Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Eye Opener: Obama Caps Pay Raises at 2 Percent

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Tuesday! ... or maybe not, for civilian federal employees.

President Obama has decided to reduce pay increases for civilian federal workers from 2.4 percent to 2 percent, citing the economic downturn and the ballooning federal budget as reasons for the cut.

"Invoking the 'national emergency' declared after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the president said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that under pay formulas set in 1990, federal employees with pay levels set according to comparable local wages are set for average pay increases of 18.9%," reports Jonathan Weisman of the Wall Street Journal.

The AP notes that "Obama also said that he would decide by Nov. 30 on the need to take action on 'locality pay,' wages over and above the base federal rates that are determined according to geographic living costs and comparable private-sector pay."

But wait -- there's still hope! Gov Exec's Alyssa Rosenberg notes that Congress can override the president's decision and the White House promises to adhere to pay parity in subsequent years.

In his letter to Pelosi, Obama said that "with unemployment at 9.5 percent in June to cite just one economic indicator, few would disagree that our country is facing serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare. The growth in Federal requirements is straining the Federal budget. Full statutory civilian pay increases costing $22.6 billion in 2010 alone would put even more stress on our budget."

Obama said he did not believe his decision would impact the government's ability to keep or attract employees.

"To the contrary, since any pay raise above the amount proposed in this alternative plan would likely be unfunded, agencies would have to absorb the additional cost and could have to reduce hiring to pay the higher rates."

"The proposal angered employee groups and lawmakers who have pushed for pay parity between civilians and members of the military," Rosenberg reports. Members of the military will either earn a 3.4 percent raise if appropriators follow guidelines in the 2010 Defense authorization act, or a 2.9 percent boost if Congress sticks to President Obama's February recommendations.

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union said her union "continues to support the principle of military and civilian pay parity and will continue to work to include an amount equal to the military raise, whether it is 2.9 percent or 3.4 percent."

"NTEU recognizes that it has been a very difficult year for the economy, however pay parity is an important and accepted principle and reflects the reality that civilian and military workers both contribute strongly to our country and deserve the same percentage pay increase."

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Cabinet and Staff News: The U.S. commander in Afghanistan says the situation there is "serious." Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg will rule in 60 days on the pay packages at seven firms receiving federal funds. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other officials to brief President Obama on H1N1 on Tuesday.

A Small Price to Pay To Fix the Hiring Process: The Congressional Budget Office says a bill designed to fix the broken federal hiring process would cost $40 million over five years. That's a pittance -- loose change rolling around in Uncle Sam's deep pockets -- compared with the aggravation, frustration and irritation many government job seekers encounter.

White House to Shift Efforts on Civil Rights: Seven months after taking office, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is reshaping the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division by pushing it back into some of the most important areas of American political life, including voting rights, housing, employment, bank lending practices and redistricting after the 2010 census.

Growing Government Role Fuels Anger: Recent town-hall uproars weren't just about health care. They were also eruptions of concern that the government is taking on too much at once. That suggests trouble for the president's Democratic Party.

Military Ends Contract for Profiling Media: The work being done by The Rendon Group had become a "distraction" to the mission in Afghanistan, the military said Monday.

FEMA Red Tape Keeps Families in Trailers: About 2,100 families in Pass Christian, Miss. still live in a FEMA travel trailer home.

Many Stimulus Contracts Fall Into High-Risk Category: More than half the Recovery Act contracts federal agencies have awarded are cost-reimbursement agreements, which the Obama administration has repeatedly described as risky and prone to abuse.

Survey: More Agencies Cutting IT Power Costs: Forty-seven percent of 150 federal IT managers responding to a survey said they have cut their IT energy costs by enforcing programs or strategies for managing power demand and curbing energy consumption.

Nation's Colleges May Soon See a Wave of Veterans: Thanks to the GI Bill, which went into effect last month.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 1, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Park Service Gets Land Deals for Flight 93 Memorial
Next: 'Sesame Street' Frequently Tapped for Gov't. Outreach

Comments

Penny wise and pound foolish. Thanks Obama.

Posted by: TooManyPeople | September 1, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Pampered federal workers always get their raises even when nobody else does. Thanks a lot.

Posted by: brewstercounty | September 1, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Didn't see the president stop the big bonuses paid to AIG and Wall Street bank executives provided with taxpayer money. Maybe Federal employees didn't donate enough money to his election campaign. Thanks.

Posted by: sero1 | September 1, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Federal pay + benefits dwarfs what most private sector workers receive. A 2% raise in these times is grossly excessive.

Posted by: Iamacpa | September 1, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

If the "President" is worried about the budget then why is the military spending so much for BRAC when it is not necessary. It is not saving any money...it is doing the opposite it is costing the tax payers money and displacing knowledgeable workers. He will not get my vote. How much longer?????

Posted by: AngryGovtWorker | September 1, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

How is it when the average worker is being forced to take pay cuts, reduced hours and in many cases no job period that Government workers can justify a pay raise? Do Government workers forget who pays their salaries? If Government workers feel bad or put upon they can alway quit and attempt to get a real job. Meanwhile the only Government workers who need a pay raise are actual military in harm's way.
If there is no pay raise for fixed income social security then Government employee's might wish to reconsider. Bad, really bad timing people!

