Are federal workers overpaid? Avg 123k?? It's insane!

User Forum Topic
Submitted by jficquette on August 10, 2010 - 7:07am

WASHINGTON - When it comes to pay, federal workers receive benefits that averaged about $41,791 in 2009. When you factor in salaries and those benefits, which include pensions, federal civil servants earned about $123,049 in 2009.
By comparison, private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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We need to get rid of as many fed employees as possible.

http://wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=2023582

Submitted by Coronita on August 10, 2010 - 7:44am.

Just make more money, and then you shouldn't care about what everyone else is making :), with the exception of probably those folks in Bell, CA.

LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA

Submitted by jimmyle on August 10, 2010 - 9:01am.

Yes, but there is nothing we can do about it. They have bought our politicians including Obama.

One thing you can do is cheat on Taxes and make sure they don't catch you. Start buying online.

Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on August 10, 2010 - 9:12am.

I agree in general on reducing the number of federal employees, but the comparison given above is not apples-to-apples.

The metric used above is intended to inflame, rather than inform.

The private employment number include all employees, including fast food workers, retail, construciton laborers, etc.
The federal government employees skew towards higher educated positions. The equivalent of the above private jobs (cafeteria work, construciton labor, retail) are contracted out to the private sector by the federal government.

In fact, as we reduce federal employment to fewer numbers, the approach has been to keep the oversight and management government positions, and outsource the lower-paid positions.
So, as we right-size the government, this metric will probably continue to skew higher for the average federal employee, compared to average private employee.

A better metric would be a comparison of wages and benefits for similar positions at various levels. If one looks at that comparison I would suspect that the higher end jobs (engineering, management) pay signficantly more in salary/benefits in the private sector than in Federal employment, while lower end jobs likely pay more in the federal govt than in privsate employment.

Submitted by briansd1 on August 10, 2010 - 9:31am.

Yes.

We should not build a class of over-paid functionaries to govern us. Once they're fat and live in comfort they don't care about the people anymore.

Remember the Soviet Union? Government employees were the privileged class.

The money should to be directed to services for the people who need them (student loans/grants, aid to the poor, etc... )

Submitted by beanmaestro on August 10, 2010 - 9:32am.

FormerSanDiegan wrote:

The metric used above is intended to inflame, rather than inform.

The private employment number include all employees, including fast food workers, retail, construciton laborers, etc.
The federal government employees skew towards higher educated positions. The equivalent of the above private jobs (cafeteria work, construciton labor, retail) are contracted out to the private sector by the federal government.

+1

Submitted by Coronita on August 10, 2010 - 9:42am.

Look folks. If you haven't noticed, government wastes money. It might not jive with your values or what you think is right/wrong, but there is very little you can do about it. You really think a bunch of minority ticked off people are going to effect change? You think the tea party movement is going to make a dent? Nope...

The only time change happens is when the majority of the people are ticked off and demand change...Guess what? Majority of americans probably WANT bailouts. Folks who are fiscally responsible (regardless of political affiliation) are the minorities in america. That's why our savings rates is piss poor, and to some extent that's why our country is piss in debt.
Screaming/kicking/etc ain't going to do didly...

The only thing you can really do is to shore up your own/family financial situation so that when the crap hits the fan (and it will hit the fan), you are at less screwed than other people. Everything else is window dressing.

The only time when all these bailouts will stop is either
(a) if the economy magically grows (not going to happen
(b) the funny money stops and we're totally screwed, and the majority of folks have no food/clothing/and/or shelter. (which is going to take some time...Probably our kids are screwed, we probably won't see it..Folks that don't have kids have nothing to worry about..So spend away!!!) The majority of the collective "we" move in an a herd mentality, and the prevailing wind of the herd is "I want to get bailed out"...Herds don't like minorities that scream the sky is falling and it's bad...That's just the fact of life..

It's time to start putting plan B and C together for yourself... QED..

Submitted by briansd1 on August 10, 2010 - 9:51am.

flu wrote:

The only thing you can really do is to shore up your own/family financial situation so that when the crap hits the fan (and it will hit the fan), you are at less screwed than other people. Everything else is window dressing.

You can take care of your family and still care about society at large at the same time. No?

Submitted by Coronita on August 10, 2010 - 10:00am.

briansd1 wrote:
flu wrote:

The only thing you can really do is to shore up your own/family financial situation so that when the crap hits the fan (and it will hit the fan), you are at less screwed than other people. Everything else is window dressing.

