Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Obama and the Pay Freeze: He Can Get Away With It

I feel no particular reason to cheer about the prospect of a federal employee pay freeze: I'm impressed by Jonathan Zasloff's argumente that it is not the park ranger's fault that Wall Street decided to gamble with the global financial system and lost.  I share Mark Kleiman's view that It’s lousy negotiating strategy, because it gives the right wing something it wants without getting anything back  But here's a hard truth: as far as Federal staffing goes, he can get away with it.  He can get away with it because we are in a nasty economy with near 10  percent unemployment and under constraints so bleak, just about any public job looks pretty good.  The critics say that a lot of these jobs come with lousy pay  They do, but they come with pay, and I'm remembering Joel who likes to talk about the Federal service in the 30s, and what good tax auditors we had because the nation was awash in good accountants and lawyers for whom this tight little boltholt looked like a fine place to ride out the storm.

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