Times are hard. Federal Employees are having their cost of living raises, and to many of us who do not lap at the federal trough, it seems more like a public relations stunt than a serious attempt to do something. To me, personally, it sounds like something David Axelrod came up with to help President Obama crow about how tough he really is. However is the panic gesture being made by Obama worth anything?
The Tea Party asked the Federal Government to devolve power in key areas to the US States. I've never heard anyone call for a reduction of cost of living raises to workers. However, if that's what the US Government plans to do, we should cut any scheduled pay increases to Congress as well. In fact, Congress should lead the way and roll their own pay back to 2008 levels, just to show that their hearts are in the right place. But I haven't seen them moving in that direction.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released the following statement reacting to President Barack Obama's enactment of a two year freeze in civilian pay for federal employees:
"At a time when our nation's seniors have been denied a cost-of-living-increase and private sector hiring is stagnant, it is both necessary and quite frankly, long over-due to institute a pay-freeze for the federal workforce. As Republicans outlined in our Pledge to America there are a number of actions the President and Congress should immediately act on to demonstrate a real commitment to reigning in the excessive growth and spending of the federal government.
"To put this in perspective, the Obama Administration says this two-year pay freeze will save $2 billion, however, just last week, OMB released a report revealing that the federal government's improper payments for FY-2010 totaled $125 billion, $15 billion higher than the previous year. It is unthinkable that we have come to accept having a bureaucracy that has institutionalized waste, fraud and abuse to the point where $125 billion in improper payments were made last year. The first place we should look to make progress on higher costs, increased debt and a stagnant economy is look inward at how taxpayer dollars are being spent and doing more to ensure that tens of billions of dollars are no longer erroneously paid out."In their Pledge to America, Republicans proposed a number of actions to put government on a path to a balanced budget and to reign in the deficit:
§ Cut government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels
§ Establish a hard cap on new discretionary spending
§ Reduce Congress' budget
§ Hold weekly votes on spending cuts
§ End TARP once and for all
§ Address government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
§ Impose a net federal hiring freeze of non-security employees
§ Root out government waste and sunset outdated and duplicative programs
§ Reform the budget process
I believe that Congressman Issa has hit the nail on the head and if the reduction in COLA increases for federal workers is combined by instituting these other measures, it would make sense. However, taken by itself, the Obama plan to single out federal workers will likely cause more harm than good.