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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 01/ 6/2011

President Obama, Robert Gibbs, and the public sector pay debate

By Ed O'Keefe


David Axelrod, then-Sen. Barack Obama and Robert Gibbs, pictured in Sept. 2008. (Post)

Eye Opener

When President Obama thanked Robert Gibbs for his service on Wednesday, he suggested it made sense for his outgoing press secretary to want to go earn big money.

"He's had a six-year stretch now where basically he's been going 24/7 with relatively modest pay," Obama told the New York Times.

But at a time of persistent unemployment and a sagging economy, Obama's comments begged a question: Is a six-figure government salary really "relatively modest"? Opponents may see his thoughts on pay as red meat for the growing fight regarding public sector compensation. Mayors, governors and lawmakers of both parties are targeting government workers and their unions in the wake of a midterm election season that exposed voter displeasure with the pay and benefits for government workers.

Gibbs -- along with 22 other senior aides -- earned $172,200 last year, according to White House salary figures. (He's unlikely to earn a government pension because he's only served about five years as a congressional and White House staffer, according to federal pay experts.)

His pay is far less than the $400,000 collected by Obama and sums earned by top Congressional leaders. But it is much more than the vast majority of employees in the private sector -- and comes at a sensitive moment, as rank and file federal workers earning various sums begin a two-year pay freeze.

Even by West Wing standards, Gibbs is highly paid: Junior White House staffers earn between $40,000 and $60,000, and Obama, conscious of austerity, froze West Wing salaries early in his administration.

Rank and file federal workers earned an average $67,691 in 2008 -- about $7,600 more than private sector employees, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

When pay and benefits are calculated together, feds earned an average $123,049 in 2009 -- topping non-government workers by at least $60,000, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Federal union leaders prefer "apples to apples" comparisons of workers performing the same job in the public or private sectors. But here again feds come out on top: According to BLS, federal "public relations managers" (the position description closest to Gibbs's press secretary work) earned an average $132,410 in 2008 -- about 44,000 more than private-sector PR bosses. (In fairness, top-earning outliers working as spokespeople for Fortune 500 companies or major non-profits surely earn more than Gibbs.)

Obama might express his comments on Gibbs differently if given the opportunity, and his financial frame of reference is perhaps skewed by well-heeled members of his tight-knit inner circle.

Gibbs has spent a career jumping between congressional and campaign jobs, earning far less than White House senior advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett (who are millionaires), incoming adviser David Plouffe (who earned handsome advances for his book about the 2008 campaign), former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel (a former investment banker) and presumed successor William Daley (currently a JP Morgan executive).

Obama's decision to freeze federal pay upset John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the government's largest union. But when asked Wednesday, he defended Obama and Gibbs.

"In this economy, when jobs are the issue, criticizing what people are making is just not the way to go," Gage said. "Him making $172,000 I think just shows that's not very much pay for a job like that."

Cato Institute fellow Chris Edwards, a leading critic of government pay scales, said federal workers should stop considering themselves as victims."High-level staffers like Gibbs will go on to earn very high pay in the private sector as lobbyists, so we shouldn't shed tears about their supposedly 'modest pay' in government," he said.

Indeed Gibbs is sure to earn top dollar. He has hired Robert Barnett, a Washington super-lawyer representing Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and Sarah Palin, who all earned six- and seven-figure sums for speeches, corporate consulting gigs, television and book deals after leaving government.

Gibbs didn't rule out corporate work when asked Wednesday and said he has no immediate plans to write a book. He is expected to consult Obama's reelection campaign and make frequent TV appearances.

As Gibbs leaves his role as the second-most televised government official, perhaps Obama best understands and appreciates what awaits his press secretary on the outside. Following years in the nonprofit and public sectors as a community organizer, state legislator and senator, Obama has earned millions from book sales and will likely bank much more in his post-presidential life, just as Clinton and George W. Bush did in recent years.

For now, he's provided fodder to a debate already roiling city halls and state houses and set to intensify in Washington as the White House and Congress prepare to debate future spending levels and find ways to cut back.

Staff writer Anne E. Kornblut contributed to this report.

What do you think? Is $172,000 a "relatively modest" salary? Do government employees earn too little, too much or just enough? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 6, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, Eye Opener  
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Comments

Cato Institute fellow Chris Edwards, a leading critic of government pay scales, said federal workers should stop considering themselves as victims."High-level staffers like Gibbs will go on to earn very high pay in the private sector as lobbyists, so we shouldn't shed tears about their supposedly 'modest pay' in government," he said

And what about all of us who aren't high'level staffers Mr. Edwards? Ever stop to think about those of us who are dedicated federal employees and for whom higher paying jobs later in life aren't options to make up for modest salaries now. And let's face facts people. An incredible small number of federal employees make anywhere near what Gibbs did.

Oh and let us not forget that the company behind the study the GOP likes to tout as saying feds are payed 20% more has publically stated that their data does NOT support that finding. The only uncontested data shows that a side-by-side comparison of equivalent jobs with EQUIVALENT EDUCATION shows that federal employees earn LESS than their counterparts. Comparins someone with a Masters or Ph.D to someone with a high school diploma or Bachelor's is ludicrous. Of course the former get paid more. They are more skilled and doing higher level work. And the only people that I work with that have a job that can be done without an advanced degree are the administrative assistants.

Posted by: McCarthy911 | January 6, 2011 6:35 AM | Report abuse

It's about time public "servants" revealed to us how they think.

To them, they are worth the highest salary/benefits they can get. Nothing to do with job performance. It's just always "more".

Every time we talk about public workers making so much more than private, they justify it with their education, they are more "professionals", etc. But...in the private sector...it doesn't matter how educated you are if you never get the job done. And we all know that federal departments screw up just about everything they touch. And they don't have to worry about tacky things like sales revenues and accounts receivable collections. They don't get fired when they royally screw up...or even for misconduct. Their departments sail on regardless of whether they ever accomplish any kind of sensible "mission". So don't tell us about how their qualifications justify their overly generous pay.

Obama simply said out loud what all government workers think. There is no "too much" when it comes to their pay.

Posted by: jeannebee | January 6, 2011 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, in this area, the DMV, $172K is modest given the cost of housing and all around here. In Richmond or Peoria, then it would be immodest.

Posted by: ronjaboy | January 6, 2011 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Gibbs has been effective only as a propagandist for Obama, and certainly not as a communicator in the broader sense. The fact that he can now go out and rake in big money for speeches, books, etc., speaks more to the dumbing down of our culture than it does to anything he has accomplished.

Posted by: camper3 | January 6, 2011 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Talk is cheap-especially lies!!

Posted by: b2mar | January 6, 2011 6:52 AM | Report abuse

To put up with the White House staff, nutty Nancy P's constant flames, AND the press every day, it's not much money.

Posted by: 1911a1 | January 6, 2011 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Remember the Republicans' claim during the tax cut debate that $250,000 annual income was modest and middle class? Surely you do.

Posted by: bdunn1 | January 6, 2011 7:07 AM | Report abuse

The so called pay "freeze" is very limited. Federal employees are still going to get there step increases which are substantial. Many federal employees who are represented by unions and who have contracts are exempt. Air traffic controllers, many who make more than $150,000, are exempt from the "freeze".

The Administration needs to be looking at pay cuts, and increases in federal producuctivity. It's time to get real.

Posted by: cr8oncsu | January 6, 2011 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I find him to be the worst press secretary in my lifetime of watching Presidents since Kennedy to Obama, and therefore, whatever he was paid was too much.

Posted by: jack71 | January 6, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

I think the personal capital Gibbs earned by having his face in front of the national media from the White House every day dwarfs the value of his compensation. Would anyone pay him a half mil a year to make periodic news/opinion show appearances if he'd been the Oval Office secretary?

Posted by: Lukey | January 6, 2011 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Relatively high wages are the cost of competent, bribe-resistant government. Corruption is pervasive in countries without a stable civil service system.

On the other hand, $170k is a sh!tload more than my son-in-law has made serving in the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past 10 years, wondering if the next 'civilian' he sees has a bomb under his coat.

Posted by: 21stCenturyCaveman | January 6, 2011 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Obama was clearly referring to Gibbs' income potential as a senior PR or strategic counselor, which is many times his congressional or White House pay. It's time to stop acting all virginal: $172,000 is not a lot of money for a top performer. All of the writer's statistical calculations are absurd here because Gibbs' job is nothing like that of a PR "manager:" In a corporation of any size, a PR manager reports to several directors, then a vice president, then an EVP of communications who might -- might -- have a job a tenth as responsible as Gibbs. 172 is what a middling decent reporter makes when he jumps to a PR agency to flack for little companies. If Gibbs makes more than the average person makes, including the minions who work at the supermarket or the DMV, it's because being the chief spokesman for the President (any President) and running a relatively large and very complicated PR operation is far more job than most. It's even exponentially more job than the average PR manager, whose role is more comparable to the 35-40K a year people at the bottom of Gibbs' White House press office.

In all, a really spectacularly unbalanced and even ignorant piece,

Posted by: timbo60 | January 6, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

As a former government worker who earned around $40,000, I was not on call 24/7 for the leader of the free world. I had a private life that the president's staff does not have. There is no anonymity with Gibb's job. Really, no time off from public observation. I remember the press whining when the speech writer for the president was seen bare chested. The amount of scrutiny paid to West Wing employees and privacy given up would not be worth it to me, regardless of the salary when even a trip to get a soda might be covered by the press! YOU CANNOT COMPARE THIS WITH A REGULAR GOVT JOB!

