The Jury Talks Back

5/12/2010

The Federal Salary Bubble

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 10:57 pm

There are two Americas. One America is employed by the Federal government. The other America makes half as much, with uncertain security, shoulders the federal budget and guarantees federal benefits that they themselves might never see.

The US Department of Commerce publishes a series of income tables comparing compensation for all public and private employees. If you think that private workers have higher incomes and that government benefits and security are balanced by their lower pay, well, times have changed.

Odds are that the average federal employee (civilian or military) makes twice what you do.

In 2008, the average private sector compensation (wages plus all benefits) was $59,909.  More for some professions, less for others.  State and local government workers got a little bit more:  $67,819 (although they too claim to get less).

But one of the highest income groups in America was “federal government worker”, who made far more than one would ever suspect.

In 2008, the average federal government worker got $111,446 in total compensation.  Military salaries, surprisingly, did not bring the average down — the average military compensation was $113,871.  Only when you get to “government enterprises” (such as the post office) do you drop under $100K.  These low-paid government workers received a mere $85,478 — but that was still 143% of the average private sector compensation.  At the other end, civilian federal workers averaged $119,982 per year, almost exactly double what the poor private sector schmuck got.

Mind you, this is US government data, not something Sean Hannity made up.  Check it for yourself.  Particularly tables 6.2d, 6.3d and 6.5d.  I’ve included summary data from these tables after the break.

This is beyond nuts.  It is unsustainable to have a large government workforce making double what their tax-paying supporters get, with iron-rice-bowl jobs and full pay on retirement at an early age, while the poor slob footing the bill is wondering how on earth he’s ever going to manage on Social Security, should that exist when he’s 65 67 70.

If Greece is the canary, this is the coal mine.

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