I am a federal employee. Believe it or not I am actually fine with the general idea that the COLA increases that we would get are frozen... I get it, the economy sucks, not a lot of people are getting anything resembling pay raises. I am happy that I have a job that pays well and gives me a reason to get out of bed (hard on cold days like this) as well as a feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day.
In the end this was all about making a symbolic easy decision that will get lots of play while the country's leadership uses it as cover to avoid making the really hard decisions. Let's face it, Federal employees are great targets, in the grand scheme pounding on us will have virtually no political downside for the President or anyone who votes for it (does anyone really think that the vastly liberal government workforce is suddenly going to vote Republican?). And for the rest of the country we are one big stereotype of being overpaid and under-worked that, other than the military and a few other organizations, gets little love from either side of the aisle. I would be more accepting if this was part of a bigger plan to actually balance the budget.... Instead we are the sacrificial virgin who gets thrown in the volcano to show that the chief is trying to do something about the problem.
This solution is predicted to save 2 Billion dollars in FY11, 28 Billion over five years and maybe 60 Billion over the next 10 years. Sounds massive and impressive right? But what else are they really going to do? The federal deficit for FY09 was 1.42 Trillion dollars (1420 Billion....). The total federal debt? 13.856 Trillion dollars. So this move saved 0.15% of the current deficit (at best 0.45% if the end of ~ 6 Billion per year is realized). This isn't even what you can call a good start toward solving this problem that threatens every single American and our way of life.
Ask me how this feels when I see a plan that actually proposes to solve this crisis (and kills the crushing debt that looms over us). Until then all I can say is that the lava really hurts (though in the grand scheme this doesn't hurt me too much personally) and that the volcano is not satisfied with its latest sacrifice.