Under the bill, S. 1476, salaries and bonuses would be frozen for three years, which Hatch said amounts to $140 billion in reduced spending over 10 years.
And I'm sure we wouldn't lose any highly qualified experts who could be earning far more in the private sector but are instead keeping us all safe at FEMA and the CDC. In a wage freeze, it's all too likely that the people who have options leave.
It would also require the administration to cut the size of the federal workforce by 15 percent over 10 years, amounting to 300,000 fewer workers. "This could easily be accomplished through attrition and would save taxpayers over $225 billion over that time," Hatch said.
That's only easy if you think that not replacing people as they leave, regardless of the importance of the positions they fill, is a good idea: "Well, we didn't fire anyone, and who needs mine safety inspectors, anyway?" (Note: This may be Hatch and Coburn's actual position on mine safety.)
A 75 percent cut to the federal travel budget would save an estimated $15 billion. "[I]mprovements in teleconferencing technology and web-based communication have made much of the government-sponsored travel that was required in the past unnecessary," he said.
Hey, maybe it could have saved us some trouble in the FAA shutdown if safety inspectors had done their work by Skype!
Think Progress provides some depressing context to this proposal:
As Matt Yglesias has documented, more than 500,000 government workers have lost their jobs since January 2009. Federal payrolls have been mostly flat for years, even as the population has been growing. In November, President Obama announced a two-year pay freeze for 1.9 million federal workers.
Heaven knows that what our economy needs is still fewer jobs and lower pay.