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Editorial: Obama is right on federal pay freeze

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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.

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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.

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