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  • Morning Bell: Federal Workers Overpaid, and CBO Agrees

    Here’s some news that federal bureaucrats in Washington — and indeed around the country — don’t want to hear: According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released this week, federal workers are paid higher than their private-sector counterparts.

    The “alarming news” hit the national media yesterday, but there’s a funny thing about the report. None of it is really “news” — in fact, The Heritage Foundation long ago uncovered the truth about federal pay. The CBO’s report this week was spurred in part by two years of work on federal compensation conducted by Heritage and the American Enterprise Institute.

    In July 2010, Heritage’s James Sherk explained that Americans are overtaxed to pay the civil service. Salaries and benefits–for identical jobs–are 30 percent to 40 percent higher in the federal government than in the private sector. And in June 2011, Heritage’s Jason Richwine authored a study showing that workers who change jobs receive a substantially larger raise when they switch into federal employment rather than into another private job. In fact, Sherk testified before Congress on this very subject in March 2011, bringing the fact of the pay disparities to the House’s attention:

    The federal pay system unnecessarily inflates federal pay. My research shows that, on average, federal employees earn hourly wages 22 percent higher than otherwise comparable private-sector workers. Numerous studies by researchers whose personal views span the political spectrum come to similar conclusions.

    Federal employees also receive premium benefits. They receive both a defined-benefit and defined-contribution pension plan, can retire with full benefits at 56, and receive significantly more paid leave than their private-sector counterparts. Accounting for the value of these benefits raises the federal compensation premium to between 30 percent and 40 percent above similar private-sector workers. All told, the federal compensation premium will cost taxpayers $47 billion this year.

    Their analysis drew significant and at times vicious criticism. Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry described their work as “a misinformation campaign.” The public-sector employee unions weighed in, of course, with the National Federation of Federal Employees calling our work “lies;” the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers labeling it “scapegoating;” and Colleen Kelley of the National Treasury Employees Union smearing the work as “self-serving, self-created data.” Their attempt to deny reality and attack the messenger isn’t surprising. After all, those unions exist to inflate the wages of those they represent, and the taxpayers are the ones left footing the bill.

    But the unions weren’t the only ones on the attack. The liberal ThinkProgress blog asserted that Heritage’s work was “riddled with errors” and that the “claims are baseless.” Meanwhile, Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel said that the idea that federal workers are overpaid is “a conservative myth.”

    Despite the criticism from the left, Heritage continued making its argument, explaining its methodology, and carrying the message that, based on the research, federal workers are in fact overpaid and that action is warranted. Specifically, Congress should implement a pay-for-performance system, expand the contracting of federal work to private companies, reduce the generosity of federal benefits, and end the near-absolute job security for underperforming federal workers. Now it’s time for the critics on the left to recognize this truth and get on board with reality.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    107 Responses to Morning Bell: Federal Workers Overpaid, and CBO Agrees

    1. Maureen says:

      While it's true SOME federal workers are overpaid, you cannot lump us all into that category. I work my butt off for my salary….I pay for healthcare, vision care, dental care, put money into my retirement account, and get NOTHING – NOTHING – for free. By the time I get my paycheck, I've lost 40% to all the deductions and taxes. As a federal worker, I'm under a 2-year pay freeze, while costs of food, gas, and everything else rise. Congress is talking about imposing a 5-year pay freeze…..so watch our salaries fall below the averages. Really – - – let's start at the top, and work down, before you put everyone into the category of being "overpaid".

      • Marc M says:

        Yes, We can lump you all into that category because it is a problem that effects everyone and if there are a few select jobs that it doesn't apply to when the system is audited those won't be cut.. simple eh?

        You are not under a pay freeze… stop lying.

        Your COLA raises are frozen… NOT your step raises and other increases… again stop lyng.

        Federal pay is so high a 20 year "pay freeze" such as they have now it wouldn't actually fix a thing.

        Pay needs to be CUT and benefits need to be LOWERED. Pensions need to be eliminated.

        • Maureen says:

          No, what needs to be cut are all those free give-a-ways that I have to pay for via taxes…..get off your butt and get a job. Close down the Welfare rolls. Let's start there. And not everyone in the govenrment is making $100,000 a year! So YOU do the research and LEARN what you're talkign about!

      • Clearhead says:

        So you're under a two year pay freeze. You'll find that most of us 'un-federal' employees are in what amounts to a similar situation. What you don't mention is….HOW MUCH do you make compared to a similar job in the private sector? And you get NOTHING FREE? I have worked in both sectors and will contest your allegation. Comparatively speaking, you're probably getting half again as much FREE as a comparable worker is getting in the private sector. It's easy to say that Heritage's analysis is a bunch of lies, but so must be that of the Congressional Budget Office. (And they are 'federal employees')

        • Maureen says:

          I took a pay cut to get this job – when I was first hired the pay was so low, I had to have two additional parttime jobs to make ends meet! I didn't go looking for handouts. I've paid my dues! Can you say the same thing? And I make well under $40,000 with bills like the rest of you and 5 kids……stop being so narrow-minded. I've worked hard, but the more I make, the more "they" take! And, since you're so on top of things, you'll know that Congres is about to take away my retirement savings THAT I PUT IN, NOT THE GOV.

