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Federal Eye
Posted at 04:54 PM ET, 03/22/2012

What would federal workers do with a 0.5 percent pay increase?

President Obama proposed a 0.5 percent pay increase for federal workers in his January budget. While this increase is almost humorously low, it is still better for federal workers than the other proposals submitted by House Republicans, who have suggested freezing pay for another three years.

What do federal workers think about this proposition? Is something better than nothing, or is the increase so small that it isn’t worth it? Government workers’ responses from Twitter, GovLoop and our Federal Eye post ranged from sarcasm to deep concern:

* Send it straight to my Roth. Can’t miss (or spend) what you never see.

* Maybe one meal with my wife where we don’t have to look up to see the menu!

* Based on quantity -- it’s not much, but it’s the thought that counts. In this economy, with the tremendous debt we have, and continually spending more than we take in, any increase in pay should be appreciated. I work in local (County) government and we are not increasing pay (and have not since 2008). — Scott Kearby, Public Works at Harford County Government on GovLoop

* Buy college text books so that I can continue my Master’s Degree Program.

* One big word: GAS. I have to drive 30 miles to and from work (60) my wife also does this!

* The 0.5 percent pay increase would pay for about two weeks of daycare for my infant. That is approximately 25 percent of my monthly fixed expenses.

* Pay the increases in health insurance premiums.

* I’d use it for the necessities, as a 0.5 percent increase doesn’t come near to keeping up with inflation.

* Either my health insurance premiums or my co-pays will go up, or I’ll wind up in the next higher tax bracket. It might be just by a smidgen, but enough to wipe out any potential increase in actual take-home pay.

* Better than nothing, but still less than an adjustment to cover increases in other areas. The phrase “...wouldn’t mean much extra cash...” doesn’t apply because with other increases, it just means slightly less of a loss. — Katt Hancher, Human Resource Manager at RCG, Inc. on GovLoop

* Context. If inflation is greater than the amount they are adjusting, then the net effect is a loss. A .5 percent increase for some people (depending on their tax bracket) is a .3 percent increase after taxes. If inflation is 3%, then the net gain is -2.7 percent. A freeze equals a net loss equal to the amount of inflation. There’s a good chance we’re going to see inflationary pressure rise over the next three years - which equals a bigger loss. Watch the value of the dollar. Of course, if unemployment rises over the next three years, having a job at all may be better for some. — David Dejewski, Principal at IDEAL Investments LLC on GovLoop

* Since the raise will be .5 percent of my annual salary, I’m going to use it as a down payment on my new Learjet. After all, I do work for the federal government, so you can reasonably expect that .5 percent of my salary would easily cover such an expense.

* Maybe I would buy a tall brewed coffee from Starbucks, since I’d clear about that much more after taxes.

* I would buy a new pack of gum for 2013.

* In reality, I will never see it. Thou shall give it: Thou shall take away

Read more: What would a .5 percent raise mean?

By Allison Primack, GovLoop and  |  04:54 PM ET, 03/22/2012

Tags:  Federal buzz

 
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