Just in time for the holidays, President Obama today announced a massive plan to freeze salaries of federal employees for two years. The step is to get the whopping deficit under control.
"The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government," Obama said. Share the pain, spread the love?
The freeze would apply to all civilian federal employees, including those working at the Department of Defense. But, the freeze would exclude military personnel.
The White House says the hold would save $5 billion over two years, $28 billion over five years and more than $60 billion over 10 years — a small dent considering the U.S. is more than $1 trillion in the hole.
The chairmen of Obama's bipartisan deficit commission actually proposed a three-year freeze in pay for most federal employees as part of its plan to reduce the growing deficit. The commission's final report is due to be released later this week.
Our very own Lawrence O'Donnell crunched the numbers and came up with a slightly different answer. Along with Senators Bill Bradley, Gary Hart, John Danforth, Bob Packwood, the group balanced the federal budget this past summer in a special project for Esquire magazine. Get details here.