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Why Federal Workers Deserve What They're Paid
The Washington Post ^ | February 3, 2010 | Joe Davidson

Posted on 02/03/2010 7:26:09 AM PST by Poundstone

Excerpt: The budget answers critics, including Scott Brown, the newly elected Republican senator from Massachusetts, who say federal civilians earn much more than private-sector workers. There's a reason for that. Federal workers are better educated.

"The Federal Government hires lawyers to tackle corruption, security professionals to monitor our borders, doctors to care for our injured veterans, and world-class scientists to combat deadly diseases such as cancer," the budget says. "Because of these vital needs, the Federal Government hires a relatively highly educated workforce, resulting in higher average pay."

Consider these stats: Twenty percent of federal workers have a master's, professional or doctorate degree, compared with 13 percent in the private sector. Fifty-one percent of federal employees have a college degree of some sort, but only 35 percent do in the private sector.

Frankie and Flo may not be smarter than other folks, but they do have more schooling, and they get paid accordingly. They are also substantially older, and that contributes to higher pay -- 46 percent of federal employees are 50 or older, compared with 31 percent of private-sector workers.

Although the section doesn't say so, comparing overall federal and private-sector pay is misleading in another way, because Uncle Sam doesn't employ many people at the bottom of the wage scale the way industry does.

Job-for-job comparisons tell a completely different story. In fact, government figures indicate that federal employees are underpaid by 26 percent compared with their counterparts in similar position in the business world.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: employees; federal; federalemployees; government
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Good article that really lays out the facts behind federal employment and benefits, in contrast to a lot of the know-nothing criticisms heard here and in other places!
1 posted on 02/03/2010 7:26:10 AM PST by Poundstone
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To: Poundstone

“There’s a reason for that. Federal workers are better educated.”

Bullshit.


2 posted on 02/03/2010 7:29:20 AM PST by jessduntno (Obama: not your typical Black Liberation Theologist/Marxist/Afro-AmeriKanner President...)
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To: Poundstone
There's always someone around who imagines that federal employees do nothing all day and still get paid.

That's always been my impression of the source of the complaint.

3 posted on 02/03/2010 7:30:11 AM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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To: Poundstone

bookmark


4 posted on 02/03/2010 7:31:55 AM PST by GOP Poet (Obama is an OLYMPIC failure.)
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To: jessduntno

“In fact, government figures indicate that federal employees are underpaid by 26 percent compared with their counterparts in similar position in the business world.”

Is this factoring in their cadillac insurance plans, insane retirement benefit packages and job counseling, “golden parachutes” when they get bumped for political reasons and virtually fire-proof employment contracts? No, huh?


5 posted on 02/03/2010 7:32:08 AM PST by jessduntno (Obama: not your typical Black Liberation Theologist/Marxist/Afro-AmeriKanner President...)
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To: jessduntno

” bullshit “ ditto here. Our exact problem is the fact that these over educated asses are running our lives.


6 posted on 02/03/2010 7:32:27 AM PST by refermech
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To: Poundstone

I would like to know the percebtage of gummint workers that are immigrants or first-generation of immigrants. (AKA “affirmative action hires”)


7 posted on 02/03/2010 7:32:34 AM PST by Cletus.D.Yokel
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To: Poundstone
Notice the writer judiciously avoids mentioning the 90% salary pension with full medical benefits received by 25 yr federal employees until the day their spouse dies.

Nothing in the private sector to compare with that, is there.

8 posted on 02/03/2010 7:32:40 AM PST by skeeter
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To: Poundstone

Let’s turn it upside down and point out ...

The feds pay better and give away lavish benefits and pensions so the more educated clamor for the income.

Time to limit govt wages and track them to the private sector. If govt decisions hurt the private workplace then the public sector pay should hurt as well.


9 posted on 02/03/2010 7:32:44 AM PST by George from New England (escaped CT 2006; now living north of Tampa Bay)
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To: Poundstone
FACT: With few exceptions, they're working for the government because they can't make it in the private sector.

FACT: They're better paid because of unions, control of funding and cronyism.

10 posted on 02/03/2010 7:33:07 AM PST by Errant
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To: muawiyah

“There’s always someone around who imagines that federal employees do nothing all day and still get paid.”

Probably formed by those who have ever walked into a gubmint office ANYWHERE.


11 posted on 02/03/2010 7:33:17 AM PST by jessduntno (Obama: not your typical Black Liberation Theologist/Marxist/Afro-AmeriKanner President...)
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To: Poundstone

There’s a reason for that. Federal workers are better educated.


Slight problem with this conclusion. If Federal Workers are so educated and so brilliant, then why are they working for the government when they could be earning a zillion dollar salary in private industry.


