With cliff, cut federal pay

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  • Res Novae Ashburn, VA
    Jan. 3, 2013 1:40 p.m.

    I'm a federal employee. I made more in the private sector, but was disatisfied by helping rich clients become richer. I joined the government because my country is at war, and I wanted to serve where possible. I believe in that mission, as do my colleagues.

    Do I think there are areas of government that need to be more efficient? Sure. Do I think that government needs to spend all that it does? Absolutely not. Do I think that the debt and deficit are huge issues? You betcha.

    But I'm tired of being portrayed as the enemy by right wing deficit hawks. I signed on to support the troops that they sent into two wars. I don't appreciate my income being threatened by some armchair ideologues whose contribution to both wars is to tear up at the sight of Old Glory and put 'Support the Troops' bumperstickers on their cars.

    Federal employees are the first target whenever the Tea Partiers want to slash government. They have given up more than $100 billion over the next decade from pay freezes/cuts, reduced retirement contributions, and smaller benefits. What have you sacrificed to reduce the deficit, Mr. Boren?

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    Jan. 3, 2013 11:17 a.m.

    Cut completely all retirement pay for elected and appointed government officials. Those elected PAID to get the job. Those appointed are there a short time and then leave.
    If they want retirement let them serve and go back to the private sector. This would save millions per year and if implemented across the board, Billions.

  • Emajor Ogden, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 6:19 p.m.


    I think you've made that 25-30% argument before using back of the envelope calculations, but it's better to read what actual analysts have calculated rather than attempting it on your own. Because your calculations must be missing something. David Wessel, economics editor at the Wall Street Journal, wrote that 1 in 8 dollars of federal spending is on federal employee salary and benefits. That's 12.5%. He also wrote that 2/3 of federal employees are involved in defense, including active military service members.

    Since cutting defense spending is a no-no for many conservatives, you now only have ~4.5% to play with. If we get real mean and fire half of the non-defense federal employees (the moochers!) we've shaved a whopping ~2% of the budget and crippled the federal government. Some might say that's a good thing, but I disagree. Since defense spending accounts for 20% of the budget, health care 25%, social security ~20% and debt interest payments ~10%, non-defense federal salaries are simply dwarfed.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 6:10 p.m.

    Twin Lights,
    And a Happy New Year to you and your family as well.
    I take your point about regional differences in pay. I would suggest that those differences are even more pronounced in certain industries. It's hard for me to see why anyone would be attracted to a job regulating the financial sector, when you could make so much more money working for Wall Street. The more I read about the financial crisis, the clearer it becomes how complicit the bond rating industries were, not because of crookedness, but because of overwork and incompetence. You don't get the cream of the cream working for Moody's. I know bond rating is private sector, but the same logic applies--you need to be able to attract competent people to regulate really vital sectors of the economy.
    And yes, we Hoosiers are enjoying the season. I expect you Kentuckians are as well.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 2:33 p.m.

    To "CHS 85" here you go.

    From the Federal News Radio "For federal workforce training must be the top priority". In there it states " the government spends $700 billion a year on pay and benefits, or about 25 percent of the federal budget" (this is from a 2009 interview and should be viewed in that light.)

    You can also go to "Obama cuts pay raises for federal workers" at the Hill and do some math. They said that "a 2.4 percent increase would cost $19.9 billion more than the 2 percent increase he proposed in his 2010 budget." When you do the math for the cost in spending on salaries was as high as 30% of the total federal budget that year.

    To "ECR" that estimate does not cover all federal workers, just those for the executive branch or something like that. Most estimates put it at around $450 billion or more.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 2:27 p.m.


    Thanks for the info. When you add in USPS, military personnel, and retirement pay, it comes closer to the 12.3% that Congressman Chaffetz likes to point out.

    I appreciate the correction.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 1:55 p.m.

    It might be important to this discussion to note that the pay received from the government for elected representatives is insignificant when compared to the pay received from other sources. The truth of this is in the amount of money spent on the election versus the government payroll.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Jan. 2, 2013 1:41 p.m.

    CHS 85 and Redshirt The CBO states that "The federal government employs 2.3 million civilian workers, or 1.7 percent of the U.S. workforce, in over 700 occupations and spent about $200 billion in fiscal year 2011 to compensate them." Wikipedia reports that the total federal budget enacted for 2011 $3.630 trillion. Doing the quick math it appears that the total cost of federal employment accounts for 5.5% of the total budget.

    Just sayin'.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 2, 2013 1:36 p.m.

    Eric Samuelsen,

    First, Happy New Year. I hope you and yours are well.

    Second, I don't think pay raises are necessary in most parts of the country (such as Utah or Kentucky). In such areas, the pay is sufficient to attract good folks. The real problem with Federal pay is in the urban areas where the pay is just not that much higher despite massive cost of living differences. That should be a focus for the Feds.

    Third, I do think that it needs to be easier to fire federal employees for cause. I am no union buster (nor proponent either - I think they have a limited place only). But being able to fire the poor performers would help the whole.

    Finally, good luck to IU. They seem to be hot this year.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 1:06 p.m.


    I can't let your comment go unchallenged.

    "To "Emajor" you realize that 25% to 30% of the federal budget is wrapped up in direct pay for federal employees. That is not a little bit. That is a large chunck of the federal budget."

    I'd like to know where the 25% to 30% figure comes from.

    The research I have been able to do shows at the most it is 12.3%.

    Before you go thinking I got that figure from some ultra-left wing group, I got that information from Congressman Jason Chaffetz's website - hardly an ultra-left wing thinker. The last time I checked he was on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and Labor Policy.

    I'll take his word over yours unless you can prove him wrong.

    ...and I'm most definitely NOT a Chaffetz supporter.