Posted by: carolerae48 | January 6, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

So government employees are overpaid compared to those in the private sector. What about the Public Relations guy (because that's what Gibbs is) at Goldman Sachs? Think that guy makes less than 170K? If you do you're dumber than most Republicans, most of whom are pretty dumb.

Posted by: jkarlinsky | January 6, 2011 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Stop it, Mr. O'Keefe. Stop promoting this idea that civil servants are overpaid. My husband could make tens of thousands more than he does, even in this economy, in the private sector. You are not comparing like to like. I have seen many more studies of late that point out that government workers in like jobs make at least 25% less than their private sector counterparts. When it comes to public employees like police officers and EMTs, etc., most of them cannot afford to live in or near the areas they serve. A town close to me had to build "affordable housing" for their teachers and police officers.

$172K is chump change for a job that is 24/7 and requires living close enough to the White House to be on 24/7. In fact, I'm sure the only way Gibbs could take the job and make ends meet is because he had enough money before becoming Press Secretary. To compare his job to a multitude of other public relations jobs is like comparing a PhD. financial regulator to a bank teller.

Posted by: jweiher | January 6, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that this ongoing attack on government (State and Federal) employees hasn't been called out for what it is:

"Class Warfare."

Pundits and Republican politicians have gone out of their way to demonize public service workers, most of whom don't make six figure salaries. We keep hearing that "those people" have benefits that "the rest of you don't have" like pensions and union protection.

Why don't you Republicans (and your inside the Beltway enablers) simply admit that you really don't want public employees to enjoy a middle class standard of living.

I'm not sure for that matter you want anyone but yourselves to.

Posted by: rangman | January 6, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Nobody should make decent money except the uber-wealthy, right? It's the ant farm for the rest of us.

Posted by: alarson1 | January 6, 2011 8:21 AM | Report abuse

"Federal union leaders prefer 'apples to apples' comparisons of workers performing the same job in the public or private sectors. But here again feds come out on top: According to BLS, federal 'public relations managers' (the position description closest to Gibbs's press secretary work) earned an average $132,410 in 2008 -- about 44,000 more than private-sector PR bosses. (In fairness, top-earning outliers working as spokespeople for Fortune 500 companies or major non-profits surely earn more than Gibbs.)"

This implies that anything other than an "apples to apples" comparison has merit. It does not. The bottom line is that a GS-14 journeyman attorney in any major city with 30 years experience earns less working for the Government than even a newly minted attorney coming out of law school who lands his/her first job with any large law firm (that is "apples to apples"). To compare that experienced attorney's wages to a general wage pool that includes McDonalds hamburger flippers is meaningless. Similarly, any meaningful comparison of what Gibbs earns must be made to a PR job with comparable responsibility. There are probably no such jobs in the private sector, but the closest thing would be the highly-paid Fortune 500 jobs that you throw in as an after thought. The bottom line is that the Federal Government does not attract talent by the wages it pays; it manages to get dedicated workers in spite of historically lower wages. The attraction of Federal employment, historically, has been public service, job security and the ability to count on at least some consistancy in wage progression. Take the latter away, and attracting talent will become much harder. Yes, I know that it is hard to find private sector jobs right now, but talented new Federal workers will leave as soon as better opportunities become available if we scapegoat the Federal worker.

Posted by: davidhturner | January 6, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

"Federal union leaders prefer 'apples to apples' comparisons of workers performing the same job in the public or private sectors. But here again feds come out on top: According to BLS, federal 'public relations managers' (the position description closest to Gibbs's press secretary work) earned an average $132,410 in 2008 -- about 44,000 more than private-sector PR bosses. (In fairness, top-earning outliers working as spokespeople for Fortune 500 companies or major non-profits surely earn more than Gibbs.)"

This implies that anything other than an "apples to apples" comparison has merit. It does not. The bottom line is that a GS-14 journeyman attorney in any major city with 30 years experience earns less working for the Government than even a newly minted attorney coming out of law school who lands his/her first job with any large law firm (that is "apples to apples"). To compare that experienced attorney's wages to a general wage pool that includes McDonalds hamburger flippers is meaningless. Similarly, any meaningful comparison of what Gibbs earns must be made to a PR job with comparable responsibility. There are probably no such jobs in the private sector, but the closest thing would be the highly-paid Fortune 500 jobs that you throw in as an after thought. The bottom line is that the Federal Government does not attract talent by the wages it pays; it manages to get dedicated workers in spite of historically lower wages. The attraction of Federal employment, historically, has been public service, job security and the ability to count on at least some consistancy in wage progression. Take the latter away, and attracting talent will become much harder. Yes, I know that it is hard to find private sector jobs right now, but talented new Federal workers will leave as soon as better opportunities become available if we scapegoat the Federal worker.

Posted by: davidhturner | January 6, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

"Federal union leaders prefer 'apples to apples' comparisons of workers performing the same job in the public or private sectors. But here again feds come out on top: According to BLS, federal 'public relations managers' (the position description closest to Gibbs's press secretary work) earned an average $132,410 in 2008 -- about 44,000 more than private-sector PR bosses. (In fairness, top-earning outliers working as spokespeople for Fortune 500 companies or major non-profits surely earn more than Gibbs.)"

This implies that anything other than an "apples to apples" comparison has merit. It does not. The bottom line is that a GS-14 journeyman attorney in any major city with 30 years experience earns less working for the Government than even a newly minted attorney coming out of law school who lands his/her first job with any large law firm (that is "apples to apples"). To compare that experienced attorney's wages to a general wage pool that includes McDonalds hamburger flippers is meaningless. Similarly, any meaningful comparison of what Gibbs earns must be made to a PR job with comparable responsibility. There are probably no such jobs in the private sector, but the closest thing would be the highly-paid Fortune 500 jobs that you throw in as an after thought. The bottom line is that the Federal Government does not attract talent by the wages it pays; it manages to get dedicated workers in spite of historically lower wages. The attraction of Federal employment, historically, has been public service, job security and the ability to count on at least some consistancy in wage progression. Take the latter away, and attracting talent will become much harder. Yes, I know that it is hard to find private sector jobs right now, but talented new Federal workers will leave as soon as better opportunities become available if we scapegoat the Federal worker.

Posted by: davidhturner | January 6, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

"Federal union leaders prefer 'apples to apples' comparisons of workers performing the same job in the public or private sectors. But here again feds come out on top: According to BLS, federal 'public relations managers' (the position description closest to Gibbs's press secretary work) earned an average $132,410 in 2008 -- about 44,000 more than private-sector PR bosses. (In fairness, top-earning outliers working as spokespeople for Fortune 500 companies or major non-profits surely earn more than Gibbs.)"

This implies that anything other than an "apples to apples" comparison has merit. It does not. The bottom line is that a GS-14 journeyman attorney in any major city with 30 years experience earns less working for the Government than even a newly minted attorney coming out of law school who lands his/her first job with any large law firm (that is "apples to apples"). To compare that experienced attorney's wages to a general wage pool that includes McDonalds hamburger flippers is meaningless. Similarly, any meaningful comparison of what Gibbs earns must be made to a PR job with comparable responsibility. There are probably no such jobs in the private sector, but the closest thing would be the highly-paid Fortune 500 jobs that you throw in as an after thought. The bottom line is that the Federal Government does not attract talent by the wages it pays; it manages to get dedicated workers in spite of historically lower wages. The attraction of Federal employment, historically, has been public service, job security and the ability to count on at least some consistancy in wage progression. Take the latter away, and attracting talent will become much harder. Yes, I know that it is hard to find private sector jobs right now, but talented new Federal workers will leave as soon as better opportunities become available if we scapegoat the Federal worker.

Posted by: davidhturner | January 6, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Let me ask you something...is 20 million a "relatively modest" annual salary for the CEO of EXXON? You people kill me intimating that the federal salary is somehow so much better than the private sector, when you know darn well that the media is driving this issue. I dont believe that there has been or ever will be a grass root movement from voters in opposition to federal pay, but you seem bound and determined to get one going. That's the American media's problem...you write about crap like this, but you never frame the discussion in a fair and impartial manner. All you idiots are too busy competing with FOX to attract the tabloid croud. Why dont you show actual facts and figures to back up your implied assertions and innuendo? Why not show a chart that actually educates the public as to the truth about this issue comparing private sector jobs with comparable federal sector jobs? Let me guess...too much work, right?

Posted by: ruthella10 | January 6, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse


Stop whining, feds. Not only are you paid well by 90% of the taxpayers' standards, you have unparalleled job security and pension and health care benefits that most can only dream of.

If you are not grateful for what you have, leave.

Posted by: Gidgmom | January 6, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

$172,000 a year to lie to everyone with a straight face,seems like a lot of money.

Posted by: SISSD1 | January 6, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

These "huge" step increases are about $1000, and are not given every year. When I was working for the government, I considered myself reasonably well paid, but I was also working 11-14 hours every day, at my desk.

It saddens me to see public service disparaged like this. Most people earn no where near $172K a year, don't rotate out of government to a high paying job, and do their jobs well and honorably. They "care".

