USA Today reports that President Obama is seeking a cap on federal pay raises:
President Obama urged Congress Monday to limit cost‐of‐living pay raises to 2% for 1.3 million federal employees in 2010, extending an income squeeze that has hit private workers and threatens Social Security recipients and even 401(k) investors.
…The president’s action comes when consumer prices have fallen 2.1% in the 12 months ending in July, because of a massive drop in energy prices. The recession has taken an even tougher toll on private‐sector wages, which rose only 1.5% for the year ended in June — the lowest increase since the government started keeping track in 1980. Private‐sector workers also have been subject to widespread layoffs and furloughs.
Last week, economist Chris Edwards discussed data from the Bureau of Economic research that revealed the large gap between the average pay of federal employees and private workers. His call to freeze federal pay “for a year or two” received attention and criticism, (FedSmith, GovExec, Federal Times, Matt Yglesias, Conor Clarke) to which he has responded.
As explained on CNN earlier this year, the pay gap between federal and private workers has been widening for some time now: