Confirmed by the CBO: Federal workers receive more compensation than private workers

posted at 6:45 pm on January 31, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office released a report that confirmed what conservative labor analysts James Sherk and Jason Richwine have known (and written about) for some time: Federal government employees receive more in total compensation than their private-sector counterparts. Specifically, the CBO report found the following:

  • Federal civilian employees with no more than a high school education averaged 36 percent higher total compensation than similar private-sector employees.
  • Federal workers whose education culminated in a bachelor’s degree averaged 15 percent higher total compensation than their private-sector counterparts.
  • Federal employees with a professional degree or doctorate received 18 percent lower total compensation than their private-sector counterparts, on average.
  • Overall, the federal government paid 16 percent more in total compensation.

In other words, the federal compensation system is unfair at both ends of the spectrum. Bringing public-sector pay more in line with private-sector compensation would make the system fairer for all concerned — including for the minority of federal workers who are underpaid.

So far, little action has been taken on the issue of federal worker pay because liberal critics preferred to dismiss the facts. Sherk and Richwine recount a few of the many criticisms they received for their research, which followed the example of 30 years’ worth of academic literature:

For example, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry described our work as “a misinformation campaign.” The National Federation of Federal Employees called it “lies.” “Scapegoating” was the preferred term of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.

Colleen Kelley of the National Treasury Employees Union said that Heritage and AEI put forth “self-serving, self-created data.” ThinkProgress declared that our work was “littered with errors.” Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel said that the idea that federal workers are overpaid is “a conservative myth.”

Perhaps this CBO confirmation will lead to a reconsideration of their research — and to action that would save taxpayer money.


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Perhaps this CBO confirmation will lead to a reconsideration of their research — and to action that would save taxpayer money.

Comedy gold right there..

hillsoftx on January 31, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Oh Federal Union Mirror on the wall,who is thee
Most Fair O’ Fairest of the Progressive of them all!!
(sarc)

canopfor on January 31, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Puts new meaning to the term “Ownership society”. But it’s all good and necessary, just take the TSA for example, people aren’t just going to violate our little kids and old people with colostomy bags for free you know. That kinda stuff ain’t cheap to come by. It’s all for your own good. Without the dfeds who knows how many kids and retirees might go unmolested? Hell, even the next Bin Laden might get to bomb some random city without so much as having to spread his sh!t first.

abobo on January 31, 2012 at 6:51 PM

O/T
===

Two-thirds of FL primary voters are tea-party supporters, exit polls show
************

Washington PostStory
3 mins ago from http://www.washingtonpost.com

http://www.breakingnews.com/

canopfor on January 31, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Wow, I’m thoroughly unsurprised.

squint on January 31, 2012 at 6:52 PM

What’ll they tell us next, …that the prez is a commie?///

SMACKRUNNER on January 31, 2012 at 6:54 PM

Perhaps this CBO confirmation will lead to a reconsideration of their research — and to action that would save taxpayer money.

I read that line and thought who wrote this Tina? I was right. I don’t mean that in an insulting way but after reading about the Buffet tax poll it just confirms we are sunk.

arnold ziffel on January 31, 2012 at 6:54 PM

This is suddenly news?
Everyone has always tried for civil service jobs, for example, because they pay more and have better benefits.

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 6:54 PM

We are the 80%! The rest are nomenklatura.

Mr. Prodigy on January 31, 2012 at 6:55 PM

And, those federal jobs are accompanied with generous federal pensions. A pension fund that will never go belly up.

SC.Charlie on January 31, 2012 at 6:56 PM

We the people should be grateful of their contribution and figure out how we can get more tax revenue into their pockets.

FlaMurph on January 31, 2012 at 6:56 PM

The most heavily unionized workforce has managed to protect their wages??? You don’t say…

ernesto on January 31, 2012 at 6:57 PM

In other words, the federal compensation system is unfair at both ends of the spectrum. Bringing public-sector pay more in line with private-sector compensation would make the system fairer for all concerned — including for the minority of federal workers who are underpaid.

Watch out. You’re going to get everyone upset with that kind of fairness talk, sugar.

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 6:58 PM

It’s not fair! They should be taxed at a higher rate!

Vince on January 31, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Most federal workers with “advanced” degrees got them the easy way and or don’t really use them. The advanced degree is used to move them up in the pay grade rather than for an specific job. I know more than one phd who is a phd of how to work the system. How many have U of Phoenix type degrees? Those degrees are considered as nothing in the private sector.