          • Bobbie says:

            you chose to take pay so low you had to have two additional part time jobs. What are you complaining about? You chose where you're at calling our truth narrow minded? Distorting your truth by using examples of reality. the only inequity in pay is government over the people and because "we" have no control of unconstitutional government, "we" are not all inclusive! Although government authority manipulates many minds to believe otherwise. Grow up and learn your constitutional value!

      • @dboyerdr says:

        You are so right about starting at the top. BHO has been totally inept and ineffective in spite of spending
        TRILLIONS of dollars. He should be paying us to be President!!!

      • Liz says:

        It must be nice to be one a 2 year pay freeze. In the private sector, I am going on a 4 year pay reduction!

        And by the way, I thought trickle down doesn't work!!!

      • Bobbie says:

        Cry me a river overprotected one? Prove it? What do you do that the private sector can't? Try not having an increase in pay with benefit costs increasing coming out of that pay for 8 years? with a household of 5 making under 40,000! With everything else you mentioned of basic necessities going up in cost! Forced to take from the retirement we personally pay into only to be penalized 10% from our withdrawal, to pay YOUR WAY, so we can keep above water…

        if you work for government, you're ALL one big cancerous lump protected with the endless tax dollar by the government's abuse of the American people and power! that will "change." sorry to those who have been severely manipulated to see otherwise but we're not suppose to be serving YOU nor obligate to pay triple the amount of our money, when you do nothing for it we can't already do for ourselves!

      • allen says:

        Then go out of your Union and get a job and pay for one of Your Buddies, or just Quit your going to be reduced anyway just a matter of time.

      • NickF says:

        Where do you work for the federal government?

      • Jason says:

        The vast majority of private sector employees have been under pay freezes as well. I haven't had any increase in over 4 years and many others I know haven't either. The economic downturn shouldn't let anyone be immune, yourself included. So while you may not get a raise for 2 or even 5 years, the average total compensation for various federal positions will still continue to be higher than that of comparable positions in the private sector. I know people in the federal employee workforce as well and they can attest to the same, that is why they switched.

      • BobMark says:

        No dsrepect intended Maureen, but HOW MUCH do you pay for those things? Since I lost my job and my wife's company put lots of restrictions on eligiblility for their plan, we pay in excess of $900/ month for bare bones health coverage for us and our two boys, with pretty high deductibles and not-so-hot prescription plan. Not much left for vision, dental, or a retirement account. When I had my job I was there 6 yrs, got one raise, and was putting in a lot of overtime FOR FREE in the hopes that the company could keep the doors open and that I could generate enough revenue to pay for my own salary. When was the last time anyone around you was worried about keeping their job? That is a huge benefit in and of itself.

        • Maureen says:

          You know, we are ALL in this same boat. I'm a good worker – my employer happens to be the government. I work hard to keep my job, but like you, there's no guarantees of anything. When "they" start cutting, they'll start at the bottom…..where I am. And I put in a lot of extra hours and take no additional pay for it……I'm not out to screw the taxpayers out of more money. I'm proud to be a government employee, and my work shows it. I could be unemployed next week, so don't preach to me. I'm right there with you!

          • Bobbie says:

            why don't you make an honest living in the private sector where you are needed and held accountable? Whatever line of work you're involved without sharing the type, can work with integrity of the private sector, paid by the freedom of interest for your service! to be paid through other peoples wages that don't benefit from your service is thievery, Maureen! Thievery!

            Learn the constitution, it will empower your mind and soul and help you respect your personal freedom! It's so disappointing that people value government control over individual freedom! Every problem this country has is due to the unconstitutional government leadership: overreach, intrusions, control. I'm sure your job is unconstitutional.
            Respect yourself, sweetie!

      • Dan says:

        @Maureen . . . I am an RN, working for the VA. Your comment are right on!!! The overpaid, medically covered-for-life employees are at the TOP of the Federal dog pile.

      • David says:

        Every federal employee believes that they work their butt off. They whine and moan about how bad they have it! They produce nothing and refuse to make decisions. The truth is that they are as worthless as tits on a boar. They do not know what real work is and they know it! How about we reverse things, give those in the private sector your job. Yep thought so…

    2. Lynn Eddy says:

      Please don't lump ALL Federal employees in this category. Meteorologists with the National Weather Service are not paid at the same rate as meteorologists in the private sector. My husband is satisfied with his pay with the National Weather Service. He loves his job and gets great satisfaction from knowing he is serving the public of the great nation. That is worth more than pay for us.

      • Marc M says:

        When the audit happens, if that was true, then obviously his pay wouldn't be changed, would it?

        The average salary is 134k per year…. it's more than ANY private company…

        If it's worth more than pay for us then perhaps you will ask him to take part, as the private sectory who pays for your salary is forced to, take less pay….

        • Mike Souza says:

          You are incorrect. The total average compensation package for all govt employees per the CBO report, is $109,200. That inclusd all vacation, health benifits and retirement. the avg salary is $67, 184.