12 posted on 02/03/2010 7:34:59 AM PST by Presbyterian Reporter
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To: Poundstone

Why Federal Workers Deserve What They Get:

SEC workers investigated for porn-surfing. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/feb/02/sec-workers-investigated-for-viewing-porn-at-work/

The work computer of one regional supervisor for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission showed more than 1,800 attempts to look up pornography in a 17-day span: “It was kind of distraction per se,” he later told investigators.

But he wasn’t alone. More than two dozen SEC employees and contractors over roughly the past two years have faced internal investigations after they were caught viewing pornography on their government computers, according to records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and other public documents.

The activities of porn-surfing SEC workers, a small fraction of the overall work force, have been serious enough to warrant a mention in each of the past four semiannual reports sent to Congress by the SEC’s office of inspector general.

In response to the open records request by The Washington Times, the inspector general’s office provided more than 150 pages of records and transcripts on the investigations, but declined to identify the employees involved. The office noted that disclosure of the employees’ names “could conceivably subject them to harassment and annoyance in the conduct of their official duties and private lives.”


13 posted on 02/03/2010 7:35:50 AM PST by flowerplough ( Pennsylvania today - New New Jersey meets North West Virginia.)
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To: Poundstone
Are you kidding me. I read the article and all I could make out if it was that it was a fluff piece.

I would like to see any of these people leave the Federal Government right now and get a job with equal pay and benefits in the private sector. Never mind getting a job in the private sector with higher pay. And not some quasi-government “non-profit” company.

What a load of bull.

14 posted on 02/03/2010 7:36:07 AM PST by outpostinmass2
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To: Poundstone

This has been the line coming out of academia for the past 25 years. “The real future is in the public sector, see? We need more of our best and brightest to bypass industry and come to work in public service.” Obama’s plan to wipe away their student loans after ten years proves this.


15 posted on 02/03/2010 7:36:42 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Poundstone
Agreed! I've been insulted on this board simply for defending myself from people who associate all Federal workers with the DMV. This won't convince the naysayers but it doesn't matter and I don't care. I know what I do and what it's worth to the Navy. I have no time or desire to worry that someone else thinks I'm overpaid.
16 posted on 02/03/2010 7:36:58 AM PST by Sursam Abordine
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To: Poundstone
It doesn't matter how educated they are or how old they are. What matters is that there are too many of them, they do things the government has no business being involved in, they don't produce results rather they create or exacerbate more problems than they solve, and their benefits and pensions are creating an economic catastrophe for this country.

There is nothing in here that lays out a true analysis of the situation - just a lot of high-level generalities. What are the degrees they hold? Are the degrees relevant to the job they are being paid for? How effective are the departments in which they are employed? Should the government even be involved in the matter to begin with? They may have been there a long time but do they have 25 years of experience or one year 25 times?

In the real world you can only get paid on your resume or your experience for so long. Eventually you have to produce results. In the government if you don't produce results you ask for more money.

17 posted on 02/03/2010 7:37:13 AM PST by hometoroost (I am not a crook, I did not have sex with that woman, and I am not an ideologue.)
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To: Presbyterian Reporter

“If Federal Workers are so educated and so brilliant, then why are they working for the government when they could be earning a zillion dollar salary in private industry.”

Actually, with all the outsourcing and H1B pressure in private industry, the federal works have probably made the smart decision by going to the government for work. Frankly, I’m so sick of what goes on in private industry, I would gladly work a government or union job, but if my current job goes away, I will probably try starting a business first, that has been my dream for a long time. Then if that doesn’t work, I’ll look for a gov/union teat. hehe


18 posted on 02/03/2010 7:38:40 AM PST by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: Presbyterian Reporter

And if they’re so highly educated, professional, and good at what they do, why are so many of them needed?


19 posted on 02/03/2010 7:38:51 AM PST by SpaceBar
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To: muawiyah; Poundstone
There's always someone around who imagines that federal employees do nothing all day and still get paid.

My brother was hired on to one of the fed bureaucracies in DC for a few years. His descriptions of the lack of accountability and the laziness were astounding. His experience working there turned him from a lib into a conservative.

All the eduction seems to have taught them is how to look busy.

20 posted on 02/03/2010 7:38:59 AM PST by Lakeshark (Thank a member of the US armed forces for their sacrifice)
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To: Poundstone

Many years ago, I had a regular tennis game with an older guy who was a doctor working for the Federal government. He was a nice enough fellow, but as I got to know him I realized he was not that smart, and was probably not that good a doctor.

