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Could Obama ask for a federal pay cut?

By Ed O'Keefe

President Obama last week "encouraged" Spain to follow through with plans for an austerity budget, which includes a 5 percent pay cut for the country's federal employees.

Colleague Chuck Lane endorsed the president's nudge last week, noting that much of the money the U.S. borrows helps underwrites the International Monetary Fund, which is helping bankroll the European bailout that is helping Spain.

"So, via the IMF, the U.S. government has essentially co-signed a piece of Spain's debt and has a right to make sure the Spanish get their act together to pay it," Lane said.

But could Obama request a federal civilian pay cut here if things got worse?

Yes, but ... here's why:

The Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990 contains a formula for minimum pay raises based on the Employment Cost Index that essentially mandates annual pay raises. But the president can override those pay adjustments in the case of a "national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare."

In September, Obama asked Congress to cap federal civilian pay raises at 2 percent by invoking the the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the economic slump. Congress later approved a 2 percent civilian raise and a 3.4 percent military pay bump.

Amid protests from federal worker unions, lawmakers promised "pay parity" for civilians and the military in fiscal 2011. A House panel approved a 1.9 percent military pay raise last week -- meaning civilians should anticipate a similar jump. The raise approved last week however is higher than Obama's fiscal 2011 request.

Administration officials said they know of no law prohibiting a pay cut, but Congress probably would need to pass legislation approving the cuts because of the 1990 pay act.

Should Obama consider a pay cut next year? Do you think Congress would ever approve one?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 18, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

YES! Please! And China is financing the Federal payroll!

Posted by: yetanotherpassword | May 18, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Why should I take a pay cut when the reason we're in debt is because of Obama's and the Democrat's spending????? I just make ends meet. If you want to take money from the Government take 20% from Congress, the Senate and Obama. They spent it the first year and a half Obama was in office and he still wants more. This Healthcare bill costs keeps going up, now they want Cap N Trade, when is it going to stop. Repeal Healthcare and you have over 1 trillion right there! Take back the Stimulous money that is left (it was all for pork barrel projects anyway.) and put it toward the national debt.) Just don't take it from the federal employees who aren't making $100,000 like the newspapers are saying. Try $48,000. Hard to live on that amount these days.

Posted by: djh1778 | May 18, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Congress will never approve a pay cut, especially in an election year. They may wait until after the elections and then try to slip one in if a number of them are not re-elected. I would anticipate a pay freeze long before a cut.

Posted by: Govt | May 18, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

The feds need to take a closer look at how their grant money is being spent.

Posted by: Whoa1 | May 18, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Federal employees don't need a pay cut, they need a Reduction In Force (RIF). When a private sector company overspends its revenue, they RIF people. How come the federal and state guys are different?

Hey Congress, forget "starve the beast" and just "RIF the Beast"...

Posted by: efg2 | May 18, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The 1990 Pay Comparability Act has never been allowed to be fully implemented. Every year they give less than it requires. Now Congress has even gone against the agreement to have pay raises for civilian and military equal. At least in the past they ignored that by giving extra benefits to the military in other areas (cheap or no cost medical, dental, more life insurance, big housing allowances etc An unreformed retirement system with NO CONTRIBUTION from the military member and 2.5% a year for retirement (like Congress)not less than 2% that applies to civilians.
Civilian pay has lagged and many suffered through very tough times while the good times with high inflation roared and private sector wages soared and federal salaries did not. It would not be fair to now lower federal salaries which would only add to the ecomomic problems by pushing those on limited budgets into trouble. What we need is to return to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, where the only vote is that of citizens and where money and corporations have no say other than that of their owners and shareholders private involvement as citizens. That is what unions have. They are not allowed to spend before tax money on lobbying. We are still today burdened by the Bush tax cuts. They should be ended long before any freese or cut in federal employee pay

Posted by: LeaveMeAlone2 | May 18, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't see why he shouldn't ask for it, and I'd be amazed if Congress didn't approve it. Republicans would have to get behind it or risk looking like hypocrisy personified. Democrats could point to it as a step they're taking to reduce the deficit and debt.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | May 18, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Those of us performing federal service know we are paid less than our contemporaries in industry for the same work. Defense contractor employees typically receive nearly twice as much pay as federal workers for the same work. In DoD, we are told, do more with less. It's not the average federal worker who should get a pay cut; it's Congress with all its perks and built-in retirement after serving only one term. And afterall, how much work does Congress actually accomplish anyway?

