Modest gesture from president When the boss takes a pay cut, you can be sure those under him will do the same.
So it is with President Obama, who is returning 5 percent of his salary each month to the U.S. Treasury to show solidarity with government workers impacted by sequester cuts. Hundreds of thousands of workers could be forced to take unpaid leave if Congress does not undo the cuts.
Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are among cabinet members who are giving back a portion of their salaries.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry is donating 5 percent of his salary to charity.
How long before all members of Congress follow suit?
The Obama pay cut -- $20,000 -- is a relatively paltry sum, considering he is paid $400,000 as president. (This doesn't take into account the millions he has earned as a best-selling author or the millions he would be expected to make once he leaves office, a la Bill Clinton.)
The pay cut is more a symbolic gesture than anything of substance. And Obama, the "hope and change" president, is about as good at it as any president before him.
While the president immerses himself in such symbolism, an agreement with Congress on long-range deficit reduction remains elusive.
Meanwhile, there are signs that the U.S. economy may be starting to cool just as the sequestration cuts have begun.
Symbolism has its place, but what the American people want from their president and Congress is action.