Video: Too many bureaucrats getting paid too much

posted at 11:36 am on June 1, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Cato’s Dan Mitchell brings us the next lesson from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity on Econ 101, only this time we’re talking about government economics. For those people who work in the federal government, the recession never really happened. Not only has hiring remained constant and growth continued, the average compensation for federal employees also continued to rise while private-sector employees lost jobs and wages. Average wages for the federal sector now outstrips that of the private sector by well over 50%, but when also allowing for better benefits and tight job-security rules, the gap goes to double that of the average private-sector employee. That’s good news … for those in favor of big, bloated bureaucracies:

The wages and benefits aren’t the real problem, however. The pension plans are “ticking time bombs,” thanks to somewhere between one to three trillion dollars in underfunding the pensions. That’s true on the federal and state levels. Also, note where six of the ten richest communities are located in the US, and why.

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Depleting the wealth of a nation one government job at a time.

Inanemergencydial on June 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Did they think we wouldn’t notice?
We don’t call it a kleptocracy for nothing.

stevezilla on June 1, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Makes my blood boil. They are supposed to work for us, but now we work for them.

petefrt on June 1, 2010 at 11:42 AM

I confess, I am a federal employee.

When I started 20 yrs ago, I was below average for my field, now I am somewhat embarrassingly overpaid (esp for this area).

A 10% across the board pay cut would be in order IF it was used to balance the budget. In reality, the money is just as well in my pocket rather than some other politically connected one.

deadman on June 1, 2010 at 11:44 AM

One word.

Duh.

fogw on June 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

I posted this on the YouCut site;

Plan to reduce federal spending and bureaucracy; Cut the number of federal employees by 5 percent per year for 10 years. This will reduce the number of federal employees by 40 percent over the ten years.

Currently there are 2.1 million federal employees that is one employee for every 145 people in the United States. That is way to many people on the federal dole.

Dasher on June 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Everything that is going wrong in govt that this video describes is only going to get worse in this Admin and Congress. If Americans are serious about actually changing this then they need to vote the bums out. 2010 will be the ultimate test for this. If conservative minded politicians aren’t elected to a majority then we are well and truly f’d and you can write this nation off (it might already be too late but I’m curious to see if the voting public actually tries to stop us from going over the cliff in the upcoming election).

Yakko77 on June 1, 2010 at 11:49 AM

deadman. Nice thought process, I see what you did there.
Careful tho, you are headed to “The Rich” territory, where taxes are higher.

Also it seems that 1st teir Federal Defense Contractors such as Lockheed never saw a decline either. In fact they seem to be the only ones hiring…in droves.

orbitalair on June 1, 2010 at 11:51 AM

I love Cato and I love this video but I really think Dan Mitchell sounds too much like a cartoon character. They need someone with more gravitas for these.

Caiwyn on June 1, 2010 at 11:52 AM

But government employees produce so much..they are worth it!!!1111!!1eleventy

jukin on June 1, 2010 at 11:54 AM

I confess, I am a federal employee.

deadman on June 1, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Burn it! /

Joe Caps on June 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM

but they are all so intelligent, hard working, caring and eager to please!

SDarchitect on June 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM

This result was baked-in once public-sector unions arose.

Public-sector unions create a positive feedback loop between themselves and the politicians, which cannot fail to result in increasing benefits for the members of those unions.

ZenDraken on June 1, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Socialists say Corporations are Bad. Evil.

seven on June 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Bow to our Federal overlords.

Cicero43 on June 1, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Have you cleared this story with the journalism rationing board?

RBMN on June 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Just think, if they got rid of these bloated government employee occupations, the federal government would have more money to pay the military!

Sgt Steve on June 1, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Socialists say Corporations are Bad. Evil.

seven on June 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

But … this is the GOVERNMENT! It has to be good!

SeniorD on June 1, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Currently there are 2.1 million federal employees that is one employee for every 145 people in the United States. That is way to many people on the federal dole.

Dasher on June 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

You need to add Federal government contractors to that list. Probably another 1+ million of them that are paid purely with Federal dollars. I would venture to say that the numbers would be closer to 100 people per federal employee.