Of course, any licensed physician can get some sort of job at decent pay, but I think there was a reason he took the job he had. The hours were good, too, we used to start our tennis game at 5 PM on a weekday.


21 posted on 02/03/2010 7:39:22 AM PST by proxy_user
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To: George from New England
Time to limit govt wages and track them to the private sector. If govt decisions hurt the private workplace then the public sector pay should hurt as well.

BINGO!

22 posted on 02/03/2010 7:40:41 AM PST by TChris ("Hello", the politician lied.)
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To: jessduntno

I’ll go along with your BS comment but I’ll tweak it a bit.

Gubmint workers are, at times I suggest softly, easy sources of mockery and criticism. But the mockery isn’t all undeserved.

For gubmint worker seldom, if ever, get laid off. They have holidays every other day and goodness teachers get summers off and can stay home should a snowflake fall. Gubmint workers have wonderful benefit plans and better retirement plans than thou and I.

But gubmint workers got it tough at times. The public often feels like they can dish out any derision and nastiness it wants cause they “pay your salary”. They have to work every day if it’s not a holiday. I’m quite sure they face the grind as much as us in the private sector.

The bigger problem with gubmint workers is THERE IS SO DAMN MANY OF THEM!

Don’t tell me that...hey give me a gubmint agency. And I’ll show you a work force that would be reduced in half were they a private business.

The gubmint sector has to compete for good employees same as the private sector. It’s not the workers, per se, that are the problem.

It’s their managers. It’s the layers and layers of those who want a cushy job and they design their duties so it will be that way.

So we get this horrific pyramid thing in a gubmint agency that likely should be cut in half. The poor schlub down the bottom, he’s still working and doing the job but he’s got five to ten bosses over him who do, essentially nothing.

THAT’S the kind of thing the public hates.

And we all know it’s true.


23 posted on 02/03/2010 7:40:47 AM PST by Fishtalk
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To: Lakeshark
Actually they are usually busy all day calculating their pensions. They know the exact day they will retire and what pension salary they will get to the minute and penny.
24 posted on 02/03/2010 7:41:10 AM PST by outpostinmass2
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To: jessduntno
I'm a federal employee and I don't consider my insurance plan to be a "cadillac" plan.

I put in $350 a month and the government puts in $650. It has copays and the catastrophic cap is $7500 a year.

The problem with the federal employment these days is the explosive growth of the SES ranks. There is one agency I can think of specifically that has SES positions filled with people that never finished a four year degree, and it shows.

25 posted on 02/03/2010 7:41:30 AM PST by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: Poundstone
The gap in education is offset by a much larger gap in IQ.
The private sector wins that one, hands down.
26 posted on 02/03/2010 7:42:05 AM PST by ComputerGuy (Not my real name)
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To: Poundstone

Fine..but we just don’t need as MANY of them!


27 posted on 02/03/2010 7:42:20 AM PST by Lets Be Frank
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To: Poundstone

Plus, you need to denude 10 acres of forest to produce the paper to document why you need to fire someone who isn’t doing their job. If you can fog a mirror, your job is pretty much guaranteed for life.


28 posted on 02/03/2010 7:42:22 AM PST by econjack (Some people are as dumb as soup.)
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To: muawiyah

“There’s always someone around who imagines that federal employees do nothing all day and still get paid.”

Not all of them, just most of them.


29 posted on 02/03/2010 7:43:14 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: Poundstone
FEDERAL Workers Compensation 101: Know the Basics

The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) provides benefits to all federal employees of the United States Government. These civilian employees of the U.S. government include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Health & Human, Services, Homeland Security, HUD, Justice, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veteran’s Affairs, Federal Judiciary (Court System), U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Capitol Police, Legislative Branch, TSA, NASA, Forest Service, Border Patrol, National Guard, et al.

Just look at these benefits for all these workers. Who wouldn't clamor for a gubbmint job? I have been to Social Security offices and post offices and if those are highly educated individuals our schools are an abysmal failure!

30 posted on 02/03/2010 7:44:09 AM PST by Neverforget01 (The problem is the doing, not the talking....Gov Haley Barbour)
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To: Poundstone
This article is for crap. Working for the government is called "Civil Service" the key word there is "SERVICE." These people are supposed to be working for the good of the nation and its people, not for their own selfish ends.

That is why the unionization of federal employees is such an abomination. Federal employees are a drag on the nation's economy. Every dollar spent paying a civil service employee is one dollar taken from a tax-paying private sector employee...one dollar taken out of the economy and put into government coffers.

There are now 2.15 million federal employees now.

