Romney Promises 10% Reduction in Federal Jobs, Wage and Benefit Cuts, in Recent Policy Speech
With the presidential elections less than two months away, candidates have started to assert their positions on key federal employee issues. Republican nominee Mitt Romney offered his stance and other key policy positions in a speech before the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, CA Monday (full transcript). His message: cut federal jobs, wages, and benefits to curb federal spending.
“I will look to sharply increase the productivity of Washington by reducing federal government employment by 10% through attrition, by combining agencies and departments to reduce overhead, by cracking down on the $115 billion a year in improper payments in government programs, and by aligning government compensation with that of the private sector,” said Romney in his address. “These things combined will reduce spending by about $500 billion a year by the end of my first term.”
While no one will argue the need to crack down on improper payments from certain programs, there is plenty at issue with his proposed cuts to wages, benefits, and most important of all, jobs. The 10% reduction in federal jobs Romney is calling for would result in the loss of roughly 200,000 jobs through attrition. This would turn an already dire situation into a complete disaster at federal agencies already starved of resources and personnel due to huge budget cuts. On top of that, his call to “align government compensation with that of the private sector” promotes the false narrative that federal workers are paid better than their private sector counterparts. In spite of the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown year after year that federal employees make roughly 25% less than their counterparts, Romney continues to claim that federal workers make at least 30-40% more.
“Mitt Romney needs to truly reconsider his platform on federal employees,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “The former Governor has said time and time again that he wants to be the ‘jobs president.’ How does he expect to live up to that name when his goal is to singlehandedly undertake the destruction of 200,000 middle class federal jobs? In this economy he shouldn’t be talking about slashing jobs, we should be fighting to save every last one.”
To make matters worse, Romney’s statements came just days after the House approved a six-month spending measure which includes a three-month extension of the two-year federal pay freeze. President Obama has spoken in favor of the proposed continuing resolution, effectively endorsing the three month extension included in the measure.
As Election Day draws nearer, both presidential candidates need to review their policy platforms and strive to reflect the vital necessity of the federal workforce – for the good of our government and our nation.