Skip to comments.Sky-High D.C. Salaries: Expensive Ineptitude
Posted on 12/21/2010 6:06:54 AM PST by IbJensen
Washington, D.C.s workers enjoy the highest salaries of any U.S. city, with a median household income of $85,198, recently reported CNNMoney.
Its even higher for the federal workers segment of the citys workers, with an average wage last year for federal civilian workers of $81,258 per person (per person, not per household). Thats over $30,000 more than last years average private-sector wage. Add the cost of benefits and pensions and the average compensation gap between federal and private-sector workers jumps to nearly $62,000 per year -- $123,049 vs. $61,051.
That doesnt mean they work the hardest or that theyre twice as smart.
Try phoning any of the major federal agencies in D.C. and see how long it takes for someone to pick up the phone, or how long it takes to get the right person in the right department who still cant provide a dimes worth of help.
I got a letter last June from the main Social Security office asking me to clarify something about my automatically deducted contributions at work. They requested that I call an 800 number in Washington.
Knowing how things work or dont work in D.C., I ordered a Greek salad with feta, red wine and a turkey club on pita and took a seat on the restaurants patio with my Wall Street Journal and the mornings local newspaper before I dialed the 800 number.
The phone began ringing in D.C. at five minutes past the hour. My lunch order was delivered to the table after 10 minutes or so and I had finished my salad, sandwich, wine and two newspapers in about another 20 minutes and the phone was still ringing at the designated office of the central planners.
Taking a chance on losing my spot in the phone queue, I left my connected phone on the patio table and went inside the restaurant to order another wine and to find something more to read.
The phone was still ringing when I got back to my table. Curious to see how much longer it would take for someone to pick up, I stayed on the line.
It was 47 minutes when she finally picked up. I thought it sounded like she was in Bangladesh.
I didnt say anything about the wait. If I complained, I thought theyd just hire even more people and raise my taxes, or borrow even more money from Beijing. Were already being forced to turn over nearly 20 cents out of every dollar we earn, coast to coast, from New York to Los Angeles, into this 68 square mile area thats the District of Columbia -- and thats not counting the money thats extracted from our wallets to pay the price of ever-expanding federal regulations and mandates, and not counting the various tax bites at the state, city, county and local levels.
I got only a few seconds into telling her what was in the letter from the Social Security office when she told me I had the wrong phone number. I explained that her phone number was in the letter but she said she didnt know anything, didnt have a clue, and that I should make a visit to my local Social Security office at such-and-such address. I told her that the office closed 10 years ago.
I thanked her, hung up the phone, gave up, and realized again why we havent really won a war since the 1940s unless you count Grenada, code-named Operation Urgent Fury, but that just lasted 37 hours.
It is theft. Trim the fat! Eliminate!
What is called for is a law that "term-limits" all federal government employees. The law could read as follows:
"No person who has been employed by the federal government for more than six years cumulatively during his/her lifetime, except as a member of the military or staff of an elected official or executive appointee who has been approved by Congress, is eligible for further employment with the federal government."
Individual states should also pass a similar law with an additional exemption for vital services such as police.
In addition to solving the problems of runaway federal salaries, benefits, and insolvent pension plans, a law should be enacted that would drastically reduce the size, scope, and cost of the federal government, eliminate public employee unions, force people into the private sector and, because of the constant turnover, bring fresh ideas to government.
There would be no shortage of experienced people for the few positions that require them; simply hire those with commensurate experience in the private sector.
I know someone who’s been with the gov. for about 30 years. She doesn’t have a high stress job, nor is she a supervisor. She is a hard worker and very competent but, for what she does her salary is ridicules. She’s making about $95,000 a year and at age 55 will be able to retire with 80% of her salary.
Isn’t it amazing how one encounter with an incompetent bureaucrat can segue into a hit piece on the competence of the entire Federal govt workforce?
And as for “average” federal salary going up 30K - in one year - I call Bee Ess.
but seeing them on the receiving end of their seven decades of class warfare rhetoric is just TOO much fun!
The salaries are outrageous, but as you point out, the more important issue is that the growth of Washington is dismantling our Constitution. Entire departments should be defunded. Obama will veto any bill reducing the size of his COMMIE takeover—but the Depts. of Energy and Education should be blown out now. EPA should be shrunk to the size of a test tube. Agriculture should be stripped of all energy subsidies ($2 billion last year alone!!). HUD should operate out of rented former retail center in Northern Virginia. The list goes on and on.
The next Republican candidate for president should make a campaign promise to bring federal wages and benefits down to the level of the average for that position in the private sector.
He or she would be a shoe-in at the general election.
Given today's communication technology, I wonder what would happen if we distributed the bureaucracy across the entire U.S. rather than have it concentrated right here. Obviously, I would rather see it carved up and dismantled, but breaking up the culture might be a good start.
It works as an article because it rings true. (No pun intended.) And I think I’d hone my reading comprehension by rereading the context to the $30K if I were you.
The real problem is the endemic corruption of the bureaucracy. The govt is run on the peter principle. The higher the position the more incompetent/corrupt. The only real solution would be to use outside investigators to actually separate those who work from the lazy and incompetent. The bureaucracy cannot fix itself because those in control are the worst of the lot.
I have some experience with the DoD and though it’s hard to believe there are areas within the govt that keep the planes in the air at much lower cost than the private contractors demand. But once again it would take a major project run by outside people to separate the good from the bad.
This region, in particular Fairfax and Loudon will be in a world of trouble when the federal government starts to get slashed, as is needed
In order for a family of 4 to survive within 15 miles of the beltway, you need 85k minimum
Au contraire, silverleaf.
I have the great misfortune of working with federal bureaucrats every day.
While they are not ALL uncaring, underqualified, overpaid, lazy, and arrogant, far too many of them ARE.
A “hit piece”? Hardly.