You can take care of your family and still care about society at large at the same time. No?

Well, for a minority of people, yes...Those are the ones that are true altruists. You see them working/volunteering at food banks, helping out poor, helping out Katrina victims, helping our natural disaster victims,etc. The majority rest of the people might have lofty ideas, but very little in terms of actionable actions, and imho just grandstanding and postulating...

The true altruists...great for them. I admire them.. I'm not one of them...And I don't bother pretending to be one with high preachy morales/ethics/whatever (though it doesn't necessarily mean I don't have any either).

Submitted by EconProf on August 10, 2010 - 10:12am.

This thread promises to be long-lasting and of interest to many Piggs. It is an intriguing question and will grow in importance as curbing the exploding government debt takes priority.
Accordingly, let's curb our shoot-from-the-hip knee-jerk contributions that merely inflame and cause the discussion to go downhill. Let's especially not leap to conclusions based on anecdotes.
The opening post gave us all some hard facts that we can react to. Interpreting them is a good test of one's objectivity and critical thinking skills.
Offhand, I'd observe that federal workers are generally higher educated than the average private sector worker, which accounts for a good share of the difference. In addition, getting a federal job requires far more vetting, testing, waiting, etc. to get in. Clearly the fringe benefits and job security are vastly superior, and this is easily documented. What is really subjective is whether federal (and state and local) workers work harder or not, and here reasoning from the anecdote can mislead us.
The best way to judge would be to compare closely similar government jobs to their match in the private sector--say clerks, secretaries, accountants, doctors, security workers, etc. My understanding of such studies is that the government workers get more in TOTAL compensation, including fringe benefits, retirement, vacations, etc, but not the wide variance quoted above.
Another observation is that decades ago, government workers at all levels did indeed make less than their private sector bretheren (and got generous non-monetary compensation as an offset), and in recent decades leap-frogged ahead in pay as well thanks to public sector unions. I predict a re-balancing in future years as voters demand a reset.

Submitted by jimmyle on August 10, 2010 - 10:52am.

I agree with most of what you said except the part that voters has the power to re-balancing the inequality through voting. I think the inequality is probably permanent now with the powerful public employee unions buying off our politicians. The only hope is that our government run out ways of borrowing money.

I was excited with the tea party movement in the beginning hoping that it could be a movement of fiscal conservative causes until they brought in Sarah Palin and turned racist.

EconProf wrote:

Another observation is that decades ago, government workers at all levels did indeed make less than their private sector bretheren (and got generous non-monetary compensation as an offset), and in recent decades leap-frogged ahead in pay as well thanks to public sector unions. I predict a re-balancing in future years as voters demand a reset.

Submitted by jficquette on August 10, 2010 - 11:44am.

We are talking double the pay for private employees. Double the pay for jobs that are mostly unneeded.

Submitted by Coronita on August 10, 2010 - 11:46am.

jficquette wrote:
We are talking double the pay for private employees. Double the pay for jobs that are mostly unneeded.

Well, if you're better off taking one of those positions, then apply for one.

Submitted by jficquette on August 10, 2010 - 11:46am.

EconProf wrote:
This thread promises to be long-lasting and of interest to many Piggs. It is an intriguing question and will grow in importance as curbing the exploding government debt takes priority.
Accordingly, let's curb our shoot-from-the-hip knee-jerk contributions that merely inflame and cause the discussion to go downhill. Let's especially not leap to conclusions based on anecdotes.
The opening post gave us all some hard facts that we can react to. Interpreting them is a good test of one's objectivity and critical thinking skills.
Offhand, I'd observe that federal workers are generally higher educated than the average private sector worker, which accounts for a good share of the difference. In addition, getting a federal job requires far more vetting, testing, waiting, etc. to get in. Clearly the fringe benefits and job security are vastly superior, and this is easily documented. What is really subjective is whether federal (and state and local) workers work harder or not, and here reasoning from the anecdote can mislead us.
The best way to judge would be to compare closely similar government jobs to their match in the private sector--say clerks, secretaries, accountants, doctors, security workers, etc. My understanding of such studies is that the government workers get more in TOTAL compensation, including fringe benefits, retirement, vacations, etc, but not the wide variance quoted above.
Another observation is that decades ago, government workers at all levels did indeed make less than their private sector bretheren (and got generous non-monetary compensation as an offset), and in recent decades leap-frogged ahead in pay as well thanks to public sector unions. I predict a re-balancing in future years as voters demand a reset.