Posted by: Jeane100 | May 18, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

RIF? Everyone's already out of work. If you lay off more, we'll never get out of this recession.

Posted by: Cindy88788 | May 18, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I would really rather not have a pay cut. Unfortunately, if the government must cut pay, then it must.

However, if a RIF is considered, then do the number of currently unfilled positions get reduced first? My branch is only staffed with seven of our 12 positions. And the five who left the branch neglected to take their projects with them.

Posted by: tomcanick | May 18, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The federal government can do what Maryland is doing - 'temporary salary cuts' on a graduated scale. Those earning less than some amount ($40,000?) has no cuts - going up to those earning more than $125,000 having their pay cut by 7% or so in exchange for more administrative leave hours.

It's not unreasonable to ask federal employees to share in the economic downturn when many are unemployed or receiving less pay.

As for the tired argument that federal workers earn less I have very little sympathy for feds who whine about pay - yes, maybe they are paid less (depending on their location) but so are many state and local government employees and they have had their pay cut or been RIF'd as government coffers shrink.

Posted by: slackermom | May 18, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't think there should be pay cuts for those gov employees making lower or mid range salaries. These are the folks that rally do the work and get things done.
I think if Obama wanted/needs to cut salaries he should start with highest paid gov service employees salaries.I believe that is where most of the fat/pork is being spent.

Posted by: maryb5302 | May 18, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Want to save money on federal pay? First freeze civilian government hiring effective immediately. Then pass a law that as of 01/01/2011 Federal retirement pay will be based on the highest 5 years of salary rather than the current high 3 years salary. Then get out of the way and watch the stampede out the door!!!!

You could also raise the retirement age from 55 to 60!

This would likely cut civilian Gov't employment by 10 to 20 percent.

Posted by: Jimbo77 | May 18, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant - cut the pay of the single largest work force in the country. That will really get the economy moving, with less money out there being spent. Wait a minute...

Posted by: adkinsaj1 | May 18, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

If you look at the budget pie, there's only two places where you could make any REAL difference other than pandering. HHS and DoD. And much of their budget is scapegoated by the fact it is not considered "discretionary." No politicians has the balls or the mind for innovation to be able to cut, say, the DoD budget, and when I say DoD, unlike Joe Bob who thinks that the Army, Navy, and Air Force are not DoD, this includes them, in half you lead to only one conclusion. The only thing that will really materially reduce the budget problems are: 1) restructuring social programs to be more negative-freedom providing rather than positive-freedom handouts and re-jiggering the system to better reflect the fact that old folks are taking way more money out than they ever put even in real money, and 2) the wars must end. Period. Until that's done, you're just riling up folks out of work, most of whom would either leave the gov't after a year in disgust, or would get caught in the government storm and never get out, reduced to only skills required by the government, but always leaving the office dissatisfied with your work and opportunity. And no politician has the balls to re-structure the tax system either. I benefit, but from a good-of-the-nation perspective, imagine what limiting your income tax deductions to 50% of your taxable income (asside from a stnd deduction) would do to the nation. Let's face it, if you own a home and have a sizable amount left on the mortgage, a couple of kids, donate to church or other organization, you pay almost zero fed income taxes. Gas taxes aren't tied to anything real about the economy... I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that this is pandering to the non-Fed public. This is complaining about the poor fishing when you supposed to be at work.

Posted by: NovaMike | May 18, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I earned my salary increases. Every dang one of them. So, instead of cutting salaries, how about cutting the waste, fraud and abuse of government contractors? Hello, Haliburton, Fluor, Bectel, SAIC, Lockhead, Northrup, and the rest? How about a good old fashioned audit!? It's the contractors in my opinion that cost the taxpayers a huge amount more than salaried civil servants. It might help if the Inspector General's offices were not mostly toothless.

Posted by: jacquie1 | May 18, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the president and all of congress should take pay cuts and be prohibited from receiving campaign contributions-- public servants and the companies they own via bailouts should all take pay cuts.