      • Bobbie says:

        and where a job is done in the private sector that doesn't burden the government with unfair costs forced on the tax payers who have no input, then it should stay in the private sector where worth is earned by freedom of the peoples' interest only, without wrongful influence of unAmericans ruling unconstitutional government!

    3. mike brown says:

      Why have you seen fit to change the print size?

    4. jeff b says:

      much worse if you compare productivity

    5. RL from RW says:

      Of course they are paid better. This is the back door to a communist state. Every one will want to work for the governement – local, state, federal – becasue it pays better AND has better benefits. But what happens when the majority work for the gov't? We are going to find out soon as we pass the tipping point.

    6. This is not new news as you said. However no one will do anything about it. No one currently running for President will do anything about it except Santorum and Paul. Neither one will win. It is had to stand against the progressives, they run so much now. They run the unions,the news media,education,banks, the senate.The list goes on and as Obama has stated they have been working on it for 100 years.

    7. DRT says:

      As per usual, devil in the details. Higher graded jobs requiring higher educational and professional qualifications earn about 25 percent less than private sector, jobs requiring less education and fewer qualifications earn more than private sector. Overpaid/underpaid arguments are not terribly useful, as question is whether the market would bear lower wages, while guaranteeing same or better output or performance. Maybe, but that'd be the more useful discussion. Not silly sloganeering that suggests a clerk is a doctor is a fighter pilot is a diplomat is a groundskeeper.

    8. aleta baker says:

      All the CBO said was that the Federal workers were paid higher – not "overpaid" – this will lead right into the "inequality" of private sector jobs and "underpaid" private sector workers discussion – thus bolstering the minimum wage increase arguments. Heritage had better be preparing for this topic, as it is the big one for the upcoming elections.

    9. Don Boyer says:

      I think we have too many Federal employees due to overlapping of duties; as many as 8 agencies involved in the same jurisdiction. I believe that is wasting the taxpayer's dollars.

    10. Leo says:

      I think this article is very misleading. As a Contract Specialist , the civilian sector makes a considerable amount more with the same certifications I have. It's too bad that a conservative site, such as this, does not give the whole truth.

    11. Alice says:

      It doesnt matter if you only think "some" are overpaid, this is a well controlled regression analysis which observes the "some" that were overpaid" as well as those such as yourself which you deem "underpaid." This statistically significant difference has already accounted for the fact that not all fed employees are overpaid. They are simply overpaid on an average basis. This means that there are private sector people who are even more underpaid than the underpaid federal worker.

      • Leo says:

        Alice, although you have great argument, the article simply states that federal employees are over paid. Working in an engineering command I believe if you did not lump all federal employees together and compared more apples to apples, you would find that the typical white coller (GS 12-15) are paid considerably less.

    12. Beverly says:

      I know a person that works for the government in a position comparable to mine. Our salaries were the same but she got 18 extra days off because the government extends national holidays to almost everything, the other issue was after working 20 years she was eligible for full retiremnt. I, am not eligible till 62 at a much reduced amount.

    13. john o. says:

      Heritage is right on, federal employees are receiving 30 – 50% more than private employees. Private receives zero pension. That was cut out several years ago.

      All government employees work jobs to get higher retirement . Teachers have always had the unions and each year our elected officials fall for the poor old teachers adjacency unions. So the rest of us tax payers that are barely getting by financially, will have to pay for federal workers great retirement.

      • Leo says:

        I think you may want to study up a little more on federal retirement. Also, please remember federal employees are tax payers as well in which my total dedutions out of my check are approximately 39%. This should give you a good indication that pensions are not free.

    14. Whicket Williams says:

      The sheeple have no will.They have forgotten how to fight. Thank GOD that he protects his children from evil.

    15. Bob Dewey says:

      If there is such disparity, why hasn't the Heritage Foundation raised the issue sufficiently enough to cause public out cry? Have you failed?

      • samkat says:

        I wonder what the workers at the Heritage Foundation get paid and how more their salaries are than federal workers?

      • Phil Covell says:

        the issue is getting plenty of public awareness thanks to the Heritage Foundation and other conservative groups/media. It is certainly getting plenty of action in Wisconsin, Ohio and even Michigan as those states are dealing with the public employee issues that are dragging down state finances. Actions are working as public employees are forced to contribute to their health and retirement and take cuts in pay. This action will/must begin to impact Federal employees if we hope to save this country from almost certain demise.

    16. Viet Nam Vet 67-68 says:

      My Mother worked for the Air Force during the WW2 and after that for 12 years as a negative engraver making bombing Maps and then for the U.S.G.S. for 11 more years. She got paid less than private sector jobs doing the same thing and I asked her why? She told me it was because she got excellent Medical and dental coverage and they gave her a chance to retire in 20 years and in the private sector she couldn't afford the medical and dental that she had with the Government and since my father had a stroke it was a blessing to have the insurance.

      • Mike says:

        And it was that way, my Dad was a teacher. But today the salaries have gone up as well, so both the wages and benefits are often higher than the private sector.