Getting a government job mostly depends on your race and sex. As far as being more educated, getting degrees in crap like "Government Studies" is not what I call getting educated

Submitted by jficquette on August 10, 2010 - 11:47am.

flu wrote:
jficquette wrote:
We are talking double the pay for private employees. Double the pay for jobs that are mostly unneeded.

Well, if you're better off taking one of those positions, then apply for one.

For the twice the pay lets all sign up.

Submitted by jficquette on August 10, 2010 - 11:49am.

flu wrote:
briansd1 wrote:
flu wrote:

The only thing you can really do is to shore up your own/family financial situation so that when the crap hits the fan (and it will hit the fan), you are at less screwed than other people. Everything else is window dressing.

You can take care of your family and still care about society at large at the same time. No?

Well, for a minority of people, yes...Those are the ones that are true altruists. You see them working/volunteering at food banks, helping out poor, helping out Katrina victims, helping our natural disaster victims,etc. The majority rest of the people might have lofty ideas, but very little in terms of actionable actions, and imho just grandstanding and postulating...

The true altruists...great for them. I admire them.. I'm not one of them...And I don't bother pretending to be one with high preachy morales/ethics/whatever (though it doesn't necessarily mean I don't have any either).

Those people tend to be conservatives. Liberals can be found at PETA.

Submitted by ucodegen on August 10, 2010 - 11:53am.

jimmyle wrote:

One thing you can do is cheat on Taxes and make sure they don't catch you. Start buying online.

The companies that do internet sales are starting to have to file reports on sales across the internet.. so that states can get you on the 'Use tax'.. with California leading the charge.

Submitted by Coronita on August 10, 2010 - 12:02pm.

jficquette wrote:
flu wrote:
jficquette wrote:
We are talking double the pay for private employees. Double the pay for jobs that are mostly unneeded.

Well, if you're better off taking one of those positions, then apply for one.

For the twice the pay lets all sign up.

Sorry, for me, that would be a paycut. Like I said, the best way to not get bent out shape over this is just make more money. Period.

But seriously, waste is waste. It really doesn't matter who's in office. Just where the waste is going. If you haven't figured it out, keep figuring.

Submitted by jficquette on August 10, 2010 - 12:39pm.

Well there are jobs that pay a lot more than the average. Odds are you would make more with the Feds.

Here is some more information on pay scales for comparable positions. Lol @ Pest Control work, Fed/$49k, Private/$34K. You also have to add in the benefits.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010...

Also in the same article:

"Federal employees earn higher average salaries than private-sector workers in more than eight out of 10 occupations, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds.
Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average in the federal government than in the private sector.

Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available."

"These salary figures do not include the value of health, pension and other benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee in 2008 vs. $9,882 per private worker, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis."

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010...

Submitted by briansd1 on August 10, 2010 - 1:30pm.

ucodegen wrote:

The companies that do internet sales are starting to have to file reports on sales across the internet.. so that states can get you on the 'Use tax'.. with California leading the charge.

Order your stuff as "gifts" send to an assumed name. ;)

Submitted by Coronita on August 10, 2010 - 1:33pm.

jficquette wrote:
Well there are jobs that pay a lot more than the average. Odds are you would make more with the Feds.

Here is some more information on pay scales for comparable positions. Lol @ Pest Control work, Fed/$49k, Private/$34K. You also have to add in the benefits.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010...

Also in the same article:

"Federal employees earn higher average salaries than private-sector workers in more than eight out of 10 occupations, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data finds.
Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average in the federal government than in the private sector.

Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available."

"These salary figures do not include the value of health, pension and other benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee in 2008 vs. $9,882 per private worker, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis."

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-03-04-federal-pay_N.htm

And the point of this post is......?

Submitted by briansd1 on August 10, 2010 - 1:36pm.

flu wrote:

Well, for a minority of people, yes...Those are the ones that are true altruists. You see them working/volunteering at food banks, helping out poor, helping out Katrina victims, helping our natural disaster victims,etc. The majority rest of the people might have lofty ideas, but very little in terms of actionable actions, and imho just grandstanding and postulating...

The true altruists...great for them. I admire them.. I'm not one of them...And I don't bother pretending to be one with high preachy morales/ethics/whatever (though it doesn't necessarily mean I don't have any either).

