Another look at federal workers' pay
By The Post's Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson:
Federal employees should brace for another round, or perhaps it's a continuing wave, of hits on their pay.
The CATO Institute has released its latest in what has become a series of reports about "Overpaid Federal Workers," as the current installment is titled. It says:
The federal workforce has become an elite island of secure and high-paid workers, separated from the ocean of average American workers competing in the global economy. It is time for some restraint. Federal wages should be frozen or cut, overly generous federal benefits should be overhauled, and the federal workforce downsized through program terminations and privatization. It is unfair to ask taxpayers to foot an ever-increasing bill for federal workers, especially when private-sector compensation has not kept pace.
Yet, as the article by Chris Edwards notes, the Federal Salary Council has determined that, on average, federal workers were paid 26.4 percent less than their private-sector counterparts in 2009. Edwards declares that information to be "non-transparent," "subject to a large amount of statistical modeling" and "suspicious."
President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget proposal, released in February, supported the pay of federal workers, based on their age and educational levels. Twenty percent of federal employees have a graduate degree, just 13 percent in the private sector do, according to data in the budget documents. More than half of federal employees have a college degree, compared with about a third, 35 percent, in the private sector.
And, the older you get, the more likely it is that your income will rise, at least to a point. Forty-six percent of federal workers are 50 or older, compared with 31 percent of those in private sector. Also, when comparing the federal government and the private sector, it's worth remembering that Uncle Sam employs relatively few minimum-wage workers.
Patricia Niehaus, president of the Federal Managers Association, said the CATO article will lead to "more fed-bashing."
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| June 8, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories: Workplace Issues
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