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Rethinking Salary Constructs, Federal Pay Continues To Skyrocket (CHART)

In 2008 the average federal worker earned twice that of his private-industry counterpart in wages and benefits: $120,000 per year versus $60,000.

Check out the difference in slope of the two lines.  Yowza.  Federal pay and benefits are up 58% since 2000 compared to just 28% in the private sector.

Of course, when you consider the massive productivity advantage government workers enjoy over their private counterparts, it all makes sense.  WTF?

Well, it's all the Democrats fault undoubtedly.  Wait, looks like it was Bush.

  • The George W. Bush years were very lucrative for federal workers. In 2000, the average compensation (wages and benefits) of federal workers was 66 percent higher than the average compensation in the U.S. private sector. The new data show that average federal compensation is now more than double the average in the private sector.
  • If you drive through Northern Virginia, you will find nearly entire neighborhoods of $500,000 to $900,000 homes owned by government workers or contractors.  Then you can drive five streets over and find $200,000 to $400,000 homes owned by those who pay the salaries for those government employees.  It’s a fascinating distribution of wealth.  Most government employees and contractors could not earn more than $60,000 on the free market. Their only chance to make that kind of money comes from having an employer that not only never has to make a profit but can forcibly take money through taxation.

The answer is that both are deeply to blame.  Don't be fooled.  There's nary a difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to growth of government.  Both parties are completely, sadistically, out of control.  There is NO spending restraint on either side of the aisle, just hot air, promises, and purple unicorns.  Oh and bubbles.


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Reader Comments (15)

That's inside the Beltway unreality for you. In my state no one makes more than $15 hour. The $59,900 figure would look very good here for a family of four (two wage earners plus two children that have been sent out to get a job). Unfortunately the minimum wage jobs those two teens could expect to get are currently filled by their grandparents.
Oct 26, 2009 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn S
They may get paid more, but most of their jobs are fucking pointless.

The mind of a federal worker: "Work is simple. You go into the office, roll your eyes for eight hours, then you come home and bitch about it to either A) your significant other or B) the internet. Another workday crossed off the calendar before you can finally embrace the sweet release of death."
Oct 26, 2009 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterallie

I missed this earlier, but like you say, it's IMPORTANT:

"The Obama administration appears to want to keep an inherited $700 billion financial rescue fund going past its scheduled expiry at year-end....It will expire at the end of this year unless Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner submits a written certification to Congress providing a justification for extension."


We have to stop them here. This has to be a line in the sand, I think. I don't see how they can extend the bailouts now that people are starting to wake up to the facts, but they'll try. The line they'll use, apparently, is that now they're helping the small banks extend credit to "consumers and small businesses." I think this is just BS so they have their bailout funds ready to go whenever Citi or BAC decides to come back for another drink.

It's unclear from the article (and I haven't read the TARP legislation in a while - unlike your Congressman who didn't read it at all), but it's unclear whether this is Geithner's decision to renew or Congress's.
Oct 27, 2009 at 1:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
"The answer is that both are deeply to blame. Don't be fooled. There's nary a difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to growth of government. Both parties are completely, sadistically, out of control. There is NO spending restraint on either side of the aisle, just hot air, promises, and purple unicorns. Oh and bubbles."

Some seem to keep their beer goggles on and continue to miss this...

"According to Business Week, the average CEO [Chief Executive Officer] made 42 times the average blue-collar worker's pay in 1980, 85 times in 1990 and a staggering 531 times in 2000."
-- AFL-CIO "Executive Paywatch"

Government has been owned for a very long time.

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country ... corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war."
-- Abraham Lincoln, letter to Col. William F. Elkins, Nov 21, 1864. Reference: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY).
Oct 27, 2009 at 5:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterS. Gompers
Please cite sources for your data. Too much unsubstantiated nonsense floating around.
Oct 27, 2009 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterRod Johnson
as someone who has grown up in Northern Va I have seen this first hand. A couple things though - very few gov't workers are living in 700k houses. And the ones that are having been living in those houses since they bought them 10 or 20 years ago for about 1/4 of that price. RE values in this area are quite bubbly. Secondly the private industry number is very low. Very few people in this are make less then 60k if they have a job besides secretary or assistant. Many of my friends are consultants in their late 20's making around 100k. The thing is that cost of living is very high here and 100k doesnt go very far. You need to drop 400-500k to get a decent house where your neighbors speak english. So alot of it is relative. So while i dont think they're as overpaid as you make them out to be they are definitely useless and if you fired 75% of them you wouldnt even know they were gone.
Oct 28, 2009 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrian
So excluding benefits, the average wage is $6600+/month? When you consider the number of attorneys, actuaries, CPA's, and factor in the miscellaneous doctors, vets, and other scientists, this really isn't all that much, is it? I suspect it reveals more about the worth of the dollar than anything else.
Oct 29, 2009 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterD. Hughes
DB, I need a source for this data. Please help, it's important.
Oct 31, 2009 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterScott
There is a difference between what the folks in D.C. make and the rest of the feds. A lot of the folks in D.C. are at much higher "grade levels" than the rest of the feds. Feds are not overpaid. Most just eek by. We work very hard for our pay and most days go home exhausted. We take pride in our work, trying to do a good job under trying conditions, believing we are providing a service to the public. The theme in my office is "do more with less by yesterday".
Sep 23, 2010 at 8:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterCommenter
I appreciate your post...i try not to scapegoat but it's almost impossible given my job as a writer...and it's good to hear from a motivated concerned federal employee...
Sep 24, 2010 at 2:08 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Wow. Terribad statistics!

In 2000, a GS-15 step 1 base salary was $77,614 (www.opm.gov). So you're telling me that since your $76,187 figure is a average, that most government workers fall at or around a GS-15??? Not likely.

THEN, in 2008 that same GS level actually earned $99,628 in 2008, NOT $119,982. That's about a $20,000 difference compared to your statistics.

So if your corprate stats are skewed as bad as your govey states, wowza!!!!
Oct 4, 2010 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterWhat???

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