Pay Freeze: Is It Two Years, Or Three?

Thursday - 3/3/2011, 4:00am EST

Many good-looking people are drawn to Hollywood in search of fame.

Lots of money-driven types head for the Big Apple to make their fortunes.

The not-so-good looking who are also math-challenged gravitate to D.C., where they become politicians, lobbyists, journalists or parking lot attendants. Washington, to some, is seen as the refuge of ugly class presidents.

(Disclosure: I was sophomore, junior and senior year class president. And my picture has been retouched. A lot.)

Mike Causey's class photo if he'd gone to a different D.C. high school and played football instead of baseball. (Library of Congress photo)

All of the above explains (at least to my satisfaction) the purpose of Tuesday's column about the duration of the federal pay freeze. In his Saturday radio address, the President said he had frozen federal pay for three years. A number of readers called and wrote to say they thought it was a 2-year freeze and wondered if this was a misstatement or a warning of things to come.

The White House said the President was referring to the 3-year pay freeze he's imposed on White House salaries, not the 2-year freeze on federal civil service pay. Clear, right? Wrong. Dozens of readers said that in fact the 2-year pay freeze is in fact a 3-year freeze.

  • "As a Federal Employee for several decades, I have seen this type of rhetoric many times before. But what is different this time, is that they keep extending the CR by short intervals. Nervous Feds are forced to relive this matter over and over. We need certainty. If there is to be a government shutdown and furloughs, let me know now so I can prepare for the worst. Just extending or delaying the bad news only adds to the frustration." Marsha

  • "The '3-year' pay freeze wasn't a 'mis-spoke' on the part of the President. It is also in the transcript put out by the White House.

    "Right there in black and white. He read what was written for him to say.

    "So, what is it? A 'mis-spoke,' a typo, the former, the latter, both, neither?

    "Not the kind of statement to make with all that's happening (or, as the case may be, not happening) this week." Kris, IRS

  • "We Federal employees are actually suffering a 3 year pay freeze. I am getting precisely the same gross salary as I did in 2010 (26 pay periods.) Current 2011: will be 26 pay periods. And next year 2012: will be 26 pay periods. It is clear my pay has been and will be frozen for a total of 78 pay periods, which is 3 years. Do not kid yourself. I am suffering through a 3 year pay freeze while all other expenses are increasing, I get nothing more. In fact my take home pay for 2011 is $72.00 less per pay period than 2010 because my health insurance went up." Anon

  • "As a long time Fed... the current fed-bashing has exceeded all of the prior bashing I have taken. I have worked from Pres. Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, GW Bush, Clinton, GHW Bush, and now Pres. Obama. They all took the opportunity to kick Federal employees whenever it was politically convenient." N at the Labor Department

  • "Actually, our salaries will be the same for the next three years." Dave A.

  • "Why hasn't the White House looked at RIF (reductions in force) or early outs or voluntary retirements as a means of reducing the federal workforce? To me, that seems like an easy way to clear the rolls." Mike P

  • "I work for the IRS & I feel that refunds should NOT be processed during a government shutdown. The pressure the Republicans are putting on Congress to slash budgets now & slash them drastically is, they claim, driven by the desire of their constituents to do so. If taxpayers (their constituents) don't like paying the federal workforce, they should suffer the repercussions. Just my two cents worth....." Sue

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

From NewScientist.com, "in 2004, the Guinness Book of World Records proclaimed the anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the quietest place on Earth. It was measured at -9.4 decibels." A negative decibel reading, explains NewScientist means the measured sound is below the threshold of human hearing. That makes it a sound that can't be heard.


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