Too little of a good thing


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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

In Scott Wilson’s August 4, 2010 article in the Washington Post (Obama orders freeze on bonuses, monetary rewards for federal political appointees) he says: “President Obama ordered a freeze Tuesday on all bonuses and other monetary awards to federal political appointees…White House officials estimate that 2,900 employees will be affected by the order, which is projected to save the
government $1.9 million a year. “

Clearly this is a symbolic gesture on the part of President Obama and we wonder how much it “cost” the country to have him and his staff deliberate, decide and communicate this change which is insignificant  not only to the country as a whole but likely to the appointees.  Federal political appointees take these jobs not for the salary (or bonuses and monetary awards for that matter) but rather for the chance to be ensconced in the power brokering world of K Street.   People gravitate to these jobs for the prestige and power, not the money.  That being said, then why are “bonuses and monetary awards” part of the rewards package at all?

In part, we say good for Obama to suspend a meaningless expense.  But, like every action in our political structure these days, this is seen through the lens of partisan politics and extreme skepticism.  In itself, this was a good decision, because why should we pay folks bonuses when the job itself is enough?  In itself it was a bad decision because it is very clearly not enough.

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