Posted by: Babecat | January 6, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I'd also add the caveat that it depends on where you live. With so many government workers living in the high-cost Eastern Corridor of the United States, it is no wonder that the pay scales are higher; so is housing and the cost-of-living. If you compare the needs of any worker who lives along either coast with that of those of us that live around a relatively modest-cost area, as I do in the Indy area, it certainly skews how much one needs to earn to make ends meet in our specific geographic areas. And yes, I find Gibbs' pay of $172,000 relatively modest for the extent of his job responsibilities. Full disclosure, I am a retiree with total pay of $37,000 a year. I have been a fan of Anne Kornblut's reporting and TV appearances, but this article about Gibbs sounds so snarky, so envious. Could it be that her reporting on this subject was based on a certain amount of envy on her part? Perhaps her reporting duties do not match the compensation that Gibbs received.

Posted by: rtinindiana | January 6, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Is E O'Keefe a mathematically inept reporter or just a lazy one? In this article, he says that the average federal worker earns $67,600 which is $7600 more than the average private sector worker. That means the average private sector worker earns $60,000. He then reports that the overall compensation for a fed is $123,000 and that that is $60,000 more than the overall compensation for a private sector worker.

So that means the non-salary portion of compensation for a federal worker is supposedly over $55,000 a year (yeah, right) and for a private sector worker it is only about $3000 (yeah, right). That $3000 wouldn't even cover the employer's portion of Social Security taxes!

So where's the reporting here? The vaunted Washington Post employs people like O'Keefe who don't even cross-check whatever the heck they decide to "report"?? It would be nice if just nice the Post would break down that supposed $55,000 a year in non-pay compensation that federal workers supposedly cost the taxpayer rather than just endlessly and lazily repeat it in story after story. nd it would be even nicer if they would explain how exactly that average of $3000 for the private sector was arrived at.

But that would require some real work on the part of the post so I expect that pigs will fly first.

Posted by: ewq21cxz | January 6, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

The media love stories like this, mainly because so many journalists are paid so little. Well, the reason for that is that most of them are imbeciles, the tubby loser who maintains this blog being the prime example.

But while we're on the topic of journalists, why doesn't the media focus on their own and explain why the telegenic few of them (who are usually the biggest imbeciles of them all) make 6 and 7 figure salaries? Talk about intellect, skill and talent not being linked to pay! Fed and CEO pay is not even an issue by comparison.

Posted by: Wallenstein | January 6, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Surprised this clown doesn't get a pension after only a few yrs...private sector folks are responsible for their own retirements unlike these folks who work for the Gov...that should change!!

Posted by: mjandrews8 | January 6, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

mjandrews8: "Surprised this clown doesn't get a pension after only a few yrs...private sector folks are responsible for their own retirements unlike these folks who work for the Gov...that should change!!"
______________
Um, that did change like 25 years ago. Feds have a TSP, which is basically a 401K. There's a tiny pension but not much to speak of.

Posted by: dconover | January 6, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Once again WP has suckered me into reading a nonsensical commentary and it won't be long before I stop reading WP altogether. Very high level government officials such as Gibbs are undoubtedly underpaid compared to their private sector counterparts. These people, however, often use their positions to leverage high paying jobs in the private sector so what they get paid as government workers is almost irrelevant. What should be the topic of discussion is instead the pay of the vast majority of the typical government worker in comparison to their private counterparts, as this is a major portion of the Federal budget. My sense is that when benefits and enhanced job security are considered, Federal workers are much more highly compensated compared to private sector workers.

Posted by: scientist2 | January 6, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Wait a minute: $172K is 'modest pay', but if he makes $200K then he is 'rich'? No wonder the middle class is shrinking, there's only $28K between middle class and rich!

Posted by: midi3 | January 6, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I guess $172K would be viewed as "modest" to a millionaire President. It is, however, a lot more than most rank and file federal employees earn on an annual basis.

Posted by: whitec477 | January 6, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Since the median income for US families in 2009 was $52,029 I believe that the majority of Americans would think that $172,000 is more than a 'modest income.'

Posted by: jslivesay | January 6, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

What a lousy, imbalanced piece! You honestly think the lead PR person in a Fortune 500 company makes anywhere NEAR $172,000 a year? Try MILLIONS of dollars a year.

Gibbs is the PR person for a government with an annual budget in the TRILLIONS, yet he only makes $172,000 a year.

Your article is disgustingly misleading.

Posted by: JTF- | January 6, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

If Barack Hussein Soetoro Obama thinks $172K is a 'modest salary' he has proven to the entire world how grossly OUT OF TOUCH he is with reality.His arrogance is overwhelming,his ignorance is without limits, he is fatuous and his narcissism is
ever present.This LIAR-IN-Chief is the result of what happens when politically uninformed , uneducated people are allowed to vote.

Posted by: cajun1 | January 6, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh the irony. Here are the job listings for the Cato Institute:
Senior Fellow 3 $158k NA
Visiting Fellow 1 $100k NA
Visiting Scholar Agricultural Trade Studies 2 $82k $80k$84k
Economist 1 $80k NA
Editor Project Coordinator 1 $39k NA
Technical Writer 1 $38k NA
Research Assistant 2 $36k $33k$40k
Communications Specialist 1 $31k NA

Just to compare an Economist at HHS w/the Federal Government is listed at $62,467

Whatever Mr. O'Keefe and Mr. Edwards!

Posted by: stilldoin | January 6, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Gibb's salary is extremely modest compared to persons of similar responsibility in the private sector. For high ranking corporate officers of a Fortune 500 company, to which his position would clearly equate, $172K is a quarterly figure at best.

Posted by: CAContractor | January 6, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

My apology..the Economist position w/Cato was from 2007!! Do you suppose the salary has gone down? Other salaries are from 2009

Posted by: stilldoin | January 6, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"Relatively." The President said "relatively."

Gibbs doesn't work a 40-hour week, so average national income isn't relevant. Per hour, with what it costs to live in Washington, and with every mistake televised worldwide? It's not a bad income, but not great.

Posted by: airsix | January 6, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I dunno what screwy math people are dreaming up, but every time I've looked I'm _way_ better off in the private sector.

Posted by: Nymous | January 6, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me where I can find those "high paying" gov't jobs? For 33 1/2 years I've worked for the gov't, did the work of 2 or 3 people, have paid into my retirement (yes, it's not free, it's MY earned money) and just learned that I only get 50% of my retirement when I do retire, earning $50,000. And for those who think Gov't employees get a "free" ride, suprise! I pay for health care- and the cost goes up for me too! The health benefits are what they are, they ar no different for me than for what a private sector person gets(we just have more to choose from). I've compared my so called "benefits" to my family and friends' private sector jobs, and some earn much more than me(doing the same thing)-(Legal Assistant for Federal Prosecutors)with the same education, and some have better pensions. Not a single one earns less. Oh yes, and I do pay TAXES!
I see a pattern here of how the mass media and the administration has espoused a spirit of "Battle of the Classes", and because of our economic situations, our greed or our envy, we've succummed to an attitude of "You earn more, I want what you want, "I just want" but don't want to work" etc. Have you ever taken the time to reflect that this Great country has been Great because people "STRIVE, WORK HARD, have integrity and honesty and are FREE to be productive to live a good life? If we start ripping each other apart and permitting our leaders to take away those privileges, NONE of us will have the freedoms and opportunities we have now. I suggest you all read "The
book "The Roots of Obama's Rage" by D'Souza Dinesh. Very enlightening and many of my Democrat and Republican friends have a better understanding of what is happening to our Country. God bless each one of you and God Bless America!!

Posted by: TruthSeeker32 | January 6, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

mjandrews8: "Surprised this clown doesn't get a pension after only a few yrs...private sector folks are responsible for their own retirements unlike these folks who work for the Gov...that should change!!"
______________
dconover: Um, that did change like 25 years ago. Feds have a TSP, which is basically a 401K. There's a tiny pension but not much to speak of.
_______________
And Federal employees under FERS (the system dconover refers to above) contribute to that pension fund - in other words, money earned by the employee is deducted from their pay for their pension. dconover is correct that Federal employees hired since 1984 are responsible for contributing to their TSP (basically a 401K). So tired of the tired misinformed talking points out there about federal salaries and compensation.

Posted by: stuckinacube | January 6, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The hypocrisy and disconnect by O is to say that $174k is modest, but that $250k is rich.

Posted by: Hanakow | January 6, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

This is an example of why our system isn't working. For you to be devoting even 5 seconds to an offhand remark by the president is absurd. And disingenuous: not only do you know that Obama meant "modest" compared to what the guy could earn in the private sector; you also know he's right. Can we please talk about something important?

Posted by: jac13 | January 6, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

i thought $200k/yr was 'rich' obama

Posted by: jimsr121 | January 6, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

that's rich (no pun intended). let's see if you have a two earner household both making that modest salary you have a household making $350,000, but, what a second, that would be $100,000 ABOVE what Obama has determined is "rich". What gives? Very strange indeed from such a "smart" man.

Is Obama finally talking some reality - the fact that the top 1% of earners often work harder than other people and (is it possible?) have earned what they have "earned" in income?

