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The Progress Report – Freezing Hope

From The Progress Report:

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Freezing Hope

On Monday, President Obama announced that he will propose freezing the salaries of non-military federal workers “for two years to help cut federal spending.” In making his announcement, Obama pointed to the sacrifices made by Americans who serve in the military and said federal workers have to be able to make similar sacrifices by accepting a pay freeze. “These are also times where all of us are called on to make some sacrifices,” he said. “And I’m asking civil servants to do what they always do and play their part.” While streamlining the operations of the federal government and cutting back on wasteful spending is a key progressive goal, the pay freeze is the wrong way to accomplish it. A freeze on federal workers’ pay would have little impact on the budget deficit, discourage talented workers from staying in the federal workforce, harm the economy, fail to win over desired political support from conservatives, and bolster the conservative philosophy that unfairly blames the modest pay of public sector workers for a deficit caused by disastrous warstax cuts for the richexploding health care costs, and a recession spurred by Wall Street’s misdeeds. As an alternative to the freeze, public officials should champion bold progressive ways to cut the deficit that would both lower U.S. debt and protect spending on programs that grow the economy and invest in America.

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