Economics

Pay Cuts For Thee, But Not For Me (if Me is a Federal Worker)

|

Despite President Obama's call for federal employees to "do their part" and accept smaller-than-usual pay raises, Congress is considering a budget that could spend an additional $1.3 billion or more on pay for civilian federal workers.

While some states and private companies are slashing jobs and pay, Congress is advancing a budget that could change a 2% raise proposed by Obama for 1.9 million non-military federal workers to at least 2.9%— which is the amount the president proposed for military employees.

"It feels like this is not a good time to be taking a pay increase," said Leslie Paige of Citizens Against Government Waste, a watchdog group that supports freezing pay for civilian federal workers. "Everyone else in the country is taking huge cuts, losing jobs."

Whole story here.

NEXT: Reason Writers Around the Diamond: Matt Welch and David Nott on Loving the Angels and Dodgers

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This reminds us who the true Ruling Class and Master Race is.

  2. change a 2% raise proposed by Obama for 1.9 million non-military federal workers to at least 2.9%- which is the amount the president proposed for military employees.

    Makes sense, in a perverse sort of way. Why continue arbitrarily to define any segment of the government as non-military? Citizens have become civilians.

  3. I don't see a problem necessarily. Why so much anxiety when it's the public sector? The private sector competes for the best employees; the only way you get them is by paying competitive salaries. Why are the forces of the market (competition for best employees) a bad thing in this case? I thought the market solved everything!

  4. Ray,

    The best employees they're competing for aren't getting raises either. The market solves everything!!

  5. "Everyone else in the country is taking huge cuts, losing jobs."

    Really? Everyone?

  6. Hopefully you are joking here (sarcasm meter broken) but I will answer anyway.

    Why so much anxiety when it's the public sector?

    Because the public sector can just print or confiscate the money to pay their employees, they are not subject to market forces.

  7. Sometimes (unless you're a CEO or something, it seems) the competition is for the jobs themselves, not for the bigger salaries.

    Ah, would that such competition ever existed in the "public sector"...

  8. Sad, weird day at the newspaper where I work -- last day for 25 percent of our editorial staff. Big staff drinking binge planned for after work. Guess I'll be buying a lot of folks a drink.

  9. Bloodsuckers.

  10. I'm Shocked !! Shocked !!

  11. Why are the forces of the market (competition for best employees) a bad thing in this case?

    Provide evidence this is driven by market forces. Are all agencies in the federal government losing employees at a higher than normal rate to other employers? Are the raises directly tied to efforts to retain or recruit qualified personnel?Given the current labor market, I find it hard to believe, so show your work and provide cites.

    If the government is not reacting to a tight employment market, the government could do what most employers in my field are doing right now. Which is say "Raise? You're lucky we haven't laid anybody off yet! STFU & GBTW."

  12. Wait, so they want a pay increase because they think it's unfair that the military is getting a pay increase because they're "all doing the work of government"?

    You know what, actually, that's fine. As long as we can subject all federal employees to a substantial risk of death/maiming on a regular basis, I would support such a law.

  13. Well, as a DoD employee I can tell you that folks in my line of work are usually paid about %20 less than what one could earn in the private sector. So %2.9 is a drop in the bucket in terms of making things more in-line with the market. We are losing people fast because of this. Unfortunately this leads to people failing upward into supervisory roles.

  14. Of course, federal employees already get all kinds of benefits that private sector employees don't, including job security, platinum-plated health care and retirement plan, etc.

    Anyone of them who prefers to take higher wages/greater risk package available out in the real economy is welcome to do so. The fact that they don't indicates, to me, that the current package is as competitive as it needs to be.

  15. The local school district is planning a 6.7% tax increase and the ditzy head of the school board basically said "tough shit, taxpayers."
    Those with more guts than me (I'd want a secret address and phone number, first) might want to run for their local school board and start being the gadfly that votes "no" every time the sports parents want new jerseys or other non-essential crap for their precious kid that dreams of major league glory.

  16. It makes snese if you are trying to start a socailist or facsist goverment. pay the "goverment workers" more. let the private indusrty workers suffer and see that the goverment pays more, then Violia. Instant socialism as the slighted then see the goverment as the provider and protectector. and more and more go to work for the goverment, as the economy continues to fall. by the time the recession is over, the goverment now controlls everything and owns your ass.

  17. As a federal civilian employee, I support this plan!

    Seriously though, a 3% pay raise for 2 million employees would increase their marginal propensity for consumption by 3%, leading to some stimulating activity for the economy.

    In other words, it makes more sense to give a little money to a lot of people in order to stimulate the economy than a lot of money to a few people.

  18. "In other words, it makes more sense to give a little money to a lot of people in order to stimulate the economy than a lot of money to a few people."