Posted by: KBlit | September 1, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

One thing presidents of both parties have in common-the uncanny ability to fabricate reasons to screw federal employees. And federal employees, you thought Obama was the change you could believe in. Not really.

Posted by: RCFriedman | September 1, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

My brother is a federal employee and his pay and benefits far exceed people who work in the private sector at his skill level. I know he for one is grateful for his job and is not upset with the president for this decision. In a year when those in private industry are taking PAY CUTS, it is only fair that those in the government sector do their part. Getting less of a raise is better than getting no raise at all.

Posted by: BB1978 | September 1, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

As a longtime Federal employee, I think that Obama is doing the right thing.

Everyone has to make some sacrifices under these circumstances, and the sacrifice being imposed upon is is relatively small. We can fuss about the bankers, but let's be glad that we're not autoworkers.

Posted by: jaepstein63 | September 1, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

It seems rather unfair that military and federal employees will receive a raise (whatever percent it is) and those seniors on social security are "frozen" from a COLA increase for two years.

Costs continue to rise, yet we on social security won't see a raise until 2012--if then. VERY unfair.

Posted by: george0011 | September 1, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Those of us who still have jobs in the private sector are taking pay cuts, paying 40% more for our health care plan, and getting slammed on food, fuel, and clothing costs.

Government workers - especially the Senate, the House, and the White House should be taking a 20% pay cut. They should also terminate their very generous government health care plan and be forced to buy private insurance on their own - like the rest of us. Then - maybe then - our theocracy will wake up and realize the people need a public option.....actually we need a SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM - PERIOD!

Posted by: go2goal | September 1, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

As a federal employee, I don't mind taking a smaller pay raise then the military. I would even be willing to take a pay cut, if I could see it was necessary.

Unfortunately President Obama, like most of our recent leaders. has not done a good job in persuading the country (and particularly those in the higher inclome brackets) that there are times when sacrifice is necessary.

I believe most Americans are willing to make sacrifices if they are convinced that they are doing so for some greater good and if they believe that sacrifices are being shared equally.

Unfortunately, it has been primarily our soldiers and their families who have been asked to give everything. Meanwhile we rescue corrupt CEOs and reward the raving paranoids with publicity.

Posted by: OlSloaner | September 1, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

This is a joke! Many people are lucky to have a job at all. Retirees get zero this year and probably next. This is nothing more than a pay off to the unions!!!!!!!

Posted by: Jimbo77 | September 1, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

As a Federal Worker I'd be happy to take no pay raise this year with the way things are going with the budget and economy. I work 9-10 hour days to provide quality service to all that call, email or write to me. As a whole government workers are not lazy or on benefits row as most think. We are currently on average 18.9% behind the private sector in pay right now this is addressed in President Obama’s letter to Congress. This can be verified by many different studies that have been done by independent organizations. The government has many employees that are actually in harms way just like the military. We perform job functions to keep the military running so they don't have to worry about home and family. As for whom pays their salaries do you as a private sector worker pay taxes to finance your own wage? Government works do. Government work is a real job think where you would be if there were no one there to help assist you in State, Federal, Social Security, Military and many other programs. If you think you can do better apply to become a Federal worker and find out what really is required once you become a federal worker. Am I saying everyone works like I do? No. Can you say in a private sector job you don't have people who work less or are lazy and non-performers? The blade cuts both ways. As for being pampered that is really funny thanks for the laugh. This had to come from someone who really has no idea what work in the Federal Government is really like.

Posted by: Concerned5 | September 1, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

First, I'm a civilian government employee, but I agree that we don't need a big pay raise. We should be tightening our belts like everyone else. I agree with previous comments that we're lucky to be getting anything at all.

Second, I completely disagree that we should get the same pay as military. I do like to think that I contribute a lot, but I'm not risking my life. Anyone who is brave enough to serve over seas deserves to get a higher pay raise.

Posted by: youngnss | September 1, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mr. President: Good move! Belt tightening should begin at home. Now, recommend you try to rein in the following: (1) limit congressional staff pay and hiring also; (2) stop paying for Congressional Pensions (let them go the 401K route like everyone else, and put them back on Social Security and Medicare); (3) Tailor all congressional junkets to not include wives and staff; (4) eliminate those taxes G. Bush gave to the wealthy; (5) close all tax loopholes, like chairtable contributions and donations to religious organizations.

If you are going to get tough, spread the pain evenly from Wall Street to Main Street.

Posted by: daphne3 | September 1, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

As a federal employee, I'd be happy not to get a pay raise this year (provided its not a precedent....). Ok keep it low. I fully recognize I'm lucky to have a secure job in these hard times, that people on social security aren't going to get a COLA (that includes my mother), etc. There's no way we need "parity" with the military--God knows they deserve what they get and God Bless Them.