Heck, if Gibbs wife makes HALF of what he does (i.e., a DOUBLY modest salary) they would still hit Obama's declares "rich" threshold.

Could it be that in a economy influenced this much by socialist sympathizers "modesty" in the new rich?

Sure would resonate with historical experience in places like Europe throughout the 20th century.

Posted by: dummypants | January 6, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

i thought $200k/yr was 'rich' obama

Posted by: jimsr121 | January 6, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

He says $172,000 is "relatively modest pay"???! I make a lot less than that and I am totally satisfied with my pay. At least I have a job! There are millions of people in the world who are starving, homeless, etc., and who would LOVE to make $172,000/yr. In my opinion, $172,000/yr would be a dream come true!

Posted by: Blessed58 | January 6, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

ED: your numbers don't add up. First you compare the average Fed salary of 67,691 (in 2008) to non-Feds making 6700 less (that means about 60,000). Then you add benefits to the Feds coming up with $123,029 (in 2009) and still compare that to the non-Fed 60,000. Not only have you mixed two different years, you are comparing one group with benefits to another without. (I really doubt those non-Feds are recieving no benefits at all)Shoddy math and journalism in either case.

Posted by: jreeves | January 6, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

This seems a never-ending 'debate' with people who don't think ramifications through and just react viscerally.

If rabble-rousers had their way government employees would be the lowest paid, worst equipped workers in the country. At the same time, they complain about the quality of these same government employees.

Well, you get what you pay for. If the objective is to populate government with the least capable employees and give them the most outdated tools to work with, then by all means, cut the pay and make them go back to using adding machines. Then, the complaints about unproductive government employees become self-fulfilling.

But, if the objective is to have a well-functioning government, one had better keep the pay competitive and refresh the tools frequently to keep up with technology.

Posted by: jdrd58 | January 6, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse


Oh my yes, you little people in Peoria can go off yourselves now. Meanwhile Barry the inept bungler's corrupt cronies are all withing spitting distance of what the Dims call rich.

Posted by: screwjob23 | January 6, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Hussein must have forgotten where he placed his teleprompter.

Posted by: WorkOrStarve | January 6, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I think I'd rather earn less money and work 35-40 hours a week over being on call 24/7 for the President for 2 years (plus whatever time he spent working for Obama during the campaign). To give up my life like that, while my children are young (about the same age as Gibbs' children) would cost my employer much more then $172k a year. And frankly, if I was qualified to work as a press secretary to the President of the United States (Republican or Democrat) I'd expect I could easily earn much more than "a paltry" $172k on the free market. You in the media want to a press secretary $50k? Then you better expect to get an inexperienced $50k secretary (you think anybody with a little experience, a house and family that would have to be uprooted, could afford a huge paycut?) who will hand our press releases to you and little else.

Posted by: Mike8429 | January 6, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse


Meanwhile Barry the inept bungler's latest $1.5 million luau vacation cost the taxpayers more than what 26 average American families make in a year.


"In a Hawaii Reporter story published last week, some of the cost estimates included:

Obama’s round trip flight to Hawaii via Air Force One: $1 million (GAO estimates)
Mrs. Obama’s early flight to Hawaii: $63,000 (White House Dossier)
Housing in beachfront homes for Secret Service and Seals in Kailua ($1,200 a day for 14 days): $16,800
Costs for White House staff staying at Moana Hotel: $134,400 ($400 per day for 24 staff) – excluding meals and other room costs
Local police overtime: $250,000 (2009 costs reported by Honolulu Police Department)
Ambulance: $10,000 (City Spokesperson)
TOTAL COST: $1,474,200"

Miserable failure Obama

Posted by: screwjob23 | January 6, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I represent federal employees who are called upon to work significant amounts of overtime. Some of them probably earn $120,000 annually. But if you asked these same employees to work the same hours as Gibbs surely put in - 80 plus hours a week, I am sure they took would argue that $172,000 is a paltry sum. They would want overtime pay, availability pay, FLSA pay and so on. Gibbs was not a regular federal employee. His position required great sacrifices by Gibbs and his family. I, for one, hope he now goes out and makes mint. He has earned it.

Posted by: jimcalle | January 6, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse


That's right Dims and WWE superstars make up to $2 million a year. So what? That is not coming out of you pocket, and neither are salaries of Cato Institute members.

"the Cato Institute accepts no government funding."

Posted by: screwjob23 | January 6, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

With the throwaway line "(In fairness, top-earning outliers working as spokespeople for Fortune 500 companies or major non-profits surely earn more than Gibbs.)" the author reveals the crux of the problem. Is being the spokesperson for the United States of America more like being the spokesperson for a Fortune 500, or Fortune 100 company or is it more like being the spokesperson for some small-cap company whose name you don't even know?

The level of ability needed to speak for the USA is undoubtedly greater than the level of ability needed to speak for Joe's Plumbing.

Posted by: kamdog | January 6, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@jeannebee said, "Every time we talk about public workers making so much more than private, they justify it with their education, they are more "professionals", etc. But...in the private sector...it doesn't matter how educated you are if you never get the job done. And we all know that federal departments screw up just about everything they touch. And they don't have to worry about tacky things like sales revenues and accounts receivable collections. They don't get fired when they royally screw up...or even for misconduct. Their departments sail on regardless of whether they ever accomplish any kind of sensible "mission". So don't tell us about how their qualifications justify their overly generous pay."

---

Oh, really? Since you have stated that "federal departments screw up just about everything they touch" as fact, please do provide some examples.

I really despise reading this kind of mindless bovine scat. If you can back up your opinion with verifiable facts, then your assertion is valid. If you cannot back up your opinion with verifiable facts, then your assertion falls into the old adage that says opinions are like noses; everyone has one and most of them are full of snot.

Posted by: kpharmer | January 6, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Republicans instituted tax breaks for those who earn over $250K, and continued them in the face of huge deficits. They oppose estate taxes that fall on only a tiny percentage of the very wealthiest Americans.

So what's their big complaint about federal employees? More of their demagoguery. Get the struggling middle class to complain about about "overpaid government employees" while the Republicans enrich those who earn millions for cheating the rest of us.

Posted by: Fenugreek | January 6, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Way to go America. Keep looking for middle class workers to crush and impoverish. You're doing a great job shrinking the middle class. By all means cheer on those who bust unions and demonize teachers and government workers. Have you noticed that the more you kill off the middle class the poorer America gets?

If lower taxes on the wealthy created jobs, we'd all be working now, because they've had low taxes for a decade now and we all know things are worse, not better.

I used to have a lot of faith in the American people, but now I see we are just a scared, insecure country who have allowed the Republicans to divide us and send our jobs overseas, bail out the rich and then extended their tax cuts.

Well, at least we have our guns, lots of guns...but the rich have our money.

Posted by: Trakker | January 6, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Guy left our office (he was a GS 14) his bonus for 2010 was $175,000 on top of the pay raise he took to leave. Not bad for a guy who was a Walmart manager before coming to the federal government.

Posted by: crete | January 6, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

These Republican "blowhards" whose Republican base was bailed out through welfare for the rich programs by the govt now have the audacity to complain that govt spending is out of control? What? The Govt printed money to save your banking, auto, real estate, oil companies. Rank and file govt workers don't make beans. Why don't you ask your pharmaceutical sales reps, retirement "specialists", etc, etc how much they make for essentially doing nothing and overcharging for their services?

Posted by: Cantora | January 6, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"Rank and file federal workers earned an average $67,691 in 2008 -- about $7,600 more than private sector employees, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

When pay and benefits are calculated together, feds earned an average $123,049 in 2009 -- topping non-government workers by at least $60,000, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis."

Please be fair here... How is it a real comparison to combine federal pay AND benefits ($123,049) and compare it to non-government pay ONLY ($<63,000)?

Posted by: shadeau | January 6, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Gee,if Mrs. Gibbs makes only $80,000, the Gibbs' will suddenly be in Obama's Millionaire-Billionaire category, needing to be punished with MORE taxes.

But WAIT! didn't Barry just call Gibbs'salary "relatively modest"?...Barry, you're confusing me again. Why didn't you just stay in Hawaii?

Posted by: beecheery | January 6, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Please be fair here... How is it a real comparison to combine federal pay AND benefits ($123,049) and compare it to non-government pay ONLY ($<63,000)?

Posted by: shadeau
-----
Maybe not fair, but real. According to the BEA, the '$<63,000' is the total compensation to include benefits.

Posted by: shhhhh | January 6, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama called individuals making $200K per year "rich" and wanted their taxes to go up. Now he says that $172K per year is "relatively modest." So if Gibbs made $28K more per year he would vault from relatively modest to rich. It's funny when Obama actually says what he thinks he exposes his own hypocrisy.

Posted by: Faldo | January 6, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

What an arrogant, pompous useless piece of pond scum. That's quite a bit of money to be a not very good liar, heaver of B.S. Only in the corruption of DC politics could this pimple get that money.

Posted by: nomobarry | January 6, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, at least we know how much Mr. Gibbs will sell his soul for.

Posted by: paulthiel1 | January 6, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

sure is too much for a many with no expertise in anything.

no training, no skill set...

he's a career spin artist... worse than nothing.

Posted by: docwhocuts | January 6, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Gee, if Gibbs only made a little more, he would then be one of those filthy rich people Obama would love to extort more money from. But then, of course, being a member of Obama's administration, Gibbs could be a tax deadbeat and get away with it.

