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Presidential Election: Voter Guide for Feds

Pay and benefits, jobs and management, the scope and size of the U.S. Government — these are some of the major issues at stake for federal employees during this Presidential election. The next Administration will impact the entire federal workforce and the future of Uncle Sam.

Both candidates have laid out starkly different visions and plans on key issues affecting Feds, as well as federal contractors among the mammoth military-industrial complex.

Below are a few trusted media resources to help explain and reiterate the critically important differences between the President and his challenger on issues affecting the federal sector community. Consider this an informal voter guide for Feds. Vote wisely.

ALSO SEE: POTUS Re-Election: 5 Key Issues for Feds


Article and infographic: Obama v. Romney on federal pay, size of government and…

“Debate over the nature and scope of the federal government has taken on unusual prominence during the 2012 presidential elections. On the campaign trail, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have offered remarkably different visions of how they will manage a federal government facing tough budget decisions and other significant policy matters in the coming years. We’ve put together a graphic that we hope will guide you on how each candidate wants to shape federal spending, personnel, defense, and pay and benefits.”

Washington Post

Article: Obama and Romney on the issues: federal workforce

“The Post is taking a comprehensive look at the positions of President Obama and Mitt Romney on several key issues. For an interactive experience including polling, quotes and the ability to choose which candidate better represents your views, visit the Post’s Issue Engine. Here are Obama and Romney’s positions on the federal workforce…”

Federal Times

Article: Jobs, pay, benefits at stake in election

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as his running mate all but ensures federal pay and benefits will be a hot political issue during this year’s presidential campaign. Ryan has repeatedly backed steep cuts to federal employees’ take-home pay and a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce as part of his strict stance against government spending. Romney called Ryan an “intellectual leader of the Republican Party” when introducing him as his running mate Aug. 11.”


Article: Romney-Ryan would target federal workers

“Federal workers’ jobs will be under fire if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win November’s election. Both Romney and Ryan have made it clear that they think federal workers are one reason the nation’s deficit is too high, and have talked about shrinking payrolls and cutting benefits.”

Baltimore Sun

Article: As political rhetoric fires up, federal workers feel the heat

“You can’t blame federal workers if they’re feeling like a punching bag for politicians these days. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney rallies supporters with claims that federal workers are overcompensated by as much as 40 percent. The Republican Party vows, in its platform, to reduce their numbers by 10 percent…”

Washington Post – Federal Diary

Article: Federal unions push Obama and a few Republicans

“Although the candidates largely overlooked federal employees during the campaign, their positions are well known. As a result, Obama is the clear choice for federal unions.”


* All views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only.

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Dale M. Posthumus

I have lived in and around the Federal Govt for more than three decades. There is a tremendous amount of waste (program and personnel), but no one wants to address it. To cut waste, we must address it agency by agency, program by program. The personnel system needs a major overhaul. Any across-the-board pay freeze/cut is just a political cop-out. I would rather pay/reward the better Federal workers far more and move the less competent to either more relevant positions or out. I don’t have the answer how to do that. But, it starts with a willingness to talk, understand, and compromise (refer to the “Democrats vs. Republicans” thread).

David B. Grinberg

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Dale.

I agree with the sentiments you express. However, until we get money and lobbying out of politics altogether, don’t expect nirvana between the Dems and GOP any time soon. The Supreme Court has only made a bad situation worse via the Citizens United ruling.

What America needs is to take money out of politics — period — like many our friends in Europe have done. Total public campaign financing and free air time would go a long way toward creating “a more perfect union” in the political sense of the term.

As the late California politician, “Big Daddy” Unruh, once famously quipped, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.”

David B. Grinberg

New York Times: Romney, a challenger at the crossroads
“In the frenzied, final days of a roller-coaster two-year run for president, Mr. Romney, the Republican nominee, has arrived at a strange and unfamiliar moment. The political prize that eluded him in 2008, and his father, George, four decades before that, is suddenly within agonizingly close reach, despite it all: an ugly and seemingly endless primary, wall-to-wall attacks by Democrats on the private equity firm he founded, a botched foreign trip and, not infrequently, gaffes. All around him, aides who as recently as a month ago had been steeling themselves for defeat, murmuring that they had never really envisioned a job in the White House anyway, are now allowing themselves to privately muse about what life in Washington would be like.
Their boss is doing the same.”

David B. Grinberg

New York Times: A President’s last race, win or lose
“Win, and he has a chance to secure a legacy as a president who made a mark not simply by virtue of his original barrier-breaking election but also by transforming America in his image — for the better, he hopes; for the worse, his critics fear. Lose, and he becomes an avatar of hope and change who could not fulfill his own promise and whose programs might not survive his remarkable rise and fall.”

David B. Grinberg

Government Executive (GovExec.com):

Featured Article

What’s at stake for federal employees in the presidential election

“Government Executive senior correspondents Charles S. Clark and Kellie Lunney looked more closely at how Obama and Romney might lead government during the next four years, if they are elected on Tuesday. Below are links to their magazine features and to a comparison of the nominees’ positions on federal employee issues.

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have very different visions for the country and especially for what role government should play. Romney has criticized Obama’s approach as “trickle-down government” and has pledged to cut the federal workforce through attrition and consolidate or eliminate departments. He also has said he believes federal workers out-earn their private sector counterparts by 30 percent to 40 percent when benefits are included and has pledged to reduce the gap.

While Obama’s stance on compensation has not been especially popular among federal workers given his support for a two-year civilian pay freeze, he has proposed a 0.5 percent raise for 2013 (contingent upon Congress passing a budget). More broadly, he said during the Democratic convention in September that while government cannot solve every problem, “we don’t think government is the source of all our problems.” His management and workforce views have earned him endorsements from federal employee unions.”