Posted by: hcpf | September 1, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

As a federal employee, I would be happy to take little to no pay raise this year - I understand that I'm lucky to have a job in this trying economy.

Not to be discounted, however, is the fact that in a state of economic growth, private company employees may recieve huge pay raises yet federal employees recieve modest raises. I understand that these are tough times, but people should consider that federal employes don't get huge performance bonuses EVER, so I don't think it's unheard of to give federal workers a small raise this year.

Posted by: melissaalaine | September 1, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

2% is more than most Americans are getting so don't be cry babies about it. My wife and I have had 3 months of unemployment each meaning we are missing 25% of our salary this year. I know most people have had this kind of issue nation wide. Some have taken jobs with a pay loss just so some pay is coming in.

Don't expect sympathy form the common person.

Posted by: flonzy3 | September 1, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Pay raises capped? What about cost-of-living, step, and the other pay increases, not called "pay raises", that public employees receive? Contrast this with the article in the Post, yesterday, where private sector workers are taking 20 to 50 percent pay cuts just to keep their jobs. Pubic employment has become a gigantic slop trough with those employees receiving benefits and wages that are insanely out of line with what private sector workers can ever expect.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | September 1, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I am a federal employee and I do disagree with this. I understand people are saying the economy is bad so govt employees should tighten their belts too. But let's remember folks, during the good times...the boom times, federal employees were not receiving 6-7% raises and stock options like the private sector. We still only got 2-3% raises. We still lag far behind the private sector and the pay law has never been fully implemented to help us catch up. Don't ask me to tighten my belt when i never got to take part in the fat cat times.

Posted by: happydad3 | September 1, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

For ten years I worked in federal agencies, as a contractor. I learned over time that the one good way to get hired was to have family or friends working at that agency. It takes insider knowledge of the federal hiring process to get through the tangled net. A few federal workers I met often told me how desperately they needed someone with my computer skills in their office. The old timers never said that, they were more intent on getting their son or cousin a federal job. Every person sent over by the office that did the hiring lacked the basic skills necessary to do the job. Those people were hired because they knew people, not because they were qualified. Later on, things changed. You had to have worked in another Federal office to get a job in any other office. The skills did not matter so much as your pay grade level. Finally I noticed how many empty seats there were in many different offices. I was told those were on various types of disability leave, the offices were not allowed to replace them, until their long or short term disability status was determined. Managers were not allowed to do or say many things to workers, union rules prevented much of the actual work from being completed. All these observations were true in the many departments where I conducted computer training classes: DOT, DOJ, DOD, DOA, and so many others. When I thought of how much more the government paid for my services as a contractor, when they should have an employee doing my work, I realized people who work for the government do not care how they spend taxpayer money. Private industry counts every dollar spent while federal agencies spend money wildly and inefficiently. I suspect this mentality will never change, the bureaucracy is simply too large and has too much free money to be controllable. Most of the people that have worked there for a long time sure do not want to change this gravy train they ride on every day, that's for sure.

Posted by: thw2001 | September 1, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Ehh...I'm not happy about it, but I'm lucky enough to have a secure federal job and I understand in these times it is needed.

Posted by: mallard1 | September 1, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Why is federal employee pay only tied to the economy during bad times? We are supposed to get cost of living allowances as part of our agreed upon contract for employment.

This is the excuse used to validate banking execs getting million dollar bonuses after being bailed out by the tax payers. They tell us they agreed to contracts with these bonuses of millions of dollars.

Well we agreed to contracts with colas. Stop using federal workers as a means to look like you're balancing the budget.

Stop Lieing Obama, you're no different than the rest of the politicians!!! Where is the change? No change!! The wealthy get theirs no matter what! The federal workers lose what's supposed to come to them every time there is a downturn in the economy.

Why don't we double the COLA during times of economic good? We don't get to enjoy the up times, so how is it fair to penalize us for the bad times. WE DON'T GET THE MILLION DOLLAR BONUSES!!!

What's more every lack of full COLA, decreases our retirement. The rich keep stealing and the middle class takes it up the ____!

These jobs were open to the public. Every banking executive could have applied for my job! They chose a less safe, but far more lucrative route. But the safety has been given them by politicians, for whom these same people contribute, and they get to keep the lucrativity too!!

This country needs to overthrow the entire goverment. Adopt campaign finance that will end the BRIBES!!! And put in jail every politician who has let this happen, which is ALL OF THEM!!!!

Posted by: mark_burnell | September 1, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Looks like we're back to the Carter years when Jimmy wanted the Fed workers and military to set an example and gave them puny cost of living increases...This is not helping Obama's desire to make "federal service cool again!"

Posted by: mustang946 | September 1, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I understand that federal workers probably shouldn't get a raise while the economy is in such trouble. However, I gotta respond to those who think the military deserves a raise and fed workers don't. I have 4 people from my office (out of 30) over in Iraq or Afghanistan. They live on the same posts and go to many of the same places as the military. I have a friend at the State dept who has been over there (I have too) and a friend at Agriculture who has been there just a couple of months ago. People from almost every agency have deployed. The commander in theater has said that they can't get the mission done without this support. So explain to me why the person in tent A gets a raise and tent B doesn't?

