Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pay Increases for Federal Employees

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The White House has requested a 0.5% pay increase for Federal employees for next year but the House Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee approved a budget plan that extends the federal pay freeze for another year. It’s at least the third time in the last month that the committee has denied a pay increase for government employees in 2013. Military personnel are not included in the freeze and are expected to see a small (1.7%) pay increase next year. That would make their third consecutive year of pay increases under 2.0 percent. Their civilian counterparts in the Defense Department haven’t seen any increases since President Barack Obama announced a government-wide pay freeze in November 2010.

The 0.5 percent pay increase would cost about $800 million next year, a price tag that White House officials have argued is worth supporting to retain skilled and experienced workers who have sacrificed for the last two years. But House Republicans have opposed the idea, and in February voted on a stand-alone budget bill providing no pay increase next year. (The measure also included another freeze on lawmakers’ paychecks for 2013.) Senate leaders have already backed the idea of the 1.7 percent military raise, but haven’t adopted any budget bills covering federal workers pay. The issue won't be resolved until after the November elections.

Now for my 2 cents worth. One of the complaints about federal spending has been about the pay and benefits that federal workers receive. Several studies I have read say that civilian employees of the federal government get paid between 15 and 20 percent more for doing the same jobs as their counterparts in the private sector. Since we are having a major problem due to the debt and deficit, and since runaway spending by the Federal government is a major part of that problem, it seems to me to be a very good idea to freeze the pay of Federal workers at least until they are on par with the pay rates for the same type of work by non-government employees. They should also reduce the pay schedules for starting federal employees by at least 20% across the board.

I am not unsympathetic to the federal employees and am, in fact, sorry that they have to go through a period when they see inflation effectively reduce their pay. But, the simple fact is that this would only result in putting them on par with everyone else -that's not such a bad thing. And besides, the there is simply no money to fund an increase in their salaries so the money would likely come from some increase in taxes -which would effectively reduce the pay of millions of their fellow Americans -that's not fair either....

And here's a special shout out for my friends in Hawaii -
Happy King Kamehameha Day!

Live Long and Prosper....

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