A Temporary Federal Pay Freeze Might Be Part of an Acceptable Long-Term Deficit Reduction Deal with Republicans
But it makes no sense at all as a preemptive pre-negotiation concession.
Federal pay cuts: A bad idea for what gain?: In the context of the deficit, Obama will get chump change from freezing federal pay, and will only enlarge the degree to which federal pay lags that of the private sector (a gap of 22%, according to the federal pay agent’s report. See Table 4.) This is another example of the administration’s tendency to bargain with itself rather than Republicans, and in the process reinforces conservative myths, in this case the myth that federal workers are overpaid. Such a policy also ignores the fact that deficit reduction and loss of pay at a time when the unemployment rate remains above 9% will only weaken a too-weak recovery.
Why oh why can't we have better Democratic presidents?