President Trump used the Labor Day holiday to remind Americans that over-privileged, overpaid federal government employees don’t need a pay hike, while he in effect made the case why we need to abolish government unions in the United States.
The president also used the holiday to fight back against attacks by Richard Trumka, the radical left-wing head of the massive labor federation AFL-CIO, which represents hundreds of thousands of federal employees.
Before the national holiday got underway Monday, Trump indicated he was planning to spend the weekend considering federal government employees’ pay rates. On Thursday the president notified Congress he would cancel a scheduled 2.1 percent raise for federal employees. Congress could do an end-run around the move by including the pay hike in fiscal legislation.
“In light of our Nation’s fiscal situation, Federal employee pay must be performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets,” Trump indicated in a letter to congressional leaders.
“I’m going to be doing a little work over the weekend,” Trump said in Charlotte, N.C., where he was promoting a new administration initiative on retirement savings.
“I’m going to be studying the federal workers in Washington that you have been reading so much about, people don’t want to give them the increase, they haven’t had one in a long time, I said I’m going to study that over the weekend.”
Despite leftist apoplexy over the Trump administration’s imagined austerity measures, federal pay rose this year effective Jan. 1. Executive Order 13819 signed by President Trump on Dec. 22, 2017, boosted federal civilian pay by 1.9 percent.
Although some lawmakers called for Trump to continue the tradition of pay parity between the military and civilian workforces, Congress did not intercede to further increase civilian pay rates. In August last year, Trump formally announced his alternative pay plan to increase pay by 1.9 percent, a requirement to prevent a more generous raise from automatically kicking in as a result of the 1990 Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act.
“A pay increase of this magnitude is not warranted, and federal agency budgets could not accommodate such an increase while still maintaining support for key federal priorities such as those that advance the safety and security of the American people,” Trump wrote at that time.
Eager to pander to Democrat-leaning federal employees in the Washington suburbs, Beltway-area Republicans don’t have Trump’s back.
U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) used left-wing rhetoric to attack Trump last week.
“We cannot balance the budget on the backs of our federal employees and I will work with my House and Senate colleagues to keep the pay increase in our appropriations measures that we vote on in September,” said the perpetually vulnerable Comstock.
Corey Stewart, the Republican running for the U.S. Senate in Virginia, also disagreed with Trump’s policy position.
“I almost never differ with President Trump, but in this case, I do,” he said. “Federal employees in Virginia wake up early, face punishing traffic and work hard to serve their nation and support their families. These workers need and deserve a pay raise. I encourage President Trump to reconsider his position.”
The pandering is pointless. Stewart has almost no chance this November of defeating incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine (D), who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016. Kaine has a 19.3 percent lead over Stewart, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.
No one –especially taxpayers— should weep for U.S. government employees.
As FrontPage previously reported, federal government employees are taking home a “minimum wage” of $100,000 and getting two months paid vacation after a mere three years of employment.
With a workforce of 2 million people, the U.S. government is one of the most generous employers around, spending more than $1 million a minute on pay and benefits to its employees, for a total above $136 billion a year in fiscal 2016, according to “Mapping the Swamp, A Study of the Administrative State,” by government watchdog group Open the Books. The study excludes 742,000 civilian employees at the Department of Defense as well as the 1.3 million men and women on active duty.
Open the Books found that over the previous 10 years the number of federal employees earning $200,000 a year had jumped 165 percent and that 406,960 employees earn $100,000 or more, prompting the group to label the $100,000 paycheck the federal “minimum wage.” At 78 out of the 122 independent agencies and departments studied, the average employee compensation in fiscal 2016 topped $100,000. The typical fed gets 10 federal holidays off, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days, and those with three years of service receive more than eight weeks paid vacation.
Out of control federal pay is driven by the unrestrained greed of government workers’ unions that maintains upward pressure on wages, increasingly insulating federal employees from the everyday American experience. As the nation plunges deeper and deeper in debt, governments at all levels find themselves unable to pay their bills, yet out-of-touch public employees relentlessly continue shaking down taxpayers. All across the country, rapacious government unions are eating taxpayers alive, while working feverishly to shape the political battlefield to their own advantage—under cover of a crusade for “social justice.” Government employee unions function as an unelected fourth branch of government, augmenting its –and their own— power at taxpayer expense, as I argue in my David Horowitz Freedom Center pamphlet, Government Unions: How They Rob the Taxpayer, Terrorize Workers, and Threaten Our Democracy.
Trumka’s AFL-CIO is a major part of the problem.
The AFL-CIO-affiliated American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union in the U.S., representing 700,000 federal and D.C. government workers nationwide and overseas.
Meanwhile, on Sunday AFL-CIO President Trumka attacked Trump.
“Unfortunately, to date, the things that he’s done to hurt workers outpace what he’s done to help workers.”
Ignoring explosive job-growth figures seen since Trump became president, Trumka engaged in class-warfare nonsense on Fox News Channel, claiming Trump hurt Americans by lowering taxes, slashing job-killing regulations, and by failing to enact a major infrastructure program.
Although unemployment has fallen, so have wages “since the first of the year,” Trumka said. “Gas prices have been up since the first year. So overall, workers aren’t doing as well,” he said.
In the crucial midterm elections November it “probably will be Democrats” that his members support “because Democrats support working people more than Republicans.”
On Labor Day, Trump fired back on Twitter, claiming Trumka had represented his union members “poorly.”
“Some of the things he said were so against the working men and women of our country, and the success of the U.S. itself, that it is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly. A Dem!” Trump added.
Expect the rhetoric to heat up as Election Day approaches.