President Barack Obama took a positive step Monday toward addressing the climbing budget deficit with his announcement of a two-year pay freeze for federal employees.
The proposed wage freeze would apply to all federal employees, except for military personnel. The last such federal freeze was in 1986 under President Reagan. President Clinton proposed a similar freeze in 1994, but Congress rebuffed the proposal.
Certainly criticizing federal employees as overpaid has become a common practice as well as a campaign strategy. This criticism is not necessarily fair as the federal workforce is generally white-collar, when compared to the private workforce.
However, Obama's federal pay freeze proposal is the right step for the federal government as it faces a growing deficit along with increased spending demands.
The fiscal commission appointed by Obama will issue its final report today on how to rein in the growing federal deficit. All Americans -- including federal employees -- are going to have to sacrifice.
The federal budget is under significant strain and action needs to start now.
The federal pay freeze would save an estimated $5 billion over two years. This is a mere drop in the bucket when considering the $1.3 trillion federal deficit, but it is a start.
The time is here for federal employees to share the pain as many Americans have during the current recession. Many private-sector employees have suffered through pay freezes, pay reductions, furloughs without pay and layoffs. Many state and county governments have been facing the same sacrifices as well.
Thus, a two-year pay freeze in federal government is not unreasonable. The question now is will Congress have the fortitude to approve Obama's pay freeze proposal.