In your definition of altruists, they are spending all of their time doing charity work so they arguably can't "take care" of themselves or their families (at least not building a financial inheritance).

I think that social conscience is very important. A little from every citizen helps a lot.

Submitted by bubba99 on August 10, 2010 - 1:41pm.

As a taxpayer, yes. As a Federal employee, hell yes.

$100,000/year for a high school graduate with four years experience is a little out of line. Particularly when all the needed job skills are taught on the job.

Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on August 10, 2010 - 1:44pm.

jficquette wrote:
We are talking double the pay for private employees. Double the pay for jobs that are mostly unneeded.

It is NOT double the pay for the same or similar job. It is a comparison of general population (which includes retail employees, sanitation, fast-food, etc) to a specific population which is primarily administrative.
(most of the government jobs that would be equivalent to these lower paying jobs are contracted out and not perfomred by federal employees).

It is an apples-to-oranges comparison.

Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on August 10, 2010 - 1:51pm.

I stand corrected. Reading further down in this thread I see the direct job-for-job comparison by USAToday. I was surprosed by this result, and retract my previous statements.

Fire them all.

FormerSanDiegan wrote:
jficquette wrote:
We are talking double the pay for private employees. Double the pay for jobs that are mostly unneeded.

It is NOT double the pay for the same or similar job. It is a comparison of general population (which includes retail employees, sanitation, fast-food, etc) to a specific population which is primarily administrative.
(most of the government jobs that would be equivalent to these lower paying jobs are contracted out and not performed by federal employees).

It is an apples-to-oranges comparison.

Submitted by Arraya on August 10, 2010 - 2:43pm.

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.

Submitted by flyer on August 10, 2010 - 3:09pm.

Although I know this thread can go many different directions--all very
interesting-- I'd just like to add that I agree with flu's comments.

Although the issues involving government employess do effect society as a whole, there is little we can do about them, so to concentrate on one's own wealth-building efforts probably makes the most sense.

We've been focusing on this for years, and now, at 50, have no financial concerns.
As I've seen with friends, in the final analysis, your health will go before your finances do, so enjoy everyday--everything on earth is temporary.

Submitted by briansd1 on August 10, 2010 - 3:29pm.

flyer wrote:

As I've seen with friends, in the final analysis, your health will go before your finances do, so enjoy everyday--everything on earth is temporary.

You're lucky and you've managed your finances well. Unfortunately, that's not how it's going to work out for the majority of Americans.

I personally plan to live a long time. The world is too interesting not to hang on as a long as possible to see the events unfold. I have relatives in their 80s and 90s and they are still going strong. With medical advances, 120 years of age is not out of the realm of possibility.

Submitted by bearishgurl on August 10, 2010 - 3:26pm.

flyer wrote:
Although I know this thread can go many different directions--all very
interesting-- I'd just like to add that I agree with flu's comments.

Although the issues involving government employess do effect society as a whole, there is little we can do about them, so to concentrate on one's own wealth-building efforts probably makes the most sense.

We've been focusing on this for years, and now, at 50, have no financial concerns.
As I've seen with friends, in the final analysis, your health will go before your finances do, so enjoy everyday--everything on earth is temporary.

Well said, flyer. I've been to three funerals so far this year (1 age 50 and 1 age 19) and the year's only half over.

Submitted by bearishgurl on August 10, 2010 - 3:45pm.

I now wish to draw Piggs' attention to the SF-171:

http://forms.nih.gov/adobe/personnel/sf1...

Just fill it out and get on a hiring list! Hopefully, you too can avail yourself of all these bennies, that is, after you have been "put thru the paces," up to and including `nine separate interviews,'" and, of course, a thorough background check. What will your neighbors say about you??

Oh, and uh, I forgot to mention the six-month to one-year "probationary period." Only a fraction of the bennies will kick in before this period is over. During this time, your "future career" could be in the hands of a bureaucrat who has 1/10th of your education and experience, but by virtue of longetivity, connections, knowing too much (or all three of these), occupies the position as your "supervisor." This is where you will find that whatever you thought you knew doesn't matter. Hang in there, refrain from pointing your antlers towards anything resembling a headlight . . . and . . . chin DOWN!

Everybody's got to pay their dues at one time or another. You'll get through it :=)

Submitted by bobby on August 10, 2010 - 4:08pm.

I don't get it. From $41K to $123K with fringe benefits?
I want to see the math.
I don't believe blindly all the stats on the internet but would like to verify the computation myself.

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