Not to mention how many actually had their degree checked by the govt?

aniptofar on January 31, 2012 at 7:00 PM

I worked at the Pentagon for 7 years as a civilian contractor. That is where I learned the term “screw up…move up.” You could cut 50 percent of the “workers” there and you would never know the difference…except things might run better.

oceansidecon on January 31, 2012 at 7:07 PM

My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve signed legislation outlawing the deficit. We begin federal payscale cuts in five minutes.

slickwillie2001 on January 31, 2012 at 7:08 PM

O/T…till da Open thread Florida thingy is up!

htpolitics tweeted:
*******************

Florida polls have closed in the Republican primary except for western Panhandle
******************

7 mins ago from twitter.com/htpolitics
http://www.breakingnews.com/

canopfor on January 31, 2012 at 7:10 PM

Most federal workers with “advanced” degrees got them the easy way and or don’t really use them. The advanced degree is used to move them up in the pay grade rather than for an specific job. I know more than one phd who is a phd of how to work the system. How many have U of Phoenix type degrees? Those degrees are considered as nothing in the private sector.

Not to mention how many actually had their degree checked by the govt?

A few years back, there was an investigation of diploma mills, and the #1 abuser of these phony degrees were government workers. I was NOT surprised!

mydh12 on January 31, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Won’t make a dent in the generic coverage, the MSM will still portray any comments that the federal workers are over paid as crazy talk,.. Especially that classic moron Matthews.. with Maher bringing up the rear,

deny
deny
deny
deny
deny..

wash, rinse, repeat….

The MSM will never go against their best and biggest fans.

mark81150 on January 31, 2012 at 7:17 PM

The most heavily unionized workforce has managed to protect their wages??? You don’t say…

ernesto on January 31, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Cronyism at its best dumbphuck.

Watch out. You’re going to get everyone upset with that kind of fairness talk, sugar.

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 6:58 PM

The rest of us are paying too much for their work and tards like you and Ernie play right along. I suspect both of you are big recipients of the Earned Income Tax credits. So why the eff would you care anyway? You’re as simple as they get. You’re in the 1% btw. The 1% of the dumbest HA posters ever.

CW on January 31, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Those degrees are considered as nothing in the private sector.

Not to mention how many actually had their degree checked by the govt?

aniptofar on January 31, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Most people that higher are very very weary of hiring people who have a history of government type work.

CW on January 31, 2012 at 7:20 PM

The CBO is racist!

NickelAndDime on January 31, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Perhaps this CBO confirmation will lead to a reconsideration of their research — and to action that would save taxpayer money.

Are you serious? When has a CBO report changed anything the liberals were doing or wanted to do?

they lie on January 31, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Obama has added 149,000 workers. Time for a lay off and a hiring freeze, how can we afford more workers now than in 2008?

Fleuries on January 31, 2012 at 7:28 PM

The most heavily unionized workforce has managed to protect their wages??? You don’t say…

ernesto on January 31, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Oh what a treat. Hot Air’s resident communist in the flesh. I have never seen a communist that loved his welfare benefits so much. So Castro, if the country suddenly becomes communist, what are you going to do? The leaders of a communiist country always keep their money and the welfare will stop and everyone that is left, after the workers and rich flee the country, the only people left will be just as unsuccessful as yourself. How will you get your welfare?
See, I’m a democrat, but you do a disservice to your side. I agree that hard work makes your station in life better, not crying and taking from those more successful than you.

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 7:33 PM

I know, it’s a shame that a guy with a high school degree can get a menial job at the Department of Agriculture and still actually have a health care plan and the opportunity to earn a modest pension.

He should be treated like a postmodern sharecropper, just like he would be if he worked at WalMart.

urban elitist on January 31, 2012 at 7:36 PM

The Left sees this as the government worker/union wage & benefit scale representing the “true” “free market.” Evil, hate-filled, racist corporations are keeping wages and benefits “artificially low.” This explains the discrepancy.

In reality, of course, the opposite is true. Government worker wages and benefits are artificially high.

Trust me, I’m from Illinois where this type of Leftist illogic has made our state a downgraded laughingstock.

visions on January 31, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Watch out. You’re going to get everyone upset with that kind of fairness talk, sugar.

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 6:58 PM

The rest of us are paying too much for their work and tards like you and Ernie play right along. I suspect both of you are big recipients of the Earned Income Tax credits. So why the eff would you care anyway? You’re as simple as they get. You’re in the 1% btw. The 1% of the dumbest HA posters ever.

CW on January 31, 2012 at 7:18 PM

The most heavily unionized workforce has managed to protect their wages??? You don’t say…

ernesto on January 31, 2012 at 6:57 PM

Oh what a treat. Hot Air’s resident communist in the flesh. I have never seen a communist that loved his welfare benefits so much. So Castro, if the country suddenly becomes communist, what are you going to do? The leaders of a communiist country always keep their money and the welfare will stop and everyone that is left, after the workers and rich flee the country, the only people left will be just as unsuccessful as yourself. How will you get your welfare?
See, I’m a democrat, but you do a disservice to your side. I agree that hard work makes your station in life better, not crying and taking from those more successful than you.