    17. David J Vickers says:

      I have to put my two cents in and agree with the above letter,
      I am a 55 year old vet and have worked for the dod since 1885 as a aircraft engine mechanic and know for a fact
      we make less than private sector doing the same job,because I have friends doing my job at grumman and pratt whitney.
      As far as civillian contractors they make about the same as we have many retire come back as contractors.
      They may not have the benefits we do which by the way are not as great as you think but what what the government pays the contracting companyn for the contract personal is a quite a bit more expensive.

    18. mark says:

      To the Federal workers commenting on here i have seen some 40% come out of my paycheck for at least 20 tears now. The difference is of course i won't be getting a pension. In stead my lifestyle will crater when i retire if i ever can afford to.

      • E.S. says:

        Dude, Feds are paying the same taxes on income you are. And if Feds supposedly are making so much more than the private sector, they're also paying more in taxes.

        No one wins class warfare – don't engage in it.

    19. Tyrone says:

      Most federal & state employees are paid considerably more than similar private sector & benefits are substantially better…I personally know many of them, what they earn, what their benefits are, & what they contribute… plus how they game the system…Its past time to get it under control.

    20. Harry Jones says:

      These Federal employees aren't telling us what their salaries are; compared to the private sector.
      They want us to believe something- just like the politicians- without the essential facts. So don't pull
      the "poor me" line, just stae the facts.

      • Mike Souza says:

        I make $130K a year as a GS14 with 25 years of service. I manage a $1 BILLION DOD program. I have had offers to leave govt service that would have significantly increase my salary, That is a sacrifice I am willing to make. I personally could do better in the private sector, but I have stayed with the govt because I love what I do and I love serving our country.

        • Bobbie says:

          working for government isn't always serving the country, Mr. Souza. Especially when the government has been inching it's unconstitutional way into our lives using abuse of their authority. Having the government take jobs from the private sector, sounds corrupt to me. Everyone who isn't tax exempt, pays government without consent. EVERYONE has a freedom of choice in the private sector and everywhere government ISN'T!

      • Leo says:

        Very good Harry, however, what we make is public information, so please feel free to do some research and a comparison analysis for yourself.

    21. sdfultz says:

      I would say in the big picture Federal employees income is higher because over the years, Union busting corporate greed has pushed everybody elses wages down, so don't start with this BS this morning.
      The money grubbers like Apple want to see Americans put to work like they do in China.
      Americans, prepare to put on your uniforms and start working for food! This is the new path to prosperity.

      • Bobbie says:

        how does corporate greed have anything to do with what the abuse of power and control government helps themselves to? The only time corporations effect us less our expectations to our wages and benefits, is when government involves themselves unconstitutionally. over 8 years of proof!

    22. Charles N. King IV says:

      While I sympathize with the former comments above me, I, for the love of fairness in life, that our president constantly refers to, cannot fathom why such protected employees need or desire to be represented by a union. They have the power of the Federal government behind them. They are being paid generously and receive benefits exceeding almost any deal imaginable in the private sector. Healthcare, vision, retirement accounts and pensions are not even offered in much of private employment, yet these people employed privately go to work every day without the nanny state providing for their welfare.

      Don't get me started on the lack of manners and aloof attitude by the Federal workers I've had to interact with at Social Security and the IRS, or the incomprehensible phone systems and ridiculously long waiting times to talk with a real person. Government work used to be looked on as service to ones country ,and, yes, at one time their actual pay was less than private sector employment, but, that day passed into history decades ago.

      • Leo says:

        Charles, I am sorry for your experiences, and I can say I have encountered the same in dealing with folks on both sides of the fence. However, there are some of us federal employees that are serious about tax payers dollers and how we spend them because those are my tax dollars as well.

    23. Mike Souza says:

      As a conservative government worker with two advanced degrees and working in a specialized technical field, the broad comparison between sectors does not fit across the board. There are some organizations that have a higher pay grade structure then others for a lower responsibility jobs and that is where the discrepancy lies and I believe drives the data in this study. A zero based review of all federal positions to determine a consistent pay structure and job descriptions is required. I know people in other agencies that have significantly less responsibility (i.e. no budget authority or resources to manage), but are a higher pay grade. Go figure.
      The problem is not with the cost of the federal work force, but the policies and wasteful programs that are dictated that the federal work force institute and implement that are directed by Congress. All the pay freezes and benefit cuts in the world will not come close to making a dent in the national dept. The wasteful programs start and end in congress, not with the dedicated federal workers.

      • Bobbie says:

        dedicated federal workers should know what's constitutional and what isn't! Feds constitutional role isn't massive as it's become! you claim you could get more pay in the private sector who's costs don't effect the tax payers, but you chose to work for the government who forces people to pay your way! why would you want to burden us with your costs when you can work in the private sector?

    24. KC-NM says:

      I agree that this does not cover ALL federal employees, however the majority have done well thanks to their unions and democratic leaders. Today – Obama is basically in bed with the unions, therefore the benefits for federal workers will only get better. Even in my state of NM, the democrats protect the union groups in the legislative actions. Evidence of this was the double dipping payments, corruption, and drivers licenses for the illegal aliens. Wisconsin changed – New Mexico needs to change!

