A Fairly Reasonable Pay Freeze

Yesterday, President Barry's administration announced that they're going to not give any civilian federal employees (military personnel are excluded) a raise for the next two years. It is, essentially, a pay freeze. And it is, essentially, about friggin' time.

I'm not sure why it took so long for this to happen. It's not like we couldn't all see that it was necessary. According to the
Huffington Post they're looking at a "...two-year pay freeze that would save the country $28 billion in the next five years and $60 billion over the coming decade." I like the sound of that. You know who doesn't like the sound of that? That's right. Civilian federal employees. To which I reply: Sorry. (Not really, but you know what I mean. Trust me, I had a much more colorful phrase that I was intending to use there. But then I remembered that I have friends who work for the federal government and I didn't see any need to anger them further.)

Am I being heartless, as per usual? I don't think I am. I think that I'm being realistic as per usual. (Realistic is never very popular.) Let's take a look at some simply astounding statistics (they're also known as facts) from the lovely folks over there at USA Today. Keep in mind that a lot of this data covers the time frame between 2005 and today. So, when the entire housing market crashed and when everything in the financial world went completely into the crapper, all of this stuff was going on. Also keep in mind that the current national unemployment rate is hovering around 9%. NINE percent. And as long as we're keeping things in mind, please also remember that earlier this year, unemployment was around 11%. ELEVEN. Now, let's see how things are going in the fantasy land that is working for the federal government, shall we?

Where to begin? How about here: "Top-paid staff have increased in every department and agency. The Defense Department had nine civilians earning $170,000 or more in 2005, 214 when Obama took office and 994 in June." Um, wait. What now? So, in the last FIVE years, the Defense Department went from having NINE civilians in the $170,000 or more range to NINE HUNDRED NINETY FOUR?!?! With SEVEN HUNDRED EIGHTY of those folks making that wage under President Barry's watch? He's only been President for two years!!

What else? How about this: "The biggest pay hikes have gone to employees who have been with the government for 15 to 24 years. Since 2005, average salaries for this group climbed 25% compared with a 9% inflation rate." Oh, sure. That makes perfect sense. Inflation is 9%, so absolutely the average salary of a federal worker should increase by 25%. Are you kidding me?! Is there anyone who can explain that rationale to me? Anyone? Anyone? OK, then. That's what I thought. Moving on...

"Federal workers earning $150,000 or more make up 3.9% of the workforce, up from 0.4% in 2005." And "Since 2000, federal pay and benefits have increased 3% annually above inflation compared with 0.8% for private workers." OK, then. Well. I think I've read enough.

It is about time that something was done to curb the ridiculous amount of debt that this country has incurred. And I realize that if you're a federal civilian employee, you are none to happy about this. Tell you what, buttercup. If you'd like, we could have the federal government deal with their bloated workforce the same way that the private industry has been dealing with their problems for...oh, forever. That's right. We could lay a bunch of y'all off. Would that make you feel better? Because that's what the private sector does. They lay people off. They don't freeze their pay. No, they cut their pay entirely by firing them. So if you're out there whining about this, knock it off. You're going to be hard pressed to find any sympathy in the private sector and you're sure as hell not going to find an iota of sympathy from me. My only two questions are "What took so long?" and "What's next?"