Posted by: HLsageofBaltimore | January 6, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

For the amount of work he is doing (c'mon, he's not just some junior White House staffer, he's the freaking press secretary) combined with the high cost of living in DC: I don't know if it's MODEST, but it sounds fair. I wouldn't say he's being paid too much.

Posted by: megantron | January 6, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Apparently many of you can't separate politics from the issue. Even a conservative press secretary would draw the pay Gibbs is now. It's not about politics, it's about the Federal pay scale. Sheesh. Try to keep up with the issue at hand.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 6, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Remember back in your Econ 101 class whn the professor taught you about "opportunity costs"?

Whether any given salary -- be it $8 per hour or $8 million per year -- is "modest" or "massive" all depends on your opportunity cost.

If you're A-Rod, $8 million per year would be "relatively modest" because you're obviously capable of earning 3 times that elsewhere. If you're a burger flipper or one of the many right-wing loons who have posted here, $174K per year would be a "massive" salary because it so massively outweighs how society presently values your time.

It's all relative. Since Gibbs can earn a lot more elsewhere, there's nothing "immodest" about his assertion.

Posted by: SkyBeaver | January 6, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I surely don't think $174k a year is modest - however I also don't know the full extent of his job. Having said that, I must say I feel no sympathy for the government salary freeze. As a worker in the private sector, I have not had a raise in two years, and only 1% over the last 5. So I say - suck it up like the rest of us and stop complaining!!! None of us enjoy a year of work without a raise, why should the government be any different.

Posted by: zoezoe1 | January 6, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

jimcalle: I represent federal employees who are called upon to work significant amounts of overtime.
Sorry ... you don't represent me or probably anyone else in government. When I started, all the GS-12 & 13s in my offices gave (and still give) overtime whenever asked, because it contributes to their overall evaluation. I don't know where you work, but we are allowed NO overtime. My agency is barely soluble, there is no money for overtime!

Posted by: dragonlady45 | January 6, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Has it been forgotten so fast or is this just another personal attack on Obama. 2001 appointees of the Bush Administration were paid the highest in the history of this country. Even better thousands of Federal employees were sent home with full pay and told just enjoy life. PBS interviewed 12 people who set at home doing nothing while collecting pay and benefits as this was over 5 years. Bush appointees spent like money grew on trees with one buying a towel for 25,000 dollars each. Muslims were given billions to help spread the lies and now on lives in the UK and laughs at how easy it was even knowing he was lying all the time. Why do you think Lobbyist are now Republican aides. The Press should try giving honest news and stop working for the Republican/Tea Party as it will only hurt the country more. I just wish people and Law Makers would just be honest and say they don't want an African American as President and really want minorities put back in their place. All this around the bush stuff is really sad when the truth is so easy and simple.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | January 6, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

BEST PRESS SECRETARY IN MODERN HISTORY

FUNNY, SMART, TOUGH...PERFECT...

WE'LL MISS YOU ROBERT!

Goodbye Robert Gibbs, you are a good man and a true liberal patriot...
TO THE PROFESSIONAL LEFT
Sorry Bill Press, I've always been a fan, but I have to say that hearing you on Ed just now say that the 'professional left' is Obama's base galls me. I AM THE PRESIDENT'S BASE AND WORKING CLASS LIBERALS LIKE ME...I used to include you and Ed, but not after the way you turned on the first Black President in the last year...Thanks for nothing...thanks for costing us seats in congress in this last election.

CHIPSHIRLEY.COM

Posted by: ChipShirley | January 6, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

$172,000 is $171,999.98 more than this bozo is worth. The worst president in history is finally getting rid of the worst presidential press secretary in history.

This simply shows how arrogant, elitist, and out of touch with reality Obama is. When he says that a salary 4 times higher than the average worker out here in the real world is making is "modest" he insults all of us who actually do work to earn our money.

I guess someone like Obama, who has never worked at a real job in his life, thinks that everyone makes $250K or more per year. That must be why he tried to raise our taxes - he thought that he was going to tax everyone when he said, "tax the rich".

Posted by: hoosier_extremist | January 6, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

It is funny because in all of the "attacks" on government workers not one person has mentioned the amount of money the government spends paying contractors!!! I was a contractor for the government prior to becoming a government employee and my hourly rate when I was a contractor was 120 per hour. I barely saw a third of that money. If Congress really wants to do something, they need to reduce government spending because I know for a fact that there are thousands of people that the federal government employs through contracting companies and if there are any cuts that need to be made they need to look there first. These companies are making their quarterly numbers off of these contracts and acting as if the work that they are doing can only be done by them. If working for the government was so lucrative, why don't these people try to work directly for the government? The answer is because they are making at least 25% more, especially at the mid and upper level management levels than their government counterparts. I know a woman that took a 100K paycut to become a manger in the government, because the government gives off the appearance of stability. She will NEVER get that money back, even as an a memeber of the Senior Executive Service. And in the midst of the "pay freeze" Congress found a way to exclude themselves from that freeze. Plus their salary is 140K a year. We are not going to even talk about the perks of the cafeteria, drivers, and other things that are involved with being a memeber of Congress. I wonder how many folks would run for congress if the salary was 50K a year??? Just a thought:-)

Posted by: gbethc | January 6, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I see the dingbat brigade is out in full force today.

Two words "Relatively Modest". No one said his pay was "modest", but "relatively modest".

Considering the decades long dumbing down of America that we are currently head over heels in, I wouldn't expect the riff raff to distinguish between the two.

Yes, his pay is "relatively modest", when compared "relatively" to what people with his stature and experience make privately. Privately, he will be able to command 3-5 times what he was making as a civil servant.

The DC beltway is filled with early 30 somethings sporting security clearances working for the array of gov consulting firms pulling in 175-225K a year.

Heck, Obama's pay at 400K a year is relatively modest. 27 year old wallstreet bond traders who trade 700-800 million worth in a year getting paid 750K - 1 mil per year when a guy running a 14 trillion dollar economy and a 3 trillion dollar budget gets 400K.

Posted by: Nosh1 | January 6, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

In DC it's modest. It isn't in WV. Think about it after taxes and factor in the cost of living. Mix kids in and you're actually not that well off.

Posted by: melador | January 6, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The political classes (BOTH PARTIES) behave as if they live in a dream world wherein there is an infinite amount of money that can borrowed, an infinite of wealth that can be taxed and an endless line of credit.

$172K is utterly meaningless. They could not be more out of touch. It's odd to see a "palace mentality" develop in a free republic but I guess we've proven it can be done.

USA!! USA!! USA!!

Posted by: andrew23boyle | January 6, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Wealthy people anywhere are usually completely out of touch with the concerns of normal people. They buy the same coffee we brew but pay $5 cup, they floor their SUVs without any concern for $4/gallon fuel costs, they know for certain the Republican leaders they bought with secret donations will cut their taxes every time they request it. They would struggle to live on a measly $172k!

Posted by: thw2001 | January 6, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't earn six figures and don't have many friends who do but considering his job yeah it's modest.

Posted by: rlj1 | January 6, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I think you if divided the amount of hours he works by the amount he is paid then it probably is pretty modest. I think that's the point that Obama is trying to make.

Posted by: Aerowaz | January 6, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

That is a lot of money, considering the job comes with a lot of "deferred compensation", money that he can make from many sources as a well-known ex-press secretary to the President.

Posted by: observer31 | January 6, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Yep, wrong thing to say. Oops. For all you non-Federal folks out there, let me assure you that Gibbs & his fellow six figure earners are in the extreme minority when it comes to pay scales!

Posted by: Kiffee | January 6, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Reality check: Median Household Income is ~$50k in the U.S.

Posted by: thw2001 | January 6, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

For a job where there are no boundaries, no vacation, and you are on-call 24/7, Gibbs' pay was modest. Not unlike doctors or lawyers who work long hours and have on-call duties.

Posted by: Kay9 | January 6, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

the average salary in the u.s is about $40k - $50K. since $172k > *triple* that salary range, it isn't "modest" at all. that's not partisan hyperbole; that's math.

this is still, last time i checked, a mostly free country, and a mostly free market place for people to chose the jobs they do. as such, mr. gibbs *voluntarily* stayed at that job for this long. given the amount of access to people of power and other perks that come with the job mr. gibbs held, his salary shouldn't even enter into the picture. he'll make up for any perceived salary discrepancies with payments from the lecture circuit, consultation work, writing memoirs, and perhaps even planning the obama presidential library...

Posted by: stikkbomber | January 6, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Okeefe please compare oranges to oranges. Start by comparing Mr. Gibbs salary to what the average Reporter in the Press Room makes. Then compare it to the countless hours Mr. Gibbs puts in. My local weather person makes half a million a year doing the weather report and half the audience can not figure out what the weather will be in the next hour. I guess by your standards he is under paid. stop the hypocrisy

Posted by: davidfonso | January 6, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Average starting salary at a big time DC law firm for a kid (25 years old) fresh out of law school is about 165K. So, Gibbs is relative modest. If one is married, living in this town, and making less than 100K, the wife must work. If there are kids, Katy bar the door!!

