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New Evidence Confirms Federal Bureaucrats Donít Work Very Hard, Paid Too Much
Townhall.com ^ | December 14, 2012 | Daniel J. Mitchell

Posted on 12/14/2012 7:36:40 AM PST by Kaslin

My Cato Institute colleague, Chris Edwards, put together a remarkable (and depressing) chart showing that federal bureaucrats get almost twice the level of compensation as workers in the productive sector of the economy.

Defenders of the bureaucracy (including a federal pay panel dominated by bureaucrats) claim that government employees actually are underpaid because…well…just because.

My modest contribution to the debate was to put together a chart based on the Labor Department’s JOLTS data, which shows that bureaucrats are far less likely to voluntarily leave their jobs than folks in the private sector, which is very strong evidence that they are being over-compensated.

But all this debate about pay is looking at only one part of the equation. What about the stereotype that bureaucrats don’t work very hard? Well, as anyone who’s ever visited a motor vehicles department or a post office already knows, that’s also true.

And the hard data confirm our personal observations. Here are the main findings of new research by Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute and Jason Richwine of the Heritage Foundation, which was published in the Wall Street Journal.

…overstaffing is a serious problem in government, and the best evidence is a simple empirical fact: Government employees don’t work as much as private employees. …new evidence from a comprehensive and objective data set confirms that the “underworked” government employee is more than a stereotype. …The time-use survey’s data on work time…allow us to analyze both the number of hours individuals work during a typical workweek and the total number of hours they work during the year. …What we found was that during a typical workweek, private-sector employees work about 41.4 hours. Federal workers, by contrast, put in 38.7 hours, and state and local government employees work 38.1 hours. …Put another way, private employees spend around an extra month working each year compared with public employees.

Here’s the chart Excel generated when I entered the data in a spreadsheet. It must be nice to get paid a lot to work a little.

Bureaucrat Hours Worked

Actually, maybe it’s not a bad thing that bureaucrats are lazy. Do we really want more diligent IRS agents? More hard-charging OSHA inspectors? Do we want Fannie and Freddie regulators burning the midnight oil concocting more affordable leading rules?

I think you understand my concern.

So this brings us back to the fact that they are paid too much. This video has the gory details.

The real issue, as I state at the end of the video, is that most government jobs shouldn’t exist at all.

By the way, Biggs and Richwine include a very important point in their op-ed about the connection between the current budget negotiations and the existence of an over-paid and under-worked bureaucracy.

This fact may hold different lessons for different people, but our own take is simple: Before we ask private-sector employees to work more to support government, government itself should work as much as the private sector.

As noted above, I want government to do less, not for bureaucrats to do more, but their point is still appropriate.

P.S. Here’s a good joke about government bureaucracy. Here’s a similar joke in picture form. And we find the same humor in this joke, but with a bit more build up.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: bureaucracy; bureaucrats; federal; fraud; goobermint; governmentemployees; governmentsalaries; governmentworkers; nomenklatura; overpaid; pay; public; spending; waste

1 posted on 12/14/2012 7:36:46 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Color me surprised!


2 posted on 12/14/2012 7:37:30 AM PST by grobdriver
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To: grobdriver

I’m gobsmacked.


3 posted on 12/14/2012 7:38:44 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: Kaslin
If we pay federal bureaucrats more, will they promise to do even less?

I'd consider that to be a great bargain.

4 posted on 12/14/2012 7:40:57 AM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: Kaslin

Most of the GS15 employees of the government a are in DC (district of criminals). His is a high pay grade and is sort of the welfare system for the high ranking.


5 posted on 12/14/2012 7:41:02 AM PST by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: Kaslin

The essential question is not how hard they work, but WHAT DO THEY PRODUCE THAT ADDS VALUE to the economy! Indeed, for all the damage the hard working rule writers do at the EPA, we would be far better off if they were total SLACKERS and watched YouTube videos all day.


6 posted on 12/14/2012 7:46:49 AM PST by theBuckwheat
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To: Kaslin

What we really need to measure is the number of deaths that result from the bureaucratic regulations these federal bureaucrats enforce as a result of lost economic growth and jobs.


7 posted on 12/14/2012 8:03:45 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum ("The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state." - Cornelius Tacitus, Roman Senator)
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To: Kaslin
Also consider that government employees are non productive in the economy. That is they do not produce any goods or services sold in the market, do not create any new businesses or jobs and rely on taxation to support their salaries which reduces disposable income from those who are producing in the economy. Granted some public sector workers are needed to provide essential services like public safety, but buildings full of bureaucrats simply shuffling their paperwork is a drain on the economy and reduces GDP.

The whole idea that government spending stimulates the economy because of some economic multiplier is pure Keynesian economic BS. The multiplier is calculated based on the marginal propensity to consume, but if disposable income is reduced as a result of taxation consumption must be less not more so the multiplier is at best an illusion.

