Right Thinking From The Left Coast
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it - Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The First Step

This is promising:

President Obama on Monday announced a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers as he sought to address concerns over high annual deficits and appealed to Republicans to find a common approach to restoring the nation’s economic and fiscal health.

“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,” Mr. Obama told reporters. He called federal workers “patriots who love their country” but added, “I’m asking civil servants to do what they’ve always done” for the nation.

The pay freeze amounted to an opening bid as the president and Republican Congressional leaders begin jousting in earnest over tax and spending policy. It also illustrated how Mr. Obama can use his office on occasion to get ahead of newly elected Republicans; they had been talking about making such a move when they assume control of the House and additional Senate seats in January.

The NYT notes this will save “only” $5 billion over the next two years.  But it will actually save a bit more than that since future pay rises would compound current ones.  And the pay freeze only makes sense since the cost of living right now is flat or falling and rises in federal pay massively outstripped rises in civilian pay over the last decade.

This is a small step, but an important one since its shows Obama might ... maybe ... perhaps ... be able to stand up to some of his own special interests.  If he gets behind Simpsons-Bowles, that will put the Republicans into the position of having to put up or shut up on the deficit.  And put up or shut up is a great place for any politician to be put into.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 11/30/10 at 02:20 PM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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