There has been a much weaker effort at the federal level. Lawmakers did agree to suspend cost-of-living pay increases (but not raises for merit or promotions) for civilian workers in 2011 and this year. A proposal to extend this freeze through 2013, sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.), recently passed the House of Representatives.
“While private-sector workers face the squeeze and millions of families continue searching for work, the idea of asking that their hard-earned dollars go to fund a pay raise for government employees is just not right,” Duffy said.
He’s right. Yet the White House opposes even this small effort to restore a tiny bit of balance to a pay system that’s obviously out of whack. Why?
That’s not to say that all federal employees make more than their private-sector counterparts. In fact, some of the most skilled federal workers may actually be underpaid. Overall, though, there’s no denying the obvious: Compensation for government workers is too high -- and it’s completely unmoored from any kind of market-based reality.
It’s high time Congress ignored the tin-eared cries of those who would defend this indefensible status quo -- and brought federal compensation into line with market rates. That’s what the average American has to face. Why not federal workers?
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