Yes, Barack Obama is calling for sacrifices today. In fact, he cites the attacks on the United States of September 11th, 2001 as reason for the sacrifices – by Federal employees – of a small part of their automatic pay raises:
Citing the current economic recession — and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks eight years ago — President Obama says he will use emergency powers to cut the programmed across-the-board January increase in federal employees’ pay from 2.4 percent to 2.0 percent, according to a letter he sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday.
The move was not a surprise, as Obama telegraphed a 2 percent increase in the budget he proposed earlier this year. But it’s certainly not welcome news for federal employees, whose unions protested when Obama’s budget was released.
“Title 5, United States Code, authorizes me to implement an alternative pay plan if I view the adjustments that would otherwise take effect as inappropriate due to ‘national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare,’ Obama wrote in Monday’s letter. ‘A national emergency, within the meaning of chapter 53 of title 5, has existed since September 11, 2001. Likewise, with unemployment at 9.5 percent in June to cite just one economic indicator, few would disagree that our country is facing serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare.”
Loyal defender of unionized Federal employees Steny Hoyer leapt to the barricades to stop the evil Obama intentions:
“Congressman Hoyer is a strong supporter of our federal workforce as well as the principle of pay parity, which ensures equal annual compensation adjustments for both civilian federal workers and members of the military. Though he believes it is reasonable to have a smaller adjustment this year during a time of national economic hardship, he was extremely disappointed the administration did not follow pay parity,” Hoyer spokeswoman Stephanie Lundberg said.
Meanwhile, the senior citizens – who vote regularly and in large numbers – will not be seeing a draconian 0.4% cut and a net 2% raise in their benefits. They’ll see nothing at all in the way of a cost of living adjustment. For two years or more. And their net checks will go down since deductions will be going up.
Millions of older people face shrinking Social Security checks next year, the first time in a generation that payments would not rise. The trustees who oversee Social Security are projecting there won’t be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the next two years. That hasn’t happened since automatic increases were adopted in 1975.
By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly.
This is the kind of tin-eared stupidity that gives me really high hopes for the retirement of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House next November.
Obama did not have the guts to call for a zero raise for unionized Federal workforce, despite negative inflation – but he has no problem sacrificing the elderly’s COLA. The House leadership leaps to defend more money for unionized Federal employees – without a word for the seniors.
They obviously forget that they work for the voters. That is why they are in trouble.