Study finds fed workers earn 78% more than private-sector workers on average

I am old enough to remember when government careers meant trading off job security for less money than you could earn in the private sector.  But that was before government workers could unionize and start bribing politicians with campaign donations.  How things have changed!

The Cato Institute has just published a study that the Government Executive website comments on.

 The Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards compared data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to show that, in his view, civilian federal workers are overcompensated. Factoring both salary and benefits, Edwards pointed to BEA data showing the average federal employee earns about $119,000 annually, compared to the private sector worker who earns $67,000 per year. When comparing just salaries, feds collect 50 percent bigger paychecks, Edwards said.

The wage gap between the federal and private sectors has grown since the 1990s, Cato’s director of tax policy studies found. The divide has doubled since 1990, when it was just 39 percent. The growth, he said, came from not just raising pay levels and offering more generous benefits, but also a more “top-heavy” bureaucracy that routinely moves employees into higher salary brackets and redefines jobs as higher earning positions.

“The federal government has become an elite island of secure and high-paid employment, separated from the ocean of average Americans competing in the economy,” Edwards wrote in his findings.

Government Executive, which primarily serves government employees, hastens to cite other factors and studies to minimize the disparity.  And, in fact, federal employees tend to be older and have higher educational credentials than the workforce as a whole.  But that said, does the average employee of a workforce renowned for its many holidays, you-can’t-fire-me insouciance, and, face it, miserable effectiveness, merit $119K a year?

I am old enough to remember when government careers meant trading off job security for less money than you could earn in the private sector.  But that was before government workers could unionize and start bribing politicians with campaign donations.  How things have changed!

The Cato Institute has just published a study that the Government Executive website comments on.

 The Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards compared data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to show that, in his view, civilian federal workers are overcompensated. Factoring both salary and benefits, Edwards pointed to BEA data showing the average federal employee earns about $119,000 annually, compared to the private sector worker who earns $67,000 per year. When comparing just salaries, feds collect 50 percent bigger paychecks, Edwards said.

The wage gap between the federal and private sectors has grown since the 1990s, Cato’s director of tax policy studies found. The divide has doubled since 1990, when it was just 39 percent. The growth, he said, came from not just raising pay levels and offering more generous benefits, but also a more “top-heavy” bureaucracy that routinely moves employees into higher salary brackets and redefines jobs as higher earning positions.

“The federal government has become an elite island of secure and high-paid employment, separated from the ocean of average Americans competing in the economy,” Edwards wrote in his findings.

Government Executive, which primarily serves government employees, hastens to cite other factors and studies to minimize the disparity.  And, in fact, federal employees tend to be older and have higher educational credentials than the workforce as a whole.  But that said, does the average employee of a workforce renowned for its many holidays, you-can’t-fire-me insouciance, and, face it, miserable effectiveness, merit $119K a year?