Posted by: will4567 | September 1, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

2% is 100% too much.

Posted by: Tess6 | September 1, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

It is always the federal worker who gets the shaft....while the big bonuses keep coming to those on Wall Street who messed things up in the first place, and who is it getting screwed, we are. What a joke - we had it better under the Republican administration...at least we got more than 2 percent - we are just as affected by the economic downturn as everybody else. Didn't President Obama just get back from a vacation on Martha's Vineyard? Seems like if things are so bad he shouldn't have taken a vacation - I didn't get to this year.

Posted by: pgresident | September 1, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I am a teacher in a local jurisdiction in the Washington,D.C. metro area. We did not receive a raise this year so that the county could balance the budget. Why is my neighbor, who also works on taxpayer money getting a raise? Well, it is because the Obama Administration has no intention on balancing the budget.

Posted by: kjaj | September 1, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

As a Federal Worker I'd be happy to take no pay raise this year with the way things are going with the budget and economy. I work 9-10 hour days to provide quality service to all that call, email or write to me. As a whole government workers are not lazy or on benefits row as most think. We are currently on average 18.9% behind the private sector in pay right now this is addressed in President Obama’s letter to Congress. This can be verified by many different studies that have been done by independent organizations. The government has many employees that are actually in harms way just like the military. We perform job functions to keep the military running so they don't have to worry about home and family. As for whom pays their salaries do you as a private sector worker pay taxes to finance your own wage? Government works do. Government work is a real job think where you would be if there were no one there to help assist you in State, Federal, Social Security, Military and many other programs. If you think you can do better apply to become a Federal worker and find out what really is required once you become a federal worker. Am I saying everyone works like I do? No. Can you say in a private sector job you don't have people who work less or are lazy and non-performers? The blade cuts both ways. As for being pampered that is really funny thanks for the laugh. This had to come from someone who really has no idea what work in the Federal Government is really like.

Posted by: Concerned5 | September 1, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse
-------------------------------------------

I think you have very astutely captured the sentiments of many of us hard-working Government employees. I am sometimes disheartened when I hear us referred to as lazy or pampered. I think many people think all government employees work in the House or Senate and get pay and benefits like they do...I assure you, we do not. It is these same Government workers who: keep our parks and public lands clean and open; protect and pay out pension benefits to those who've lost their jobs; try to find cures for various diseases (swine flu anyone); provide services to our Veterans; protect our borders; process your passports and the list goes on. I have worked in both private and federal sectors and, as a current federal employee, I fully support President Obamas effort.

Posted by: HUdeeva | September 1, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

PLEASE DO RESEARCH AND ARTICLE ON FEDERAL EMPLOYEES GETTING RAISES AND SENIOR CITIZENS GETTING TAKEN AWAY THEIR COST OF LIVING RAISES WHEN THEY ARE ON A LIMITED INCOME . OBAMA CUTTING FEDERAL RAISES TO 2 PERCENT FROM 2.40 BIG DEAL. NO RAISES FOR FED. PAT JOHNSON

Posted by: nanapatj | September 1, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

PLEASE DO RESEARCH AND ARTICLE ON FEDERAL EMPLOYEES GETTING RAISES AND SENIOR CITIZENS GETTING TAKEN AWAY THEIR COST OF LIVING RAISES WHEN THEY ARE ON A LIMITED INCOME . OBAMA CUTTING FEDERAL RAISES TO 2 PERCENT FROM 2.40 BIG DEAL. NO RAISES FOR FED. PAT JOHNSON

Posted by: nanapatj | September 1, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I have no problem with federal employees getting a smaller cost of living increase this year, but I disagree that civilians should get less of an increase than military. "Most" military employees work on bases in the U.S. alongside federal employee doing the same work or supervising the federal civilian employees. Why should they receive a higher increase than their counterparts who are performing the same duties? I would have no problem with military employees getting incentive pay when they are deployed to war zones. Pay parity is important--paying one class of employees (the military) higher wages than another (civilians) is no different than paying men more than women who work in the same field. Again, those troops who are risking their lives overseas to protect us, I have no problem with them receiving premium pay; but receiving premium pay simply because one wears a uniform to work when they are doing the same work as civilians who work side-by-side with them is not fair. Here's a novel idea, why don't all of us federal and military workers forgo a pay raise this year and set aside the funds to support military family members of those who are risking their lives for us overseas on the battleground. Now that's an idea that I can support even if it means my salary will remain constant over the next year.

Posted by: Beingsensible | September 1, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Not to be mean or anything, but given the state of the economy and federal deficit, this should be a no COLA budget cycle for federal employees. Now, no COLA does not mean no raises...There will be the usual step increases and annual bonuses, and then that locality pay anomolly that everyone accepts but no one really understands.

Posted by: PracticalIndependent | September 1, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

As a Federal worker, I have no problem with a less than indexed raise. In fact, I would even take a cut in pay if it was part of a significant, concerted, comprehensive effort to reduce the defecit. But we know there's no such effort - by either party.

