From the couple of answers from Federal workers so far, the .5% is the equivalent of "meh!?" in physical terms.
But what about the implications of Congress using government personnel as the scape goats for other bad decisions in spending. There's got to be a psychological toll in terms of uncertainty and a perception of disrespect. Terry hints at that when he says, "I have come to accept that we won't be getting a pay raise any time soon." That sounds like a morale buster if the workforce as a whole feels that way.