Obama still making things worse

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Yes, if there’s a double dip it’s solely his doing.

The highlighted paragraph is one for the history books:

Obama Curbs Federal Pay Increases

By Jonathan Weisman

August 31 (WSJ) — President Barack Obama blocked large pay raises slated for tens of thousands of federal employees Monday, overriding statutory formulas to hold pay increases to 2% in 2010.

Invoking the “national emergency” declared after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the president said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that under pay formulas set in 1990, federal employees with pay levels set according to comparable local wages are set for average pay increases of 18.9%.

White House officials say the declaration was routine. Ever since Congress passed the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act in 1990, presidents have been invoking the emergency clause to hold down pay increases due under the formula that mandates wages comparable to local pay levels.

That has created a yawning gulf. If Mr. Obama did nothing, the comparability formula would dictate a 16.5% pay increase, on top of the 2.4% cost of living increase.

That would be a $22.6 billion hit to the ailing federal budget in 2010. Cost of living adjustments alone were to boost pay by 2.4% for most federal employees.

Citing his right in an emergency to use an alternative formula, the president said he will keep the pay increases to 2%, the level he called for in his budget earlier this year.

“With unemployment at 9.5 percent in June to cite just one economic indicator, few would disagree that our country is facing serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare,” Mr. Obama wrote. “The growth in Federal requirements is straining the Federal budget. Full statutory civilian pay increases costing $22.6 billion in 2010 alone would put even more stress on our budget.”

Instead, the 2% pay raise will cost taxpayers $2.7 billion next year.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, expressed disappointment with the decision, noting the military is slated for wage increases of either 2.9% or 3.4%. Congress is still finalizing the 2010 budget.

“NTEU recognizes that it has been a very difficult year for the economy,” she said. “However pay parity is an important and accepted principle and reflects the reality that civilian and military workers both contribute strongly to our country and deserve the same percentage pay increase.”