President Obama’s salary and pension may be exempt from sequestered cuts but that hasn’t stopped him from taking the same cut that other federal employees are being subjected to due to budget sequestration. Today, it was announced that the POTUS plans to return 5% of his $400,000 annual salary in response to and in support of federal workers who are going to be furloughed.
The president’s move will be retroactive to March 1st, the first day the ongoing $85 billion in budget cuts known as the sequester began to take effect. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced a similar move a couple of days ago and today, during his first major policy speech delivered at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington today, he warned listeners about upcoming deep and sharp cuts to personnel, health care and weapons systems across his department, in order to stem the tide of staggeringly high costs while preparing the U.S. military for new challenges.
Where’s congress in this?
The POTUS and the Defense Secretary have taken a cut — voluntarily — and the military will have to take cuts (long overdue, war hawks!) but congress is staying silent on this?
Of all groups that should take a pay cut, if only as a show of solidarity with the workers whose salaries are being reduced as a direct result of congressional ineptitude, it’s congress. The 112th Congress was noted to be the most ineffective, unproductive congress ever — and the current, 113th Congress, appears to be on track for more of the same. Remember when they increased their own salaries? What, exactly, was that for? It certainly wasn’t based on merit.
Without the obstruction and distracted focus on issues such as what women do with their lady-parts, congress could actually do something novel such as focus on the need to get Americans back to work. Perhaps if Congress were subjected to a pay cut they’d be more motivated to actually get the job done that Americans elected them to do.
During his speech today Chuck Hagel said, “If we refuse to lead … someone will fill the vacuum.” He couldn’t be more correct — and on this issue, this is what leadership looks like.