Yet another pay freeze: what do you think?


President Obama’s decision to extend the pay freeze — at least until Congress passes a 2013 budget — has been condemned by labor leaders. Federal Times would like to find out what you think about the prospect of an even longer pay freeze. How will it affect you? Will it make you more likely to retire? What do you think is driving Obama’s decision?

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  1. The President extending the pay freeze is not that big of a deal. The 0.5% increase is a joke! For the average federal employee, the pay raise would only be maybe $200-$300 before taxes. Over the course of 26 pay periods, that is less than $10 a pay check. To put that in perspective, that is about 3 gallons of gas every two weeks. Let alone the fact that the increase comes nowhere near the typical 3% inflation rate most businesses use.

    With all of the bad press that the federal employees are receiving, I say thanks but no thanks. It will be a bigger headache and target on the federal workforce. Additional fuel to the already increasing federal bashing will not help the current or future federal employees.

    All opinons expressed are my own, and do not reflect any govenment agency or employee.


  3. I think the pay freeze is the least of our worries. With all the cuts and changes being bandied about, I’ll gladly take a pay freeze over having my pension reduced, or my salary cut, or my job cut if sequestration happens and we end up with RIFs.

  4. During the last four years of over spending, everyone needs to tighten their belts – this includes Obama and Congress. The feds have had our cost of living increases taken away for the past 2 years, but the cost of goods and services are sky-rocketing. How about a mandatory 10% cut in pay for Obama and 15% cut for all members of Congress and then we can talk about another year of freezing our pay.

  5. This notion once again confirms my belief that Congress and the Administration are merely pandering for votes. This freeze does nothing to relieve the debt/deficit. The administration offering to delay the cost of living increase until a budget is passed rings hollow given the congress, thanks to an intransigent senate hasn’t passed a budget in years.

    I support reducing the cost of the federal payroll. My methods would be to reduce the ranks of the federal civil service through attrition and by exploiting on new technology to improve productivity. After all, Ford (for example) produces a car with far fewer employees today than they did 30 years ago. The federal civil service must similarly adapt. The taxpayers deserve bang for their buck and federal employees deserve to be well compensated. Given these ideas are diametrically opposed, the only way to really achieve them simultaneously is to improve efficiency and reduce head count. It really is that simple.

  6. Its things like this that cause me to be disappointed in Obama. Yeah, the 0.5% isnt that much, but thats not the point. I wouldnt mind this nearly as much if the government wasnt actively recruiting people for food stamps, welfare, and other government handout programs. Combined with this, it clearly sends the message the government thinks more of those who dont work than those who do. That and the timing of it all stinks; I kind of needed those raises to bring my income up after committing a large portion of my income to buying a house.

  7. Another pay freeze — Lost my vote, my wifes , my daughter, my son and his wife — all politics are local and this is the last straw of his broken hope that we fell for

  8. I say, Great! I say cut pay and slash jobs. Then maybe we will have food for the hungry, houses the vets the military screwed and pay for teachers for our kids.

  9. The problem can not be solved by freezing cost of living increases. Many employees still receive automatic step increases and there have been more excuses to justify the promotion of selected employees to higher grades, siginificantly higher that their knowledge and experience supports and significantly higher that non government positions. Stop promoting favorites and stop hiring family and friends and hire qualified people who can do the work

  10. A continued freeze is OK as long as costs affecting Feds are also not permitted to change, such as HITS taxes, health benefit plan costs, and the FICA rate and base. No problem if you hold the line across the board, but if not, remember that Feds are voters, too.

  11. The federal civil service should reduce the number of high graded civil servants and contractors on the payroll which would reduce retirement payouts. The workers who suffer from a pay freeze are lower graded employees who perform the bulk of day to day government operations.

  12. A perpetual pay freeze while inconvenient and certainly frustrating does not boil my blood as much as the ever looming threat of furloughs and RIFs. If the freeze is extended ‘X’ number of years…at least I know what my take-home pay will be and can modify life-plans accordingly. Last moment furloughs…not so much.

    We have sacrificed more than our fair share of salary to help close the deficit and debt the past couple of years. The ongoing freeze is similar to ‘sequestration’ by disproportionately affecting folks in the middle to lower ends of the GS-scale and those who have maxed out on step-increases.

