Skip to comments.Overpaid and Complaining
Posted on 04/09/2012 11:09:49 AM PDT by Kaslin
A few weeks back I took on our federal employees for being delinquent on their taxes to the tune of $1 billion. I received some criticism for that article, principally from readers who thought that government employees were being unfairly singled out. But just as that column appeared, the government confirmed what most knowledgeable people already suspected: federal employees are significantly overpaid.
In January, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a comprehensive analysis of wages paid to federal employees. The report revealed that during the period of 2005-2010, federal employees were awarded much higher compensation than equivalent workers in the private sector. This doesnt really surprise a lot of people, but the unfairness of this has not buried the media types.
Predictably, public-employee union representatives disputed the study, accusing the CBO of comparing apples and oranges because of an alleged mismatch in educational backgrounds and work experience. But, in fact, the CBO had defeated that argument by partitioning their analysis into five groups: high school diploma (or less), some college, bachelors degree, masters degree, and professional degree or doctorate. Only the last of these groups fared better in the private sector; and, I suspect that if they separated out those with professional degrees, the analysis would show that federal employees with doctorates are also far better compensated than those in the private sector.
The report reveals that the lower your educational level, the better off you are working for the federal government. Those without a college degree get the best deal a compensation package 36% higher than an equivalent non-government employee. For these folks, wages are 21% higher, and benefits a staggering 72% higher, than those in the private sector. All of which is paid for with your tax dollars, of course.
The analysis, however, appears to have omitted two things. While the accumulated benefits included health insurance, retirement benefits, and vacation pay, its not clear whether they contained sick pay and holidays, both of which are usually much more generous for federal employees. You might have noticed that public employee unions are the principal sponsors of legislation to impose generous sick leave, family leave, and holiday pay regulations on private sector employers. This is not an act of benevolence; its an act of self-protection.
Possibly the largest benefit to federal employees is completely absent from the study: the airtight security of a federal job. Every year, only 1 in 5,000 federal non-defense employees is let go for poor performance. (And yet somehow, I manage to run into most of the poor performers!) Apparently, the lazy and incompetent only work for private companies.
Reaction was swift from the protected class. Colleen M. Kelley, President of the National Treasury Employees Union and a member of the Federal Salary Council, addressed the issue in an opinion piece in the Washington Post. Unfortunately, after reading her commentary three times, I have yet to discern a meaningful and coherent argument.
Our elected representatives in Washington except, of course, President Obama and his Democratic buddies have started to confront this issue. The House has introduced 14 bills (and 11 by the Senate) addressing issues related to federal employment. This includes aspects of their compensation packages along with the huge increase in the number of government employees hired under the Obama Administration. Naturally, theres little hope that Senator Harry Reid will allow a floor vote on any of these bills as part of his year-long commitment to accomplish nothing in Congress.
Still, our employees are feeling put upon. At a recent labor conference, the same Ms. Kelley said: Every time we turn around, this Congress is proposing to reach into your pockets to pay for yet another fiscal problem. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has chosen to align himself with the federal employees instead of the hard-working taxpayers of his state. Speaking after the same conference, Brown asserted that federal employees didnt cause the governments financial problems, and therefore shouldnt have to pay to fix them. Mr. Brown will certainly be receiving a ton of money from these unions. Hopefully, Josh Mandel, who clearly understands that overpaying 95% of the federal workforce adds significantly to our financial mess, will defeat him in the fall.
It will take a new President to solve the problem of an entitled federal worker class. There are far too many of them, they callously dont pay their taxes in significant numbers, and theyre now proven to be grossly overpaid. And yet, they feel aggrieved. What is wrong with this picture?
Government employees DO NOT pay taxes. Their pay is a draw on the treasury, any money held out of their check is NOT a net gain. It is smoke and mirrors to create the illusion they “pay taxes like everyone else”. No they don’t.
I have to pay my taxes every year just like everyone else. I have also been at the same pay grade for over 4years w/o a raise, and just one COLA over the last 4 years. My wife works part time in the community and makes almost as much as I do per hour and has not been an RN as long as I have.
Our pay as nurses in the federal government just barely meets what those nurses are paid in the community. I choose to work where I do because at least here our leadership knows what leading really means and what team work really looks like.
I suppose some would argue that many fed workers are rendering a service for US citizens (national security is supposed to be the first priority, but not the TSA/NSA crap). Sadly, over 50% of salaries nationally are now coming from taxpayers at the federal, state and local levels. Less than 50% of producers are supporting the income for over 50% who are public servants.
Yes, you file a tax return, but you (and all government employees, this is not personal) do not pay net taxes. Your salary is paid out of the treasury (from taxes collected), with a portion held back as ‘taxes’. There is no net gain to the treasury because your salary is paid out the treasury in the first place.
So you do not actually pay (re: create) taxes, you file a return yes, but your money that is withheld is not a gain to the treasury.
As far as your salary is concerned, I have a friend employed with government who makes nearly the same as the civilian rate in his field. The benefits and retirement though are top tier, drop dead generous. That is certainly something to consider.
I have had my income REDUCED (I’m medical too) because of uncertainties about 0bamacare scare and inadequate reimbursement from Medicare / Medicaid to the hospital where I work. Be happy you have a consistent income.