Posted by: jeadpt | September 1, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

As a Federal retiree, I am being told there will be no COLA on retirement pay for the next two years, and the same applies to Social Security recipients. But, somehow, members of Congress (who get the same pay raise as federal employees) will be getting a pay increase. Is there a shortage of people running for Congress? During a time of economic decline, when many well qualified people are looking for employment at any salary, I find it hard to believe that the government is having a problem filling positions. As to parity, Maybe they should look at who they are comparing to (hopefully not overpaid banking executives or corporate CEOs).

Posted by: FredinVicksburg | September 1, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm a fed and would agree with other posters. This is a year in which we can forego the pay increase.

Since getting my final degree, I've worked at 4 employers. Fed benefits are par for the course, not that different for equivalent employers.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | September 1, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

If Congress and Federal employees can get a raise why can't those of us on Social Security. The Fund cannot be any more "broke" than our national Treasury.

Posted by: Joan850 | September 1, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I would just say that which ever side of the fence you sit; many Federal agencies have worked many long and tireless hours to help move forward. Capping Federal pay is really a short-sighted approach. I appreciate that the economy is fragile. I also believe that public service is more about the contributions to society - at the end of the day, this President needs to recognize his staff, the Federal employees who are moving us through this challenging time.

Posted by: csjin | September 1, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

As a government worker, I'm not opposed to forgoing a raise this year, but I do think that approach needs to be consistent. If we are going to compare my benefits/obligations to the private sector, it should not stop at pay raises. Should private sector employees be forbidden from working on a political campaign in their free time? Should private sector employees be forbidden from receiving gifts over $25? Should the private sector be forbidden from holding meetings/conferences in Vegas or other vacation destinations? Are private sector employees subject to a pay cap? All of those rules apply to me. I have family members who are private sector and saw huge raises and bonuses 10 years ago when the economy was great. They also participate in free golf outings, get company cars they can use for personal business, and can work from home. It's not fair to compare private sector to government jobs on the basis of just one catagory.

Posted by: justanotherguy | September 1, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Since the CPI is in negative territory, I don't think federal, or any government employee should receive any type of raise, including step increases.

Mr. Obama should lead the way and emulate the local governments who have frozen all pay increases, including steps, and laid of many workers. The federal government employees should not be exempt from the pains of of governmental employees.


Posted by: mortified469 | September 1, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

As a federal employee and tax payer, I support this decision. I am appreciative for my job its security and benefits. I am for health care reform (with a public option) and would not be opposed to a tax increase to fund it.

Posted by: crazyeagle | September 1, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

OK, so the Prez wants to reduce the federal pay increase by 1.4%. Reduce all foreign aid by 1.4% also and I will be a believer. If belt tighteing is good for Americans, it's good for non-Americans too.

Posted by: woodchucky8 | September 1, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I also note that the President just took a vacation at a property that rents for $25,000 a week and flew there on a private jet with his own staff. maybe the cuts should start at the White House. I also wonder how the government thinks it will be able to afford paying for everybody's health care but can't afford to pay it's employees at the level the law requires.

Posted by: justanotherguy | September 1, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Please remember that government employees pay taxes just like everyone else in this country. As for sympathy for the private sector, I have none! When the private industry employees were making millions of dollars at everyone else's expense they did not give a care about how it affected the rest of the country! GET OVER IT. Because as soon as the economy recovers and "mainstream" America is humming along again you won't have anythng to say!

Posted by: pythomas48 | September 1, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

As a former federal employee, I recall when Pres. Reagan froze federal salaries for one year when there was no economic crisis. It was done ostensibly to help balance the fed budget. In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the Fed Govt actually reduced salaries by 10%. There is precedent for temporing fed salaries during emergencies. I don't think most fed employees object to a modest increase that is even higher than the inflation rate. I would argue, however, that those receiving social security benefits should be treated similarly and participate in the 2% increase given to fed. employees.

Posted by: surprisekid | September 1, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

ed:
are civilian federal workers the same as public servants to the feds?

i'm giddy with excitement.
all for the cap.
and in the back room, a federal employee is going "man, i can't go to Hawaii this year"....

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | September 1, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm a federal worker and have no problem with belt-tightening. What I do take issue with is the scapegoating of Federal Employees as less hard-working and unwilling to sacrifice for their country. Guess what? Some of us are married to military too.

Posted by: Anonymous64 | September 1, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

afghanistan has the H1N1 virus?
situation is serious.

it has been serious since
oh....can you say
9-11

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | September 1, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, Federal Employees can not be seen to be providing any economic stimulus, not even at Walmart.

Posted by: perryg1 | September 1, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

fed employees are better than state employees.....

(((neener neener neener)))

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | September 1, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Same old same old. Both of the previous two administrations declared the same type of "emergencies" under the pay parity laws so they could appear to be fiscally sound, knowing Congress would fix it at the end of the day. Nothing new to see here, folks.

Posted by: legalmoose | September 1, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Do you people realize that 75% of the private sector is getting no raises or pay reductions?

