Just in time for Christmas, President Obama signed an executive order on Monday giving a 1 percent pay raise for federal employees. The raise follows a four year hiatus from salary increases for federal workers, although most federal employees have apparently seen their pay increase via promotion or performance. The first increased paycheck will kick in on January 1.
President Obama’s reward to the federal workforce follows his longstanding belief that government work ought to be a first option for Americans. Nonetheless, Obama’s decision to raise federal pay only widens the income inequality gap between federal workers and private sector employees; as of 2011, the average private sector employee made $59,804 in salary, and $28,000 in benefits, while the average federal workers made $74,436 in salary and $40,000 in benefits.
Furthermore, the gap between Washington, D.C. culture and the rest of the country is growing ever larger. Between 2000 and 2012, according to Census Bureau statistics, Washington, D.C. household income jumped 23.3%; the rest of the country, by contrast, dropped 6.6%. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “The Washington, D.C. metro area — which includes the surrounding suburbs in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia — has it even better, with a median household income of $88,233 that ranks highest among the U.S.’s 25 most populous metro areas.”
But Washington, D.C. remains completely dichotomous, with the percentage of residents living 50% below the poverty line increasing 1% during that period.
President Obama’s Christmas present to his federal friends will amount to nothing more than another lump of coal in the rest of America’s stocking.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.