• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Google+ Hangout: Should Federal Workers Get a Raise?

    Government employee unions are using a flawed study of federal pay to lobby for an end to President Obama’s freeze on cost-of-living salary increases. Obama’s decision will be significant: salaries and benefits for civilian workers totaled an alarming $271 billion last year.

    Heritage’s Jason Richwine and Andrew G. Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute, two of the nation’s leading experts on federal pay, will address the controversy in a Google+ Hangout today at noon ET. Leave a question below in the comments, then watch the video chat right here on The Foundry.

    Richwine and Biggs wrote about the debate in the Washington Post, explaining why “the government’s methodology for comparing pay is too flawed to offer real guidance.” The government’s report, written by career bureaucrats who benefit from generous benefits, claimed federal workers were underpaid by an average of 35 percent compared to their private-sector counterparts.

    The figure is inaccurate and incomplete, primarily because the government’s report didn’t account for benefits like paid leave, health coverage and pensions.

    Richwine and Biggs also note that it’s wildly inconsistent with other studies:

    All five outside studies reviewed this year by the Government Accountability Office found that federal pay is equal to or higher than those of comparable private-sector workers. This is consistent with three decades of academic research. According to our analysis of Census Bureau data last year, the typical private-sector worker who shifts to a federal job receives a salary increase, while federal workers who leave for the private sector tend to get a salary cut.

    Richwine is a senior policy analyst at Heritage and Biggs is a resident scholar at AEI. Leave a question below in the comments.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to Google+ Hangout: Should Federal Workers Get a Raise?

    1. Gregg says:

      No pay raises until the budget deficit is fixed. Total compensation plus job security for federal employes far exceeds that of private sector workers doing similar work.

    2. Zoobie says:

      Latest studies list Chinese Government Workers have salaries 1/100 percent lower than their counterparts in the U.S, with a retirement 1/1000 lower than U.S. Government workers. Given the Presidents leanings to the left, Salaries will be frozen for the next four years for U.S. Workers.

    3. Bobbie says:

      The damage the federal government causes to this country makes their existence worthless.. The worth of their pay should appropriately be determined by those that live the outcome of their words, living less the money earned to pay for them! America determines no federal worker get a raise based on the results of the federal governing forces and intentional calamitousness that put America into crisis to constrain undue / unruly sacrifices by the works of those same governing forces. We don't get a raise because of government, we lose jobs because of government, why should government ever get a raise when government is a conflict of interest?

    4. Jim Yardley says:

      The only way that I can see justifying a pay raise for public sector workers is to determine that the total compensation of all Federal employees remains unchanged. So give them a 10% increase and layoff enough people to leave the total unchanged. See how the unions like that idea.

    5. Not a club member says:

      I know you guys seem to love 'pay for performance' which, like communism, sounds great but works poorly in practice. I lived through the garbage in NSPS and it's a license for cronyism. Also, government workers do deserve a bit more than private sector in general simply due to the stringent requirements to work for the government. You don't get the best of the best without paying something more for it. They simply need to find a way to get rid of the few lazy assed non-performers who either get there through the non-competitive hiring practices and 'diversity' requirements or do qualify but stay there through non-accountable management practices and discriminatory enforcement policies.

      • Bobbie says:

        what other way is more fair than to earn your worth through work performance? Tax payers don't know who's hired so to assume the best of the best is really far fetched considering government doesn't take accountability in some very highly accountable positions. There's many people better than that.
        The economy proves the worth of government isn't worth it. Needless expense of government to take control in areas we the people we're fine doing without and will do again, for ourselves. Government jobs are lowly jobs for the most part, purposely designed accordingly. Helps limit the minds potential as we witness and expand government as government expects.

      • Lori T Cramer says:

        Where do you get the "best of the best" in any government worker? Look at wht government workers have done to this country. Sorry, but based on performance, there is no raise due.

    6. F64 says:

      ANY government employee, from POTUS (let's never forget he is an employee) down to city are on welfare. Example: ever see a UPS driver walk? Ever see a government employee run? The only ones that don't earn enough are our military.

    7. Kim says:

      1. Freeze our pay.
      2. Fire 10% of us (ie. the low performers).
      3. Scale-back our charter to redefine our downsized mission.
      4. Lay-off or attrite another 10%.
      5. Then put an end to the racial discrimination that IS affirmative action.

    8. I worked for the federal government for several years, starting in 1977 during the Carter administration. Jobs were scarce and the starting pay a bit low but it was obvious once you were an employee for a while your salary and vacation time climbed very rapidly. For the most part my fellow employees were oblivious to any competition, we were paid well above most people in our field and little other than showing up on time was demanded of us, as long as you maintained loyalty to the Agency. You are right about the pay comparison studies they started in the early 90's under Clinton. I can recall my fellow employees in aw about 10% yearly pay increase we were suppose to get because of some imaginary pay differential with the private sector.

      • Bobbie says:

        my husband got a raise twice in the last 10 years. No automatic increase when the ability is lost in government costs of various types. The company can't afford to run with all the government taxations, regulations providing government employees automatic increases with nothing to show for it. Government doesn't generate money without collapsing the country. Private sector generates real money but loses it when hindered by unconstitutional government power where the economy shows government more trouble than worth! Federal workers have shown dishonor to this country more than anything.

    9. Donald Dukes says:

      No pay raises for anybody. There should be a pay freeze. This nation is broke and the House of Representives should defund everything until we can balance the budget.

    10. bob Marshall says:

      They are overpaid as it is.

    11. Dale David says:

      They do not, at this time, deserve a raise for I worked for the Federal Government and I know how they work. If we get our economy fixed like it once was and not without proof and security of our great nations is put back on track then and not until we are fee of one person., then we can afford maybe to give them a raise.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.