8 posted on 12/14/2012 8:04:36 AM PST by The Great RJ
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To: theBuckwheat
Actually, except at EPA, most rule-writers work exceedingly hard.

Interesting you should note them first.

As you undoubtedly recall I did a retrogressive analysis of the problems folks were having getting permission to skim oil off the Gulf during the blow-out. It all came back to the original law that gave EPA the privilege of writing rules about oil ~ kitchen slops on boats with cooking facilities to be specific, and the Homeland Security law that expanded the authority of the Coast Guard to stop boats and do search and seizure.

Nowhere was EPA authorized to regulate removal of contaminants from the ocean! What they had been authorized to do originally was prevent people from dropping trou and letting fly with fecal matter over the side of their rowboats within sight of folks on a public beach!

I'm sure my write-up is still on a few bulletin boards at EPA headquarters. More recently they actually had their ground forces (the US Marshall Service) potentially up against the Coast Guard over in California as the one body tried to prohibit aerial spraying against mosquitoes and the other body tried to prohibit people from killing the whales ~ which, interestingly enough, involves mosquito infestations along the West Coast ~ whales have been known to die from mosquito bites.

But, back to the rule writer work ~ may be two dozen people in the DC area who actually write rules. That's all there are guys. Two dozen. The other half million or so federal employees in the region do not write rules, nor are they allowed to do so!

It is typical of Cato writers that they have little knowledge of how government actually works, else they wouldn't go off on these tangents where they imagine that two dozen rule writers put the federal budget out of kilter.

It's that Charles Guy ~ got him laid off at USPS. He went somewhere else. Got him laid off there too. Now it looks like he's hustled his way through Cato with his peculiar statistical outlook. Have to check him out again and see if he's behind this. I think he hates me.

9 posted on 12/14/2012 8:04:36 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

You posted a great example of the consequences to our liberty and prosperity that come from the hard working rule-writers at the EPA. Thanks for making my point far better than I ever could.

Somewhere along the line I think the Federal bureaucracy was able to unshackle itself from having to do any honest economic impact analysis of its rules and regulations having the weight of law. I would note the only way to slow the Leviathan State down is to put it on such a stringent financial diet that it must choose where to devote its finite manhours. However, now that the Federal Reserve has been empowered to print 90% of the money that the Treasury must borrow each month (which is itself north of 40% of spending), the Leviathan has become self-funding.

Government has unshackled itself from the taxpayer’s veto of its activities because it just prints whatever money it needs to pay its bills and the wealth it is spending come by diluting the money in our wallets and 401ks. This is the grandest scheme of theft and tyranny in all human history.


10 posted on 12/14/2012 8:13:28 AM PST by theBuckwheat
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To: theBuckwheat

An article in the WSJ about the government implication of Obamacare exchanges claims that the government expects 63million people to use the exchanges, yet the government has added a new rule that all filings must be done on paper using snail mail.

The government is taking the delay and deny meme to a new level and adding the bonus costs of wasted government employee time and office space.


11 posted on 12/14/2012 8:25:07 AM PST by Eva
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To: theBuckwheat

An article in the WSJ about the government implication of Obamacare exchanges claims that the government expects 63million people to use the exchanges, yet the government has added a new rule that all filings must be done on paper using snail mail.

The government is taking the delay and deny meme to a new level and adding the bonus costs of wasted government employee time and office space.


12 posted on 12/14/2012 8:25:10 AM PST by Eva
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To: theBuckwheat

An article in the WSJ about the government implication of Obamacare exchanges claims that the government expects 63million people to use the exchanges, yet the government has added a new rule that all filings must be done on paper using snail mail.

The government is taking the delay and deny meme to a new level and adding the bonus costs of wasted government employee time and office space.


13 posted on 12/14/2012 8:25:10 AM PST by Eva
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To: Kaslin

In other news, the sun rose in the east and set in the west yesterday and studies show that bears sh*t in the woods.


14 posted on 12/14/2012 8:38:49 AM PST by NRA1995 (CNN should be PNN (Propaganda, Never News))
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To: Kaslin

I could have told you that! I WAS ONE!!!
Now, too, that “da unions” are involved in the yearly evaluations of the personnel by their supervisors, you really think that the word ‘productivity’, or the word ‘longevity’ is the key word? Do you really think that the public service employee is more interested in finishing their ‘30 years’ first, or actually doing some ‘work’, first?

It is a bloated system, that has been hijacked by affirmative actions, nepotism, and just plain corruption.


15 posted on 12/14/2012 9:03:26 AM PST by Terry L Smith
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To: Kaslin

Government employees = Fat City


16 posted on 12/14/2012 9:33:26 AM PST by Vaduz
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To: Kaslin

17 posted on 12/14/2012 1:43:43 PM PST by 4Liberty (Some on our "Roads & Bridges" head to the beach. Others head to their offices, farms, libraries....)
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