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Pay Freeze Politics

6:49 PM, Nov 29, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The Obama administration today announced a two-year pay freeze for all federal workers (excluding military). Phil Klein puts the policy into perspective:

In his press conference, Obama claimed that the move would save the government $28 billion over five years. Taking that number at face value, that would represent a sixth-tenths of one percent reduction in the projected $4.52 trillion deficit over that same period (2011 through 2015). It would be the equivelent of a person who expects to rack up $10,000 of of credit card debt over the next five years touting the fact that he's found a way to reduce his expenses by $60 over that time period. In football terms, it would be like a kickoff return that gains about a half of a yard.

Paul Ryan praises the president and urges him to do more:

The President has done the right thing today by taking steps to check the explosive growth of government. This is the kind of cooperation we were hoping for when we advanced this proposal last May, and we’re glad to see the President embrace this spending cut proposed by House Republicans.

While we welcome the President’s announcement to freeze Federal pay, we hope it is matched with both a hiring freeze for the Federal bureaucracy and a reduction in agency budgets so the savings aren’t recycled on new spending. House Budget Committee Republicans included these proposals as part of over $1 trillion in specific spending cuts. Unfortunately, House Democrats rejected the proposal when House Republicans brought the Federal pay freeze measure to the House floor.

I remain hopeful the President will work with House Republicans on additional efforts to cut and cap government spending, taking the much needed first steps toward getting our unsustainable structural deficits under control.

Here's Eric Cantor's statement:

I am encouraged by President Obama’s proposal to freeze non-military federal pay for the next two years. This past May, House Republicans—prompted by YouCut voters—offered the very same spending-cut proposal on the floor of the House. The YouCut proposal was one of many specific spending reductions offered by House Republicans over the past two years, and we are pleased that President Obama appears ready to join our efforts. As the recent election made clear, Americans are fed up with a government that spends too much, borrows too much and grows too much.

Many federal employees do important work, but this is exactly the kind of savings measure we have to make in order to begin to restore some fiscal sanity in America, especially considering recent reports of federal salaries significantly outpacing private-sector salaries. With so many Americans tightening their belts, Washington must do the same.

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