While U.S. unemployment remains well above eight percent, the Obama administration is proposing a half-percent pay raise for federal employees as part of its 2013 budget plan, an Office of Management and Budget official announced Friday.
The modest, but rather untimely, pay increase will mark the first uptick since before the two-year federal pay freeze enacted in 2010, which was branded by the White House as a joint effort in which federal workers would share in the "sacrifice" with the private sector, as the economy remained persistently stale.
"A permanent pay freeze is not an acceptable policy," said a senior administration official, noting the impact of the two-year pay freeze on the two million workers currently on the federal payroll. "While modest, a 0.5 percent increase reflects the belt-tightening we must do in these difficult times."
Although the compensation boost rests far below the recent 3.6-percent cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security, the mere deed of inflating public-sector compensation may hatch some negative sentiment among private-sector workers, as well as the army of unemployed Americans who have yet to find work.
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