Skip to comments.Hard to Justify Across-the-Board Federal Pay Raises
Posted on 02/23/2013 1:34:37 PM PST by IbJensen
The House just voted on a proposal to extend President Obamas (misnamed) federal pay freeze for another year. While Congress has better ways of reducing excessive federal compensation, this approach beats handing out an across-the-board raise.
Americans should not have to take a vow of poverty to work in government, but neither should government workers be paid more than theyre worth. The federal government should pay its employees about what they would make in comparable private-sector jobs.
It does not. Economists from across the political spectrum agree that, on average, the federal government pays more than the private sector for the same work. The Heritage Foundation estimated that federal employees enjoy a 30 percent compensation premium. The Congressional Budget Office estimated a 16 percent premium. Even Alan Krueger, chairman of President Obamas Council of Economic Advisors, agrees federal employees make more than their private-sector counterparts.
These figures are averages that do not apply to every individual. Many of the governments most skilled and most productive workers get paid at or below market rates. On average, however, Uncle Sam overpays.
The government has difficulty justifying this disparity in normal economic conditions. It makes even less sense in times of rising taxes, spending, and debt.
Even President Obama recognizes this. For the past two years, he suspended the federal annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The media mislabeled this as a pay freeze. In fact, virtually all federal employees have continued to receive seniority-based raises. Now President Obama has restored the COLA as wellan across-the-board 0.5 percent increase. This will cost taxpayers $11 billion over the next 10 years.
Congressman Ron DeSantis (RFL) recently introduced H.R. 273, which would extend the COLA freeze through 2013. The House passed the measure today. The DeSantis bill would prevent an across-the-board increase, but this ignores the distinction between overpaid and underpaid employees. Congress would do better to cut compensation where it is most inflated.
Federal employees pay little toward their pensions and can retire at 56. Congress should increase both the federal retirement age and pension contributions. Or Congress could turn the seniority-based step increases into performance-based raises that only high-performing employees earn. This would save billions without penalizing hard workers.
Barring such reforms, DeSantiss proposal is far better than doing nothing. Most federal employees enjoy more secure, better paid, and desirable jobs than private-sector taxpayers. Neither the budget problems nor equity arguments justify across-the-board federal raises.
Pay for performance should be determined by the American people whose lives, nation and economy has been through the federal paper shredder. The people determine no pay raise as ongoing performance lays heavy contentions unfairly on the people. These loafers of the central socialist government are not worth a dime!
It is a crime that four of the five wealthiest counties in America surround the New Rome, to which all tribute flows.
And we wonder why this country's in such desperate trouble.
I think we should lay them all off and put them on unemployment, Pelosi says unemployment checks stimulate the economy.
Big government greed.
This is one of the reasons why contracting out services by a government agency is vastly more cost-efficient than maintaining a civil service staff for a particular function. The contract employees are only used for the specific purpose for which the contract was drawn up, and once the terms of the contract are fulfilled, the cash flow stops.
Civil service just goes on and on eternally. And it has all kinds of attendent costs, whether the civil servants are productively engaged or not.
And Panetta wants to cut Military pay!
What a freakin joke this Government is!
Over half of those paper pushers should be terminated now!
You want to know where 0’s voter base comes from there it is!
This is alignment for 2016!
Give them an across-the-board 3% pay raise in exchange for a 10% RIF and an end to their current pension plan. Lock in what they’ve already accrued and replace it with a 401(k) going forward.
Just to be clear THIS pay freze is really a joke as the fact cat fed workers still get longevity raises, just for being employed.And there are longevity increases nearly every year at first and then every 2 years so NO ONE who has stayed employed by the Feds has missed a pay or “ step” increase.
I think a pay freeze should be what it says it is. a freeze at whatever pay they are getting now.
Stupid bug in the browser ping/apology:
Indeed. I should have a say in the salary and benefits of anyone who works for me.
There are civilian workers overseas that are not taxed on their first 100K, but they do not pay US taxes, and that is why. They pay German taxes which is considerably higher. However, they do make outrageous salaries, some of them. They definitely make a much higher salary than the average civilian worker stateside. However, we read last summer of state employees in CA that retired, making full pay, then after a month, went back to work receiving a higher salary and keeping the retirement pay, as well. Federal salaries are based on the highest salaries in the large cities. The unions see to that. So, it doesn’t matter where you live as a federal employee...in some cases.
Hey that’s my line!!! Imperial Rome. :)
Washington DC, ripping off the provinces is how they live in luxury and are recession proof. This Imperial Gov’t is staffed with affirmative action incompetents of all stripes. Gay, female, black etc etc One of the major reasons DC is so sick and messed up and inflicts its sickness on us all
This is just another fine example of the Heritage Foundation not knowing what they are talking about and only cherry picking the facts. Just another egghead think tank bunching all Federal Salaries into a common bucket, and calculating an average to make the results support their cause. When I started working for the DoD 24yrs ago, scientists and engineers had a separate GS pay scale. During the Clinton administration that changed and all the non- technical personnel were raised up to the scientist/engineer scale. At the time that was approx. a $6K/yr raise. Yesterday the DoD sent out a letter saying that this engineers week and we should honor the accomplishments of our engineers. There are approx. 100,000 engineers/scientists out of the total 800,000 DoD employee base. So in short do an actual comparison of salaries especially in the technical areas. Oh and the reason I dont go to the outside world is, the contractors who work for DoD do not have the countrys best interest in heart only their companys profit margin !!!
Their pay as well as step increases shold be frozen!
Under this so called pay freeze do you still get step increases?
Under this so called pay freeze do you still get step increases?
Actually, the Heritage Foundation, did take into consideration many of the factors you mentioned. The Foundation did not recommend reducing the salaries of skilled workers such as engineers but did recommend reducing the salaries of non-skilled workers. The Foundation also found that the wages of skilled workers were in-line with those in the private sector.
Oh and the reason I dont go to the outside world is, the contractors who work for DoD do not have the countrys best interest in heart only their companys profit margin !!!
I resent that remark. I was the lead designer (DoD contractor)on two of the six enabling technologies for the X-30 national aerospace plane and have nearly two dozen aircraft types with designs on them. I can’t count the number of government engineers that took the road to glory riding on my back. If you ever see Americans streaking across the sky like a meteor it will be because of us.
Resent it all you want. Fact is, DoD contractors only care about award fees and incentive fees. Too bad their engineers get screwed and their managers are the ones who get the big bonus. As Lockheed for example, they treat the DoD as a welfare program for their overpaid engineers. They know who signs their paychecks, so they are not beyond creating makework projects. And why didn’t X-30 fly?? Too damn expensive for any potential return on investment.
Unfortunately this gaggle doesn’t work for us; rather, they work on us.