Posted by: adhardwick | January 6, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

You have to remember the "code" of this administration. If someone works for the government, making from $172 K to $6 million as the heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do, they are making "relatively modest pay."
Someone working for private industry being paid similar amounts -- and earning it -- is an overpaid, evil capitalist."
After all, Obama -- and Lenin -- say so.

Posted by: dmarple | January 6, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to write for a living, I would encourage you to research the meaning of "begging the question". It is not, as your use implies and is popularly supposed, that the existence of an issue should inspire a query. It is a specific form of circular reasoning.

Posted by: sbyVT | January 6, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

That's not a lot of money for that type of position. You'd have to pay me a lot more to put up with all that crap, and all those stupid question. And it does depend on where you live. In the past I lived IN CA., then I moved to TX and kept my CA. wages, that was nice. Normally companies will adjust the payscale based on CoL of a given geographical area. 175k/yr around DC is upper middle class at best.

Democrats are dumb, they think they're smarter than everyone else and we should do what they tell us to do. Me, I'm agnostic when it comes to politicians having grown up in DC before moving to CA. They all lie, they're all egomaniacs, most are narcissistic.

Oh, and boo hoo that you only get 50k/yr pension, add in the free health care for life, and max social security is around $1,500/mon = $18k/yr so shut up. My sister worked for the BLS for 35 years. The last few years she was promoted a few times by her boss who was retiring "to take care of her" and make sure she was comfortable in retirement. She did the same thing for her secretary when she retired. Promoted her to a 120k/yr job, from being a secretary making around 35k because she wanted her to be comfortable. That's the problem - it's the old boy syndrome only orders of magnitude worse, and we're paying for it. I see it happen all the time. A couple of years before retirement they all start taking care of each other so whwen they do retire they qualify with higher pay. To make it even worse, most of them do don't a damn thing the last couple of years they arwe there since everyone knows they are "lame ducks". And no one blows the whistle because they want to get theirs too.

Disgusting. Federal pay isn't the problem, federal pensions are the problem and the second biggest expense foer the feds just below the DoD. That's crazy.

I deal with fed employees quite a bit, most of them are benchwarmers, papedr shufflers, managers, etc. they hire contractors to do the actual work and they just manage them. Sweet gig if you don't mind hanging out in a 4'x6' cell/cube for 30 years.

The federal government, much like the military, is a JOBS PROGRAM. 100% of the economy in DC is the feds, every middle class minority in DC works for the government, that's the only way they made middle class.

You want to see something really dysfunctional then take a look at the DC gov, not fed but the city gov. It's a joke. The school system is a joke. They re-elect a convicted felon (Barry). What a sorry excuse for our nations capitol.

Posted by: Dudlio | January 6, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

It just shows that this President and Administration are completely out of touch with the rest of Americans.

Posted by: bmayhewbz@hotmail.com | January 6, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I work in NY and $172K is definitely a modest salary particularly considering the work involved.

Posted by: nycngo | January 6, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I am a state government employee. I am in a professional position and have a Bachelor of Science degree. I earn $42,000 a year before taxes and have a good, but not great, health plan that does not include dental. I spend a large percentage of my take-home pay on daycare for my toddler daughter (which costs over $1000 a month, and only a small portion of it can be re-gained through the child care tax credit.) My husband, who works in the private sector, earns considerably more than me. If he did not earn considerably more than me, I don't think we could pay for the mortgage on our modest 1800-square-foot house, utilities, and grocery bills.

So Gibb's salary is certainly not representative of the public sector, and if you think public sector employees are overpaid, come sit in my office chair for a while. Better yet, sit in the chair of the admin assistant next to me who earns even less.

Posted by: MHinNC | January 6, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse


Okay, Ed. next time you think you can handle the
media, the crooked blow hard
conniving media of the nation,

for the president of the United States,lets hear more from you! Meantime, if r silly Tea Party procivilities render your worth more than $1.61 per day, you're waaaaay over paid. Maybe go work for
Bachmann or that prince Eric Cantor.

Posted by: whistling | January 6, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Two things:

First, the complete thought would be that Gibbs has been RECEIVING MODEST PAY AS COMPARED TO A COMPARABLE POSITION ELSEWHERE.

WaPo loves to stir the pot with false comparisons to the general public. Gibbs (like Perino, to be non-partisan) is the spokesperson for the most powerful branch of the most powerful government on the planet. Who on earth would compare his position or compensation to a guy flipping burgers? WaPo...and anyone that's suffered a massive head trauma.

Second, if someone in the private sector will pay far more for Gibbs's services, then BY DEFINITION HE IS UNDERPAID. Period. End of discussion. That's how a labor market (and every other market) works. And to those of you who think that a government shouldn't have to pay market rate for labor - move to Cuba.

Posted by: dsk36 | January 6, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm really suspicious of anybody's stats that say federal employees are better compensated than those in the private sector. The stats in this article were about all federal employees and all private sector employees. Not only was that not apples to apples, but it leaves out the huge differences in cost of living.

Then to refute the apples to apples argument, this article compares Gibbs' salary to the average PR manager's salary?! Are you serious? The job of White House Press Secretary is nothing like the average PR manager's job. If you want to look at apples to apples, look at staff attorney or project manager positions.

Posted by: Booyah5000 | January 6, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

THIS WHOLE DEBATE IS STUPID. GIBBS' PAY SIMPLY IS WHAT IT IS. IT'S MODEST IN SOME WAYS, AND NOT MODEST IN OTHERS. IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING, IT DOESN'T CHANGE ANYTHING, AND THERE'S NO POINT GETTING WORKED UP ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE (NEVERMIND, IF I KNEW THE ANSWER TO THAT THEN I WOULDN'T BE WASTING TIME READING AND/OR POSTING STUPID COMMENTS ABOUT NOTHING)?

Posted by: hunter_christopher | January 6, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

------
When pay and benefits are calculated together, feds earned an average $123,049 in 2009 -- topping non-government workers by at least $60,000, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
-------

Meanwhile here in the American Outback away from the Washington-New York fantasy ride, $60,000 would be real good money, especially to the 20% of us who haven't been able to find real work since about 2008.

The fakes and phonies in Congress crying crocodile tears about the budget deficit should each be required to cut his or her staff by 20% in a nod to the pain the public sector has been forced to feel, and then cut salaries for the rest of them by half.

Posted by: none3 | January 6, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Just a few weeks ago people with incomes at this level were demonized as class enemies who deserved to be punished. Perhaps in His wisdom the Dear leader makes a distinction between his cronies and henchmen and the wages earned by people who actually work for a living to support heir families??

Posted by: Marks1153 | January 6, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

In a city as expensive as Washington, DC, where one-bedroom condos sell for $300,000 and up and parking spaces sell for $30,000, yes, $172,000 a year IS a modest salary for a well-educated, highly-skilled, highly-experienced professional who probably works round the clock, as President Obama indicated. Given the demands of his job and the level and expectation of accessibility made possible by Blackberrys, yes, $172,000 a year is a reasonable, and somewhat modest, salary. Those who don't have the skills, education, or experience to fill his position shouldn't begrudge him that salary out of jealousy just because they are not making that much themselves. I don't make that much money, much as I would like to, but I also don't have his qualifications.

For a different perspective, try:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/the-shameful-attack-on-pu_b_805050.html?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=010611&utm_medium=email&utm_content=BlogEntry&utm_term=Daily+Brief


Posted by: AK33077 | January 6, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Where are all these hardworking Government Employees? I have yet to meet one that didn't get fed and leave thier job in a couple years. Only the lazy ones stay.

Posted by: BradG | January 6, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Who would pay 10-20K to hear this fat bloke give a speech? What could he possibly have to say?

Posted by: cr10 | January 6, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Gibbs has to appear daily in front of the national WH press and explain all sort of matters and answer Q's from a sometimes hostile press corps. He doesn't do his job 9 to 5, but at all hours of the day and night and weekend. I don't know what the guy can make in the private sector somewhere but I imagine it's more than what he now makes. I certainly don't begrudge him 172k for doing the job he's got now. They'd definitely have to pay me more than that to take it.

Posted by: gparker1 | January 6, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Federal workers are not the problem, it is the sloppy politicians who write often inscrutable laws that create the waste and confusion. Behold this wonderful Health Care Care as a most recent example.
The Congress can never kill a government program. This fact is far more important than civil service wages.

Posted by: peterroach | January 6, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Gee, it's a good thing he's not making a paltry 18K more or he would be one of those "fat cat rich millionaires & billionaires!" What a load of crap!

Posted by: biestsr2 | January 6, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

In the DC area, 172 is comfortable, but far from rich. Take that same amount to the hinterland and it may get you a luxury lifestyle, but here it's not exorbitant.

Compare 172 THOUSAND to the MILLIONS CEOs get in the private sector and it's a miserable sum for all the responsibility that goes with such a job.

Posted by: DWinFC | January 6, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Just another of the many, many, many examples of how out of touch the liberal elite are. On what planet is $172K a "modest" salary? The only talent the guy has is being able to stand in front of a camera and lie with a straight face. The other "Baghdad Bob" did that for the other Hussein and he got a death sentence not $172K a year.