Be happy that you are getting anything with your cushy 40 hour per week jobs.

I work 60 hours a week and got no bonus and no raise, plus they just laid off 2 workers in my group, meaning I will have to work even longer hours.

You have it easy compared to some people, realize that and quit your complaining.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | September 1, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Who says "I want to make a ton of money someday so I'm going to become a government employee..." No one. The only way you can do that is in the private sector. When millionaires were being created left and right a few years ago, how many were feds? Everyone knows public sector pay is always significantly lower than the private sector, and that job security is one of the few benefits of government employment.

Posted by: dan1005 | September 1, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe the number of commentors that believe that federal employees are priveleged, and therefore are considered whiners because we'd like a raise just like everyone else on this board would like a raise. Those of you that say you wouldn't like a raise are full of crap. Who wouldn't like a few extra bucks in the pocket, eh?

That said, I work as a Fed and I bust my butt doing it. I average 10 hour days. I travel worldwide and never claim travel time on the weekends, even though I could if I wanted to. I go into harms way and stand next to our brave men and women in the military. How does this make me "elite" to you? What makes you think I'm not affected by this economy like the rest of you?

Do I consider myself lucky to have this job? Hell yes, I'm lucky to have any job these days. If I didn't have this one, or lost the one I had, I'd work 3 and 4 jobs part time if I had to so that I could continue to pay my bills.

Are there some useless people in Federal service? Hell yes there is, but there were a bunch in the law firm I worked at too. I'm tired of all the sour grapes I'm reading on this board.

I did NOT vote for Obama, and I personally believe he is "robbing Peter to pay Paul" - and that is not just about my salary or locality pay. Cash for clunkers? Another freakin' bailout for the automakers. If he could keep his ass on the job and NOT go on vacation (like many I've read, I didn't have one this year either), then he might be able to apply a little reality to the situation. I hope his one term goes by quick!

Obviously many of you need to wake up. With the exception of a good portion of congress (both sides), Federal employees WORK for a living.

Posted by: uncasquig | September 1, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I am so sick of people in the private sector classifying federal workers as lazy oafs in cushy jobs. My husband has been with the DoD since he graduated from college almost 10 years ago, and he works harder than any private worker I know. It is not uncommon for him to stay at the office all night in times of crisis- he is rarely home before 8 or 9 o'clock at night. He has not worked a 40-hour week (or close to it) since 9/11. People in his office are regularly deployed to places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Others have to work 12-hour shifts overnight for months at a time. And they do it for far, far less money than they could get working in the private sector, but they keep at it because they believe in the work they are doing.

If it makes you feel better about yourself and the quality of your work to complain about lazy federal workers, go ahead. But it just makes you sound like a whiny, arrogant jerk.

Posted by: floof | September 1, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"Wow. Do you people realize that 75% of the private sector is getting no raises or pay reductions?

Be happy that you are getting anything with your cushy 40 hour per week jobs.

I work 60 hours a week and got no bonus and no raise, plus they just laid off 2 workers in my group, meaning I will have to work even longer hours.

You have it easy compared to some people, realize that and quit your complaining."

_______________________________________

Re-read the posts above yours. Those only major complaints on this board are from those that (incorrectly) believe that federal employees are lazy, priveleged, arrogant drains on society.

How many times have you been eating food out of a can in a tent while hearing gunfire - and you weren't out camping? Twice for me this year. Got another coming up soon. Care to join me?

Posted by: uncasquig | September 1, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

In addition to reducing pay raises for government employees, the government should reduce the amount money it spends on overpaid and underskilled private contractors.

Posted by: dan1005 | September 1, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Folks - please actually read the entire article. According to the formulas that were established by law in 1990 to bring federal pay UP to the level of private sector employees doing similar work, federal employees should be getting an 18.9% raise. A 3.4, 2.9, or 2.0% increase is a significant deviation from that law and keeps federal employees well below the pay rates of private sector counterparts.

Posted by: justanotherguy | September 1, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

By the way, for comparison, I just compared federal wages to the minimum wage rate which is the only private sector pay indicator I could find. Since 2004, minimum wage has increased 41% ($5.15 - 7.25) while federal wages, using a GS9-1, went up 12% ($36,478-40,949).

Posted by: justanotherguy | September 1, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

President Bush had his excuses for stiffing Executive Branch employees too... 9/11, War in Iraq, military spending, deficit, oil, yada, yada, Cheney shot someone, blah blah blah...

And now, Obama is gonna stiff us too.

Presidents have to learn... you can't stiff us year after year after year. That's when you lose your talent to the private sector, and why Congress passed -- how many years ago was it now? -- the pay equalization act, to bring federal civil employees' pay up to par with the private sector.

We are honestly tired of making wages that are less than our counterparts in the private sector. We are also tired of getting bump-ups that don't keep up with inflation.

We shouldn't have federal employees having to get in line for food stamps, but we do!

Posted by: trambusto | September 1, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

If the "President" is worried about the budget then why is the military spending so much for BRAC when it is not necessary. It is not saving any money...it is doing the opposite it is costing the tax payers money and displacing knowledgeable workers. He will not get my vote. How much longer?????

