A Review & Outlook in The Wall Street Journal today took on the president's pay freeze proposal, noting that it is modest but a step—as we argued on our blog yesterday:
Mr. Obama proposed a two-year pay freeze for all civilian federal employees, a move that will save taxpayers $2 billion in fiscal 2011 and $28 billion over five years. (Congress must approve it.) As cost-cutting goes, this is modest: The freeze doesn't extend to new hiring, bonuses or step increases. It doesn't even match the three-year freeze recommended by the President's deficit commission. But it is more than this Administration has ever been willing to consider, and it suggests that Mr. Obama, post-midterm-shellacking, realizes he must show some willingness to restrain the growth of government.
Federal worker union spokesmen will now argue endlessly that Obama doesn't care about federal workers—but how about the private sector workers looking at tax hikes to pay for the federal worker's bloating salaries? Does the president not care about them? Maybe he cares about all workers and realizes there must be some cuts made and this is a start. Hopefully he'll favor much deeper cuts as this debate evolves.