Before we delve into the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office's latest findings, let's take a short jaunt down memory lane. Here's Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid talking about the national employment picture in October:
"It's very clear that private sector jobs have been doing just fine. It's public sector jobs where we've lost huge numbers."
The Congressional Budget Office found Monday that federal workers are compensated 16 percent more than comparable private-sector workers on average. The finding is bound to inflame disputes between Republican and Democrats as to how much to reduce the deficit by cutting federal worker pay.
The CBO found that the advantage federal workers enjoy varies by educational level. For those with only a high-school degree, workers earned 21 percent more and were given benefits worth 72 percent more than in the private sector. For college graduates, wages were about the same but benefits were 46 percent better in the government. Meanwhile for advanced degree holders, wages were 23 percent less than in the private sector and benefits were about the same. The main contributor to the difference in benefits is the defined-benefit pension plan that most federal employees receive. Such generous retirement packages are vanishing from the private-sector workplace, replaced by 401K plans in which companies contribute far less, if anything at all.
Tens of millions of Americans are out of work, underemployed, or too discouraged to job hunt. The nation's debt mountain is historically prodigious, thanks to the King of Debt. Democrats haven't even passed a budget President in over 1,000 days. Yet President Obama has proposed a pay increase for government workers -- yes, the same government workers who are already compensated more hansomely than the poor schlubs suffering out in the real economy. Paul Ryan isn't pleased:
"While millions of Americans continue to struggle with stagnant wages and high unemployment, government bureaucrats in Washington continue to enjoy significant advantages over those whose tax dollars finance their compensation," House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) office said in reaction to the finding. Ryan's budget proposal from last spring proposed freezing federal worker pay through 2015 and increasing federal worker pension contributions from 0.8 percent of total payroll to 50 percent. The news comes in a week when the House will vote on a bill, sponsored by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), to extend the two-year pay freeze for federal civilian workers one more year, through 2013. By contrast, President Obama’s 2013 budget request, due to be sent to Congress on Feb. 13, will ask for a 0.5 percent cost-of-living raise for workers.
Republicans can raise a stink, but you'd better believe Obama will merrily carry on rewarding this core Democratic constituency with more taxpayer cash while continuing to suggest that our red ink troubles can be significantly ameliorated by instituting a tax increase on private sector job creators. This approach is completely upside-down. The president wants to slap "millionaires and billionaires" with the "Buffett Rule," which (using a static analysis) might raise enough revenues to pay down...four percent of this year's deficit -- and that's even accepting the whole charade's faulty premise. Slamming successful entreprenuers with higher taxes could impact growth, of course, but fortunately our friend Harry his here to remind us that millionaire job creators simply don't exist. What a crew these guys are. They deny basic economic reality and propose special treats for their bureaucrat friends, then turn around and demagogue the hell out of the people who actually make the economy work -- all while doing precisely nothing about the real drivers of our debt. It's stunningly cynical and irresponsible in the long term, but for now, surprise:
For the first time in roughly two-and-a-half years, Democrats lead Republicans on the Generic Congressional Ballot, this time for the week ending Sunday, Jan. 29. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for the Democrat in their district’s congressional race if the election were held today, while 40% would choose the Republican instead.
Looks like the "Republican Congress" Big Lie is working its magic. Terrific.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography