Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on August 12, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

With reports out that federal workers receive twice as much in compensation as their private-sector counterparts and a runaway deficit dogging his fellow Democrats, Barack Obama had an opportunity to score some points by reducing excess expenditures in the federal government.  He announced an austerity program to do just that, but Business Insider isn’t impressed.  Did Obama cut compensation across the board?  No.  Did he at least cancel bonuses throughout the executive branch?  Nuh-uh.  How about a pay freeze for political appointees?  Er …

Try this: A bonus freeze for some political appointees.

That’s what Obama is going to do, according to Reuters, as part of his effort to show that the Federal government is “tightening its belt.” Remember, we’re just talking political appointees, not the army of untouchable bureaucrats that make up so much of public worker spending.

He may also, if possible, push for a salary freeze for political appointees, but we won’t be going that far yet.

Yeah, well, don’t strain yourself, Mr. President.  After all, you’ve just recovered from last year’s arduous reversal of $100 million in federal spending.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day! Chris has started his annual fund drive, so be sure to visit the DBD site and keep DBD in action!


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Huzzah! Captain Kickass has struck again!

apostic on August 12, 2010 at 8:08 AM

Interesting that the only part of the administration that appears to be doing any belt tightening is Defense. Don’t get me wrong, there is redundancy and places that DOD can trim but why is that the only department doing it?

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:12 AM

Try this: A bonus freeze for some political appointees.

weak sauce champ.

ted c on August 12, 2010 at 8:14 AM

Well, that all sounds fine, but I hope he includes an ability to waive the freeze when necessary. Like he did with the lobbyist ban. Gotta have flexibility, ya know.

At a time like this the government has to be able to attract and retain top talent. And doubled salaries alone won’t cut it in this market.

Well played, sir.

azkag on August 12, 2010 at 8:20 AM

$100 million

Isn’t that Michelle’s tax funded private expense account figure?

maverick muse on August 12, 2010 at 8:20 AM

Why are government employees getting bonuses in the first place? Based on what? Perfect attendance?

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:21 AM

Trimming the Federal Budget with a scalpel is hard for a Community Organizer …

wheels on August 12, 2010 at 8:23 AM

Don’t just do something stand there!

30 pcs of silver on August 12, 2010 at 8:23 AM

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:12 AM

Bush appointed Gates knowing full well Gates’ agenda was to cut back to the point of national defense prepared to fight two war fronts at a time.

That could be seen as a blessing blast from the past, anticipating troop withdrawals from abroad, and anticipating damage control given Obama as the nincompoop CinC.

maverick muse on August 12, 2010 at 8:24 AM

Earning their bunuses just like Raines, Gorlick and company at Fannie and Freddie.

JimK on August 12, 2010 at 8:24 AM

Trimming the Federal Budget with a scalpel is hard for a Community Organizer …

wheels on August 12, 2010 at 8:23 AM

Especially since that organizer’s only agenda is to augment government in all ways pernicious.

maverick muse on August 12, 2010 at 8:25 AM

Why are government employees getting bonuses in the first place? Based on what? Perfect attendance?

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:21 AM

Cindy, I’d vote for you.

maverick muse on August 12, 2010 at 8:26 AM

On the one hand the FLOTUS is promoting healthier eating for children.
On the other hand the POTUS signs a bill which cuts the food stamp program.

Incompetance gone wild … the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing :(
.

philly_PA on August 12, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Why are government employees getting bonuses in the first place? Based on what? Perfect attendance?

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:21 AM

Opens an interesting question: Does one need to be present to vote “present?”

(OK. Not really all that interesting. But still….)

apostic on August 12, 2010 at 8:33 AM

maverick muse on August 12, 2010 at 8:24 AM

It’s good to see that Sec. Gates is sticking with his agenda. I still think it is telling that this administration has grown most departments and added tons of new people. How many years has the Left blamed DOD for their economic blunders? I wish I could say that it will be hard to hide the facts but I think we know that there are plenty of people willing to hide the truth.

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:35 AM

of the people, by the people, for the people

This principle needs to be reinstated big time…

Current day principle:

of the government, by the government, for the government

Keemo on August 12, 2010 at 8:39 AM

Because cutting the excessive (and unconstitutional) Obama Czars and Me-Chelle’s extravagant staff would be asking too much.

conservative pilgrim on August 12, 2010 at 8:41 AM

apostic on August 12, 2010 at 8:33 AM

My guess would be no. They only need to show up when the next magazine wants to do yet another story about good looking people in D.C..

