The White House will propose a 0.5 percent pay increase for civilian federal employees as part of its 2013 budget proposal, according to two senior administration officials familiar with the plans. The modest across-the-board pay jump would be the first increase for federal workers since before a two-year freeze began in late 2010. Raises for within-grade step increases and promotions have continued during the freeze.
The proposal, which requires congressional approval, differs from Republican plans supported by lawmakers and presidential candidates that would freeze basic pay rates for one more year. Some of those plans also call for denying within-grade raises. In recent weeks, GOP lawmakers have called for extending the pay freeze as a way to pay for a payroll tax extension. But, “a permanent pay freeze is not an acceptable policy,” one of the senior administration officials said Friday. “While modest, a 0.5 percent increase reflects the belt-tightening we must do in these difficult times.”
USA Today reminds us how badly public sector employees are hurtin' these days:
Federal workers made an average $75,296 in pay last year, plus $28,323 in medical, pension and other benefits, the USA TODAY analysis found. That's about 60% more than the average private wage, a difference explained largely by higher education levels and more professional jobs in the federal workforce. Federal compensation has soared in the past decade, especially in the past five years, at a time when private wages and employment have sputtered.
No worries, though. I'm sure these government sector pay increases will be funded by raising taxes on the people who sign private sector paychecks -- you know, the kind that aren't drawn from federal coffers and funded by taxpayers. Or maybe they won't be "paid for" at all, which would be totally cool. It's not like trillion-dollar annual deficits have caused our national debt to draw even with GDP, or anything.
UPDATE - A good observation by 'GatorBait' in the comments: This proposal comes directly on the heels of Obama's decision to gut the military, over previous objections from his own Defense Secretary. Priorities.