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Oh CW, you are a bit fast on the trigger. I’m sure your wife agrees as well.

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 7:39 PM

There is one group of federal workers who are severely underpaid: Enlisted Armed Services employees.

paulsur on January 31, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Government worker!
Is’nt that an oxymoron?

KOOLAID2 on January 31, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Here’s a thought: Let’s save taxpayer money by collecting all the unpaid taxes these federal employees owe! What was it, a billion?

Gordy on January 31, 2012 at 7:47 PM

The most heavily unionized workforce has managed to protect their wages??? You don’t say…

Thank heavens they’ve got unions to ensure that they get their fair share of their employer’s vast profits!

Fabozz on January 31, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Double their pay and the economy will come roaring back.

Bishop on January 31, 2012 at 7:52 PM

File under “Reports that make you say Duh”.

Tim_CA on January 31, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Make them pay their fair share.

Good Lt on January 31, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Here’s a thought: Let’s save taxpayer money by collecting all the unpaid taxes these federal employees owe! What was it, a billion?

Gordy on January 31, 2012 at 7:47 PM

It was roughly 1/100 of the amount owed by non-federal workers. Not to defend the delinquent, but private sector workers are apparently far more lax about their taxes.

urban elitist on January 31, 2012 at 8:03 PM

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 7:33 PM

I appreciate your intellectual honesty. What saddens me is just how far apart the parties have become. You may not agree with me but it seems most democrats are just fine with slash and burn, salt the earth when it comes to republicans, whereas republicans also want to win politically but not by utterly destroying the opposite side.

arnold ziffel on January 31, 2012 at 8:03 PM

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 7:33 PM

I appreciate your intellectual honesty. What saddens me is just how far apart the parties have become. You may not agree with me but it seems most democrats are just fine with slash and burn, salt the earth when it comes to republicans, whereas republicans also want to win politically but not by utterly destroying the opposite side.

arnold ziffel on January 31, 2012 at 8:03 PM

A month here, and some growing pains at the beginning, has shown me that republicans are not bigots or bitter clingers or haters.
and, I’m just to the left of you. I’m more moderate than I ever realized.

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Double their pay and the economy will come roaring back.

Bishop on January 31, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Did you have a conversation on a couch with Nancy Pelosi or something?

KOOLAID2 on January 31, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Gotta be racist here, somehow, just gotta be.

waterytart on January 31, 2012 at 8:10 PM

•Overall, the federal government paid 16 percent more in total compensation

Excepting the military, what we have here is a federal workforce that is the equivalent to a massive fleet of gas guzzling SUV’s.

The environmentalists have shown us the way to correct this. Let’s get this economy green and impose some CAFE standards on the federal workforce till the average federal worker gets as efficient per dollar of salary as the private sector.

That’s some CAFE standards I’ll support.

MessesWithTexas on January 31, 2012 at 8:12 PM

CBO is racist.

Clearly.

ButterflyDragon on January 31, 2012 at 8:13 PM

paulsur on January 31, 2012 at 7:39 PM

A-frigging-men. These folks regardless of skin color, creed or educational level put their lives on the line, and are absent from their families for extended periods of time, they deserve EVERY perk we have to offer. The rest may suffer a paper cut, then live off the gov’t dime for the rest of their lives. Good Lord, what’s wrong with this picture.

waterytart on January 31, 2012 at 8:14 PM

I know, it’s a shame that a guy with a high school degree can get a menial job at the Department of Agriculture and still actually have a health care plan and the opportunity to earn a modest pension.

He should be treated like a postmodernsharecropper,justlikehewouldbeifheworkedat WalMart.

urban elitist on January 31, 2012 at 7:36 PM

I used to say pay everyone $40/hr and tax them at 60% to make America into utopia. I was being sarcastic.

But then mental midgets like this come along and make that argument.

We are doomed because of ignoramuses like this.

tom daschle concerned on January 31, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Government workers overpaid? Nah, can’t be. It’s not like their unions are shilling for politicians. Oh, wait………

GarandFan on January 31, 2012 at 8:27 PM

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Oh please . You and Ernie are so very alike . You cannot lie or run and your still as simplistic as they come.

CW on January 31, 2012 at 8:29 PM

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Oh please . You and Ernie are so very alike . You cannot lie or run and your still as simplistic as they come.