Posted by: AngryGovtWorker | September 1, 2009 9:08 AM

You are not only an Angry Government worker, you are also a stupid government worker, BRAC was approved in 2005 by the then Republican controlled Congress and signed off by President George W Bush and you blame Obama for this, why? I bet you think President Obama gave all that money to Wall Street too don't you, despite the fact they gave it to them back in Oct, Nov and dec when Bush was still the Presideent, and even Bush gave the first money to Detroit to save the car industry, you are the type of person that shows up at the "town halls" telling the government to leave your health care alone to, aren't you? Maybe you are already working a job that exceeds your mentality....just saying if the shoe fits wear it

Posted by: mikey30919 | September 1, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BB1978
My brother is a federal employee and his pay and benefits far exceed people who work in the private sector at his skill level. I know he for one is grateful for his job and is not upset with the president for this decision. In a year when those in private industry are taking PAY CUTS, it is only fair that those in the government sector do their part. Getting less of a raise is better than getting no raise at all.

______
um negative, private sector makes twice as much as their government employee counterpart. and thats a fact.

Posted by: spaganya | September 1, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow. There is a lot of anger out there, mostly directed at government workers. Think we need to regroup: because we are angry with government LEADERS does not mean we take it out on our friends and neighbors who work for the government. And, I join most Americans who are sick and tired of being asked to do more with less, and tighten our belts, and work longer hours with no pay increases, and in some cases, pay cuts, furloughs, and increasing costs in all areas. I am not of the belief that government workers are overpaid, but they are overprivileged in having secure employment, and benefits. So, I can feel your pain if you don't get a raise this year. Welcome to the New America.

Posted by: lmunk1 | September 1, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The economy tanks and the solution is to pump money into banks who overpay their executives by millions.

Then lower the real -- after inflation -- take home pay of a GS-4 struggling to pay the rent.

That makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: InTheMiddle | September 1, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The annual pay raise for federal workers is designed to offset rising costs for goods and services due to inflation. It does not exist to "fill the coffers" of your typical GS-7 working in a cubicle at the Dept. of Agriculture for $35,000/year as some naysayers like to theorize.

To the person who said that "those of us who still have jobs are getting slammed on food, fuel, and clothing costs" -- what are you thinking? Federal workers eat, drive, buy clothes -- AND pay taxes -- just like everyone else. Everyone is getting slammed, job or no job. We all have to pay the rent or the mortgage or the daycare payments or whatever.

As noted in the article - a 19% average locality pay increase is necessary to bring federal wages in line with private sector wages according to the locality. Federal pay is definitely below average compared private sector pay in almost every field, from science to law to medicine, IT, from bachelor's to PhD. Yes, benefits are good, insurance is great, but the job is far from "cushy".

Posted by: scooterj2003 | September 1, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

coldest winter since...

let's talk about the senior citizens
in technical computer-knowledge FED and STATE jobs.

then we can begin categorizing...
if we are looking for strategic human capital", then the question must be asked.

are you too old for the technology?
there goes your raise
and more. are you qualified?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | September 1, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

The federal employees get their raise but those on Social Security get nothing. Thanks for nothing

Posted by: LDTRPT25 | September 1, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

The federal employees get their raise but those on Social Security get nothing. Thanks for nothing

Posted by: LDTRPT25 | September 1, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

in addition to the minor pay increase for fed wage employees, the President might want to push higher paid Fed employees (those making $100k or more per year) to take pay cuts based on their pay scale.
if you make 100 to 120k per year, your cut is 2 or 3 percent; if you make 120 to 150k per year, your pay cut is 5 percent. above 150k, a 7 or 8 percent cut...and in additon to fed employees, have the federal courts and congress be on board as well...
the federal judges complain so much that they don't get paid nearly as much as they would in the private sector..,well, let them also have a pay cut if making $200k per year or more... several governors have asked high pay employees to take cuts of 1 to 5 percent...

Posted by: RoguesPalace | September 1, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

and yes, put a VERY TIGHT CAP on travel by members of congress and also the cabinet level folks.... to have 40 members of congress fly to Hong Kong, with spouses, kids and staff, on a fact finding trip is absolutely crazy! same for such fact finding trips to Italy, Spain, Bermuda, Brazil, etc,,, for the really dangerous places, only 2 or 3 go, without spouses, etc. consider all places as dangerous and have very small delegations!

Posted by: RoguesPalace | September 1, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

the blackhole of travel expenses.
good point.

state gov. can benefit from that one

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | September 1, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow from reading several of these posts, you would think Obama is to blame. Nevermind Bush spending our treasury like it was his personal line of credit.

Posted by: wlockhar | September 1, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

another federal employee here, weighing in.

i think obama was in the white house for maybe a week when he inspired me by capping white house salaries.

i even wrote to the white house suggestion box that if obama were to call for volunteers in the federal workforce to give up their annual raise next year, i would proudly do so.

so no, i don't mind one bit that it's "only" a 2% raise. I'm a little embarrassed to be getting a raise at all when so many people are out of work and struggling right now.

