It may be a mostly symbolic gesture, but President Obama appears to be putting his money where his mouth is. The White House says the President plans to return 5 percent of his salary in a show of solidarity with federal workers affected by the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester. The administration says the move will be retroactive to March 1, apply through the rest of the fiscal year and the number is commensurate with the level of non-defense cuts. And on the defense-related front, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday that he too will return a portion of his salary for an equal number of days that employees are locked out because of furloughs. Hagel also warns Pentagon workers to prepare for deep cuts in the face of mounting economic pressures, including nearly $1 trillion in projected spending over the next decade. While the decisions may be mostly symbolic, it does not mean that they will have some impact. They could also prove hopeful to Americans who are feeling the pinch of the cutbacks. And besides, it’s not like a lot of lawmakers are giving up parts of their paychecks. If anything, it will raise more awareness for what is happening across the country as a result of sequestration. But perhaps the bigger question is what Washington is actually doing to fix the economy? We’ll tackle that and more when we see you at noon ET on msnbc.
Kurt Andersen, Radio Host, “Studio 360”/Author, “True Believers” (@kbandersen)
Leigh Gallagher, Assisting Managing Editor, Fortune (@leighgallagher)
Heather McGhee, Vice President, Demos (@hmcghee)
Chelsea Clinton, Board Member, Clinton Global Initiative and William J. Clinton Foundation (@chelseaclinton)
Zainab Salbi, Writer and Producer, Nida’a Alnissa Productions; Founder, Women for Women International (@zainabsalbi)
Jada Pinkett Smith, Actress (@jadapsmith)
Sam Stein, Political Editor and White House Correspondent, The Huffington Post/msnbc Contributor (@samsteinhp)