    25. David says:

      No offense.. but while you go to a secure job with a future… many of us are out here living in a depression (Yes it is way worse than they are letting on) .. there no jobs to be had…no one is freezing our salaries.. we have no salary… because we get paid seldom and only per hour.. NO BENEFITS… no security.. no retirement… My college degree is getting me nothing. Sorry if i dont feel your pain……The bloated government will be the death of this once great nation.

      • Michael says:

        It's truly saddening that what David has to say represents so many Americans, and disheartening that so many fight to keep it so. We can only hope that enough of the country has awakened to the danger we face as a country, and they make their displeasure known next November.

      • Fed up to here Fed says:

        The facts are this, the cost of running the government, as in all the federal agencies is 30% of the deficit, and 15% of that goes to the DOD, the Entitlements ie; Social Security, Medical, Medicare etc. is costing 70%. Now you tell me what is costing this nation to be 13 Trillion in Debt? it is not the Federal Worker.
        This country is so used to the "Entitlements", even people who have never paid into the system, like SS, are getting benefits, so look at those people and tell them they are the reason this country is going into debt, not the Federal Worker. And now this great nation of ours is saying that those on Medical shouln't have to pay their co-pay, which is going to cost tax payers even more, way to go on trying to save this nation from defaulting on its debts.
        We need to clean both houses and start all over, with a President that cares about this country and the Constitution, not spreading his Socialist Garbage.

    26. Richard says:

      I'm with the first two commenters. I have recently retired from government service as an IT Specialist. When I reached the management level and started to attend seminars I quickly found that many private sector jobs paid up to twice what the government paid and many received yearly bonuses on top of that. The only reason I stayed was of the number of years I had invested into my retirement system which was not transportable as are 401Ks. I will also note that workers outside of Washington, D.C. were always paid less that those in Washington for the same job.

    27. NickF says:

      It is not a question of how hard you work, or whether or not you get anything for free. It is a question about whether or not the pay and benefit averages in federal employment are above or below the private sector.

      This question is fairly objective, and I think Heritage has done their homework, while many other rely primarily on anecdotal evidence to form their opinions on this subject.

    28. toledofan says:

      Good article but if this change happened how would the Democrats get any votes? I mean isn't all this in place to buy some allegience to their party. It's just like everyhing else the governent is involved in, things only get larger and more beauracratic. Just look at the colleges, and schools in general; kids are flunking and principles are getting raises, sure doesn't make sense to me.

    29. mtb says:

      I am a federal employee and a Conservative Republican. I don't know many jobs, aside from the military, where you come into work and find out you are going to Iraq. I have deployed five times in support of the Army. So, save the "overpaid" nonsense. Try being mortared, rocketed, and shot at. Yes…i deserve that extra 16 cents. Please…

      • Michael says:

        You sure do complain a lot more than the conservatives I know, and if you knew the job could take you overseas and you decided to remain employed then whatever happened is on you, not the public that paid you and that you were supposed to be serving. From the attitude of your post, the person you're most interested in serving is yourself. Stop complaining and man up. And as for the "Please…….," no thank you. I prefer real conservatism and love of country.

      • Marie says:

        I don't think they are talking about military pay. Federal civilian employees.

    30. Randy Ihara says:

      More villification of public employees to help demonize the federal govt. Even Sherk's testimony hints at the reason for higher pay among SOME levels (but not at ALL levels) of public employment: higher experience and higher education. Other studies have shown that when controlled for these factors, public employees make slightly LESS than private sector employees. But then what could one expect from the Heritage Foundation?
      Glad to see the responses from public employees.

    31. sdfultz says:

      Federal workers be wary, your next, I believe that the difference in pay is because of the Union busting Corporate greed that has pushed wages down in the private sector, if you want to talk about disparities in wages do a comparison of Federal Congressional memebers and the private sector.

    32. LetFreedomRing says:

      While there is a tendency to believe everyone but you is overpaid, I can identify with Maureen. There are employees in every bureaucracy who are underpaid and under-appreciated, and who are responsible for most of the work done by the agency. However, it is the layer after redundant layer of overpaid, obstructionist "politically correct" so called decision making administrators who are the problem.

    33. Ron W. Smith says:

      I don't doubt the research done by and for Heritage Foundation. I doubt one conclusion, though.

      As one who has long believed that money is a great motivator, I find it hard to accept any reasoning that would reduce the potential for everyone to be motivated favorably by it. Saying public sector jobs compensate employees better than the private sector is one thing, using that knowledge to level reward packages downward quite another. The object should be improving the living standards of Americans, not lowering them. This is yet another move on unions, which have traditionally created upward pressure on wages, benefits, and conditions. Without unions, what has been found by Heritage's researchers would be sure to produce downward pressure.

      Doesn't it seem reasonable to assume there are lots of potentially good outcomes of better compensation in America–like reduced crime, like fewer marriages broken over money (a BIG cause), like reduced drugs usage and lessened streets-related drugs use problems, like more reliable homeowners, and so on? Why work the angle that has us paying too much in taxes to support the public sector? Why not work the angle that has everyone benefiting from better compensation, the public sector the model?