Posted by: rcgib | September 1, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

He hates little people and small businesses, minority businesses and Vet-owned businesses. He's a undercover Republican.

Posted by: question-guy | September 1, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

The pay raise should remain at 2.4% or even 2.9% for the reasons as follows:
1. The vast majority of the Federal workforce works for the Executive Branch. It is highly demoralizing when your "CEO" officially declares that are you do not deserve pay parity with your counterparts in the industry.
2. Low pay raises will set a precedent for years to come. Next year, due to increasing budget deficit, we will have to pay more for FEHB, then the pension calculations will be changed to reduce our annuity, then annual and sick leave will be cut. It is a slippery slope, and we should stay away of it.
3. We are in the final years of the CSRS employees eligibility for retirement. They have something to lose; FERS employees don't. With majority FERS, the federal workplace will become just as the commercial one: people will come and go as they please. This means that with lower than the industry's pay, better people WILL be leaving, and useless ones will be remaining with the government. Is that what we want for the prosperity of the United States?
4. It is the President's responsibility, not the Congress's, to defend federal employees' benefits. Will a congressman from Michigan or California vote to overturn President's recommendations if his state has instituted furloughs, increases unemployment compensation, cuts essential services, etc.?
5. Across the board cost cuts are always demoralizing. There are better ways to deal with deficits.
6. Stop the waste of BRAC regardless of who was responsible for initiating it.
7. Focus on efficiency, reduce the drag of acquisition and contracting processes.
8. Note the thousands of pages of federal documents that the organization's CIO and his staff have to review in order to comply with the minimum reporting requirements.
9. Focus on making federal work meaningful and productive!

Posted by: vfine11 | September 1, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

....."President Bush had his excuses for stiffing Executive Branch employees too..."

Yes, for electing him President, electoral college abuse, Florida, trying to assasinat his dad, and not acknowledging the popular vote.

in that order

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | September 1, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Fed. And I do work to earn my pay -- regardless of stereotypes or the sad realities of those who fit the stereotype. I don't care about the pay gap nearly as much as excuses for it. Let's grow the government exponentially, but cap current fed employee's pay at 2%? Let's help boost the economy by ensuring people make less than they otherwise might? Dumb. Just cap it and shut the heck up. You'll look like maybe you made an actual decision -- for a change.

Posted by: wyldcat9e | September 1, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Maybe fed employees should be treated like Md. state employees. Take a couple days off without pay. Some Md. employees are being laid off. If the fed employees aren't happy eith their pay scale they can quit and get a job in the private sector.

Maybe Obama should set the example and take a day off without pay. Maybe Hillary could do the same. How about the congressman from N.Y. that forgot he had a savings account with how much $$$$$$$$.

How about Ms. Pelois taking a day off without pay.

Posted by: doughboy96 | September 1, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

One person posted that he has a secure fed job! Talk about sticking to us taxpayers. Don't we all with we a secure job?

Regarding the pay raise. They get a pay raise when there is full employment! What makes them think they are god's gift to the nation????

Posted by: PalmSpringsGirl | September 1, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

If the overpaid Federal Employees don't like 2% COLA, they should quit and try to find a job in the real world. Federal employees (to include the USPS) are lazy and overpaid!

Posted by: Drudge1 | September 1, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I hope all of you that don't believe Federal Workers should have a raise because the economy is bad advocate Federal Workers get raises in line with Private Sector when the economy gets better. But based on past experience, I doubt that will happen. There was no "hue & cry of foul" when Federal wages increases were 1/2 or less of increases in the public sector.

Posted by: tripleA | September 1, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

People need to quit comparing apples and oranges with regard to federal employees and people on Social Security. Retirees get a cost of living increase based on prices of consumer products. Since prices (mainly fuel) have come down since last year, there is no increase due. Federal employee pay raises are based on the cost of labor--a nationwide pay survey is done and the pay rates are based on rates of pay in private companies. As for giving the federal employees a raise, 2% seems fair and the military folks should get more. It should also be noted that President Obama is actually bucking the unions on this issue, because the unions are in favor of a higher raise and are pushing for the same rate for civilians and military.

Posted by: bigtom6156 | September 2, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

It is clear that some are commenting without reading the article. It says CIVILIAN workers [on guvnmt contracts] are capped at 2%, yet "...federal employees ...wages are set for average pay increases of 18.9%," The private sector actually works and produces value to the economy. "Publik emplees" are "service" with ZERO value added. The private sector pays the salaries and benefits of the "publik sector." All of this is turned upside down!

Posted by: IQ168 | September 2, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the guy that said the pay cuts should start at the white house. All those "Czars" that Obama created should draw their salary out of Obamas' $400,000 salary. Also, all the congress people should be held to only three (3) aids and any more than that, their salaries should also come out of the Congress persons salary. That would be a good place to start. There is so much waste and corruption in Washington that we all Republicans as well as Democrats should start cleaning house starting with the elections in 2010.

Posted by: ezflyer36 | September 2, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company