    Hey, I know! Three percent raise from the federal government -- FOR EVERYBODY!

  19. In other words, it makes more sense to give a little money to a lot of people in order to stimulate the economy than a lot of money to a few people.

    You're right. So the Obamarama should get Congress to cut taxes across the board by 5%. That would be even better, wouldn't it?

  20. Say, why isn't the government laying off people? Everyone else is.

  21. This is rich. Ohio is putting up $25 million in taxpayer money to give an extra 3 percent interest on savings accounts in a "SAVEnow" program. The state sends participants "financial literacy" information over the course of the year, and at the end savers get the extra three percent.

    http://www.tos.ohio.gov/index.php/linked-deposits/savenow

  22. I'll never quite understand how this stuff gets pulled off politically. You know we're not allowed to strike, right? Whence this influence of federal employees over Congress, outside of the handful of senators/representatives with significant numbers of federal employees in their state/district?

    The most federal employees could threaten in lieu of strike is to be less compliant with Congress, but then Congress could just defund the offending agencies to call their bluff.

    Again, I don't understand what Congress hopes to accomplish politically with stunts like this, especially after the "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!!!" faction has been properly appeased. It just seems a recipe for making voters (a majority of which still do not work for the government) angry.

    Government workers/unions must donate on average a lot more money to political campaigns than I do. That's my best guess.

  23. In other words, it makes more sense to give a little money to a lot of people in order to stimulate the economy than a lot of money to a few people.

    Query whether taking money from the little people, then giving it back to other little people, stimulates the economy as a whole.

    Again, I don't understand what Congress hopes to accomplish politically with stunts like this

    Government employees vote overwhelmingly Democratic. The Democratic Party controls the purse-strings. The party in control uses the public fisc to reward its supporters, cementing their support in the future.

    It ain't rocket surgery, folks.

  24. Government employees vote overwhelmingly Democratic.

    That's true. I always forget that.

    The party in control uses the public fisc to reward its supporters...

    See, now you say that, and I doubt the verity of your reasoning. When's the last time federal employees didn't get a raise? Like, never [pdf] (see page 11)? I guess for a couple of years under Reagan.

    If government employees always get raises regardless of political party, political party is a poorly correlated dependent variable. Hope you have malpractice insurance to cover your rocket surgery skillz.

  25. The private sector competes for the best employees; the only way you get them is by paying competitive salaries.

    And we all know how much those guys at AFSCME love merit pay.

  26. Say, why isn't the government laying off people? Everyone else is.

    That is not how you "create or save" jobs.

  27. instead of pay rises couldn't there just be a relaxation of the rules on bribery, fraud etc?

  28. You're right. So the Obamarama should get Congress to cut taxes across the board by 5%. That would be even better, wouldn't it?

    It actually would be. I'd support that even more (2% more).

  29. Sometimes (unless you're a CEO or something, it seems) the competition is for the jobs themselves, not for the bigger salaries.

    No shit. Our company announced that nobody is getting a raise this year, so this pay raise for Federal employees pissed me off.

    By the way, where are all the layoffs of Federal workers to match those in the private sector?

  30. Seriously though, a 3% pay raise for 2 million employees would increase their marginal propensity for consumption by 3%, leading to some stimulating activity for the economy.

    Totally! Maybe we could even hire some more government employees. Maybe we could have them go around breaking windows to stimulate the economy even further!

  31. No shit. Our company announced that nobody is getting a raise this year, so this pay raise for Federal employees pissed me off.

    Join the club. Plus, we had layoffs! The feds? Not so much.

  32. There is a recession, but the bloodsucking bitches who work as government employees keep taking more and more of our money.

  33. There is a recession, but the bloodsucking bitches who work as government employees keep taking more and more of our money.

    Hey! How about a little credit? Efficient processes don't just get entangled in red tape by themselves, you know. Somewhere, a federal employee is working hard to make bureaucratic procedures impenetrable to the productive class. And three more are watching him do it.

  34. You ideologues are so cute.

    I don't recall the Obama administration telling state governments to lay off lots of workers or cut state workers' pay. I do, though, recall something about decades of starve-the-beast policies enacted largely under pressure from the GOP and its "responsible government" and anti-tax lobby allies that don't let state or local governments engage in the same kind of deficit spending the Feds are intentionally engaging in to blunt the impact of the economic crash.

  35. By the way, where are all the layoffs of Federal workers to match those in the private sector?

    This is quite the salient question.

    Actually, my sense is that there's an active process in effect to reduce the number of contractors in favor of government employees right now.

  36. Federal employees should all take a 20 percent pay cut. Everyone of our wonderful blood suckers from the top to the bottom

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.