I've sussed it. It just came to me why there's a federal pay freeze, and it has nothing to do with saving money.
Remember the story about the fellow who left the factory every evening with a wheelbarrow full of straw? The guards suspected him of stealing, and searched the straw carefully, but found nothing. Eventually they offered him amnesty if he would tell them what his plan was. He said:"You fools, don't you see? I'm stealing wheelbarrows!".
So here we are again, after story after story mentions the mind-boggling increase in federal workers making six-figure incomes, and by implication, the even greater numbers of federal employees enjoying unprecedented fat paychecks.
You fools, the pay freeze is to prevent their pay from being cut!