  13. I spent 31 years 8 months in the Fed gov. I served 8 + in the USMC, 15 +with the post office and another 8 with the National Park Service at the Grand Canyon. I went to school or had real jobs in between my gov jobs. I can’t feel sorry for any government employee because most are extremely over paid. The military is an exception!!! The post office personnel pay only 1/2 of what an OPM employee pays for insurance and they are glorified mailroom clerks. The original mail system was developed for an entirely different purpose than what it is today. Saturday delivery should have been gone decades ago, central delivery should be everywhere unless a customer can get a doctor’s statement. The Natioanl Park Service’s (NPS) maintenace divsion is one of the biggest waste of money that I have ever seen in government. Unfortunately there are some real talented workers but most are lazy and waste a ton of time during a days work. It needs to be privatized and the park service needs to get out of the housing buisness and let a private group take care of their housing within the parks. The Grand Canyon has a garbage truck group that a private company could take over and station a employee(s) within the park and do the trash like they do for the power and phones.

  14. I have a question Congress and the White House are asking American’s to tightne the belt YET I see there is NO problem with them accepting pay raise year after year. Correct me if I am wrong – they are Federal Government employees also – where is their pay freeze!!??

  15. The timing seems politically motivated an answer or better alternative then Mitts 10% reduction in pay. A pay freeze for government workers after having insurance premiums rise yet again is another small cut in take home pay. The middle class continues to be cut. Will it balance the budget? I dont think so, hopefully the whole entire government is taking a freeze from the top down, does anyone out there know?

  16. So Romney says he wants to run government like a business. If Romney was really such a good business man, he would understand that continually bad mouthing the employees and producing an environment of low moral does NOT help the business. I have personally seen the moral of employees at my agency drop every year. What is the point of working hard when you are punished instead of rewarded. The work we perform is specialized and crucial to the public. All of my coworkers have graduate degrees and/or multiple certifications. Constantly calling us overpaid is insulting to say the least.

  17. I am ok with reducing the federal gov’t through attrition and I guess I can handle another pay freeze of .5%. My issue is that they need to look at the 2 biggest drivers of our deficits and debt, Medicare and Social Security. You can beat up the Federal employee all you want but, without making changes to these idiotic entitlement programs, our problems will never be fixed…..

  18. Oh and by the way… could reduce the federal workforce by 1/2 and still not eliminate the budget deficit. The only way we are going to get out of this mess is by implementing some sort of tax for everyone, say a national sales tax. The deficit is just too much, cutting will not do it. As much as I hate taxes, I would rather pay the tax and see the country survive this fiscal mess. One more thing, we are just talkng about the budget deficit. This doesn’t address the 16 trillion dollars in debt (today) and 50 trillion dollars(future) in unfunded liabilities from Medicare and Social Security. Really, our children, and grandchildren are so screwed if we don’t take some drastic steps NOW!

  19. Examine the political motivation. I believe this was a very strategic decision on the part of the President. Romney wants to cut the workforce by 10%. Ryan wants to reduce Federal pay & benefits by 30+%. Obama currently did not have support for even a .05% pay raise so it probably wasn’t going to happen in January anyway. By offering up a delay until a budget is passed, I believe the unions will be persuasive in getting the raise made retroactive to January… assuming Obama is reelected. Fed. employees will be never recover if Romney is elected. Granted .05% isn’t much but it’s the best our President could do after such an extreme worldwide recession.

  20. I will take the freeze with pride as long as EVERYONE in Congress takes it. I agree with reduction as long as they reduce useless departments. Otherwise, this is pure BS!

  21. Although I am affected by the continuing pay freeze, we are going to be even more affected by no paycheck. For the first time in 25 years, my paycheck was not direct deposited yesterday. When we called Navy Federal to inquire, they stated many others had called to inquire and they had not heard a word from the government. Can’t figure out why this hasn’t made the news. Oh yeah, it’s federal employees.

  22. What i like the most about the comments section is that no one knows what the hell they are talking about. Just give me give me give me.