CW on January 31, 2012 at 8:29 PM

I can see mynown faults and learn from them. You are too stupid to ever learn anything. That’s why no one likes you here.

BedBug on January 31, 2012 at 8:31 PM

Double their pay and the economy will come roaring back.

Bishop on January 31, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky has suggested hiring hundreds of thousands of government workers at an average of $103,000/year each to boost the economy.

Not a joke…

visions on January 31, 2012 at 8:32 PM

I worked at the Pentagon for 7 years as a civilian contractor. That is where I learned the term “screw up…move up.” You could cut 50 percent of the “workers” there and you would never know the difference…except things might run better.

oceansidecon on January 31, 2012 at 7:07 PM

I’ve worked several places at the state level as a software developer contractor. YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!

You really could fire half the people, and no one on the outside would even know the difference!

dominigan on January 31, 2012 at 8:53 PM

It was roughly 1/100 of the amount owed by non-federal workers. Not to defend the delinquent, but private sector workers are apparently far more lax about their taxes.

urban elitist on January 31, 2012 at 8:03 PM

References please.

dominigan on January 31, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Oh please . You and Ernie are so very alike . You cannot lie or run and your still as simplistic as they come.

CW on January 31, 2012 at 8:29 PM

They are not alike at all. Ernesto has never ever–ever said he was mistaken, should have thought about his post etc. I think people should be given the benefit of the doubt unless they are always dips. You seem to be a lot more prickly yourself since you changed from your old screen name.

arnold ziffel on January 31, 2012 at 9:23 PM

A good friend of mine works for a federal agency. I won’t mention it by name, but its initials are E. P. A.
We are both in our mid 50s. We are both very healthy … very fit. We will both be working for the next 15-20 years. The only difference is, I’ll be working to pay bills and fund my retirement while he will be working for fun. He’s “retiring” from his career of “public service” this year and will be collecting a full (or near full) pension.

I don’t begrudge him. It is what it is. And he is not a slacker.

But please, Mr President — don’t talk to me about “fairness.”

BRunner on January 31, 2012 at 9:42 PM

Federal employees with professional or doctorate degrees (lawyers, the majority of them) are by no means underpaid. Although they are compensated less than their private industry counterparts, those jobs are highly sought-after for reasons other than the bottom line.

Look at it this way. The President’s private sector counterpart would be a corporate CEO, and his salary is a small fraction of that. Yet, the next occupant of that office will spend nearly a billion dollars for the right to collect that salary.

Selkirk on January 31, 2012 at 11:40 PM

KOOLAID2 on January 31, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Hook, line and sinker.

chemman on February 1, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Another big factor to consider – The GS scale has step promotions within it. So each year a moderately performing employee can get a promotion (with a 3% raise) and a COLA of 1.5% for a total of 4.5% . I dont know about most of you out there but my companies payroll is 2.25% this year. The other thing that most feds enjoy are greater vacations, 40 hour work week (most commercial exempt employees put in 44 to 50 hours per week)and can get raises up to the limit of thier salary band. Commercial companies wont give raises when you are at 50% of your salary band. Add in commercial companies are cutting holidays, sick time, retirement programs (if they exist) and cutting back contributions to 401K.

After 20 years with a major defence contractor – I am throwing in the towel and looking for a government job. I may take a 10K/year pay cut but I will work less, actualy be able to make a change on how my tax dollars are spent and have some real work life balance and not feel guilty or threatened when I take an afternoon off to watch my kids play a major game.

triumphus on February 1, 2012 at 5:56 AM

COLA?? In my private sector job, we have not seen a salary adjustment in 3 review cycles (2009, 2010, 2011). Bonus dollars have almost completely dried up in that same time frame. I had gross income in 2011 of less than 2008.

When I hear union workers, such as in Wisconsin complaining about having to pay a portion of their health care costs, it drives me over the edge. I think I have been contributing toward this since about 1985.

But, hey, I love paying more taxes so the government workers I deal with in my job can continue to get their COLA’s!!

illinoisdrummerboy on February 1, 2012 at 10:33 AM

I’ve been a DoD contractor since 1987, and it has changed. Years ago, people getting out of the military would trade off a contractor job with higher pay but questionable job security against civil service with lower pay but absolute job security (almost impossible to lose a GS job). Over the last few years, it has changed to civil service still having total job security but now with higher pay and better benefits as well, while DoD has cut contractor jobs all over. The theory was that by converting contractor positions to GS they would save money – but that never happened (big surprise /s) – so now we have far too many GS types, paid very well with great benefits – and not enough work to keep them busy.

dentarthurdent on February 1, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Somehow I don’t think this will come up in one of Obama’s lectures about “fairness”.

Scrappy on February 1, 2012 at 2:23 PM