TRR: Let the Feds feel our pain

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In today’s editorial “The Imperial District” we note with concern the fact that Washington D.C. is now the metropolitan area with the highest average income in the country. The article reports that average pay and benefits for Federal workers in the area in 2010 was an outsized $126,369, a 3% increase over the previous year. Nationwide, median incomes fell.

Most of the Federal increase came from a 2% cost of living adjustment (COLA). Given that the yearly average consumer price index (CPI) from 2008 to 2009 declined by .4 percent it is hard to justify even a 2% increase — a true cost of living adjustment would have been a pay cut. And considering that nationwide, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 6.7 percent between June 2009 and June 2011, it shows how well the Feds have it compared to everyone else.

But why should Federal workers get what amounts to an annual raise just for showing up? Rather than tying pay to the CPI, why not base the adjustment on how well the rest of the country is doing? When American workers’ wages are rising, let Federal workers benefit as well. When they are in decline, as they have been recently, let Federal pay follow, in a spirit of shared sacrifice. It is only fair. And it is a better incentive to fix things than simply collecting unearned pay rises.

As it stands, the bureaucrats are getting fatter as the country grows more lean. At some point enough is enough.

And while we’re at it, throw in Congressional and Presidential salaries too.

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About the Author

James S. Robbins

James S. Robbins, Ph.D., former Senior Editorial Writer for Foreign Affairs, was formerly professor of international relations at the National Defense University, associate professor of international relations at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College and special assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld. Dr. Robbins is author of the recently released "This Time ...

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