Posted by: oldno7 | January 6, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Ahem, Ref:Where does $250,000 a year go? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/11/AR2010121100136.html

Posted by: gopalakrishnans | January 6, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

"Cato Institute fellow Chris Edwards, a leading critic of government pay scales, said federal workers should stop considering themselves as victims."High-level staffers like Gibbs will go on to earn very high pay in the private sector as lobbyists, so we shouldn't shed tears about their supposedly 'modest pay' in government," he said."

...and that's a good thing?

Where has this guy been, in a cave for the past 50 years?

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | January 6, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

". I don't make that much money, much as I would like to, but I also don't have his qualifications. "

LOL you don't have his job either :)

Look, all this biyatching is just jealousy. If the private sector supported people earning 6 figures for the work they would do now you wouldn't hear any complaints about government workers earning 6 figures...other than they are not actually earning the money.

It's ludicrous for non-government workers to complain about government salaries. The government can pay its own people anything it wants to, as long as the people who decide federal salaries are appointed legally by elected representatives. You want to earn that money go out in the marketplace and get a job earning that money.

Kinda hard to get that work when the jobs are all taken by competent people already earning it though. And there's the problem.

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | January 6, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

172K, I'll take it...

Posted by: sshipman1 | January 6, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

From the perspective of the people who fund Federal salaries, 172K is a lot of money. Fed employees opt to work for the USG and should know what the pay levels are and the trade off between pay and job security. Many jobs require advanced skills and some are dangerous (border patrol agents, those who have died at embassies due to terrorists, etc.). These workers shouldn't be "whipping boys" for the public or congress. There's not a single Federal job supporting a program that was not authorized by Congress. If you're unhappy with the size of the USG or the skill levels (higher qualifications = higher pay), throw out the elected officials who put this in place. Blaming the workers is like shooting the messenger.

A larger issue is why lobbyists, professional sports players and others are paid so much. Why should influence peddling be compensated better than the CDC scientist who works on cures for things like H1N1? Would public education be better if ballplayers were paid less and teachers more? The free enterprise system works better than any other but does that mean that a baseball player who hit less than 200 last year gets $10 million next year (Cubs signed him) while a fireman gets 70K or so?

Interesting that the President is head of a party that generally is supportive of the less well off would make the comment. Before too many Republicans become overly critical, that Party generally is supported by people who have strong Christian beliefs - how do they reconcile tax cuts for the rich with the New Testament observation that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven?

Posted by: RichardCollins | January 6, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

172K, I'll take it...and you can still call it modest......I wouldn't care...

Posted by: sshipman1 | January 6, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

This article references the Rutgers study which is more informative and more accurate regarding public vs. private compensation.

http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/09/public-vs-private

Posted by: gingles | January 6, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

This size of a paycheck only applies to a small portion of the public sector. Most civil servants earn no where near that amount. To Oldno7, it's not just liberals who think 172k is modest. Remember when Obama wanted to raise the income tax on people making over 250k? Conservatives busted a gut saying those making 250k weren't "rich." Touche, eh?

Having said that, 172k is pretty good salary. People who live on it forget how much it is. My husband and I made over 200k. I didn't think of us as rich.

Then I quit my job (yes, I was a civil servant but we both worked and pulled in our military retirements too). I have found we live just fine without my full-time income. And now I suspect we could manage pretty well on just our retirement checks.

I had forgotten how much we earned. Compared to Bill Gates 172k isn't much at all. Compared to the 22k poverty level income for a family of four, it's huge.

Posted by: arancia12 | January 6, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

jimcalle: I represent federal employees who are called upon to work significant amounts of overtime.
Sorry ... you don't represent me or probably anyone else in government. When I started, all the GS-12 & 13s in my offices gave (and still give) overtime whenever asked, because it contributes to their overall evaluation. I don't know where you work, but we are allowed NO overtime. My agency is barely soluble, there is no money for overtime!

Posted by: dragonlady45

___________________

Dragon, I was expected, not required, but expected to put in unpaid overtime. My boss was a retired Col., I was a retired E8, my coworkers were retired officers.

Think I wasn't going to put in unpaid overtime? They couldn't wait to replace me with a retired officer so I had to work extra hard. It's ingrained in military personnel. Military are paid for 24 hours a day duty. We were expected to carry that work ethic into our civil servant jobs. And so we did.

Posted by: arancia12 | January 6, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Who is sheeding tears for Robert Gibbs?
His pay is modest relative to what he could earn elsewhere. That is not crying, That's a fact. And for those who promote policies of increasing income disparity, why should they dispute that?
That income disparity between private and public secotrs will make it increasingly difficult to attract adn retain top talent where we need it the most.

Posted by: Jimmy1920 | January 6, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

If you're an individual working for Obama in a taxpayer funded job, $172K a year is "modest" pay.

But if you're individual that doesn't work for Obama in government and you make $200K a year in the private sector, you're "rich".

OK, got it.

Posted by: law_dog | January 6, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

So 250K for republicans is not excessive pay but middle class pay and this guy, who cannot really screw up or do nothing wrong because everybody will jump on him worldwide makes a lot less than that, the pay is less than modest, it's a pity! discussion closed (PS an old friend is the public relations exec for a mid size corporation and he makes 320K, enough said)

Posted by: biglio | January 6, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

172K in DC? Where a modest house or townhouse costs 600K? Where your kids have to go to private school unless you want to put them into one of the worst public school systems in the country (or best, if you live in the 'burbs) ? Where a personal pizza costs $15 and a beer costs $6? 172K gets you a decent lifestyle in any incredibly expensive area where you can pay your bills.

For one of the most powerful men in the country & Obama's right-hand man, it's chicken-scratch. Do you remember what Tony Snow, GW Bush's former press secretary, said when he left for Fox News? "My 168K salary isn't enough." Doesn't matter what party you're in - if you're smart enough and connected enough and powerful enough to earn this position, you're going to want to leverage into into more $. No big surprise.

Posted by: chop1 | January 6, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Why don't these elite take minimum wage?

Do they think the job they are doing is more important then someone preparing food at a fast food restaurant?

I don't think so.

Posted by: james80 | January 6, 2011 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"Do they think the job they are doing is more important then someone preparing food at a fast food restaurant?"

Um - yeah, dude. It is. I prepared food at a mall food court for the better part of a few years, and the Press Secretary for the President's job is quite inarguably more important than my former job making salads, genius.

Posted by: chop1 | January 6, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's modest for what he does. I challenge you to find someone working in a major private organization with Gibbs's responsibilities who makes less. It's more than most Americans make, but Gibbs is has more qualifications, responsibility, and experience than most Americans.

Posted by: guez | January 6, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Stupid article. Of course it's modest, compared to a private sector job where you have to speak to the press for a multi-billion dollar entity. The real crime is that the gap between the highest paid and the lowest paid in this country have grown so much.

Posted by: carmineappice | January 6, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Stupid article. Of course it's modest, compared to a private sector job where you have to speak to the press for a multi-billion dollar entity. The real crime is that the gap between the highest paid and the lowest paid in this country has grown so much.

Posted by: carmineappice | January 6, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Why is this the topic of a discussion?
These guys can earn much more than they are being paid. Why are we discussing the public employee's salaries in the first place?

It seems to me that this is just another trick of the CEOs to take the spotlight drove the US economy off the cliff. Why not look at the salaries of our elected Congressional Representatives and the Senators? That's were we are going to find the waste.

Posted by: sun52shine | January 6, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who misses Dana Perino?

Posted by: Bethesdan | January 6, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Chump change for chumps. How fitting for these grinning idiots who don't sense the rat trap in my pocket.

Posted by: jbksss | January 6, 2011 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Wall Street bankers paid themselves how many hundreds of billions in bonus's this year?. And what do those actually do...nothing but make money and misery for millions of Americans. My own home depreciated 175,000 in the past two years and I lost a small fortune from my retirement savings all because of those clowns in Wall Street who raked in tens and tens of billions. Gibbs earned every dollar of his salary.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | January 6, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

So,I just can't help but wonder how much our very own clone of Saddam Hussein's idiot "Baghdad Bob" was paid to lie for Saddam Hussein? .. Since Baghdad Bob Gibbs
must have been operating under the same role model,since Gibbs lied for his Boss
Barack Hussein Obama even more then good old orginial Baghdad Bob did for Saddam Hussein and so,therefore we need to pay the
White House Press Secretary accordingly,
don't we now folks? Good Riddance that our
own Baghdad Bob is leaving and it's too bad
Gibbs cannot take Barack Hussein Obama and
Janet Napolitano,Eric Holder and Robert Gates with him when he leaves as well.

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | January 6, 2011 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Modest pay is relative. Being a spokesmen for the president and it's crew can be seen as being a spokesmen for a fortune 500 company. And face it, government can't please everyone and decisions that impact lives are taken on a daily basis.

So being a spokesmen for the Obama administration is far more difficult than being a spokesmen for a fortune 500 company. Compare the appearances of Gibbs with those of Wall-mark or AT&T.

Let me give you an example. Obama froze pays for government workers. That one pleased the average Joe whom might loose his job in these economic times. However government workers are upset or at leased not amused. Reverse the situation and the job for the Gibbs won't be easier.

On the other hand, there are a lot of generals in the army, navy and airforce that make way more than 170K.

And the debate about pay is a never-ending one..

Posted by: zyprexia | January 6, 2011 8:21 PM | Report abuse

It's a matter of perspective.