  23. Is the GREAT OBAMA willing to put a halt on his retirement once he finally gets kicked out? I think it stinks that congress and the president are willing to stop the pay raise for the poor civil servants–those who do the work for the government.

  24. As a newly hired GS 5(4months ago) and 9 year Army veteran with 3 combat tours, I can tell you the ones who need a pay freeze, RIF, and/or pay cut are the fat cats in Washington who aren’t doing anything. The President shouldnt’ get a paycheck; he has a house, food, car, utilities, bodygaurds all paid for by the common citizen. Most, if not all Congressmen/women have other jobs (CEO, owner, etc) or some other form of income from a previous job, cut all of thier pay except a travel per diem when neccessary. Yes, a pay freeze is better than a pink slip, but with ever rising prices we (Federal emkployees) will not be able to survive for much longer. Wise up, the president doesn’t have much power. You want change? Stop voting for a party, get all of the current members of Congress out of office. Don’t vote Obama or Romney this fall, find an Independent candidate to vote for.

  25. If the pay freeze is hurting your standards of living the put yourself back in the public sector and let different companies compete for your skills at what you value them. You can do so and while keeping your fed job and move to better pay when such offer arises. If not maybe you over value your skills.

  26. There are many career fields that earn significantly more in the private sector (though many expected to work 50-60 hours per day as well). Most civil servants that fall in this category work for the Government because they’re dedicated to the job, not just for the (sometimes under)pay. However, extending the pay freeze gives the impression that they’re not appreciated for their work. There’s only so much one will take before going over to the private sector. What’s left will be the ones the private sector won’t hire, and the Government can’t get rid of. So essentially, the Government is furthering the perception of a systemic poor Government Employee performance baseline by pushing away the great performers. They should probably stop the freeze soon.

    Just my 2 cents… I’ve already left and am making 2.5x more than the Government paid me.

  27. If the freeze means saving a few jobs then by all means do it. These people who comment keep blaming Romney. The man is not even in office. Geez! Look i say retire the ones who are up for retirement dont hire behind and this would eleviate some of the burden but that also means dont raise insurance preimums and dont give congress and the president a pay raise. If you also freeze that means you need to cut spending. Some of the governement spending programs must be cut too. Also to many contractors. Cut contractors because you can hire 2 government workers to every one contractor. And stop making the government worker the scape goat of all this. Cutting government workforce will NOT make the trillion dollar deficit go away.

  28. DITTO: I think the pay freeze is the least of our worries. With all the cuts and changes being bandied about, I’ll gladly take a pay freeze over having my pension reduced, or my salary cut, or my job cut if sequestration happens and we end up with RIFs.

  29. Thank you Mr Obama, With My medical Insurance That has increased 18% since you been in office. Your health Care Plan,That no one really wanted….Rest assure, I will NOt Vote For You again!

  30. Responding to “Ron”,

    Really? What did you find about my comment that would lead you to conclude that I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about?

  31. Hmmm funny I remember getting a good COLA when GWB was in office, haven’t recieved a COLA since OBAMA has been in office. Glad to see OBAMA helping out the fed workforce. Good to see all the unions still supporting him too, even though he’s done jack for the feds. Maybe when R/R get into office we’ll get rid of the useless overpaid GS 14 and above that think their owed some federal job even though their skills in the private sector don’t mean dick, and they’d probably be on welfare.

  32. I have 40+ years of governent service with one agency. What’s wrong with another pay freeze? It sends the wrong message to the federal workforce. Are we valued for the jobs we do or not? Inflation/the cost of living affects us just like the private workforce. A number of us support extended family and friends who need our help to meet ends meet or pay bills or buy medicine. I’d rather see the federal budget cuts come from unnecessary spending. I don’t need another coffee mug, ink pen for a seminar, or bag to put paperwork provided at a mandatory meeting.

  33. Funny how federal employees and retirees have to live through the freeze. Why don’t he freeze the use of Air Force One, stay in the White House and quit spending billions or maybe more on fuel to run to every little town in the U.S. to make a speech. No wonder the country has the debt we have hanging over our head. Also stop Pelosi from spending $60,000 in fuel for the government to fly her home to California every weekend. They are the biggest reason for the increase in debt buy fuel for them to fly somewhere every day and not accomplishing anything.