      If that sounds like Socialism, so be it. What arguing to level compensation downward fashion does, it seems to me, is show a nostalgia for slavery–a workforce voiceless, overworked, underpaid, compliant. Slavery is illegal, but we can still have the next best thing, can't we.

      • Pragmatic says:

        Agreed. It seems odd to me that Heritage is so against the redistribution of wealth except when it comes from working, middle-class citizens. Maybe a more interesting subject is why private sector wages haven't kept pace.

      • Mike says:

        But a union negotiating with the government is not negotiating with the payers, but rather political appointments and politicians looking to get re-elected. The tax-payers pay the bill. If GM negotiates, they have a vested a interest. Not true with government, it is third party payee.

      • Bobbie says:

        No Mr. Smith, it doesn't seem reasonable to have government dictate what people's minds learn for themselves. It's reasonable to have people accountable to their own to know their personal worth is to rely on themselves and each other, not the American government who unconstitutionally rules. It's reasonable to assume the personal responsibilities one has to carry out their personal and or cultural existence without assuming government advantage in America, the less time or no time people use to violate the law. The "public sector model," is what drains the economy. The private sector feeds the economy and by force of government: welfare, social, medical, educational, preferential, inferiority programs that shouldn't exist if people knew that their existence is their personal responsibility to carry out in America. Look where we're at today, Mr. Smith. People don't even think for themselves since government took aim to trap and now people look to government depriving their own minds ability and their own fellow American. The more unconstitutional social governing, the more division between us.

        No! I don't agree with you at all. The only way freedom can exist for everyone is everyone handling their own within their means and personal control furthering at their personal will and effort without ever involving or depending on government! People have self worth until or unless they shame themselves to look to government who strips them of personal dignity! Free people are much cooler with each other, than giving up that freedom to depend on government!

        Private sector wages can't keep pace when government oversteps their constitutional authority! Overpays all staff with no accountabilities, without a constitutional purpose to exist in the first place. Regulates to burden and mandates just for more money! Common sense!! Catch on will ya, for a change?

    34. quartercircle says:

      We are not all in the same boat like the up heavy pockets like everybody thinks and many are even under paid for what we do and without compensation to. You don' t have a leg to stand on unless you only talk about al the upper atleast 1/4 of the work forc that are surely over paid.

    35. Jeanne Stotler says:

      I cannot agree that ALL fed employees are overpaid, I am however here to say there are many who are not needed and what is needed greatly is to eliinate the excess, this could be done by offering retrement to all that are within 18 mos of retirement, all jobs filled from within through interagency transfers until the jobs are within a suitable range. this would also go for members of Congress office staffs, there are WAY to MANY people doing duplicate jobs within the Gov't. This started after the end of WWII and has only gotten worse.

    36. O2BMe says:

      I think the answer to this is everyone should have a performance review before they received a raise. If we did this to congress we would lose half of the membership. That is the big difference between working for most companies and government jobs, or union jobs. Wherever I worked I faced a performancr review every year.

    37. Pragmatic says:

      Interesting. This is a much better analysis than what has been put forth by Heritage (at least Heritage chooses to promote the wrong talking points, which are easily dismissed as propaganda). I be more interested in hearing more reasons for why this is and some reasonable policy corrections (other than archaic slashes in federal employee pay).

      I think one of you promoted the idea of a job security op-out which would lead to high pay but less job security. That would be interesting to hear more about. I have a feeling that a lot of federal wages become overinflated due to the continued increases in salary and the fact that people never leave.

      I would urge Heritage to take the high road on this as well and avoid scapegoating federal employees and instead focus on the policy issue at hand. It is so disappointing to listen to your "economists" talk trash on federal employees instead of realizing that these are only people responding rationally to the incentives provided to them (just like the rich taking advantage of legal tax loopholes).

    38. Maureen says:

      Be assured, David, my job is not secure and I am not a fool to think that. Only for the time being, do I have a pyacheck.

    39. Debbie says:

      In reading CBO's summary, there was no indication that leave benefits were taken into account. That could increase the %'s even higher since, based on my experience as a Consultant/Contract Support for feds, we only accrue approx. 5 or 6 hrs per pay period twice a month equating to approx 120 to 144 hours/year. But feds with 3 years accrue 6 hrs/pp, and 8 hrs/pp with 15 years in, every 2 weeks, PLUS an automatic 4 hours of Sick leave every ppd. So you're looking at 260 & 312 hrs of leave every year compared to private industry! Almost double that in private industry. That's approx. 32.5 to 39 days off a year, not including all the admin hours that are given out on top of that. The accrued and admin leave for feds is a perk that many in private industry are totally unaware of. The leave benefits program is one of the things I miss most about not being a fed anymore.

    40. Michael Wensink says:

      I would suggest that a dose of private sector employment would show these overpaid Feds what work is really about. Fire them all and start over.

    41. PADDY O says:

      The government employees are paid the same as private sector for their line of work. The exrta 30-40 %
      is for voting Democrat and to pay off the Unions!

