Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has reprised his recent "I am outta here" signature on the Females in Combat authorization by recommending to Congress that military pay raises for fiscal year 2014 be limited to 1.0%, down from the 1.7% pay increase for FY 2013, and down again from the 2.9% annual pay increase since FY 2010, which was the minimum allowable as it was tied to the Employment Cost Index of the Department of Labor, so that it could not exceed the average private-sector wage growth.
This does not include the request to cut Guard and Reserve pay that was floated last summer. Nor is this the standard scare tactic of threats to withhold Social Security and military paychecks unless the Republicans do as they are told. It brings to mind again the aphorism of Francis Quarles by way of Rudyard Kipling:
Compare this to the Obama executive order that authorizes pay raises for federal civilian employees, to the tune of $11 billion, in time to slide in under the wire before the sequestration debates really heat up. House Republicans have proposed a bill that would stop the pay hikes. The lead sponsor of the bill is Rep Ron DeSantis (R-Florida):God and the soldier we adoreIn times of trouble, not before.When trouble's gone and all things righted,God's forgotten and the soldier slighted.
The President has once again demonstrated his penchant for unrestrained spending by giving federal employees an across the board pay hike and sticking the rest of us with the $11 billion bill. At a time when the average federal worker compensation is nearly double the median US household income, and attrition from the federal workforce is already at an all-time low, we simply cannot afford this unnecessary and unilateral action by the President.
Being the epitome of Chicago machine politics, it's difficult to imagine Obama being politically tone deaf in the unfortunate timing of his executive order. Now that he's a lame duck, maybe he just doesn't care.