Johnnyreb on June 1, 2010 at 12:09 PM

We got a 5% COLA in Jan 2009, while all you other poor bastards were heading into the worst job losses in 30 years. Stupid and not fair, but if someone is throwing money away, you are an idiot for not picking it up.

deadman on June 1, 2010 at 12:11 PM

This video presents one shocking fact after another. It’s worth watching several times just to digest it all…if you can stand it.
Regarding waste, I’m a Census enumerator. My crew has been idle for a week–no hours, no pay–because we finished faster than the other crews in our area. I have no idea if we’ll have more work; they’re not telling us anything. But the slower workers are still making good money.

itsnotaboutme on June 1, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Gov jobs should fire anyone over 35 years old and have no retirement. Makes a person plan on actually being useful.

PrezHussein on June 1, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Currently there are 2.1 million federal employees that is one employee for every 145 people in the United States. That is way to many people on the federal dole.

Dasher on June 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

You need to add Federal government contractors to that list. Probably another 1+ million of them that are paid purely with Federal dollars. I would venture to say that the numbers would be closer to 100 people per federal employee.

Johnnyreb on June 1, 2010 at 12:09 PM

At 1:07 in the video, they point out that there are more than 14 million people now getting a regular federal gov’t paycheck.

itsnotaboutme on June 1, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Who would have thought, being a mail man, or meter maid, would one day help to destroy the nation.

capejasmine on June 1, 2010 at 12:23 PM

At 1:07 in the video, they point out that there are more than 14 million people now getting a regular federal gov’t paycheck.

itsnotaboutme on June 1, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Also, how many people are there in the workforce? I thought that number was about 150 million, which would move that ratio closer to 1 to 10.

cntrlfrk on June 1, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Federal employees will scream the loudest when their pay eventually consists of food chits and IOU’s. Sooner or later the private sector will be bled dry and that will be the end of things.

Bishop on June 1, 2010 at 12:31 PM

I like this guy, but when he gets excited I’m worried he’s going to start talking about the foolishness of getting involved in a land war in Asia…

Sgt Steve on June 1, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Just think, if they got rid of these bloated government employee occupations, the federal government would have more money to pay the military!

Sgt Steve on June 1, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Actually, a lot of federal employees support the military and cheaper – a new federal employee contributes quite a bit to his pension whereas active duty military members can retire after 20 years (as young as 38) at 50% pay for the remainder of their lives.

Not to mention, federal employees can do military desk jobs at a fraction of the price, as they don’t need to the extensive military training that active duty guys need.

So if you support the military, you have to also support DoD federal employees, if you want to be cost effective.

NoDonkey on June 1, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Bishop, we can still chew the flesh and finally suck the marrow from the bones!

deadman on June 1, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Federal employees will scream the loudest when their pay eventually consists of food chits and IOU’s. Sooner or later the private sector will be bled dry and that will be the end of things.

Bishop on June 1, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Is it already too late or can we turn this fiscal disaster around? That’s what I’m always asking myself. If conservative minded candidates don’t win big in 2010, I think we can assume we’re going over the cliff but if we pull off a big win then maybe, just maybe, we can turn things around.

So much depends on the upcoming election. I’m excited for the opportunity to do my part and cast my vote as I always have but at the same time….. I’m scared.

Truly, the fate of our nation hangs in the balance.

Yakko77 on June 1, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Tax revolt. Starving the beast is the only way left to kill it.

ROCnPhilly on June 1, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Also it seems that 1st teir Federal Defense Contractors such as Lockheed never saw a decline either. In fact they seem to be the only ones hiring…in droves.

orbitalair on June 1, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Lockheed has other customers besides the US gov’t.

txhsmom on June 1, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Term limits for govt. employees, too.

Jarhead68 on June 1, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Beleive me, having worked in both the public and private sector, the lack of profit motive in the public sector affects productivity as well. You make more money if you manage more people and there is no profit and loss discipline for overhiring to create empires to justify a higher pay grade. Some of the wage difference is that many Public jobs are in Capital Districts and large Cities that have higher costs of living but not all of it.

KW64 on June 1, 2010 at 9:17 PM