      The CBO— isn't that the Department that came up with the exact number to allow obama care to pass and then found a mistake a few weeks AFTER it passed?

    42. Ellen Kerber says:

      Lets get this stopped now please .We also have much to get done with local gov. un-honestly raising taxes.
      we need everyone to vote all this junk out of office and take back or government make honesty a requirement or your out of a job.(not able to get another )

    43. Erik Nelson says:

      Those who work for the Government will not bite the hand that feeds them…Everyone of those who receive inflated salaries will always vote for those who gave them their positions and high wages (the ones in power, Democrats). The spouses and loved one of those government employees will also vote for those who pay those high wages..The Democrats know this…They will receive (in my opinion) bought votes during any election..enoughfsaid!!!

    44. Doug says:

      This is probably spot on. The sad thing is that a majority of these workers that choose to respond here, sound upset. This is the real problem I see everyday. This morning I had the pleasure of getting my wife's identification card renewed. There were four GS workers (my keen eyes and ears honed in on the fact that they were each retired senior enlisted service members) all working the same help desk. However, they were not very helpful and didn't do much but tell Marines and dependents which ticket to grab. I feel the same way about the number of these workers doing unnecessary or redundant jobs. No one is trying to "lump everyone together." I agree; there is a difference between an installation maintenance person, specializing in plumbing, and a retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Marine double-dipping into tax-payer-funded retirement, while watching Sports Center, on a 55" flat screen TV, while handing out "next" tickets and not being really helpful. These are the employees we are talking about and it is rampant. I'm sure the CBO could also show me the funny math as to how it is cheaper this way, vice having junior administrative service members doing these jobs as in the past.

    45. Margot Watson says:

      If they are paid higher than the civilian world it started with Obama. I was a Civil Service worker for the Department of Defense. I stayed on that job because it is one place that a woman could earn the same amount of money as a man for the same job. ; This did not happen in the Civilian sector. However, had I been a man my pay would have been much higher in the Civilian sector as I was a Management Analyst and Computer Systems Analyst.

    46. sdfultz says:

      I guess not much interest in this, ah story. Just wondering CBO says federalized paid more, not over paid!

    47. E.S. says:

      Nobody wins class warfare, the only way to solve the budget issue is to openly and honestly address the problem. Both sides of the debate are exaggerating and outright lying to the public about federal employee compensation. You are free to look up salaries of civil servants at OPMs Fedscope database – do the research yourself before you believe any one take on it. Some employees are over paid some well under. Some employees work their butts off others hardly lift a finger, that goes for the private and the public sector. if you are in the private sector and think you ought to be working for the government by all means, apply, and work for the salary you think you are worth. It is still a free country, isn't it?

    48. russ says:

      A pity heritage did not speak to some other parts of the report. For instance, the part where is said that government employees with only a high school education were paid 21% more than industry but those with professional or doctoral degrees are paid 25% less than industry.

      I agree the government should move toward a pay for performance system ( I have been in one in the gov for 13 years ), and agree that a lack of bottom line attention inflates low and mid grade salaries, and I agree that the gov benefits from previous decades were very excessive and should have been trimmed faster, and agree that the government should be smaller.

      But one sided rantings with half the facts doesn't make it worthy of reading the newsletter.

    49. andersonex69 says:

      How about some cheese and crackers to go with that WHINE? Social Security was mandated from my wages and my employer had to match them, too….a little over 15%…this was REAL ACTUAL MONEY….which was looted, stolen, pilfered and used to finance projects that could not pass both houses. SSA Recepients and Disability Receipients have not had a COLA in THREE YEARS, since the Govt does not include the prices of food or any kind of energy! (Electricity, gasoline, diesel, propane, heating oil, etc) They CONTINUE TO LIE AND GET AWAY WITH IT…while at the same time, Congress gets AUTOMATIC PAY RAISES EACH YEAR! The children of Congressional Staffers do NOT EVEN HAVE TO REPAY STUDENT LOANS~~ (look it up..I bite) Since this administration was inaugurated, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been outsourced, as our govt charges the highest corp tax rate in the world, taxes funerals and then takes 55% of any estate left (though it has been taxed 4-5 times already) so that one cannot leave his children many of the fruits of his labors. When almost half of the population is living on handouts from the other portion who actually work, and do not choose WELFARE as a career choice, this nation is seriously in the middle of a swan dive off the cliff! Be a part of the solution and NOT just whine about how little you see of your checks. The CBO says govt workers make TWICE what private industry workers make, so even if you don't see 40% of your check, you are STILL AHEAD OF THOSE WHO PAY YOU!!! WISE UP!

    50. Gordon says:

      Saying Government jobs pay more than private sector jobs without comparing individual job titles is like comparing apples to oranges. Granted there are some Government jobs that are overpaid and some that are underpaid when compared by duties and responsibilities between the Government and the private sector. I know my Government job as a Chief Engineer was comparable to the Companie's Vice President of Engineering, who made much more than me and got a paid health plan and executive retirement even though I was responsible and accountable for the work his people did with a work force that was les than 5% of his.

