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April 04, 2013

Solidarność !

I do not know about you people, but I am feeling all warm and fuzzy:

President Obama plans to give up 5 percent of his salary this year to draw attention to the financial sacrifice of more than 1 million federal employees who will be furloughed by automatic spending cuts starting in less than three weeks, the White House said Wednesday.

The gesture comes as the president has struggled for weeks to convince Americans that the $85 billion sequester that kicked in across the government a month ago is having dire consequences for government services.

Obama, who earns $400,000, wrote a check to the U.S. Treasury this week, the first installment of his donation of $20,000, retroactive to March 1, the day sequestration started to slice 5 percent from non-Defense programs, a White House official said. The checks will continue through the end of the year.

Obama cannot claim true solidarity with most federal employees. He has published two best-selling autobiographies and the vast majority of his income comes in the form of royalties. According to tax returns, the president and Michelle Obama made $750,000 in 2011. In the previous year, the couple made $1.8 million and in 2009 they reported an annual income of $5.5 million.

As is his wont, the President eventually followed the example set by his subordinates:

... On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he will return a portion of his salary to share the pain with 750,000 Defense civilians who will lose 14 days of pay this fiscal year. The Environmental Protection Agency announced that Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe decided — before the president’s action became public — to donate 32 hours of pay to a fund that provides emergency loans, child-care subsidies and other financial help to federal workers.

And the Department of Housing and Urban Development disclosed that Secretary Shaun Donovan and eight politically appointed deputies will donate seven days worth of salaries. Their checks will either go back to the Treasury or to a nonprofit housing group that helps low-income Americans.

“HUD’s leadership stands in solidarity with the rest of the employees and we are committed to sharing in this sacrifice together,” Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones said in a statement.

Vice President Biden’s office said he has not decided whether he will follow suit.

Too funny. Since December, the Spousal Unit has been saying, "If that man had any brains, he'd offer to take the same pay cut as the people who work for him". And to think that all it took was the shame of being beaten to the punch by middle management....

In case you're wondering, the word for the day is, "Solidarity":

All three networks on Wednesday and Thursday parroted the exact same talking points from the White House, touting Barack Obama for expressing "solidarity" with struggling workers by taking a five percent pay cut. The President made the move, which amounts to a minuscule $1700 a month, in the wake of sequestration. On Good Morning America, Josh Elliott trumpeted, "[Obama] says he wants to show solidarity with government workers who face a furlough because of budget cuts."

Over on NBC's Today, Natalie Morales touted, "In an attempt at solidarity with federal workers feeling the sequester spending cuts, President Obama is giving himself a five percent pay cut on his $400,000-a-year salary." Offering a remarkably similar thought, World News anchor Diane Sawyer rounded up the amount to a year's total: " That's $20,000, to show solidarity with government employees who will be furloughed." In an impressed tone, the host praised, "The White House says Obama will personally write a check to the Treasury."

Showing group think, Evening News anchor Scott Pelley insisted, "President Obama will return five percent of his salary each month as a show of solidarity with federal workers whose pay was reduced by those recent across-the-board budget cuts."

The anchors of Thursday's CBS This Morning did not use the word solidarity. However, after recounting the news, well-known Obama fan/co-host Gayle King gushed, "Thank you, President Obama!"

Dang. It's almost as though these people share the same copy editor.

Posted by Cassandra at April 4, 2013 01:12 PM

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How touching! I presume it is tax deductible? Grifters always know their mark

Posted by: vet66 at April 4, 2013 01:34 PM

I wonder how long it will take Biden to follow suit? :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 4, 2013 01:37 PM

Solidarność z skurczybyki.

Posted by: George Pal at April 4, 2013 02:07 PM

If I had a "solid R nose" I'd have trouble speaking, too.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 4, 2013 03:52 PM

I absolutely appreciate the president's really stupid and futile gesture. Thanks Mr. President! We'll use it to cover the cost of the next 0.3 holes of golf you decide to play, or maybe to offset 8 minutes of one of your girls' overseas spring break vacations. In any event, I'm sure glad that we have a leader that thinks small, like the Little Man he represents.

Posted by: spd rdr at April 4, 2013 03:56 PM