Emptying the ocean with a thimble…
Interesting way to start an after-holiday Monday, but let’s first review a salient fact: Unions, in particular government employee unions, are the foundation of the Democratic Party. They, through extortion of dues from US taxpayers, provide a major piece of the funding necessary to advance socialism through the Democratic Party in the US.
OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, this headline greeted me when my computer came to life this morning: Citing deficit, Obama to freeze federal worker pay
TheBoyPresident™ has run up several trillion dollars in new debt in the last 18 months, a big piece of it aimed at keeping government union workers employed, albeit at the state level, and he’s expanded federal employment like no President in recent – or even my – memory. He gets a message on November 3 that the common folk aren’t too happy with his policies and one of the things they’re really not happy about is the featherbedded payrolls and the cost of employees at all levels of government.
Fact Two: somebody is going to have to take a chain saw to government payrolls at all levels. That would include shutting down entire units (Departments of Education, Energy and Commerce at the Federal level for starters), cutting pay levels and requiring serious employee contributions toward benefits like health care and retirement. TBP™ isn’t likely to be person to do that.
So, TBP™ needs to do something to relate to the commoners so we don’t have a recreation of either the townsfolk storming Frankenstein’s castle or the French Revolution. He’s going to take on the government employee unions. Top line from the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will announce a two-year pay freeze for federal employees Monday, a move White House officials say is the first of many difficult decisions that must be made to reduce the nation’s mounting deficit.
The White House said Monday that the freeze would apply to all civilian federal employees, including those working at the Department of Defense, but would not affect military personnel. The freeze is expected to result in more than $5 billion in savings over two years, according to Jeffrey Zients, a deputy director at the Office of Management and Budget.
That would make only a small dent in the $1 trillion-plus budget deficit. But with voters voicing their anger over Washington’s spending during the midterm elections, even a symbolic gesture could demonstrate the White House got the message.
So Federal employees are going to be asked to make “a sacrifice”. Heh. Fully loaded unemployment is running at about 18%, there is a fight brewing in Congress over extending unemployment benefits beyond two years and the bloated, overpaid Federal payroll is going to have to “sacrifice”. According to the article, Federal employees received a 1.9% increase this year. There is no mention, and I have no interest in looking up what the COLA might be next year. But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that it’s twice this year’s increase. Federal union workers will be giving up a four percent increase for a couple of years. They get to keep jobs that, on average, pay about twice what comparable jobs pay in the private sector. Are they being asked to contribute to their retirement? How about increasing their contribution, if any, to their health insurance premiums? Well, the article doesn’t address those issues specifically, but I’m betting nope and nope.
And how is this being received? Thank you for asking…
John Gage, president of the 600,000-member American Federation of Government Employees, called the decision “a slap at working people.”
“Working people’s wages are not the issue with this deficit or what is going on in our country,” Gage said. “To symbolically hit at federal employees I think is just wrong.”
Gage said the White House was using federal workers as scapegoats for the nation’s deficit problems. He said the move would not really save as much as the White House claims because federal employees often get just a fraction of projected raises. Federal workers received a 1.9 percent pay increase this year.
So, let me get this straight. The White House is projecting a $5B savings over the next two years. The Union guy says it’ll just be a fraction of that. Oh, and did we mention that the freeze doesn’t effect bonuses or step raises? Nope.
I can’t wait to hear the caterwauling from the Left side of the Congress. And I really can’t wait until we’ve got an opportunity to put the adults back in charge.