Posted by: fthomaschoi | May 18, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

One good place to begin thrift: Retired Pentagon generals and admirals who are called back as consultants, get a whopping pay in addition to generous retirement money(double dip) plus they get the fun and games of Pentagon parties, elegant meetings and outings. Why pay these guys twice if you are already paying them?
Suggestion #2: Do we really need ALL those secret service men protecting people who haven't been in high office for a long while? Its expensive to keep "protecting" the Clintons,the Carters,the Bushes,and all those who insist on special protection because it makes them feel important? Check and you will find they still command this expensive service for free.

Posted by: drzimmern1 | May 18, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The Obama administration is not responsible for the current debt. This debt was brought on by the last Administration. Obama had to spend to get us out of the huge economic disaster they created, but that is nothing compared to the unpaid for war expenses, unpaid for tax cuts, unpaid for Medicare D Program. etc. At least his budgets are based on paid for budgeting.

Someone commented state goverement is having to take cuts etc. why not federal?

(In addition to the fact that they are different budgets) Because:

I have never seen any extra subsidy for federal employees like those for state government, police and teachers in past several years.

Amazingly someone thought suggesting cutting federal pay would put Republicans in position where they would have to come out and support it. Pay attention they have been pushing for such cuts for decades. If you want one just keep voting Republican. They would be happy to cut your pay and give millionaires another tax cut. They also pulled off the heist of one billion dollars a year that should be going to Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan premiums by refusing to allow OPM to apply for a subsidy approved by the law.
Give OBAMA a chance remmber how hard it was for Clinton to clean up the mess the Republicans left for him. Running away and voting agains OBAMA now is not giving him a fair chance. Based on what the Republicans did he should be getting a 60 seat Senate and control of the House to be able to govern.

Posted by: LeaveMeAlone2 | May 18, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

As a federal employee - I can't afford for him to cut my pay, given rent prices in DC and student loan payments.

I'm in the hole for serving my country the last decade as is...cutting our pay would lead to loss of the best and brightest federal workers for the private sector...if there's any jobs left there.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | May 18, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

For sure Obama could ask for a pay cut. What the hey, he's po'ed his opponents, the left part of his base, why not do something to po the rest of it, the independents. But you can't cut your way to prosperity, you have to increae revenue, so maybe he should be looking at that side of the equation instead?

Posted by: ronjaboy | May 18, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The myth that federal employees are overpaid must be smashed. The pay and benefits need to be at least attractive to work for an irascible, ungrateful public. It hurts when some of the "angry" (uninformed) find fault with public servants. Instead of insulting us and attempting to humiliate us, why don't they join; then they can enjoy the lavish lifestyle. There are plenty of openings. Put up or shut up. Lobby against public service.

A big problem is that whatever goes for active employees goes for retirees, too. I did 20 years of challenging work on the Hill for a modest salary with good benefits. I was raising 2 children. I did well and was rewarded with promotion. When I retired I took my pension, a $30K pay cut, and chose to keep the benefits. Working is not an option for me now. Volunteering is. Even with Soc Sec I have no leeway, like anarcho. Those who judge us could never live on my budget. It wasn't supposed to be this way. But I'm grateful for what I have.

Re: maryb5302: My first position was with a smart conservative Senator. (I didn't care about ideology. It's a job.) When the pay raises were available, he approved them for the lowest people on the staff. The AAs and LAs went without and did not disagree with the action. They have eyes to see. The surplus was turned back. Not a bad idea.

Posted by: bluhvn | May 18, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Have every Federal Worker abide by the rules for people in the private sector.
Same age as people on SS to retire and collect benefits.
Since very few private companies still have pension plans have the Federal Employees contribute to an IRA, like the rest of us.
No bonuses for just showing up to work.
No retirement with a percentage of wages automatically given to them in their retirement.
Like my husband who retired at ae 62. No pension with the company he worked for. they were eliminated many years before he retired and we saved our money to retire.
In good years the company matched up to 5 % of his contribution to his IRA, never more than that.
And in lean years they gave nothing.
We paid for our own health care till he turned 65 and I kept working till I was old nough to cobra for 18 months to bring me to age 65 for medicade.
We never bought anything we could not afford.
Now what we really need to do is get rid of people that suck the system dry.
Like Obamas Aunt who has lived here illegally for many years. I wonder if the amount she has sucked out of the system is public knowledge?
She lives in public housing in Boston, has been there for many years. She had more gold jewelry on than I could ever hope to own.

