What the meaning of freeze is

Randall Hoven
President Obama is freezing the salaries of his staff, just like he did last year.  Whatever that means.

Here is how Ed O'Keefe explained it in the Washington Post.

"Obama last year froze the salaries of top White House officials earning more than $100,000, and this year's freeze will once again impact them and other top Executive Branch appointees, politically appointed ambassadors and political appointees serving in the Senior Executive Service -- roughly 1,200 people."

Believe me, that is as deep as the explanation gets.  No actual salary levels are given - before, during or after any "freezes."

Let's take the President's Chief of Staff as an example.  The current Chief of Staff is Rahm Emanuel.  His predecessor, under President Bush, was Joshua Bolten.  Now if Bolten was paid $100,000 and Emanuel was paid $150,000, but kept at that level for a year, was his salary "frozen"?  After all, it didn't change for a full year, even though it was 50% more than Bolten's.  If it goes up to $225,000 this year, another 50% increase, but is kept there for the full year, do we call that "frozen" again?

If that is the case, virtually everyone paid a salary in this country is operating under a salary "freeze."  That is, the salary stays at some level for some fixed amount of time, typically one year.

And if that is the case, the term "freeze" is meaningless.  What we want to know is how much Emanuel's salary increased over Bolten's, and how much it has increased since he started.  That it stays at some level for some amount of time is useless information.  More accurately, it is a perfectly quintessential Obamaism: sounds good, means nothing.

Maybe the salary freeze really is a meaningful one.  It could be possible, for example, that Rahm Emanuel is paid exactly the same as Joshua Bolten.  But no one is asking such questions.

Hence, the second of my Five Easy Questions for Obama.  We are in year two of this so-called "salary freeze", reported breezily by the Washington Post as some kind of policy accomplishment.  Yet we still don't know anyone's actual salary and how it compares over time.

Given how hard it is to get basic information from this administration, one could be forgiven for thinking that maybe there's a reason for that.
President Obama is freezing the salaries of his staff, just like he did last year.  Whatever that means.

Here is how Ed O'Keefe explained it in the Washington Post.

"Obama last year froze the salaries of top White House officials earning more than $100,000, and this year's freeze will once again impact them and other top Executive Branch appointees, politically appointed ambassadors and political appointees serving in the Senior Executive Service -- roughly 1,200 people."

Believe me, that is as deep as the explanation gets.  No actual salary levels are given - before, during or after any "freezes."

Let's take the President's Chief of Staff as an example.  The current Chief of Staff is Rahm Emanuel.  His predecessor, under President Bush, was Joshua Bolten.  Now if Bolten was paid $100,000 and Emanuel was paid $150,000, but kept at that level for a year, was his salary "frozen"?  After all, it didn't change for a full year, even though it was 50% more than Bolten's.  If it goes up to $225,000 this year, another 50% increase, but is kept there for the full year, do we call that "frozen" again?

If that is the case, virtually everyone paid a salary in this country is operating under a salary "freeze."  That is, the salary stays at some level for some fixed amount of time, typically one year.

And if that is the case, the term "freeze" is meaningless.  What we want to know is how much Emanuel's salary increased over Bolten's, and how much it has increased since he started.  That it stays at some level for some amount of time is useless information.  More accurately, it is a perfectly quintessential Obamaism: sounds good, means nothing.

Maybe the salary freeze really is a meaningful one.  It could be possible, for example, that Rahm Emanuel is paid exactly the same as Joshua Bolten.  But no one is asking such questions.

Hence, the second of my Five Easy Questions for Obama.  We are in year two of this so-called "salary freeze", reported breezily by the Washington Post as some kind of policy accomplishment.  Yet we still don't know anyone's actual salary and how it compares over time.

Given how hard it is to get basic information from this administration, one could be forgiven for thinking that maybe there's a reason for that.