    51. Jackie says:

      I am so tired of hearing how our money is squandered, while I work 2 jobs and barely survive. Can't afford to go to the doctor even though I have insurance! When is it going to end. Even Republicans cease to work for the people.

    52. Wayne Peterkin says:

      A number of federal employees have voiced complaints about this article. I simply want to point out that the conclusions made here are averages and do not necessarily represent each and every government worker. That said, I also have far more faith in the trustworthiness of the Heritage Foundation than in any government union (or any other union for that matter) or in any government agency. I consider the general conclusions made here to be quite accurate.

    53. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Cut their pay and send them home.

    54. JSP says:

      I agree. Federal government employees are over paid. The worst part is there is no accountability – you can't fire a cull, and the federal unions. Federal Unions are a terrible institution. This is not only my opinion, but my experience. I am a 27 year old civil engineer and I work for the federal government. My gross pay is $54,000 per year. My total cost to the government (wages, health insurance, matched retirement, workers comp, unemployment, ect) is $75,900.

    55. Eric says:

      I have always wondered what is comparable in the private sector to a Border Patrol, FBI, or DEA agent or a CIA Officer and how they figure they are so overpaid. Who's pay to cut first; the Border Patrol Agent defending the borders from the cartels or maybe the CIA Officer tying to get the crucial piece of intel to protect against a terrorist attack.

      I have supported the Heritage Foundation for a long time and still will but they need to be a little more precise in describing who is overpaid and not revert to rightwing class warfare.

    56. Carl says:

      I am a Mail Carrier for the Post Office. The UPS Package Car Drivers make $2 more on the hour than I do and have an less physical demanding job. The Post Office is down sizing again and has been down sizing for the past eight years. The Post Office has lost over 200,000 jobs since 2004. Does that sound like a secure Government job to you?

    57. Oscar Manful says:

      Intriguing piece. Federal jobs are the best, they offer a great deal of freedom, work satisfaction, financial rewards as well as suitable work conditions. I am happy to hear about this research and the findings we are presented with. I guess is a goal we can all aim for now….to find work with the federal government.
      Cheers !

    58. Jack W Estes says:

      I can see and have seen both sides of this issue. Govt jobs are compensated by taxpayer funds over which the public at large has little or no control. Unlike private sector funds which by contrast are generated by workers that typically produce commodities and services consumed by the public, a public that can and do vote with their wallets in addition to paying taxes to fund the bloated government spendthrifts.

    59. Chad says:

      As a conservative, it's disheartening to see the now-fashionable attacks on governmment employee compensation. The article above fails to even mention one of the key points of the CBO study: the

    60. jlb says:

      Can't argue with facts, if only you had presented some. Compare apples and oranges, you get whatever you seek. Until we had a reccession/depression, there was no complaint about federal pay. Fine, reduce the pay, reduce the benefits, and reduce the staff-Congress cannot prepare a working budget and they still spend 40 percent more than what they receive. Federal employees did not invent the jobs and they cannot select their benefits. Federal employees did not set the wage rates and they cannot write own checks as Congress does. We cannot help it that Congress is corrupt and incompenent. Gore your ox somewhere else. If federal work is so fine, get your own federal job and enjoy! Well, good luck with that…Spongebob

      • Marie says:

        For the most part, you cannot get a federal job unless you know someone. The hiring process is flawed.

    61. Janalisa says:

      In addition to a pension plan and too many vacation days, federal workers get sick leave, transit benefits, a far better insurance selection, with the majority of the premium paid by Uncle, than John Q Citizen and they get matching 401k money; there are probably more benefits about which I am not knowledgeable. There are too many federal employees doing too little work and there are too many people working for the government who were hired by or because of their relative or friends.

    62. Gringo Infidel says:

      Government is bloated – this applies to the bureaucratic kingdoms created by bureaus to 'serve' the public.

      Some are paid too much and some are fairly paid. Best option is to outsource those services that can be outsourced and scrutinize them all regardless of whose district they belong to.

      the whole notion of longevity tied to promotions and raises is so outdated as to be an offense to the civilian sector. Get rid of that silliness and promote based on merit rather than length of service.

    63. Tom says:

      The Heritage Foundation & Heritage and the American Enterprise Institute two Republican supported institutions. I've been a underpaid federal employee for 35 years back in the Telecom push of the mid 90's I could of left for 3 times my pay then. I stayed the bust came and the industry fell apart. For the work I do now comparable to outside companies AT&T, Sprint, etc.. the work I do is consolidated from 3 positions on the outside to one Federally encompassed position. My pay still half of what I would make on the outside. I've worked overtime every night the past 15 years without compensation. So when you write of "Federal employees" as all being overpaid I do not see it in my paycheck nor will I see it in retirement in another 10 years. The values I have to serve were instilled by my father long past but not forgotten. AS I WILL NOT FOGET IN THE VOTING POLLS THIS YEAR HOW REPUBLICANS ALWAYS POINT TO THE LEAST TO MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE OF THE FEW LEAST TAXED PRIVILEGED.

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