You want high pay and the luxuries in life, get a real job in the private sector and stop sponging off of the American tax-payer.
31 posted on 02/03/2010 7:44:28 AM PST by Sudetenland (Slow to anger but terrible in vengence...such is the character of the American people.)
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To: Poundstone

The chapter also counters those who might see a growing federal workforce as an indication that government is getting too big. In 1988, when Ronald Reagan, that champion of small government, was president, there was one federal employee for every 110 residents. Twenty years later, the ratio was one to 155.


Assuming the above numbers are true, the fact that in 1988 there was one FED per 110 residents (notice they did not use the word citizens) and today there is one FED employee per 155 residents, the comparison ignores the tremendous strides made in computers during the past 20 years.

If one were to make a similar comparison in the private sector, they would see that employees have far greater responsibilities in terms of employee per dollar of sales today than 20 years ago due to the increase in computers and technology and tools.


32 posted on 02/03/2010 7:44:37 AM PST by Presbyterian Reporter
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To: USNBandit
SES positions filled with people that never finished a four year degree

Bill Gates never finished his degree, but I agree he is the extreme exception. In all likelihood the people you refer to couldn't get hired to empty the trash at MSFT.

33 posted on 02/03/2010 7:44:55 AM PST by CholeraJoe (Deja Moo - The feeling that you have heard this BS before.)
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To: jessduntno

I agree that the pay and benefits for government workers needs to be adjusted. I do not believe having less educated employees in the public or private sector will result in cost savings, nor will it provide for advancements in any area. Check out the education level of third world countries and their standards of living. Hatred for government employees is an obvious position lots of Freepers hold, and to say educated people are the source of this country’s problems defies logic.


34 posted on 02/03/2010 7:45:24 AM PST by LuvFreeRepublic (Support our military or leave. I will help you pack BO!)
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To: skeeter
"Notice the writer judiciously avoids mentioning the 90% salary pension with full medical benefits received by 25 yr federal employees until the day their spouse dies."

I must have missed that brief when I was hired! Please take at least a minute to review the FERS retirement plan. One % of high-3 average/per year, diet COLA and survivors get a percentage of the pension (usually half), not the full benefit, and that's only after I've paid an insurance premium out of the pension. Just like my survivor's benefits for the military. So at 25 years the pension is 25% of the average not 90%. Medical benefits are paid by the retiree at full cost because the government cost share goes away.

Of course nothing in the private sector compares...because it doesn't exist even in government. Statements like your are part of the problem.

35 posted on 02/03/2010 7:45:32 AM PST by Sursam Abordine
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To: Poundstone

Good article that really lays out the facts behind federal employment and benefits, in contrast to a lot of the know-nothing criticisms heard here and in other places!


Not sure how you came to that conclusion. I certainly did not after reading the entire article.


36 posted on 02/03/2010 7:45:57 AM PST by Presbyterian Reporter
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To: RFEngineer

Actually a lot of them work hard all day. It is what they are working on that is not needed. Lot of useless tasks and forms and procedures that are non-existant in the private sector. That is why I laugh about the government take over of healthcare to “streamline” the business.


37 posted on 02/03/2010 7:46:24 AM PST by outpostinmass2
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To: muawiyah

I have worked in government at various times over the last 35 years. While in the military I found the people to generally be more motivated and harder working than average Americans. While in the civilian government work force I found them to be less motivated and less capable than average American workers. The idea that they should earn more, or get higher pay raises and bonuses is BS.


38 posted on 02/03/2010 7:46:35 AM PST by Laserman
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To: Poundstone

“”Good article that really lays out the facts behind federal employment and benefits, in contrast to a lot of the know-nothing criticisms heard here and in other places!””

Oh yes. You are so right. I renewed my driver’s license last week and there were dozens of rocket surgeons behind the counter. Their politeness and efficiency made them worth every bit of their $100k/yr salary.

One of them was able to read and even write too which proves the highly educated part.

I’ll bet the million employees at the post office, the IRS, the passport office, the unemployment office, etc are equally impressive. If you can read a little and sorta speak sometimes, you absolutely deserve to be compensated as well as technicians, engineers, scientists, physicians, etc.


39 posted on 02/03/2010 7:46:39 AM PST by getitright (If you call this HOPE, can we give despair a shot?)
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To: Poundstone
I work for the fed, have for almost three years after selling my business some years ago. I have a degree and many professional certifications and have worked in the private sector as well.

There is a little bit of truth to both sides of the argument.

The talented and honest folks work hard and many serve, like at the VA, because they honestly want to help vets. it is a mission for them, just like some who teach or serve in the military etc.

However I have also seen too many examples of what is considered stereotypical government employee traits at all levels, from wage grade all the way to executive levels. I have also seen how impossible it is to fire some one.

