By BRIAN MARK WEBER September 3, 2021
He abandoned Americans and allies, but he made sure government employees got a raise.
With Americans still trapped in Afghanistan, inflation soaring, kids losing out on another year of schooling, and joblessness rampant across the country, President Joe Biden really has his priorities in order. There may not be a worse time to raise federal workers’ salaries than during economic, political, and military chaos, but that’s exactly what Biden did this week when he used his presidential “emergency powers” to pad the paychecks of government employees in 2022.
Unsurprisingly, the move was praised by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. Who doesn’t want a bigger paycheck?
In a letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President of the Senate Kamala Harris, Biden declared that “national emergency or serious economic conditions” warrant his decision to increase federal salaries.
It must be nice to work in a cubicle deep in the bowels of a DC federal building and have Uncle Joe kick in a nice raise. Meanwhile, the poor schlub down the street has to pray for another stimulus check to make up for the job he lost during the government shutdown. Maybe that guy should apply for work in a federal agency.
The Congressional Research Service reported more than two million federal workers in 2020. The number doesn’t include those working in the CIA, FBI, White House, U.S. Postal Service, State Department, or other agencies. That’s a heck of a lot of pencil pushers.
Let’s be clear: This isn’t a categorical knock on federal employees, some of whom are fine Americans who work hard. But many of them aren’t and don’t, and let’s not forget that the expanding bureaucracy runs on the tax payments made by everyone else. In return, a significant portion of the federal workforce doesn’t really produce anything of value to society.
It’s easy to hand out raises when you’re playing with other people’s money. What organization in the private sector gives every single employee a raise every single time, along with a lifetime job guarantee and a generous pension? That company doesn’t exist.
In the real world, if Ned spends more time at the office solving his Rubik’s Cube than finishing his weekly reports, it’s off to the unemployment line. In Washington, Ned could last for years without being noticed, all while living a pretty good life in the DC suburbs.
Even still, all of this might not taste so bad if it weren’t for the poor timing.
Maybe if we were all feeling the positive effects of a roaring economy driven by a party in power that looks out for all American workers, a federal pay raise might be easier to swallow. But now, it’s insulting. Federal employees already rake in an average salary that’s roughly two-thirds more than their private-sector counterparts.
“Yes, after creating the veritable model of incompetent governance recently witnessed by horrified Americans and allies around the world, Mr. Biden has decided this is the moment to declare a swamp-wide pay raise,” James Freeman writes in The Wall Street Journal. “What on earth does this latest raid on taxpayers have to do with addressing national emergencies?”
We all know it’s not an emergency, especially for someone pulling in six figures and guaranteed a cushy retirement. For everyone else, this is a kick in the teeth.
We’ve all seen in recent days how President Biden just doesn’t get it when it comes to relating to ordinary folks. He couldn’t even properly respect the remains of our soldiers coming back from Afghanistan, so we shouldn’t be surprised he’s handing pay raises to federal employees while the rest of us wonder how we’re going to make ends meet.