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|Obama's salary freeze|
It was amusing to watch President Obama on Monday talk about "some broad sacrifice" when he announced a two-year freeze on salaries paid to civilian federal government employees.
Obama disclosed his plans for a salary freeze at a news conference at the White House. He said it was necessary to help rein in spending in light of record deficits the federal government has incurred over the past decade.
The freeze on salaries Obama called for requires approval by the Congress.
"The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice and that sacrifice must be shared by employees of the federal government," Obama said. "I did not reach this decision easily. This is not just a line item on a federal ledger. These are people's lives."
Obama claimed the salary freeze would save about $2 billion. That's a drop in a bucket considering the federal government posted a $1.3-trillion deficit in the 2010 fiscal year.
Instead of expressing concern for the effect a salary freeze would impose on civilian federal government employees, Obama should have said he finally understood that compensation for government employees had spiraled out of control in the not-too-distant past. He also should have acknowledged that the government can no longer afford to pay its employees sky-high salaries at the expense of the people who generate the revenues to fuel government in the first place. Those people, of course, would be the men and women who work hard day in and day out in the private sector, dutifully paying their taxes year in and year out. Let's not forget about the backbone of the U.S. economy, the small business community, which largely drives government at all levels thanks to the taxes it pays.
We have known for some time that compensation for civilian federal government employees was out of control, evidenced by the median household income in the Washington, D.C., area. In 2009, the median household income there hit $85,198, the highest of any metropolitan area in the country. Mark Zandi, an economist with Moody's Analytics, said the growth in the median household income in the Washington area progressed in recent years because of the federal government's presence in the region, meaning the government pays its employees top-shelf wages.
It is worth noting that cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and Orlando witnessed its median household incomes drop by as much as 10 percent during the same period. In Louisiana, the median household income in 2009 was slightly more than $43,000.
We do not fault individuals for devoting their lives to government service. In fact, we applaud any individual who spends his or her life working for government at any level.
However, the men and women who work for government should pay a price—like the private sector—whenever the economy takes a turn for the worst. After all, should the private sector absorb all of the repercussions whenever the economy takes a dive?
In the meantime, we remain amused with Obama's sudden realization that government spending has become a problem. He could be on a roll.
Maybe next week we'll learn Obama now believes that radical Islamic groups pose a threat to the nation security of the United States.