I’m watching Barack Obama on television talking about his plan for a “pay freeze” for White House senior staff. This is a nice gimmick, but it’s stupid policy. The amount of taxpayer money saved will be tiny. Meanwhile, this sort of thing can have a quite destructive impact on the public interest. One thing any administration needs, for example, is well-qualified lawyers. And well-qualified lawyers have the opportunity to earn quite a bit of money in the private sector. And while it’s perfectly reasonable to ask people to take something of a paycut when entering public service, there are limits to how much you can really ask people to give up. We don’t want to overpay our public sector workers, but we also don’t want to deprive the government of qualified staff.
Now he’s moved on to information transparency stuff that sounds really good.