  34. I think another pay freeze is a bad idea. Especially when Health insurance keep increasing EVERY YEAR. Right now I am ready to drop my insurance just so I can have an increase in my biweekly pay. I am paying almost $400 for family insurance with BCBS…way too much. 0.5 increase is a joke…what will that really do?

  35. Retired Soldier on

    All I can say, one year left to retire from federal civilian employment, and leaving for Costa Rica! Tired of getting shafted, with a smile. So far, my VA disability compensation COLA was frozen for two years (wish I could have frozen a combat tour in Vietnam and Iraq,) and, my federal salary was also frozen….until who knows when!

  36. Did the president really have had to use Federal Employees as the sacraficial lamb for a pay freeze -No,I don’t think so.
    What is the hardest part if this freeze is that bloody Blue Cross and Blue Shield is still allowed to pass along there yearly increase, which means we are all getting a pay cut.Just. as long as the Feds keep the freeze and don’t give us the increase we are losing money every year.
    its time for the OPM to stand up for us and tell the insurance companies, if they freeze employees then the insurance premiums will be frozen too.

  37. The pay freeze does a lot more harm then it helps. Many CSRS employees already gave up the tax relief because it was moved to the payroll tax. Now, we have to give up yet another year of COL increase. Remember some employees are close to retirement and are sitting on GS-4 step 10. Do you really think their high three can stand this type of abuse. And for what? A tiny drop in the bucket. Why aren’t we telling the rich to pay their fair share? Why aren’t we cutting defense waste. There are plenty of savings there.

  38. I believe they should eliminate the large bonuses given to senior level management before they think about freezing possible pay raises again

  39. I have worked for the Federal Goverment for the past 28 yrs, the pay freeze does nothing more then try to make congress look good, Like someone mentioned the only thing it does is hurt the average worker, our pay checks will be smaller because medical goes up, Gas goes us, Food goes up, so we are taking a 10% pay cut in the long run. not once has anybody in conress havs said they will take a 10% cut in pay, all you here is the federal worker is over paid, no Congress is way over paid for what they do. (NOTHING) for the people, they forgot they work for the people. The american voters need to vote them all out, and if any federal employee votes for Rommey or Ryan deserve to lose there jobs, because both of them want to take your job and give it to contract workers. The federal worker needs to stand up and fight for ther rights. God bless America .

  40. I work for the Federal Goverment, I would like to mention that I saw Goverment waste at its best, Hurricane Issac wa sheading for Miami but turne off, The Federal prison is all boarded up like a fort appache in the Bronx, I understand they spent around $9000 in wood $about $1000 in a for two bucket trucks to put the boards up, If I was a high ranking Goverment offical I would be very upset to see a federal agency run this way and they way it looks in the public eye, they are always saying we as an agency have to look professional but if you drive by this place you would say what is that all boarded up. Goverment waste at it’s best. and the boards will stay up untill hurricane season is iver Nov 1st.

  41. The way the Goverment can save money is by cutting the fat from th BOP, They can start by serving one hot meal aday to the inmate population, why are supervisors working nights and weekends in this area alone the govement will save on night pay and holiday pay, do on line yearly training, and stop step increases if there is a pay freeze then nodody needs to get raises and if a staff memeber gets a promotion have them pay there own move if they really want the job they will move on there own. I also understand DHS has been getting new step increases I rememebr when they maxed out at GS 7 officers and now they are GS 11 officers the BOP has stayed the same for over 30 yrs, how come they are not included in the freeze.

  42. I don’t mind doing my part, not that I’m given a choice in the matter, but at the same time I don’t see Congress and the President stepping up to take a pay freeze or a cut in pay. They can well afford a 5-10% cut in pay across the board to show their willingness to “tighten their belts” and do what’s right for the economy. Congress and the White House could cut their staff also. I’m quite sure they can afford an across the board 5-10% staffing cut and still be able to get their work done.
    Why is it always the rank-and-file federal employees that are asked to carry the burden? Are Congress and the President (and his staff) not federal employees? They should be the first ones to step up to the plate and be the examples for everyone in the country.
    It’s sad that we (rank-and-file) have become the sacrificial political lamb!

