Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More WTF? More Cool From Team Obama Giving Up Salary Money in Show of Sequestration Layoff Solidarity?

President Barack Obama waits for a heavy rain to pass before crossing West Executive Avenue from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to the West Wing of the White House, March 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
12 March 2013, West Wing Wait: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

From Denny:   America, forget about political optics, sliding our way this entire past week was more cool  from the Obama White House channel.

Yes, it's true.  There actually are federal officials giving away their money back to taxpayers.  Happily blame Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter for starting this trend when they jumped up and volunteered to put some skin in the sequestration game. (See this post for details.)

"Yes, don't ask of your country what they can do for your wallet but rather volunteer some of your paycheck back to your country's wallet" may be the new political trend?  One thing is for sure, these Democrats  definitely make the Republicans look like the usual stingy political losers flying their freak flags on the national political highway.


RISE to the Situation saying in large font

Last Wednesday President Obama volunteered 5 percent of his salary, $20,000, be returned to the Treasury for the next 10 months while the sequestration is in effect as his show of solidarity with federal employees affected by the budget cuts to their salaries.

From White House Press Secretary Carney:  "The salary for the President, as with Members of Congress, is set by law and cannot be changed.  However, the President has decided that to share in the sacrifice being made by public servants across the federal government that are affected by the sequester, he will contribute a portion of his salary back to the [national] Treasury."

President Obama has been criticized by some in the media as this paycheck return is no sacrifice since they think he can make it up four years from now when he goes on the international speech circuit.  Thanks to the sales of his books from his previous campaigns he is now a millionaire as well.  Well, guess what, as former President Jimmy Carter once intoned, "The wealthy are some of the cheapest and stingiest people around.  It's the average person who gives more to charity."

That said it is highly significant that President Obama is willing to give back part of his own paycheck, earning $400,000 (plus a $50,000 nontaxable expense account), to the Treasury as a show of solidarity with federal employees in his executive branch who will be foregoing their money.  When was the last time you gave back $20,000 of your salary or five percent?  For most people that five percent amounts to what it would cost to own a car and drive back and forth to work for the year.  That's not a lot of fun to figure out where they are going to cut the family budget to make it up.  At some point you just can't keep cutting.

Kudos go to President Obama for choosing to stand up and do something President Bush never did - or actually any President since President John Kennedy - give part of his salary back to the Treasury.  Obama lands in the growing Admiration Corner, standing next to Def. Sec. Hagel and his Deputy Def. Sec. Carter.

Who else has crossed the Selfish Divide to join them?  Of all people, there is now Attorney General Eric Holder of the Justice Department choosing to do the same as solidarity with the sequestration cuts in his own department.  He will give up the same amount of his paycheck furlough days as his employees.  Holder currently earns $199,700 so his maximum pay cut would be $10,750.  When was the last time you said goodbye so quickly to $10,000 plus?

As a frequent critic of his handling of the Justice Department, since he has not yet weeded out the rogues and cowboys who are more concerned about crushing people's lives and careers for political vendettas than in meting out true justice, this move certainly is an astounding surprise.  So, yes, Eric Holder now lands in the Admiration Corner too.  Hey, you can't keep wailing on a guy in the woodshed when he finally gets something right.  AG Holder is considering furloughs of up to 14 days for his employees but hopes to avoid doing so.  Hey, wouldn't you try to hold on to your $10,000 too? :)

New Secretary of State John Kerry decided to give his 5 percent of his $183, 500 annual salary more creatively in a different twist:  to State Department charities.  His contribution will be $9,175.  What are those State Department employee charities?  They benefit those who were injured or killed on the job.  There are other charities that benefit the children of employees.  Sec. Kerry wants the contribution to be a direct impact on the State Department family.  Hey, charity begins at home and there's nothing like rallying the troops for goodwill with an "I Care" package to start your tenure.

More federal folks joining the Admiration Corner?  Treasury Sec. Jack Lew and Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano have also publicly declared for returning portions of their $200,000 salaries as sequestration solidarity.

Who else will add themselves to the Admiration Corner?  Currently, it is only filled with Democrats and those of greater personal wealth.

Have any Republicans joined in giving up part of their salaries?  Where is Speaker Boehner and all those other loud mouths complaining about how much government waste exists?  What are their excuses for not joining in the gesture?

Better yet, why is anyone holding back, especially all top members of Congress both Democrat and Republican - whether their particular department/staff is suffering loss or not from this idiot sequestration?  If you don't have any "skin in the game" what is anything worth of what they do on a daily basis in their jobs?

One thing is for sure, far too many media are trying to trivialize this excellent gesture.  Consider this:  We are ALL called to the Path of Integrity.  Scorn no one as they take a first step - even a tentative one - no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, for it is the small that really do change the world.


RISE to the Situation saying in large font

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