It is a different world, but there are more than a few government employees who really do earn their pay.

40 posted on 02/03/2010 7:47:11 AM PST by ejonesie22
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To: Poundstone

yeah yeah yeah...
Past-date baloney doesn’t smell any better in a flower shop.

Remember us? We are the unfortunate shmoes who have to deal with these “educated” gub’mint workers after standing in hours-long lines. Government workers ARE, overpaid, underworked, lazy, stupid and rude.

I have this fantasy and it’s a good one. We are able to elect congress people with the sand to go to DC and immediately- IMMEDIATELY- cut ALL fed agencies by a third, as they contemplate which ones to shut down forever (in my fantasy, they START with the EPA). They pass a constitutional amendment that “sunsets” every spending bill they have ever passed in DC and send it out to the states so that we, the voters, can give our absolute approval.

Defund the agencies so that all those “educated” government workers have to go out and get REAL jobs.


41 posted on 02/03/2010 7:47:13 AM PST by 13Sisters76 ("It is amazing how many people mistake a certain hip snideness for sophistication. " Thos. Sowell)
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To: muawiyah

My apologies if you or a family member are federal employees who actually work, but I will say that I have worked as a govt. contractor on a military base and have seen first hand quite a few federal employees who DON’T DO JACK SQUAT during their work day!

I’ve even watched several sit around, play solitare, read romance novels, surf the web, take LOOOONG lunches, leave early, endless smoke breaks, socializing, run a side business from their desks, etc.

I’ve heard several BRAG about how little they do when working the “owl shift” and how they play poker and sleep all night.


42 posted on 02/03/2010 7:47:48 AM PST by a real Sheila (a POX on this entire administration!)
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To: Poundstone

Some federal workers in technical or legal jobs may not be paid as much as counterparts in the private sector if one ignores the health and pension benefits.

The majority in clerical and administrative staff jobs are way overpaid in comparison to private sector jobs, especially factoring in fringes the feds give. Plus, about 1/4 could be cut and no one would notice.


43 posted on 02/03/2010 7:48:02 AM PST by RicocheT
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To: Poundstone
...Twenty percent of federal workers have a master's, professional or doctorate degree, compared with 13 percent in the private sector.

In my personal experience, I have observed that those people with advanced degrees are actually no more intelligent than the average H.S. senior. Common sense is inversely proportional to the number of degrees held.

I will say this, that having an advanced degree means you are able to "work the system", jump through hoops of academia, backstab your peers, and prostitute yourself for grant money and prestige.

44 posted on 02/03/2010 7:48:07 AM PST by Rodamala
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To: refermech

bullshit “ ditto here. Our exact problem is the fact that these over educated asses are running our lives.

I’ll take common sense over over education any time! Also, I think those educated thinkers Pelosi, Reid and Obama are doing a bang up job running our government /s


45 posted on 02/03/2010 7:48:14 AM PST by Bitsy
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To: Poundstone
There's a reason for that. Federal workers are better educated.

This is missing the projectile vomit alert. Just in case anyone here is a federal employee, I'll 'splain in words of as few syllables as possible.

IN A FREE MARKET YOU ARE NOT PAID BASED ON YOUR EDUCATION. You are paid based on the demand for your services. Look at professional basketball players if you want to see an example of how this works.

For most of what federal employees do there is no demand except for the artificial demand created by legislation. The entire departments of Housing and Urban development and Education could be eliminated without anyone in the private sector doing anything but rejoicing (except for those cronies of the administration who get fat contracts to swill at the taxpayer funded trough). ATF could be eliminated tomorrow, and there would be no private demand for its "services" arising in the private sector, and MacDonalds could get some new janitors (with some retraining.)

46 posted on 02/03/2010 7:48:25 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your most dangerous enemy is your own government,)
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To: Poundstone

Education alone does not determine a person’s earnings potential in a free society. I’m guessing that many of these highly educated federal employees hold degrees in fuzzy studies which don’t pay in the free market.


47 posted on 02/03/2010 7:48:27 AM PST by mbs6
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To: jessduntno

BTTT


48 posted on 02/03/2010 7:51:01 AM PST by vbmoneyspender
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To: Poundstone

What a steaming pant load....


49 posted on 02/03/2010 7:51:27 AM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: a real Sheila

You work in the day time in a serious part of the federal government ~ not a warehouse on a military base ~ you will work. Government lawyers certainly exert as much effort as private sector lawyers. in fact, as a regular item there are guys who move back and forth from private practice to federal to private practice just for the purpose of learning what the issues really are in critical areas of future litigation.


50 posted on 02/03/2010 7:51:49 AM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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