America wake up. We are going to end up like Greece. Then you will be sorry.

Posted by: albacore13a | May 18, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"Defense contractor employees typically receive nearly twice as much pay as federal workers for the same work." (Jeane100)

Incorrect. A contractor might cost the government $120K/yr, but that contractor only gets $75-85K or less of that. The rest goes to the cost of doing business: the contracting agency, supplies, travel, etc. I am a DOD employee and get paid about $80K, but it costs DOD about $140K to fund employee me when you consider the same costs for the contractor plus health and retirement benefits.

As a federal employee I wouldn't mind a pay cut at all. But I haven't made the choice to stretch my budget like others have. I'm also not selfish and would understand that austerity measures now would be a lot less painful than later when Social Security goes bust and we find out "efficiencies" won't pay for universal coverage.

Posted by: prokaryote | May 18, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

This is so typical of Democrat administrations. They always try to pay for their programs on the backs of federal employees. Carter did it. Clinton did it.
Enough! Its funny how Republican administrations always manage to provide adequate funding for agencies and decent cost of living increases, and they are supposed to be the party for small government. I suppose its because Republicans do know that the government agencies that exist do need to be properly funded. Federal employees probably have had a pay cut already. They are probably back to buying their own office supplies to do their jobs. Always happens under Democrats.

Posted by: AnnsThought | May 18, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Reduce the Federal workforce by eliminating programs that are no longer required, fail to provide the proper service or are part of the Federal budget because of pork or the influence of a powerful Congressman. It makes no sense to reduce the workforce for programs that are working and provide important services to the US citizens. The country should be proud of their
federal employees who work hard to service the citizens, at times successfully implementing programs that were poorly designed by our elected officials.

Posted by: edwardatvienna | May 18, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The thing that impacts the federal employees in the Washington Metro area is this atrificial benefit known as "locality pay". I don't think arcoss the board pay cuts are necessary. But, considering that fact that the federal budget is working under a huge deficit, perks like locality pay could be eliminated.

Posted by: PracticalIndependent | May 18, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Politicians should not make a pension for elected office. We can never get them to agree to two terms of office, so we should make that less desirable to become a career politician.

The pay of a Congressional representqatice should be that of a Colonel. That of a senator should be that of the Bridadier general. There should be no differences in pay between elected officers, not even for seniority. All should be paid the same amount; have the same perks; and have the same seniority. The idea that one stats should lose power in congress because they throw out an old fraud, while those states that elect frauds over and over again get the benefits of their seniority, is un- democratic.

They have increasing seniority, power and perks the longer they are re-elected. The best way to install term limits is to get rid of the idea that this is a career.

Posted by: LeeH1 | May 18, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The thing that impacts the federal employees in the Washington Metro area is this atrificial benefit known as "locality pay". I don't think arcoss the board pay cuts are necessary. But, considering that fact that the federal budget is working under a huge deficit, perks like locality pay could be eliminated.

Posted by: PracticalIndependent | May 18, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what albacore13a has been reading, but Federal employees don't automatically get bonuses, in fact it's rare that anyone receives one. I've been working for the Feds 5 years now and earned a $300 bonus once. Big deal. With taxes that's nothing. 5% contribution towards an IRA? In my dreams! NOT. The myths that are out there concerning Federal employees are amazing. You would think that we have an abundance of people, make $100,000 a year, retire at 55 and have 5% matching contributions. Wrong Again! We're just like the average American citizen trying to make ends meet. Would you want a pay cut? No? I didn't think so.

Posted by: djh1778 | May 18, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Albacore 13a is full of it. Federal retirement was reformed in the 1980's they pay Social Security, contribute to their own savings plan similar to a 401k get only up to A 3% match and cannot retire until 62 without taking significan cuts and not getting Social Security. The government only has to fund a 1% retirement which is paid for by the agency budget as the empoyment proceeds so there is NO BURDEN on the budget from Federal Employees retirement their retirement is paid for and fully funded before they retire.

Posted by: LeaveMeAlone2 | May 18, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"Those of us performing federal service know we are paid less than our contemporaries in industry for the same work"

so go get a job there... where you'll pay more for your health care,possibly get laid off or fire.

