Donald Trump has just sent a letter to Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan at his office on Capitol Hill informing him of his intention to freeze federal employee pay for 2019, much like the measure he sent over around this time last year, with a notable exception: Last year’s plan simply reduced a 1.8 percent increase in pay to a 1.2 percent increase, where this year’s executive action sets the increase at absolutely nothing, zero.
The move was expected after last year’s disastrous tax cuts, the vast majority of which benefited the wealthy in America by design, while implementing sunset provisions for the expiration of tax cuts included in the all-Republican package that benefit workers and most American households.
That tax bill immediately brought the deficit up by $1.5 trillion, none of which was paid for — offset by spending cuts or tax increases — in the actual bill. Desperate to maintain their credibility as the party of fiscal responsibility, Republicans have been scrambling to make up the shortfall since.
Most efforts that have been proposed by the GOP have come at the expense of those who can least afford to shoulder the burden: Seniors were shocked when the chair of the Republican National Congressional Committee admitted to CNBC’s John Harwood that the GOP was considering cutting Social Security and Medicare.
Federal government employees are, of course, your friends and family who work at the Department of Fish and Wildlife or the EPA or the Post Office, and it includes even those at NASA, Health and Human Services, and Housing.
Former presidents have understood the delicate dynamic between pay and benefits and the ability of the government to recruit and retain the best and the brightest in their fields. Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s administration is shaping up to be the epitome of Republican Grover Norquist’s vision of “shrinking government so small you could drown it in a bathtub.”
The letter can be found here.
Featured image via screen capture