Editorial: Federal raises unreasonable

Jan. 01, 2013 @ 04:59 PM

Quietly and without fanfare, President Barack Obama displayed his leadership abilities last Thursday after returning to Washington for talks on spending cuts and tax increases, also known as the “fiscal cliff.”

The president signed an executive order, “Adjustments of certain rates of pay,” according to the official White House website. In short, federal workers got a small pay raise, half of 1 percent.

For the majority of federal workers, it kicks in March 27. Among those federal workers are the vice president, members of the House of Representatives and members of the Senate who labored to the final hour before partially reaching a deal on the cliff Monday night.

Obama ordered pay of federal workers frozen in December of 2010, saying spending needed to be cut. Has that much really changed? Not enough to merit raises.

Most Americans are struggling to hang on to jobs. Mere cost of living raises in most businesses are only happening through union contracts. Even Michigan is now a right-to-work state.

If an American isn’t one of the millions taking a pay cut, or a reduction from full-time to part-time, or being laid off, chances are slim and none he doesn’t know someone who has been.

The president’s action isn’t simply a badly timed one. It is the wrong one. The only time this action was going to be the right gesture was when our country was significantly better off economically, away from thin ice with our credit rating, and measuring economic gains by ladles instead of teaspoons.

As for the timing, Obama’s move came not only while Congress was frozen in fiscal cliff negotiations, it came on the heels of the 112th Congress being the most unproductive since the 1940s when measured by laws passed. They’ll be gone when the raise kicks in. The newcomers are no more deserving.

We have been dumbfounded before by bonuses for CEOs of failing, struggling or bailed out banks and businesses. Federal workers, and we mean more than just Congress, represent our company called the USA, and currently we’re not doing very well on the bottom line.

There is no acceptable explanation on how and why we can give raises.