Posted by: newagent99 | May 18, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: djh1778 :
Why should I take a pay cut when the reason we're in debt is because of Obama's and the Democrat's spending?????
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wow - with people like that in government is it any wonder we can't get good value for our hard-earned tax dollars? He/she's clearly ill-informed, maybe delusional and uber-partisan besides. He/she should leave that cushy gubbmint job working for someone he/she hates.

COME OUT AND PLAY IN THE REAL WORLD - I dare you.

.


Posted by: LeaveMeAlone2:
Civilian pay has lagged and many suffered through very tough times while the good times with high inflation roared and private sector wages soared and federal salaries did not.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You are mis-informed. It's very easy to find stats on that AT YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT WEBSITES - we pay for 'em - you should use them.
Private sector wages did not "soar" and, IN FACT, were flat during the whole of the 'W' regime.

HE GUTTED THE MIDDLE CLASS as part of his economic agenda and the 30 year Red crusade to destroy worker unions and worker rights along with them.


Posted by: lquarton | May 18, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Please cut out the dead wood through RIFs rather than a pay cut. There is so much dead wood in my agency it is pathetic and many "workers" do nothing all day. Also, I would go after the Department of Defense. Did you know that DoD has over 600,000 employees! Can you believe that bureaucracy??

Posted by: SF271 | May 18, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Why not someone has to pay for his healthcare debacle - better us than our children.....

Posted by: c141exeng | May 19, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

I agree with this person comments. there are to many "kick backs" in government operations.
The person stated:
I earned my salary increases. Every dang one of them. So, instead of cutting salaries, how about cutting the waste, fraud and abuse of government contractors? Hello, Haliburton, Fluor, Bectel, SAIC, Lockhead, Northrup, and the rest? How about a good old fashioned audit!? It's the contractors in my opinion that cost the taxpayers a huge amount more than salaried civil servants. It might help if the Inspector General's offices were not mostly toothless.

Posted by: wayne84 | May 19, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Federal Employees already made a minimal amount on the whole

To slash their salaries is just...I mean, terrible

Slash government salaries above 250k? I get it

But how could you slash a 50k government job?

Posted by: Bious | May 19, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Sure, cut Federal pay. Then the minute the economy starts to marginally improve, every competent Federal employee will jump ship.

The 1990s downsizing hurt corporations because every talented employee immediately began looking for other jobs, leaving them with the employees whom no one else would hire.

If you really want to prove how incompetent the government is, just make sure to tick off the people who make it run. When the rump who can't find other jobs fail you, you'll know that at least you saved 2% of their salaries.

Posted by: AxelDC | May 19, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

In response to Anns Thought - I don't know where you have been working - in actuallity it is a mixed bag of which President gave the best raises. I have worked for the DoD since 76 (Pres Ford). Our best increases were with Pres Carter by far - averaged 7.25% per year over his four years. Worst was Pres Reagan - 2.804% per year over his eigth years. Both of the Bush Presidents raises & Clintons averaged between Carter and Reagan with Bush Jr and Clinton about dead even and the elder Bush about 1/2% higher (and all three closer to Reagan amounts than Carters). BTW Congress not the President sets the federal raise amount - the President only requests what he (or she) views as appropriate. Try not to rewrite history Ann when actual numbers can prove you wrong.

Posted by: raymondcobb | May 19, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

How about restoring the Bush tax cuts for the rich...or maybe bringing the troops home and not building weapon systems that the Pentagon says are not necessary?

Posted by: carlosgold1 | May 19, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Before we start cutting salaries or raising taxes on Americans, we should quit giving money to other countries. Why on earth should American taxpayers pay for recovery in Haiti?

Why are we building new useless unwanted structures in Iraq when our own infrastucture is collapsing?

Why to we send money for medical aid to Africa when many of our own citizens lack medical care?

The immigrants who come here send money back to their home countries. Mexico wants us to continue to allow their citizens to come here and work because the money they send back to Mexico is the second largest legitimate source of income to Mexico. Our economy will never recover if we continue to ship so much money out of the country rather than recirculating it in this country.

Government contractors import foreign nationals to do the work on the contract instead of hiring Americans.

It seems to me that we could reduce the deficit substantially if we just quit giving money away money to other countries and hired Americans to do American jobs.

