Is this a pay increase or a pay cut?

According to this Washington Post article, President Obama’s budget proposes a 1.4% pay increase for government civilian and military personnel next year.  The article says this is less than the 2% civilian and 3.4% military pay increases this year.

Democrats are notorious for referring to spending increases as decreases.  For example, if the budget of the Department of Energy has been growing at 5% a year and is then reduced to 4%, in the past Democrats would call this a 1% spending cut, even though they are still increasing spending by 4% from the previous year.

Why aren’t they consistent when describing salary changes?  Using their lingo, a 1.4% pay increase is  a 0.6% cut for civilians and 2.0% cut for the military.

I’ve always thought that referring to a year-over-year increase as a cut was absurd and meant to be deceptive for those who don’t pay too close attention.  The fact that they are not consistent by referring to these pay increases as cuts confirms that.


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