President Obama plans to return 5 percent of his salary to the Treasury in solidarity with federal workers who are going to be furloughed as part of the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester, an administration official said Wednesday.
The voluntary move would be retroactive to March 1, the official said, and apply through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in September. The White House came up with the 5 percent figure to approximate the level of spending cuts to nondefense federal agencies that took effect that day. …
Word of the president’s decision came a day after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter disclosed that they would return a share of their salaries commensurate with the pay lost by the department’s civilian employees who are expected to be furloughed for 14 days before the end of the fiscal year.
Yes, it’s a real sacrifice for him, I’m sure. But fine, politicians making politically inexpensive, empty gestures is nothing new — my problem is that it’s a politically inexpensive, empty gesture designed to make it look like the president is a sympathetic yet ultimately powerless pawn in the sequestration drama, when the man not only signed off on the thing, but deliberately tried to make it all as painful as possible and refused to get on board with any mitigating efforts.
And hey, you know what else might make a really great “budget gesture”? How about crafting a budget that quits trying to expand the bureaucracy and garner more revenue and actually makes an effort to pay down our damaging level of debt, instead of… whatever it is that’s going on here: