More Highly Paid Federal Employees

November 14, 2010

Here we go again with another report on federal government employee pay outpacing pay in the private sector. A recent analysis from USA Today notes the following bit of information:

The number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more a year has soared tenfold in the past five years and doubled since President Obama took office.

For example, the report notes that the number of federal employees making $150,000 in 2005 was 7,420; in 2010, it is 82,034. This is in light of previous news that the average federal employee was making double the compensation of the average private sector employee.

All of this occurs at a time of economic stagnation where the unemployment rate remains near 10 percent and the federal debt is near $14 trillion. Never forget the fact that taxpayers, the same taxpayers who are making less on average, are the ones paying for all of this.

The term ‘public service’ has often been used in the past to imply that government employees are making a sacrifice to serve the public. Perhaps, in light of these trends, the term should be scrapped.

Employment: Growth in Federal Government, Decline in Private Sector

August 15, 2010

Below is a recent graphic from the Heritage Foundation displaying a stark visual demonstration of the growth of federal government employment compared to the decline of employment in not only the private sector but also state and local governments. What is particularly noteworthy is that it doesn’t even include temporary census workers.


Take Your Time Counting

August 3, 2010

With no incentive to turn a profit, government becomes quite inefficient. Take for example a report from the Orlando Sentinel highlighting discontent on the part of a few Census workers who walked off the job.

The story noted the following:

As the 2010 census winds down, three Volusia County census takers couldn’t wait for the latest phase of the headcount to end. They walked off the job three days after they started, adding to the complaints that the effort is wasteful, inefficient and frustrating. Andy Miller, 54, of Daytona Beach said he quit after being told by his supervisor to return three times to a vacant house that he verified with a real-estate agent had been empty for more than six months. … What the Census Bureau defends as being as thorough and accurate as possible, Miller and the others regard as a system designed to take as much time as possible. The attitude of managers, they said, was that the three-visit rule was a good way to make the job last longer.

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Words for the Weekend – 7-30-10

July 30, 2010

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=theodore+roosevelt&iid=5907676″ src=”″ width=”117″ height=”175″ /]”We cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure. Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public. Unless a man is honest, we have no right to keep him in public life; it matters not how brilliant his capacity.”

                                    —Theodore Roosevelt

Fed v. Private Sector Pay

July 24, 2010

Here’s a table from the Heritage Foundation further displaying the gap between the pay of federal government employees and those in the private sector:

Previous posts on government pay and compensation can be viewed here, here and here.

No Sympathy for the States

June 20, 2010

It’s the not just the federal government that has financial problems. TIME magazine recently featured an article lamenting the bad financial state the states find themselves in, and, as I noted in a previous post, President Obama has proposed “emergency” funding to help them avoid layoffs and service cuts.

However, given the track record of state government spending, it’s hard to feel sorry for struggling states. What fuels this lack of sympathy for the states? Perhaps it is this post, this post, this post and this post.

These problems with state and local government employment practices are largely responsible for the fiscal trouble they now find themselves in. If they want sympathy, they need to get their fiscal houses in order instead of relying on a federal government bailout or raising taxes. The federal government is out of money and taxpayers can’t afford higher taxes in a time when the economy is trying to recover from a recession.

More Spending on Government Employment

June 16, 2010

Spending is something politicians in Washington rarely grow tired of, despite any amount of soaring debt. Perhaps that explains President Obama’s recent push in a letter to congressional leaders to appropriate more money (the government doesn’t have) to go toward preventing supposed “massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters.”

The president’s use of the word “emergency” to characterize the need for these “additional measures to spur job creation” is the typical rallying cry of all government intervention. That job creation, however appears to be mostly in government — much to the detriment of the majority of taxpayers working in the private sector.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=obama+economy&iid=9030727″ src=”″ width=”234″ height=”149″ /]Though Obama urged the expansion of small-business loans and tax credits, he was also concerned about the effect of the economic downturn on state and local government employment. He even used as part of his argument for increased funding to public employment the costs that would be needed to help those axed government employees look for work, seemingly justifying a larger expense (the cost of full employment) by warning of a lesser expense (the cost of helping those former government employees find future employment).

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Too Many Bureaucrats

June 8, 2010

Here’s a fairly recent video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation highlighting the extent of public (read: government) employment and its negative consequences for taxpayers and the economy:

Here, here and here are a few previous posts I’ve written on issues with government employment.

Two-Months Paid Time Off for Spitting?

June 3, 2010

Want another argument against the way government handles public employment? Take a look at this recent article from the New York Times noting how, on average, 51 New York City bus drivers who took paid leave for simply being spat on took 64 days off. Again, that’s paid time off.

Naturally, according to the report, the unions are supportive of this:

Spitting falls under the category of assault in the drivers’ contract with the authority. And officials at Transport Workers Union Local 100, which represents city bus operators, said the extended absences were justified. “Being spat upon — having a passenger spit in your face, spit in your mouth, spit in your eye — is a physically and psychologically traumatic experience,” said John Samuelsen, the union’s president. “If transit workers are assaulted, they are going to take off whatever amount of time they are going to take off to recuperate.”

Imagine the private sector putting up with such abuse of the system. But the public (read: government) sector is all-too-often immune from reality when it comes to costs, much to the detriment of taxpayers.

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Another Government/Private Sector Pay Comparison

March 5, 2010

Still not convinced that government workers make more than their counterparts in the private sector? A new USA Today report may help convince you. The paper’s recently released analysis of federal data notes some interesting details.

I’ve written on the pay gap several times before (here and here and here), but this new report explicitly shows a side-by-side comparison of like jobs. It found that in 83 percent of jobs, the average federal pay is higher — not to even mention the disparity in benefits. For example, the average secretary working for the federal government made $44, 500 in 2008, while the average private-sector secretary made only $33, 829 — a disparity of more than $10,000.

Here is a sample from a chart from the report:

Job Federal Private Difference
Airline pilot, copilot, flight engineer $93,690 $120,012 -$26,322
Broadcast technician $90,310 $49,265 $41,045
Budget analyst $73,140 $65,532 $7,608
Chemist $98,060 $72,120 $25,940
Civil engineer $85,970 $76,184 $9,786
Clergy $70,460 $39,247 $31,213
Computer, information systems manager $122,020 $115,705 $6,315

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, USA TODAY analysis

As I’ve noted before, free from market forces, government (particularly the federal government with its ability to print more money) manages to escape the need to actually provide services in an efficient manner. The taxpayers are stuck paying for the bloated payroll and benefits.

Can any of this be justified in a time of recession when the unemployment rate is still near 10 percent? Can it even be justified in a time of economic boom? Doubtful.