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Republicans and Raises

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The Washington Post raises an interesting question, do Virginia’s Republican Congressmembers oppose a standard pay raise for Federal employees?

The federal pay freeze proposal is the brainchild of Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.). But the overall YouCut program is being run by Rep. Eric Cantor (R), who, in addition to being the House minority whip is also a Virginian. And Virginia is chock full of federal employees. According to the Office of Personnel Management, Virginia has the second-most non-defense federal employees in the country, behind only California. (That ranking includes only states. The District has slightly more federal workers than Virginia, while Maryland has slightly fewer.) – The Washington Post

The presence of many Federal workers in Virginia has given some of Cantor’s fellow Virginia Republicans pause, including our own Frank Wolf, who stated flatly, “I’m opposed to it.”

Herein lies the problem with Republicans’ undifferentiated opposition to (non-military) government spending and deficit fearmongering. When it comes down to what to cut, and how to cut it, no one – especially Republicans – wants to be the one to give up their money.

Follow below for some discussion of Frank Wolf, raises and spending cuts.

Frank Wolf is a Republican who has voted for every tax cut proposed by George Bush, and also voted for every spending increase proposed by his Party. His entire career has been based on expanding the deficit.

Meanwhile, debt is the biggest threat to the Republic since Barack Obama, according to the Republican party. And Frank Wolf has been on that train as well.

It’s not about fiscal responsibility you see, it’s about rhetorical capability.

Frank Wolf’s own quote from the Post story expose Mr. Wolf’s inherently contradictory philosophy.

“I’m opposed to it,” said Rep. Frank Wolf (R), whose 10th district includes a wide swath of Northern Virginia suburbs.

Wolf noted that the pay freeze would apply to scores of federal employees — many of whom reside in his district — who he considers to be heroes, from the CIA employees who have died in Afghanistan, to FBI agents working at home and abroad, to National Institutes of Health scientists working to cure diseases.

As the co-sponsor of a prominent proposal to create a federal debt commission, Wolf said he was all in favor of identifying ways to cut spending. And he likes the general idea of YouCut, since “it’s good to find out what people are interested in.”

But Wolf doesn’t want federal employees put on the chopping block.

“I just don’t think it’s the right approach,” Wolf said. – The Washington Post

So create a debt commission, but god forbid you put my money on the table to solve that debt! Take a vote on what to cut, but if you don’t like the results of that vote, cry foul! (Where have I heard that before?)

[As a side note, Mr. Wolf’s answer to any problem isn’t to actually solve the problem, but to create a commission to study it. Because study is superior to solutions every time in his world.]

I am opposed to trimming Federal raises. I feel strongly that people who choose public service, and work for you and me (and not their own profit) deserve raises to keep up with the local cost of living. I am willing to increase revenue to make sure that happens. And yet, people like me are lambasted as the prodigal spenders? If only reality would reflect the rhetoric.

Jeff Barnett has a phrase, “We need to start solving our problems now. In our time. On our dime.” Our dime. That is the key difference between Republicans like Frank Wolf and Democrats like Jeff Barnett. Jeff Barnett and the Democrats live the philosophy of financial responsibility, they don’t just speak empty phrases.

So thank you, Mr. Wolf, for opposing your own Party for self-preservation. It’s clear you understand that opposing Federal raises in Northern Virginia is a bad idea. You wouldn’t have been re-elected for 20 years if you didn’t understand that.

But please, Mr. Wolf, don’t insult our intelligence by opposing raise cuts while continuing to decry the debt, and then merely proposing a commission to study the problem. That’s not leadership, that’s not even governance, that’s sheer policy cowardice. That’s not an answer, it’s an avoidance, and we voters of the 10th District deserve better.

(Crossposted from Loudoun Progress.)