GOP, unions do their usual dance on federal pay freeze

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A leading Republican deficit hawk proposes cutting out federal employees’ 1.4 percent 2011 pay raise, which would represent less than two-tenths of a percent of the annual $1.4 trillion deficit and not even scratch our fiscal troubles. Federal unions holler and decry the effect a pay freeze will have on federal workers, who are — let’s be honest — relatively shielded from the economic troubles facing much of the rest of the nation, such as layoffs. Both sides pull out their own conflicting numbers on the difference between federal and private-sector pay — neither of which are completely reliable.

Wash, rinse, repeat. And because this is an election year, we’re going to see this two-step happen a lot more before November rolls around.


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  1. Let’s say this, you’re wrong. We do feel the economic strains out here in the country. We feel it when gas goes up, we feel it when electric companies raise rates, when our health care premium goes up 10 percent or worse. Also, some of us are Law Enforcement protecting society. Some are DOD workers who are overseas with our troops. Then, let’s freeze pay? Why not cut out travel for the legislative branch? Or, cut a weapons system that hasn’t worked? No, that would be crazy! But it would be that same amount of money.

  2. I agree with P. Glover. Federal employees are also public citizens who experience, and are experiencing, the exact same hardships that the rest of the general public is.

    In regards to job security, it seems to me that many federal programs exist due to public needs and are necessary for the public good, consequently you need federal employees to administer them. Therefore in good times and bad, federal employees provide the services and goods that the general public either wants or needs.

    If the general public no longer wants federal spending on certain programs (such as social security, defense, health care, new highways, etc.), then they need to let their respective leaders (the House and Congress) know.

  3. We do feel the pain just like evryone else. In addition to what P. Glover says above we also have spouses that work in the private sector, and if a spouse loses a job we lose half of our income. We are here in the good times and the bad. No one is busting the doors down to work for the Government when times are good yet we still trudge along making less than our civilian counterparts. Now the economy is bad and our counterparts are laid off. Not our fault that we chose a constant career. We should still get our raises and they should still close the gap between federal and private sectors.

  4. It’s true most of us are suffering from this recession. Losing a job would be horrible in this job market and I thank God that most federal jobs are stable. I could live without a raise even though everything is going up. The states are hurting so they move costs onto the local municipalities who, where I am, are actually having to close a high school and shut down care for children and the elderly. they have no where to turn but property taxes and mine have doubled in the last 10 years. The way health insurance costs are increasing is scary but federal employees at least have some protection. My son got a bill from Blue Cross in CA that was triple what he had paid the year before.

  5. As a Federal Employee and a Former Union President of AFGE.
    Cutting The 1.4% gives the people outside the fence Line a false sense of security In that The GOVT is tackling The Deficit.
    Well, My Health Care went up $ 6.32 A pay Period, My dental went up $ 8.10 . The cost of electric, Gas, food , Insurance will all go up in 2011, (It always Does) So by not giving the 1.4% increase I am taking a pay cut. If the Govt Really wanted to save money, They would not spend it foolishly like it is spent where I work. In The 15 Years as a Union Member I never had to use the services, The day when The firefighters as a Whole needed them to help with this new contract, They said there was nothing can do. I do not nor will I never support a Union Again.. 9 of us Dropped out because of there ir responsibility. The union is no longer for the people, Its for the GOVT.

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