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:42 AM

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime — by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less — because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy. – Øbummer nomination acceptance speech, 2008

.
.
FORE!

ExpressoBold on August 12, 2010 at 8:44 AM

Why are government employees getting bonuses in the first place? Based on what? Perfect attendance?

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:21 AM

The notion of a public employee ‘bonus’ is about as preposterous as a public employee ‘union’.

petefrt on August 12, 2010 at 8:45 AM

The average federal employee makes, including benefits, $123,000 a year.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Since they’re employed by the taxpayers, let the taxpayers determine their salary. Let every federal/state/local gov’t employee write up a short job description, and we’ll decide how much they’re worth.

If we could see some of those job descriptions, we’d probably get the vapors. Feds love to trump up “firefighters, police officers and teachers”, but I’m guessing most of those jobs are middle-management paper-pushing: Dept of this, Dept of that, doing a lot of nothing for their $123,000 paycheck.

Grace_is_sufficient on August 12, 2010 at 8:48 AM

doing a lot of nothing for their $123,000 paycheck.

I work with a lot of gov’t departments. “Doing a lot of nothing” doesn’t even begin do describe what WOFTAMS these people are.

mr.blacksheep on August 12, 2010 at 8:50 AM

petefrt on August 12, 2010 at 8:45 AM

Isn’t that the truth.

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:51 AM

do=to

mr.blacksheep on August 12, 2010 at 8:51 AM

Several months ago I filed a complaint with the state. I recently checked up on the status of my complaint and was told that my complaint had to travel through five different departments before a decision could even be discussed.

Five different departments! WTF…..
This is what happens when government grows and grows.
Waste, waste, and more waste…
This must end!

Keemo on August 12, 2010 at 8:54 AM

… doing a lot of nothing for their $123,000 paycheck.

Grace_is_sufficient on August 12, 2010 at 8:48 AM

Can we pay them more to do less?

apostic on August 12, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Wow.O sure knows how to cut expenditures. I feel better already.

Beaglemom on August 12, 2010 at 8:56 AM

Why are government employees getting bonuses in the first place? Based on what? Perfect attendance?

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:21 AM

And for finishing their lunch every day.

antisocial on August 12, 2010 at 8:56 AM

I agree that a lot of the fed’s workers are grossly overpaid. But one thing to consider regarding jobs in D.C. is the cost of living there really is exorbitant.

scalleywag on August 12, 2010 at 8:58 AM

This president is more than embarrassing. He’s dangerous, too. Not to mention stupid. I know the meme that he is doing this on purpose, but obviously he has the brain of a 5 year old if he thinks we aren’t noticing.

BetseyRoss on August 12, 2010 at 9:00 AM

I agree that a lot of the fed’s workers are grossly overpaid. But one thing to consider regarding jobs in D.C. is the cost of living there really is exorbitant.

scalleywag on August 12, 2010 at 8:58 AM

But most denizens of DC are gummint employees — cut salaries dramatically, and voila, the cost of living will drop, because the demand at the current prices will drop with the salaries (you know, that outdated concept of supply and demand).

mr.blacksheep on August 12, 2010 at 9:04 AM

mr.blacksheep on August 12, 2010 at 9:04 AM

You have a point there. I could probably make twice my salary if I moved to D.C. but I wouldn’t want to live there.

scalleywag on August 12, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Hey, if gubmint can ‘renegotiate’ bondholders’ rights, it can renegotiate union pensions too.

petefrt on August 12, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:12 AM

Yes, and DoD employees are largely an older workforce, with vast military experience (the kind you can’t get in the private sector), they have advanced degress and they are supporting the war fighter in the field.

We understand what they do. They keep us safe and they keep our troops safe.

What in hell employees do in the Energy Department, the Education Department, the Labor Department, the Agriculture Department, the Commerce Department and when you get down to it, the State Department, not an American in a million could tell you.

But what employees get cut? You guess it.

Democrats at “work”.

