The public feels rightly outraged at lavish pay-packages for executives in government-assisted companies that have blown billions in recent years. But why hasn’t the restive public developed comparable indignation regarding the shocking salary increases for an operation that’s been bleeding even more money: the federal government.
For 2009, Washington will spend $1.4 trillion more than it takes in – an unbelievable monthly deficit of more than $100 billion. At the same time, the federal workforce has received whopping salary boosts—at a rate nearly double the increases for those who hold jobs in the private sector. Since the beginning of the recession in December, 2007, pay raises for federal employees averaged 6.6%, compared to 3.9% increases for those working for private businesses. When newly hired workers and their lower salaries are excluded, federal workers got an average pay hike of 8.7% -- amounting to $6,100 per employee.
Can anyone point to evidence of increased efficiency, productivity or success for the federal government that would justify such substantial raises for its employees?
What’s more, even before the current downturn and the dubious increase in federal pay levels, government workers already enjoyed much higher salaries (and vastly better benefits) than employees in the private sector. As of June, 2009 (the most recent date for which figures are available) the average federal worker gets $71,206 while the average employee in the non-governmental economy gets $40,331.
Does it make sense that people who work for Uncle Sam should earn some $31,000 a year more than those holding jobs in the for-profit economy?
On what basis would an objective observer conclude that those who serve the federal government (with famously generous pension and health insurance plans) actually deserve vastly higher salaries than private employees?