "freezing" of moot cost-of-living raises for a few federal employees.

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Federal employees take home higher standard wages than private-sector employees in more than eight out of ten jobs here in our country nowadays. And it's kinda sad because even if our efforts are high, we can't be paid accordingly. But great thing that there are still companies who has human resource management outsourcing and payroll outsourcing provider who has been helping out companies in order for their employees to have their salary and benefits that they truly deserve.