Why should people who work for the government make more than those who pay them? Almost sounds like a conspiracy.
Federal employees are paid out of tax dollars, which begin by taking them from the private sector.
To recap, people who are paid through the private taking of taxes, make 50% more than those paying them.
Government workers generally fare better than private sector workers and have done so since the 1990s. Over the last 25 years, the percentage difference between average federal pay and private sector pay has doubled.
During the administration of George W. Bush, federal pay increased considerably. A partial freeze on wages for government workers held salaries back from 2011 to 2013, but the imbalance was restored in 2014 as it rose by 2.9% compared to 1.7% within the private sector.
The Cato Institute recently released a report summarizing the wages of federal workers and how well they are doing compared to their private sector counterparts. In 2014, the average federal employee salary was $84,153, approximately 50% more than the average private sector worker earned. This discrepancy increases to 78% when benefits are included. The average federal worker costs the government (aka taxpayers) $119,934.
The Cato study showed that federal government work had the fourth highest compensation as of 2014, eclipsed only by company management functions at $143,809, utilities at $135,055, and mining at $135,003. Federal government employees fare better than information management employees ($118,678), finance/insurance ($118,007), and those in the professional/scientific disciplines ($106,020). The average government worker salary is more than twice that of the average educational worker ($56,201) and over three times that of retail workers ($36,650).
Currently, over 300,000 federal employees earn over $100,000 in salary, and the top 1,000 of those earn a minimum of $216,000. According to the Wall Street Journal, many of those in the highest level are employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs — the same VA that distributed over $142 million in bonuses last year, amid charges of mismanagement and falsifying records.
Rooting out and correcting mismanagement and overpaid employees within the federal ranks is extremely difficult thanks to various regulations and protections. According to a USA Today study, job security is so strong that workers at most federal agencies have a greater chance of dying on the job than they do of getting fired.