  43. “roy Says:
    September 5th, 2012 at 10:17 am

    No pay freeze for lower grades up to GS8 pay freeze for everyone else including congress.”

    Spoken by someone who is likely a GS-7!

  44. First problem with all the federal cuts is opponents argue federal govt. employees are paid more than the private sector, well, that all depends on which study you believe.

    Second problem is that once they make federal govt. cuts and the private sector eventually recovers, they don’t give federal govt. employees raises in benefits to catch back up, it only goes down.

    People make a choice in life for their careeers based on if they want money, or stability, or a blend of both. They each have their own benefits and risks.

    It’s like the “tortoise and the hare”, the government sector is the tortoise and the private sector is the hare, but now that the tortoise has taken the lead, political leaders and envious public sector people just want to quash the tortoise before he reaches the finish line.

  45. Ryan has already said federal workers make too much money and Romney has said that “it’s not fair for fed workers to receive a good retirement”. Their Solution: you already know. It’s the same solution Mitt used at Bain. If it doesn’t make a profit, fire it or send it overseas! Woe is the idiot who votes for these two.

  46. In these times I am willing to do my part, if that means not getting a raise so be it, if that saves us from being layed off or let go then I am for it. Federal employees are always willing to do there share for the country that is one of the reasons we joined the civil service. But I find it insulting that Mitt Romney says we are over paid compared to our counterparts…My counterparts aren’t required to go in harms way with the military, I have been in Iraq and Afghanistan 8 times in the last seven years, that equals 4 years of my life out here. How many times has he come out here to work and support the military…None. So before Mr. Romney just assumes we make too much money compared to the our private counterparts he needs to look a little closer at the people he is talking about.

  47. I think President Obama is a great President and if he feels that another pay freeze is needed, then I am all for it. I trust him. Personally I will be affected by it, financially, but I can live with it.

    I wish President Obama much luck and I pray he gets another 4 years – 4 MORE YEARS!!!!!

  48. Everyone has a good points, only if Congress would read them. The inaction of both political parties these last 4 yrs is tied to this upcoming election. The pay freeze is nothing but a smoke screen and only hurts those of us that are at the top of our grade. Doesn’t affect the “management staff” that are in Acq Demo programs, they still get their pay raises, because on paper they don’t receive cost of living or locality adjustments. Being a step 10, the pay freeze has impact my retirement and can’t be recoup in the near term.

  49. I am just happy to have a job. A pay freeze is a small price to pay considering what Congress could do to us, and probably will because sequestration is looming and the idiots in Congress are too busy trying to justify their stupidity to actually accomplish something for the GOOD of our country and not for the good of their (Congress’) image.

  50. well, it is better to freeze the pay and not cut job creation, but i don’t like it. i hope the pay freeze is only temporary

  51. My pay is being reduced significantly and I work approximately 60 hours a week, doing more with less. Our agency employees are burned out; extremely stressed and are physically suffering from illnesses due to stress. Besides anti-anxiety meds, I am now forced to find a second job at night to make ends meet. Years of dedication and hard work result in being slapped in the face.

  52. If we eliminated the entire federal civilian workforce and all retires it would only reduce the deficit by slightly less than $400 billion. That leaves nearly $1 Trillion to go, mostly made up of social programs. Until we tackle SS, Medicare and other wealth transfers hidden in the tax system like EITC, we wll get no where in reducing the budget deficit. We had an opportunity last year with the votes on the balanced budget amendment, but we blew it. Now there is little hope of ever getting this under control. How is it right that a person or family can only contribute $200k or so to SS during a working lifetime and receive over a million dollars in payouts? The math doesn’t add up.

  53. I am not that upset by the continued pay freeze, so long as a couple of things happen or start to happen. First, If I don’t get a pay raise, neither do those who choose not to work. I don’t want to see budget increases for welfare or food stamp recipients unless it is education based to remove them from such programs. Second, we darn well better stop giving away money to countries that want to kill us. Third, leave my retirement the heck alone. Take my inflationary raise, leave FERS alone. Thank you, that is all.

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