By: Brian Evans
On Thursday, President Trump rescinded the Federal workforces 2.1% pay raise, citing a need for a merit based pay raise system, rather than an automatic 2.1% pay raise for federal employees, and in some cases, even more. In fact, President Trump penned a letter to Congress, and called for a freeze on federal pay raises, roughly saving the American taxpayers $25 billion. He said…
“We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.”
President Donald J. Trump
The President’s actions once again immediately drew massive anger from Democrats and one of the largest federal employees unions, citing that taxpayers should have to fork out more money, rather than federal employees being denied mandatory pay raises, regardless of merit or work ethic.
Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy (VT-D) went even further, and suggested that if House lawmakers said that the Democrat ‘resistance’ would fight against any House legislation that doesn’t include a pay raise for federal employees.
Interestingly, one of the major problems in government today, is that federal employees have extremely high salaries, when compared to their private sector counterparts. Also, pay isn’t based on education, skills, or even job performance, which leads to their pay being astronomically high, all while refusing to allow them from being fired or laid-off if they don’t do the job efficiently, or at all, that they were tasked with performing. Likewise, their private sector counterparts are not paid by taxpayer dollars, which I term as “other people’s money”. Instead, they are paid with company or business profits. Therefore, if they don’t perform their job well, if they don’t help to make the business grow or remain successful, or if they become lazy or complacent, they are subject to being laid-off or fired. After all, if the company cannot afford to keep them, they will lose their job. Furthermore, if private sector employees want increased salaries, the business MUST MAKE PROFIT, or INCREASE PROFITS to make the salary increases feasible. As a result of this lopsided and unsustainable system of federal employee pay and benefits, it has accounted for just one of the problems with federal dollars being carelessly spent, which has helped to lead to an ever-increasing federal deficit.
For example, when comparing the compensation of federal workers to private sector employees, the results are irrefutable. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), during the 2011-2015 period, the difference between the wages, benefits, and total compensation of federal civilian employees and those of similar private-sector employees varied widely depending on the employees’ educational attainment. In fact, with the federal government employing more than 2.2 million workers, comprising more than 1 1/2% of the American workforce, the expenditures to federal jobs has become a record shattering burden on the American taxpayer. The federal government has become a MASSIVE BUREACRACY, which is composed of more than 100 agencies, 650 occupations, and millions of workers. Frighteningly, the federal government even competes with many private sector companies and employees, who are finding it hard to compete with federal companies who have unlimited taxpayer dollars, are not at risk of folding for losing money, and have the backing of the United States government and taxpayers.
In 2016, the American taxpayers had to pay federal government employees more than $215 billion in compensation. Interestingly, federal workers receive yearly pay raises and improved benefits, regardless of their job performance or dependability.
During the period of 2011 to 2015, the CBO found that…
- Federal civilian workers whose highest level of education was a bachelor’s degree earned 5 percent more, on average, in the federal government than in the private sector (see figure below).
- Federal civilian workers with no more than a high school education earned 34 percent more, on average, than similar workers in the private sector.
- By contrast, federal workers with a professional degree or doctorate earned 24 percent less, on average, than their private-sector counterparts.
Also, the CBO found that the federal government would save the taxpayer 3%, if it based its pay to federal workers on their levels of education, like is done with the private sector counterparts. Also, the federal government would save billions upon billions of dollars a year, if they based their salary increases on job performance, rather than giving automatic raises, regardless of dependability and performance.
Another area of concern that is costing the federal government billions, and therefore the American taxpayer is in federal employee benefits. Federal workers have incredible benefits, which include health insurance, retirement, and paid leave, in comparison to the private sector. Once again, the Congressional Budget Office found that…
- Average benefits were 52 percent higher for federal employees whose highest level of education was a bachelor’s degree than for similar private-sector employees (see table below).
- Average benefits were 93 percent higher for federal employees with no more than a high school education than for their private-sector counterparts.
- Among employees with a doctorate or professional degree, by contrast, average benefits were about the same in the two sectors.
Regardless of the facts, democrats and federal employee unions continue to push for ever-increasing pay and benefits. In fact, Sen. Mark R. Warner (VA-D) whose state is home to about 175,000 federal workers, stated the president’s move in calling for a federal worker pay raise freeze, and merit-based pay that is similar to the private sector employees pay-raises, an “assault on our federal workers”. Senator Warner said…
“the latest attack in the Trump administration’s war on federal employees. Congress can and must stand up to the president and reject this assault on our federal workers by passing the 1.9 percent pay raise that the Senate approved on Aug. 1.”
Senator Mark Warner (VA-D)
It also drew criticism from Republican Barbara Comstock (VA-R) who presides over a Northern Virginia district, which includes thousands of federal workers. She is up for re-election, and is desperate to get the votes of federal employees. She said…
“I strongly oppose eliminating the pay raise for civilian federal employees and will work with my colleagues to have the pay raise included in our appropriations. Our public servants have been getting shortchanged for years, including three years of pay freezes under the Obama administration. Republicans recently made a strong statement in the House of Representatives supporting ICE and the work our dedicated homeland security officials do. We cannot balance the budget on the backs of our federal employees, and I will work with my House and Senate colleagues to keep the pay increase in our appropriations measures that we vote on in September.”