NoDonkey on August 12, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 8:12 AM

My husband is in the military, and could make considerably more in the private sector, which doesn’t change the fact that there are plenty of cuts that could be made at DoD. For example, the transferability of the G.I. Bill from military member to dependents is going to cost taxpayers a fortune, but no one who passed the provisions was willing to address it honestly because they don’t want to be viewed as anti-military. And, you’re absolutely right that there are much greater savings to be had elsewhere. In fact, if we simply cut out every single department, office, etc. that is not supported in the Constitution, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Unfortunately, far too many people recoil in horror at the idea that all these federal employees would suddenly be unemployed, ignoring the fact that those positions have no business existing in the first place.

DrMagnolias on August 12, 2010 at 9:26 AM

DrMagnolias on August 12, 2010 at 9:26 AM

I don’t think all that many people are recoiling in horror, other than our elite ruling class.

I always questioned the viabiilty of 20 year retirements for military members. Pay them up front has always been my position, then you properly account for it and you don’t have people who would rather leave but hang on just to make that 20 year mark.

But at least the military has a mission we understand and require.

As far as the State Department goes at least, from what I’ve seen we’d be better without them than with them.

NoDonkey on August 12, 2010 at 9:34 AM

When I rant against public employee excesses, I’m not including the military in the same category with federal/state gubmints. Somehow, I think of the military as a different breed altogether (which is why it’s so distressing to hear that the upper tiers are becoming infected with PC).

petefrt on August 12, 2010 at 9:50 AM

A bonus freeze for some political employees? Probably the ones he appointed as bribes to keep them from challenging his favored candidates in primaries, or maybe Hillary supporters.

zmdavid on August 12, 2010 at 9:54 AM

NoDonkey on August 12, 2010 at 9:14 AM DrMagnolias on August 12, 2010 at 9:26 AM

My husband is a veteran and retired civilian DOD employee. He has always said that if they received an order to cut a percentage from the budgets they could and did. My experience with government spending is at the public school level. Schools given a budget, bust their hindquarters at the end of the year to empty out their accounts so that they will get the same if not more the following year. It would never occur to these people to economize, even when they know they are spending on things unnecessary just to be spending. Our entire governmental mindset is wrong and I am afraid the only thing that will change it is catastrophe.

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 9:55 AM

petefrt on August 12, 2010 at 9:50 AM

The upper tiers are becoming PC because the people that promote them are PC.

The days of Patton and McCarthur are long dead, they might hurt someone’s feelings.

DoD employees (most of whom are veterans) support the military but the are still federal employees.

NoDonkey on August 12, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 9:55 AM

I’ve worked with the military on all sides (active duty, reserve, contractor and DoD employee) and it used to be very much that way, but it’s beginning to change, but slowly.

The DoD works with the guidelines that Congress gives to us. That’s why “Washington outsider” candidates who have no idea how the government works, are not good ideas.

It’s not enough to know that the system is screwed up because that’s easy, what we need are statesmen who understand how to fix it and how to implement it so it doesn’t cause dozens of unintended consequences.

That’s what vexes me about candidates like , Barack Obama, Al Franken and Linda McMahon. Sorry, but the learning curve is so great that if they spend three terms in the Senate, they still won’t know what they are doing.

NoDonkey on August 12, 2010 at 10:01 AM

Why wouldn’t Obama believe that his fictitious “belt-tightening” would resonate with the public? The same public bought him as a viable presidential candidate.

Extrafishy on August 12, 2010 at 10:01 AM

I work for the State as a teacher and have been in the military; the world is upside down when you work for government. They GIVE you money and then say, “Here, you MUST spend all of this by year’s end.” Nowhere else in the economic world does this model hold. My wife and I have a micro business on the internet. I have never told her that she MUST spend all the business account by the end of the year so that I can GIVE her more money next year.

Every penny that the government spends has been confiscated in the first place. We need to have a government for sure, but it should be small and local.

Mojave Mark on August 12, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Try this: A bonus freeze for some political appointees.

It’s like ordering diet cola with your double cheeseburger and fries and saying you’re trying to lose weight.

Disturb the Universe on August 12, 2010 at 10:22 AM

NoDonkey on August 12, 2010 at 10:01 AM

I am not sure I am comfortable with more game playing. I do understand your point about unintended consequences but it’s time to put a stop to this nonsense. Standard procedure in Congress now is to write bills so that they can be sure that either they and their benefactors can get around them or be exempt from them all together. And that’s only if they are laws they intend to enforce in the first place. We should not need a law degree to understand what is being done to us. I am not looking for more bad times but I am having a hard time seeing away around it. Trust me, I am the pony in the barn full of sh!t kind of person, these are not easy thoughts.