Posted by: wittytwo | May 19, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

If the Administration makes a pay cut, it will be a disservice to all Civil Servants. Of course, there are a few deadbeats in the Service; but for the most part, Federal workers--especially in the D.C. area--are hard working, dedicated servants. Morale among them is needed to maintain that level of service.

Posted by: DanceYiga | May 19, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I've read all the above comments and some are pretty good obviously based on what's best for them. Some are totally out of touch with reality (especially those that think Obama didn't put us in the situation we are in today), and have no concept of what is involved with being a Fed Gov employee or becoming a retiree of the Fed Gov.
First being a conservative as much as I'd hate to see it, I could live with a pay freez followed by a pay cut if that didn't resolve the problem. However only under the if the following criterea is meet first.
1. Cut out every single Ear Mark (period), totally disallow them. It was Obama's campaign promise anyway.
2. Begin to follow the guidance set forth in the US Constitution. With that in mind get rid of the Department of Education this is an agency not support by any mandate set forward by the US Constitution (It should be a state issue, controlleda nd funded), Repeal the new Helth Care Bill, it's simply to expensive and cannot be sustained as was presented during the discussion with the president and select members of Congress before the Dems choose to ignore the will of the public and shove it down our throats.
3. When beginning with pay cuts we need to start at the top. Obama himself. Reduce his pay and that of every Congressmen and Senator by 35%. Then reduce the pay of every SES by 20%. And finally reduce the pay of GS, GG, or IA workers by 7% by the highest grade (which is essentially 15 and reduce by 1% for each step down from there, ie, GS, GG; 15 reduced by 7%, GS, GG14 reduced by 6%; GS, GG13 reduced by 5% and so on.) That would leave those at GS/GG 08 and below receiving no reduction. In other words it would put the burden on those receiving the highest salary. This would take place accross all agencies of the Federal Gov. No exceptions.
4. Pull all military forces out of countries that do not support US forces being in their country. If they want us there they need to pay part of the bill and allow us to be there on our terms not theirs. Put the troops on the borders to secure those borders.
5.Finally, pull back all money's being paid out to foreign govs other than that for humanitarian purposes (medical only). If all the above critera were met I would expect the deficit would go away in short order. But as long as we have the spend and tax Democrats in control of Congress then I feel pretty certain that none of this will occur.

Posted by: smithdw55 | May 19, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

this is a hoot. love the indignant feds who INSIST they are underpaid vs. private sector. here's a reality check - go work there! you can wait until jobs recover a bit, this isn't a forced march into the recession.
compete for customers and clients every blessed day, all day. deal with the public knowing they have many options for their business, and knowing that they know it. feds are a sole source for much of what they do. we have no alternative and they are cosseted for life.
so jump off the underpaid bandwagon, go ahead. good luck.

Posted by: FloridaChick | May 19, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

In response to:
Wow - with people like that in government is it any wonder we can't get good value for our hard-earned tax dollars? He/she's clearly ill-informed, maybe delusional and uber-partisan besides. He/she should leave that cushy gubbmint job working for someone he/she hates.

COME OUT AND PLAY IN THE REAL WORLD - I dare you.

I did play in the Real World for 18 years and took a $25,000 pay cut to work for the government. I wanted to do some good working for the government and I do work for and with private citizens daily. My job is not cushy. If it wasn't for Cap N Trade, Stimulous Bills, Health care, etc., we wouldn't be in this mess and wouldn't be talking about cutting salaries or 10% unemployment. It's been all down hill since Obama took office and yesterday was a clear signal that the American people are tired of it.

Posted by: djh1778 | May 19, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The Secretary of Defense hit the nail on the head when he talked about reducing bureaucracy by addressing the large number of senior folks and the contracting forces that have built up over the past decade.

When I was on active duty in the Navy and they wanted to save money through privatization efforts I distinctly recall how much it cost the government for my family to get dental checkups. It was outrageous, but the movement just got stronger.

Now that I work for the federal government and work with a lot of contractors, some of whom are great people, I'm also very aware of what it costs the federal government for each contractor; roughly twice their salary.

If we really want to get serious, then government has to once again get the authority that is supposed to be vested in it to be good stewards. Sadly, that's often not the case. Naturally, you won't hear that rallying cry from conservatives as it potentially cuts into it's profits. Likewise, you won't hear liberals attack those people in government who value doing just what they have to and no more.

