Without a doubt, COVID-19 is an equal-opportunity disease.
Not only has it caused illness and death, it’s also caused and is still causing severe financial hardships such as layoffs, salary reductions and diminished job opportunities.
Currently, the private sector is being hit the hardest. However, due to significant drops in tax revenues, government employees at all levels are soon going to feel the pinch, and it won’t be pretty.
What can be done to avoid this? It’s easy—and it’s hard. No, I don’t mean print more inflationary federal dollars. I mean shared sacrifice.
I have some recommendations for AFSCME, AFL-CIO, police, fire, exempt employees, teachers, the City Council, etc. First, freeze all government salaries for two years. Second, impose a modest salary reduction for elected officials and department heads, and then continue pension reform where legally possible. Lastly, increase the federal gas tax to help offset the cost of the stimulus checks.
Obviously there is some pain here, but the result would be worth it for both taxpayers and employees.