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Disturb the Universe on August 12, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Are you saying that doesn’t work?/

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 10:30 AM

These 0bamateurisms are flying in, fast and furious. Must be a real challenge for Ed M. to pick just one every day.

UltimateBob on August 12, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Schools given a budget, bust their hindquarters at the end of the year to empty out their accounts so that they will get the same if not more the following year. It would never occur to these people to economize, even when they know they are spending on things unnecessary just to be spending.

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 9:55 AM

I only wish this happened in my district. At the end of every school year, teachers are asked to conserve paper–paper, in an elementary school–because our budgets are woefully short. And we each spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars from our paychecks padding students’ school supplies.

I’m not whining, just stating my case from personal experience. The New Jersey teachers complaining to Christie about short funding receive three times the per-pupil spending our students receive. Maybe these are the districts to which you refer, Cindy–’cause this sure doesn’t happen in my area.

Grace_is_sufficient on August 12, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 10:29 AM

The problem is that the people “writing” the Bills are not really writing the Bills.

Congress is largely made up of professional campaigners. That’s all they do, that’s all they know how to do.

Writing legislation? That’s for staffers and for lobbyists.

Give me a PowerPoint brief to read on the plane on the way to another rubber chicken dinner.

Blame the American people. They’re the ones who put celebrity, put slick campaigns and fake promises, before statesmanship and proven accomplishments/experience.

Don’t be angry at federal employees, be angry at your incompetent legislators. That’s where the buck stops.

NoDonkey on August 12, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Several months ago I filed a complaint with the state. I recently checked up on the status of my complaint and was told that my complaint had to travel through five different departments before a decision could even be discussed.

Five different departments! WTF…..
This is what happens when government grows and grows.
Waste, waste, and more waste…
This must end!

Keemo on August 12, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Just be glad that you didn’t file a request for health care.

landlines on August 12, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Grace_is_sufficient on August 12, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Funny you should mention that. I haven’t been with the school system for quite some time but ordering paper was usually where they spent the majority of their “surplus”. Do teachers ever get to see the budgets of their schools in your area?

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 11:02 AM

NoDonkey on August 12, 2010 at 10:50 AM

I am not angry at federal employees. They applied for a job and were hired. People don’t know how the government is run. I would say more do now because of the internet but until their malfeasance hits the airwaves they assume that politicians run the country like they run their homes. Imagine if the postal service paid it’s own way. Either lives or dies on it’s own with out being subsidized. And trains and teeny tiny airports in the middle of nowhere. when a regular airport is within driving distance. The fact remains that this administration have increased, unnecessarily, the federal employee payroll. Since I wander back and forth between two states I let my “representatives” know that I am on to them. For what it is worth.

Cindy Munford on August 12, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Hey, if gubmint can ‘renegotiate’ bondholders’ rights, it can renegotiate union pensions too.

petefrt on August 12, 2010 at 9:14 AM

+1. We are in such a deep hole that the first rule should be that there are no rules.

BTW, the latest spin on these excessive government salaries is that the average education of these trough-feeders is higher. Some bot on Fox News said that last night. No word on what all those degrees are though and if they relate to the work being done. Government service may be where all those with degrees in basket weaving, black folklore, womyn’s studies, and diversity counseling may be ending up. Don’t know who else would hire them.

slickwillie2001 on August 12, 2010 at 12:35 PM

I suggest that at any private company, the formulas used to calculate bonuses give considerable weight to the profit the company makes. In government, since the entire operation is overhead, what are bonuses based on? They should be based on the nation’s budget deficits of course.

These bonuses are little more than ‘Christmas bonuses’ by a different name. If you have a pulse you probably meet the requirements. We might as well call them pay for the 13th month like they do in Greece.

No more bonuses of any kind until we run a surplus.

slickwillie2001 on August 12, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Captain Kickass? Captain Incompetent?

Kapten yang tidak kompeten
Captain walang kakayahan
Kaptein onbevoeg
Капитан неполноценными
Captain ipasavyo
El capitán incompetente
Captain Inkompetente

Yep, sounds the same all over the world.

DSchoen on August 12, 2010 at 3:58 PM