Recently Visited

  • Getting bills...

News, Commentary, and What to Watch on WashingtonWatch.com Blog Feed

Exploding Federal Worker Pay

Federal civilian workers earned an average wage of $77,143 in 2007, 61 percent higher than the $48,035 average in the U.S. private sector. That 61 percent pay advantage has increased from a 34 percent advantage in 2000.

Total compensation (wages plus benefits) was $116,450 for the average federal worker in 2007, compared to $57,615 in the private sector. The federal compensation advantage increased from 68 percent in 2000 to 102 percent today. You’re paying for it.

All this is according to Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute in a recent Cato@Liberty blog post. (Full disclosure: My day job is at Cato and I think Chris is a nice guy.)

Edwards suggests that this disparity and the federal budget deficit of $500 billion demand a freeze in federal pay and privatization of costly activities like air traffic control.

The list of bills dealing with federal employees is long. One of the most often visited these days is H.R. 5781, the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2008, which would expand federal worker compensation a little more with paid time off, at a cost of a little over $7.00 per U.S. family.

Here’s what people think of H.R. 5781, the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2008. Click to vote, comment, learn more, or edit the wiki article about the bill.

Visitor Comments for Exploding Federal Worker Pay RSS 2.0

The WashingtonWatch.com Blog

[…] week, I wrote here about how well federal civilian workers are doing compared to the private sector worker. Well, it […]


(late comment, I apologize, was on leave.)

As always, there are two sides to this story.

In the DC area, federal government pay is still considered lower than a comparable job in the private sector (with few exceptions, for instance, if you’re an artist), with the upside of better job security and benefits. Hardly anyone gets rich working for uncle sam. If you want the money, you become a contractor, but you work hard hours.

The problem though is if you decrease the income for federal employees, you’re going to get fewer useful federal employees. You’ll get the people who value the job security more than the pay – i.e. incompetent, stupid people to warm seats. So what government services you do pursue are going to be terrible, poorly managed and poorly distributed. Similarly, you’ll find that fewer people are available, forcing gov’t to pursue contractors who, while private, are ALWAYS more expensive.

If your goal is to reduce the cost of government, consider rather than pushing to reduce the income of employees moving government out of DC. The truth is, DC has a very high cost of living. The average house price is around $300k. But most of these services can be provided just as well from almost any other city in the US. Move jobs to Iowa, to Montana, etc. and the price of governance will drop.

bill the thrill

why not just can the “non essential” fed workers- if 1 inch of snow stops you form working why should I be forced to pay you?

Add Comment

Comments are limited to 1,000 characters. Please do other visitors the courtesy of expressing yourself concisely. WashingtonWatch.com bears no responsibility for comments nor any obligation to publish them. Comments that are impolite, off-topic, violations of others' rights, or advertisements are likely to be removed.