Yes, I do believe reform is necessary. Should federal employees take a pay cut? Mabye. It depends. But in an act of good faith, those at the top should be first and get the largest cuts. Even so, contractors need to follow suit. I would be willing, but I would want concrete steps in place to insure the money saved pays off the debt.

It doesn't matter that much really in the big scheme of things. Until we do something about entitlements, and address the question of WHY health care is so expensive, the budget will continue to climb. Is that going to happen? Who is willing to take cuts in their benefits and who wants to raise taxes. Both are necessary to avoid a calamity.

Hopefully we all now know that the private sector and the free market are not cures for everything, no matter what ideological purists proclaim.

Posted by: MTWRider | May 19, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

repsonse to gov't whiner djh1778:

Sooo it's "all gone downhill since Obama" eh?

DUHbya's economic house of cards collapsed BEFORE OBAMA WAS EVEN ELECTED.


During DUHbya's reign the national debt ceiling had to be raised SIX TIMES to accomodate his outrageous spending which set BUDGET DEFICIT RECORDS year after year after year and TRIPLED THE NATIONAL DEBT.



He wasted TWO TRILLION DOLALRS on his failed invasions and refused to pay for a cent of it. Not only was it all borrowed money, he used an accounting trick to keep all of that waste out of his deficit calculations - remember the "emergency spending bills" for the wars - YEARS AFTER HE STARTED THEM? yah - "emergency" - right.


Cap and Trade hasn't even been passed so explain to us how that has raised the deficit or debt. G'head.


Health Care Reform hasn't even gone into effect yet and the only costs so far are administrative start-up costs. Again, could you explain to us how that has added to the deficit? (90% of which is DUHbya/Cheney's - see "tripled" above)

See why the GOOP and followers have no credibility when it comes to fiscal matters, among others?

TIP: stop feeding at the Beck trough. He is making millions feeding you fear and propaganda. MILLIONS!

Posted by: lquarton | May 19, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

To lquarton- Your Bush excuse is REALLY getting old. CBO estimates that the Health Care fiasco will cost the American people $115 billion more than when it was voted on. But there is more bad news for employees concerning O's Healthcare. 4 lg companies (look it up on the Internet) are considering dumping the health care coverage they provide to their workers in exchange for paying penatly fees to the government. These companiers currently offer health benefits to over 2.3 million employees. That is like cutting off health care for the entire city of Houston. How is this happening? The way the new law is writtin it is much cheaper for many employers to pay the tax penatly than it is to offer health insurance to their employees. For example, Company A spent 4.7 billion on medical costs but would have been taxed a much lower amount for not offering their 1.2 million employees. A BIG savings. Way to go Democrats and Obama. When Obama said "If you like your insurance you can keep your insurance," was a big myth. When companies can pay a cheaper penatly then what they pay for their employees insurance guess which way they are going to go?
I don't even want to go into how many pork barrel projects were included in the Health care bill.
CBO also estimates the new Jobs bill will cost the American people 971 BILLION dollars! This is just another stimulous bill in sheeps clothing. Now they want Cap N Trade, Immigration Laws, etc. Don't cut my pay before you cut all the pork out of the projects. Stop handing out billions of dollars in welfare to illegals and secure the borders. Work on the Economy and getting unemployment down. 53% of the American people have a negative view of Obama so I guess I'm in good company. (Per today's Rasmussen poll.)

Posted by: djh1778 | May 20, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I can see no reason for a pay cut for Government employees. I have worked for Uncle Sam for the past 26 years, now when I get close to retirement, they are going to cut our pay, thus directly effecting our retirement amount. That is not a good sign or intiative for people seeking jos with any federal government. I know for a fact that DoD contractors are paying almost 50% more than what I currently make for the same services. I know this because I have been offered several opportunities for leaving Uncle Sugar and starting work for a contractor. One person above states that he thinks that we should back Obama in his efforts to reform our Government. Why is the heck should we back someone who is not even a citizen of the U.S. He was born in Indonsia which was proven by a Superior Court, who in-tuen forwarded it to the Supreme Court, who decided not to do anything about it. Obama is currently reading about the world after the U.S. has fallen, how can you back anything that he wants - AND, you are delusional to think that he is not trying to defeat us from within.

Posted by: rickfairchild | May 24, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

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