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Is freezing the salaries of federal workers an effective way to reduce the deficit?

Federal employees would play a major role in reducing the nation's debt and deficit under a set of draft proposals released Wednesday by the co-chairs of President Obama's deficit commission.

Former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former senator Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.) called on Americans to make sacrifices to "make America strong for the long haul." Read the full story.

By Abha Bhattarai  |  November 11, 2010; 8:59 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Posted by: drjcarlucci | November 11, 2010 10:00 AM

I do think Federal workers need to feel some of the pain, but simply freezing salaries may not be the best way. Begin with COLAs. Non-Fed workers don't get them, nor should the Feds. You'll just have to earn a raise like the rest of us. Also, do away with locality pay. You'll just have to live with-in your means, like the rest of us. I'm sure there are other benefits I'm not aware of that cn be looked at. Federal workers will just have to come to grips with the fiscal reality. They also need to keep in mind,a Federal job is in all practicality a job for life. That's a pretty good benefit.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 11, 2010 11:01 AM

I think that this proposal is just pandering to the anti-US government anger out there. I don't have the impression that government employees are particularly overpaid, especially the professionals. Are we trying to demonize public service? If there are areas in which certain groups of employees are excessively paid, it would be worth dealing with it, as an employer should do anywhere. But an across the board freeze or cut does not seem logical. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Posted by: harrumph1 | November 12, 2010 12:32 AM

Hi JCKDOORS,

Federal workers need to feel some of the pain? And why would that be? Misery loves company. Which other groups of people need to feel some of the pain? Doctors? Lawyers? I'm retired and not as government. I haven't felt any pain.

Non-Federal workers get COLA's in a lot of cases. I worked for several corps that gave them out every year. Generally, the larger the corporation the more likely it is they have institutionalized cost of living increases. Can we ban those also?

Locality pay? If you think salaries for professional across the country are uniform you're crazy. An engineer in Indiana gets paid a lot less than the same engineer in New Jersey working for the same company. And it's not 5% less, it's on the order of 30% less.

Posted by: James10 | November 12, 2010 7:33 AM

Demon speaks: been in/out of govt four times since 1957...few know feds contrib heavily to med, pension & life insurance bennies inferior to those of private-sector professionals...slashing geo-adjustments would damage local retail...feds haven't had a raise net of inflation since 1976, while the top 2% have septupled their share of nat'l income--bad for equity, morale, productivity...meanwhile, TSP accounts have plunged, thanks to depredation by hedgers, mortgagors & their supply-side myrmidons...to top it off, we squander diminishing resources in suicidal hegemonic war...all nations die [v. Dio Cassius, Khaldun, Gibbon, Hegel, Momsen, Spengler, Toynbee], but why hasten us to the cremo?...yes, we must all sacrifice for a couple of generations to dispatch $87T in unfunded liabilities...Alex Hamilton--where are you, now that we need you! QED

Posted by: greenchoyss | November 12, 2010 9:58 AM

As a Federal employee, I am fine with a freeze on Federal salaries until the economy shows some real improvement and the unemployment rate goes down further, but the reality is that the large Federal bureaucracy is a symptom of out-of-control spending by Congress and deficit spending, not a cause. The size of Government is a direct result of the never-ending creation of new programs and projects by each Congress and the extremely rare elimination of any program or project. It's also the result of union protections which allow "minimally successful" employees to remain on the job forever without improvement and make it a supervisor's second full-time job to do all the work required to take corrective action against a non-working (e.g., literally sleeping on the job) employee, or an employee promoted beyond his or her abilities. The result of a pay freeze without other changes (scaling back government programs and more flexibility in labor management) may be that hardworking and overburdened Federal employees who are worth retaining will leave Federal service to get more rewarding, less frustrating jobs elsewhere and leave frozen in place those employees who choose not to work or who are less skilled.

Posted by: alice1731 | November 13, 2010 1:06 PM

How to stop the reckless spending that blindly supports USA corporate welfare aka reckless spending:

The media has become a large part of the special interest takeover of our process as if they know what is best for all of us. Voters support this takeover by voting for those candidates who spend the most money and the question is why? The media loves those big campaign dollars

Campaigns go too long,spend way too much money and do not necessarily provide the best available. It is up to us to stop the nonsense at the voting booths.

Replace 95% of all elected officials every 4 years for the house and every 6 years for the Senate.

Not voting sends the wrong message and changes nothing.

Lets’s demand a new system and vote in Fair Vote America : http://www.fairvote.org/irv/
Demand a change on the next ballot.

Incumbents say NO to the voters while officials live in glass houses and digest corrupt money.

We need public financing of campaigns. Citizens cannot afford special interest money campaigns for it is the citizens that get left out. Let citizens vote on this issue.
http://www.publicampaign.org/

Who would be against Public Funding? The special interest money providers plus their bought and paid for politicians!

Ralph Nader has been suggesting replace 90% each election cycle. Is it any wonder the media,our political parties and the many special interests keep him off the ballot and away from the public debates?

Posted by: rheckler2002 | November 14, 2010 7:20 AM

If what is happening in the private sector is a consideration for what happens in the public sector--I guess I should look for pay parity once the economy picks up?

No, Don't hold my breath.

Posted by: CultureClub | November 15, 2010 9:43 AM

Freezing salaries is a good way to get the best employees to quit, leaving you with those who cannot find better jobs.

It's a terrible way to manage your workforce and only ensures that you are left with those employees no one else wants.

Posted by: AxelDC | November 15, 2010 10:02 AM

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