  • Another Thought... ,
    Jan. 2, 2013 12:58 p.m.

    My wife often suggests that we could change a lot of the discussion in Washington if Congress was required to live by the laws they passed. No more special healthcare. No more special retirement package.

    Let them live on minimum wage for their service. Elected office was never intended to be a career choice. Let them pay for healthcare like the people they represent. Let them get paid minimum wage for their time in any elected position and then return to their career after a reasonable time-frame. If two terms is good enough for the top job, why not all the others? If they want retirement, save your money because Social Security won't last forever.

    This would reduce the federal budget and many of the "hidden costs" that occur long after an elected official has left office.

    It's not enough to solve the whole issue, but it is a good start...

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Jan. 2, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    LDS Liberal said "After 3 years of NO pay raise at all,
    Federal workers will see a 0.5% increase - the first since 2009."

    Sorry, but you've been given some bad information. That pay raise was promoted by President Obama but the bill that just passed cut funding for that pay raise.

    By the way, despite Lost in DC questioning your religious beliefs with his ever so subtle question mark, I believe it is possible to be LDS and liberal. In fact I'm pretty sure most of Joseph Smith's enemies thought his interpretation of scripture was quite liberal.

    Hang in there.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 12:22 p.m.

    To "Emajor" you realize that 25% to 30% of the federal budget is wrapped up in direct pay for federal employees. That is not a little bit. That is a large chunck of the federal budget.

    The problem is in the higher levels of government where the average worker makes more than their civilian equivalent. Yes many federal employees make less their private industry peers, but those are not the ones we question. Why do we need to keep wages so high for members of congress and inefficiencies of the government?

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 12:19 p.m.

    How about instead we raise the salaries of all federal employees? We want government to be effective and efficient, don't we? So let's attract good people by offering them more money.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 11:20 a.m.

    LDS? Lib

    you seem especially envious of the successful, but no more so than usual. Covetousness is really unbecoming.

    Actually, we had plenty of jobs until the barney frank-induced housing bubble collapsed. So perhaps there are factors other than tax rates that also play into employment, like job-killing regulations. Remember BO's promise to shut down the domestic coal industry? But tax ratse do play a part. Or are you saying all the predictions that said the return to all the Clinton tax rates would plunge us into another recession were bogus?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    After 3 years of NO pay raise at all,
    Federal workers will see a 0.5% increase - the first since 2009.

    Those making over $1,000,000 a year have seen their net worth increase 4 fold over they same time period.

    I still don't understand why the Tea-Party Republicans insist on protecting the uber-wealthy?

    Their taxes were down to all-time lows,
    Their profits went sky-rocketing,
    and yet they haven't created all those mythical jobs the GOP keeps saying they do.

    Perhaps facing a tax increase will finally spur them into hiring....
    If for nothing else, Just so they can claim the tax deduction.

    BTW -
    I don't think anyone in Congress deserves a pay raise....
    especially any Gover Norquist GOP obstuctionists who keep touting NO tax increases whatsoever!

    Hypocrites of the Nth degree.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    Hopefully, enough people will recognize that the people who would limit and destroy our national government, have no concern about the future of America and want to grab as much money as they can by every means before they allow America to fall. Thus they work very hard to block the protections for the people, eliminate the future for Americans, and reduce their costs.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 9:12 a.m.

    If life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is near the top of our priorities, we must not allow our government to be destroyed by the short-sighted minions of the greedy.

    Our national government is the only government charged with securing these rights and freedoms to ordinary people. Not the state government, county or local, not the business operations or even the churches.

    Rather than limit and destroy the power of our national government we should work to make it more representative of the people and prevent it’s control by special interests.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    An excellent place to start would be by slashing Congressional pay at least in half. Congress receives automatic pay raises every year unless they vote not to. Guess what happened in 2012?

    But others, who actually WORK for their paychecks in Federal offices have had no raises for what -- three years, I think.

    So let's start the cuts in Congress. They are at their jobs in Washington on three days a week. Then they fly home at taxpayer expense so they can rub noses with their corporate owners to get their marching orders for the next week.

    And what is the latest public approval rate of Congress? It's something like 10% now isn't it?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    So if raising taxes on the rich is worthless because it doesn't raise much revenue... Then how much more worthless is this proposal seeing how little money this idea saves?

  • Emajor Ogden, UT
    Jan. 2, 2013 6:55 a.m.

    Considering how little of the federal budget is tied up in federal salaries, it might make you feel good to know that you are making the lives of federal employees more difficult to save a pittance, but you are accomplishing little. They may have enviable job security, but public workers have lower wages for their level of education than the private sector. You could make the argument that there are too many higher paid administrators, but most of the "on the ground" employees are not unduly compensated.

    If you want real incompetence in government, make the pay so uncompetitive that no one with the proper qualifications wants to work there. After all, shouldn't the conservative axiom of richly rewarding CEOs to retain talent also be true of public servants? And could this also be considered class warfare, or do conservatives only think that applies to envy of wealth, whether earned or not?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Jan. 2, 2013 6:40 a.m.

    Consistency is the key.

    We hear how raising taxes on the wealthy will only run the government for 10 days, therefore is a useless endeavor.

    So, I take that to mean that the bar has been set.

    Anything that has less of an impact than 10 days of running the government is useless.

    I guess Big Bird lives on.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Jan. 2, 2013 6:28 a.m.

    OK Ralph. I know we just passed the Christmas Holidays and yo might not have been focusing on the news. But before you make any more bold statements you might want to do some research. Despite the president's request to give federal employees a 0.5% pay increase, the new legislation denies that request and so for a third year in a row, federal employees will go without a cost of living increase. You can look it up.