Representative Barbara Comstock (VA-R)
Ironically, only federal employees can vote out their bosses, who refuse to give them raises, while private sector employees cannot. After all, if the private sector was able to do such a thing, it would be the end of America, as a global economic superpower.
In addition to Democrats, and Republicans who depend on federal employee votes, J. David Cox Sr., national President of the American Federation of Government Employees, said that he believes that it the pay raise of 2.7% is the minimum, insinuating that it should go even higher. He said that the Senate-approved pay raise for civilian employees is…
“the minimum that Congress should consider. President Trump’s plan to freeze wages for these patriotic workers next year ignores the fact that they are worse off today financially than they were at the start of the decade. Federal employees have had their pay and benefits cut by over $200 billion since 2011, and they are earning nearly 5 percent less today than they did at the start of the decade.”
J. David Cox Sr., President of the American Federation of Government Employees
However, what J. David Cox Sr. fails to point out, is that federal worker compensation and benefits had become so bloated over the years, that it had become astronomically high. It has been adjusted under previous Administrations, in an effort to control an out-of-control and bloated bureaucracy, which has truly become a fourth branch of government in the United States. We have the Executive, Legislative, Judicial, and the Federal bureaucracy, which has become so powerful, that it has allowed un-elected leadership to control our Congress, corrupt our court system, interfere in our elections, and change the outcome of an election, by using every means possible to unseat anyone who dares oppose their agenda. Especially someone like President Donald J. Trump, who seeks to end an out-of-control federal bureaucratic machine, and un-elected Deep State.
Now, as President Trump is trying to implement “pay adjustments”, as authorized under federal law, the Democrats and bureaucratic allies are once again attacking him. President Trump said that…
“I view the increases that would otherwise take effect as inappropriate.”
President Donald J. Trump
He was referring to the fact that the White House Office of Management and Budget having projected that the federal budget deficit will rise to slightly more than $1 trillion in fiscal 2019, an increase of $101 billion from the current year. Now, as the President tries to cut spending, and balance the budget, one of the largest federal expenditure categories, which is our federal bureaucracy (or swamp) is fighting back.
President Trump vowed to reduce America’s budget deficits, and now he is tasking his Administration with doing just that. Other areas that consume the largest taxpayer resources involve Social Security and Medicare, which Congress has refused to address, on both the Republican side of the aisle, but especially on the Democrat side of the aisle.
President Trump has vowed to veto any further spending sprees, like the $1.3 trillion spending bill that was passed in 2017.
President Trump will allow the United States military troops to receive a 2.6% raise, as he is trying to rebuild a crumbling military infrastructure, which has been decimated by years of funding cuts, staffing cuts, and infrastructure shortfalls. Likewise, President Trump cited that the overall federal workforce pay freeze…
“will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well‑qualified federal workforce.”
President Donald J. Trump
Also, he pointed out that a move towards merit-based pay for the federal workforce would strengthen the federal agencies. He said…
“The cost of employing the federal workforce is significant. In light of our nation’s fiscal situation, federal employee pay must be performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing federal employees and those with critical skill sets.”
President Donald J. Trump
He went on to say that across-the-board pay increases and locality pay increases
“have long-term fixed costs, yet fail to address existing pay disparities or target mission critical recruitment and retention goals.”
President Donald J. Trump
Progressive-Democrat leaning groups like VoteVets further attacked the President stating that he was attacking veterans, and called it “simply obscene” to freeze pay, after Republicans passed broad personal and corporate income tax cuts. However, what they fail to mention, is that the tax cuts were for all Americans, and income has had record-setting increases, with records being hit in unemployment, profits, and the over-all well-being of ALL AMERICANS, including America’s federal workers, and not just private sector employees. Regardless, VoteVets purports to predict the future, and ignores the truth as they claim…
“Our hardworking veterans sacrificed for this country, and at a time when wages are stagnant and inflation is on the horizon, it is simply cruel to cancel a pay raise that so many of these veterans in the workforce were depending on,” Mr. Fischer said. “It is simply a lie to say we don’t have the money. We do, but Donald Trump would much rather give it to his CEO buddies, for stock buybacks, than put it in the pockets of our workforce.”
Mr. Fisher, Vote Vets President
Democratic National Committee spokesman Daniel Wessel cited the move as…
“another slap in the face to American workers. Trump sent the deficit skyrocketing to give massive tax breaks to big corporations and the wealthiest Americans while working families got nothing.”
Daniel Wessel, DNC Spokesman
However, Mr. Wessell and his fellow Progressive Democrats refuse to acknowledge the out of control spending that occurred under former Administrations like President Barack Obama. They fail to note that Congress controls the purse strings, and that the Democrat “Resistance” has blocked or tried to block any meaningful attempts by President Trump, or fiscally conservative Republicans to balance the budget, or reign in, an out of control bureaucratic branch of government. A branch, which is un-elected, un-regulated, and has become more powerful than anyone in Washington D.C., or throughout America. Even more troubling, Mr. Wessel, fails to note the overwhelming financial success that President Trump has bestowed upon the American people, or the economic success that Americans have now begun to feel and realize, as the Trump tax cuts stimulate the American economy, and truly have begun to ‘Make America Great Again’.