I 100 percent understand the politics behind the President getting behind the idea of a freeze in federal civilian pay. If it were the case that political messaging gambits had an appreciable impact on election outcomes, this would be a smart political move. In the real world, however, they don’t and the real question is how does this impact the macroeconomy.
The answer, as I understand it, is that relative to other equal-dollar forms of fiscal contraction, this does a relatively small amount of harm. Which is to say that if you implemented a federal civilian pay freeze and used the money saved on job-creating stimulus, that you’d have a good policy idea. So for example you might want to propose a bargain that involved a spending freeze as part of a negotiating process. Instead, following the principle of “if it didn’t work the first 20 times let me try it again” the Obama administration seems to have decided that making preemptive compromises will strengthen their hand in some unspecified way down the road.
So...instead of actually doing something real about "sky-high deficit spending" (like pulling out of Afghanistan and Iraq ahead of schedule), we get a symbolic gesture that will reduce federal spending by less than 0.05 percent.
And with that symbolic gesture we witness President Obama's unfortunate alter-ego, President Gimmick. President Gimmick isn't serious about solving any of our problems, he's only serious about demonstrating his desire to solve our problems. ...
Confronted with the choice between making the tough decision to defend federal spending during a recession or to develop a plan to actually slash spending, President Gimmick takes a third way: pretending to do something. In the process, he concedes that he believes his critics are right on the merits, but far from signaling strength, he signals that he's too weak to do anything serious about it.
The worst thing about President Gimmick isn't that he plays politics, though. The worst thing about President Gimmick is that he's not very good at it.
We cannot, as a community, provide for future consumption by financial expedients but only by current physical output. In so far as our social and business organisation separates financial provision for the future from physical provision for the future so that efforts to secure the former do not necessarily carry the latter with them, financial prudence will be liable to destroy effective demand and thus impair well-being....
Obviously congressional staffers are only a small part of the federal workforce, but the dirty little secret of Washington is that the country is run by poorly paid 25 year olds. Washington is an expensive city. Low level staff jobs really don't pay enough* unless you have some sort of parental support and backup, and of course such jobs are stepping stones to other careers in various corridors of power. In other words, only people of a certain class will tend to take such jobs and move into positions of real power.
In effect, the US government is now officially a right wing government, whether you like it or not. Obama's job now is to be the executive of that right wing government. And whether you like it or not, unless you want his role to be doing nothing other than vetoing legislation from now until the next presidential election, that is effectively all he can do
Americans have a pathological fear of what they perceive as someone having it off better than you. This is why we hate unions, health care, and illegal immigrants, and blindly support regressive taxes because we dream of ourselves magically becoming multi-millionaires someday. The entire history of opposition to progressive change in America is based on thinking that someone who isn't you is having their life improved, and that is infuriating for some reason.
By tradition, U.S. Attorneys are replaced only at the start of a new White House administration. U.S. Attorneys hold a "political" office, and therefore they are considered to "serve at the pleasure of the President." At the beginning of a new presidential administration, it is traditional for all 93 U.S. Attorneys to submit a letter of resignation. When a new President is from a different political party, almost all of the resignations will be eventually accepted. The attorneys are then replaced by new political appointees, typically from the new President's party.
Public employee unions say the compensation gap reflects the increasingly high level of skill and education required for most federal jobs and the government contracting out lower-paid jobs to the private sector in recent years.
"The data are not useful for a direct public-private pay comparison," says Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union.
Chris Edwards, a budget analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, thinks otherwise. "Can't we now all agree that federal workers are overpaid and do something about it?" he asks.
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