My only trouble with the proposed freeze on federal wages is that it is a political reaction to the apparent fact that, compared to the average worker, federal employees make significantly more money. No doubt, in many cases this is true. I am on the end of federal employment that should have no difficulty dealing with the proposed freeze. So, I am perfectly willing to forgo COAs for the next few years, even until the economy turns around. However, averages are deceptive. For example if one worker makes $100,000 and another worker makes $30,000 the average salary of the two workers is $65,000. Now, say using the $65,000 average as your baseline, you propose a 2% across-the-board decrease in pay. This means $600 for the person making $30,000 and $2,000 for the person making $100,000, which is a significant bump for both, but who does it hurt more? Stated positively, who is in a better position to help, or what best serves the common good? This simply highlights my problem with the Republicans' insistence that everyone be treated "equally" when making these kinds of difficult decisions.
My point is that not all federal workers are highly paid, many make quite modest wages. So, it seems that there should be a cut-off. I would suggest that the cut-off be the computed average salary of a non-federal worker. Any federal employee making that or less should be exempt from the proposed cut. Let's also remember that federal employees will also absorb a 7.2% increase in health care premiums as a result of the ill-advised health care reform. Fighting for equity seems a golden opportunity for congressional Democrats to stand up for lower paid federal employees. As is appropriate, none of this affects members of the U.S. military. On the whole, there are 2.1 million federal workers, which is a large work force, no doubt. When you stop to consider 2.1 million civil servants, serving a country of some 360 million people, you are talking about less than 1% of total population. Of course, 2.1 million constitutes a higher percentage of the work force.
Such a move is like cutting government spending by implementing, say, a 10% across-the-board cut, which is ham-fisted, short-sighted, and inequitable. For instance, in Utah public education is already underfunded. Hence, you do not want to cut 10% from the education budget! By the same token, programs that benefit the disabled, children, and those who have serious material needs must be considered in a different light than cuts in some other areas.