If you have a professional criminal class on Wall Street that gets bonused into the billions while producing absolutely nothing....

Or another professional criminal class on K Street that pockets millions just for passing along bribes to Congress and the Administration.....

Then of course, 172K looks quite modest.

Posted by: googlesmoogle | January 6, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Did someone mention Dana Perino? Guess what? She *also* made $172,000 a year. Was that immodest? Come on now, sputter your way out of that one!

Posted by: RobBob | January 6, 2011 8:23 PM | Report abuse

We will never know if public sector employees are overpaid or underpaid until their jobs are privatized.

There are probably some employees who are overpaid and some that are underpaid.

The problem with government is that I don't get to "vote" by spending on individual services that I want. Instead I am forced to spend $xx,xxx in taxes on a large bundle of goods. I get to select from two bundles ... a bundle of Democratic Dung or a bundle of Republican Rubbish. The end result is that if I'm a taxpayer, I'm going to think I'm overpaying for services, but if I'm a public servant then I'm going to think I'm underpaid. Heaven help us if the number of public servants outnumbers the number of actual taxpayers.

Posted by: baltodc | January 6, 2011 8:30 PM | Report abuse

O'Keefe, you're an incredibly lazy columnist. Take a comment you know will get people riled, then mix in a few numbers as a half-hearted attempt to look researched and balanced. Voila, work done for the day. Ah, but as long as you get a bunch of comments to your sloppy work, good job, huh? You'll still get paid. And probably pretty well, considering the paltry amount of work you did.

Posted by: L_Rik | January 6, 2011 8:32 PM | Report abuse

For the amount of work and stress that the White House communications chief has to put up with, for the significant public service he provides, and considering how much more he could make on the outside, hell yes it's relatively modest!

Posted by: gregguevara | January 6, 2011 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I'd say that's modest considering what he does, the stress, the hours he puts in, and where he lives.

Posted by: ggwalt | January 6, 2011 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with those who think this man is underpaid. Certainly the job carries some stress with it, but so do many jobs. If he can make more elsewhere then good luck to him. But there can be no tears for him while he worked as President Obama's press secretary.

Posted by: bobinthewest | January 6, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I have some questions!!

How does freezing my pay help create more pay or more jobs in the private sector?

Do you understand that I am a citizen too and feel the pinch of the rising prices of gas/health care/ education/ fewer services from my state? So i already "suffer".

How does freezing my pay really effect the bottom line?

Discretionary spending? I have none, especially now as things continue to go up; I have nothing left to spend at the end of my check. How does that stimulate the economy?

Do you understand I have now cut back on my contribution to my TSP (401K) which means I will collect more from Social Security (your money too) instead of my retirement (my money)? Often if we collect what we put in, then we "make too much" to collect our full SS.

How does the gov't expect to recruit and retain qualified employees. Customer service has improved over the years. I went to social security the other day to change my name. I was there 45 mins. Easy as pie!

Posted by: stilldoin | January 6, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm no fan of Obama or Gibbs, but the President is right. Gibbs' salary is relatively modest for his level of responsibility and the hours he works.

Posted by: Chippewa | January 6, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I am absolutely thankful for my job. I just do not understand how my suffering helps my neighbor or my community because i can't buy their goods or services anymore. If i cut back on a haircut from every 2 months, to every 4 months, or cut it myself, that hurts the retailer. If i buy beans and rice instead of ground beef and potatoes, i spend less. NO ONE BENEFITS.

And for the notion of no benefits in the private sector? Pure BULL. I worked in a non-profit working nights/weekends/holidays (same as my law enforcement position in the gov't), we were given an insurance option! Hello! A non-profit. If you think Goldman-Sachs doesn't offer benefits, you're delusional.

And the poster who said the GS14 left got a $174,000 bonus? WOW. So impossible. Federal Salaries (w/names) are on line and open to the public, so open your eyes!

As for unions, those in the private sector who work 40 hr weeks, and get overtime for anthing above, thank a Union. Those that have workers comp, thank a Union. those that get a lunch break (even unpaid), thank a Union. Those whose employers "hold" their job when they give birth, thank a Union. Those whose children can't work in the bad economy at the age of 9, thank a Union.

Posted by: stilldoin | January 6, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Relative to what? My 24K per year as a social worker trying to help messed up kids and adults 24/7? Hmmmm....out of the mouth of obama does not truth proceed.

Posted by: arcticrose1 | January 6, 2011 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Social worker trying to help messed up kids and adults 24/7. Noble work, but really not comprable to the 24/7 job of Press Secretary to the Commander and Chief and one of the leaders of the free world. No disrespect, but really? Apply for his job then, it's open. I assume you would not qualify?

You're point is noted. Our priorities are screwed up!

Posted by: stilldoin | January 6, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Remind me again how much Lloyd "no-value-added" Blankfein earns?

Posted by: AmericanLiberalElite | January 6, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh this is rich. Such hypocrites the Republicans!

Talk taxes and the $250,000 threshold for higher taxes is all about poor folks.

The salary that the Press Secretary receives, which is no different than a Republican Presidential Press Secretary, and it's Rich City.

Idiots.

Posted by: colonelpanic | January 6, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh this is rich. Such hypocrites the Republicans!

Talk taxes and the $250,000 threshold for higher taxes is all about poor folks.

The salary that the Press Secretary receives, which is no different than a Republican Presidential Press Secretary, and it's Rich City.

I don't think a Republican can live a day without contradicting their "values" at least five times.

Idiots.

Posted by: colonelpanic | January 6, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Gibbs had to face a room full of millionaire infotainment celeberities.

The wealth and elitism is in the rows of the clubby Washington media aristocracy.

Posted by: BurfordHolly | January 6, 2011 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I assume all the anti-gov't posters don't have an FHA/VA/HUD mortgage. I assume they will rip up their Social Security check and Medicare cards when the time comes. I assume they and/or their children do not or will ever have Federal Student Loans or Grants. They will never take or accept or use "entitlements". Right! I know they are all the "rich" Republicans! Right! I'm not taking that bet.

Posted by: stilldoin | January 6, 2011 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey - to the rich dems currently in power and telling the poor how they care, nope - $172K is NOTHING! The Hollywood libs drop that on boobs and lips - then tell me how to live my life - hmm - not so differnt that Ms Pelosi, eh? Amazin' - and all the poor folks that need help have fallen for the lib dems - sad. It's the rich dems ruining this country but they have told so many lies people have come to believe it - and they're laughing all the way to the bank. Wake up people - this is your main hero - how many of YOU make a "modest"$170K!!

Posted by: RobinK59 | January 6, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

When the hurricane/tornado/flood/earthquake hits their home, they will suck it up w/o the help of FEMA. They will consume raw eggs and inspect their own meat. They will drive over our bridges and through our tunnels with faith. They will inact their own citizen arrests. They will test their own drugs and have blind faith in their Dr.'s advice. They will not require warning labels on any tobacco products, medications, herbal medicines. They will not vaccinate their children. They will refuse to comply w/drivers license and insurance requirements. They will not send their children to public school. Hmmm, all paid for w/tax $$ and provided by...stay tuned..government employees!

Posted by: stilldoin | January 6, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

they will complain about our unprotected borders but not understand that the borders are protected by Federal Law Enforcement Officers who receive no pay increase for 2 years, but yet you expect them to do more? More like what? Get killed "more" like the Border Patrol Officer we lost a few weeks ago?

Remember, the Judiciary is not part of the pay freeze, so Clarence Thomas is still up for a raise!! That's fair! Cause you know, he works lie 6 months out of the year, but.. hey, Supreme Court justices are important!! Really! But don't tell me Attorney General Eric Holder's line staff and attorneys aren't! Perspective.

Posted by: stilldoin | January 6, 2011 9:51 PM | Report abuse

O'Keefe:

Again, you are certainly overpaid for what you do! What you do is just regurgitate the same stories about federal pay over and over again. Apparently, you are not happy with your own pay and you are one of the bitter ones who just use your position at the POST to express your true feelings. You take Obama's statement about Gibbs, blew it out of proportion and roped it with the same stories you have written about federal pay over and over.

If writing does not pay you, you can retrain and do something else. You may certainly apply to a federal position. I doubt if you have the required skills anyway to qualify for a federal position. But at least you can keep trying until you find something. You have beaten this story (I do not even think it qualifies as a story - it is more an expression of anger or bitterness or something) to death. Do your employer a favor: there are many stories happening in the federal service that you can cover rather than federal employee pay all the time. And my advice a couple of months still stands: you can try to work your way onto the Sports Desk. There are always people like Mike and Kyle Shanahan of the Redskins who always want to leak stories about who is going to be benched, who is going to be suspended, who is not learning their holy grail system that can only produce mediocre offensive numbers or whatever. Sports Desk is very versatile. But again, I doubt if you have the energy for that either as the pace is always frenetic.

Quit writing about the federal pay mister. When you compile your portfolio for the next career move and the hiring editor looks at it and sees that majority of your bylines are on federal pay, your career may be stuck in the mud. A word is sufficient for the wise!

Posted by: midas20874 | January 6, 2011 9:55 PM | Report abuse

When Congress gives me the option to have a "speaking engagement" and earn an extra $50,000 perhaps I will listen. What i make is what i make.

When I require a 2nd job to suppliment my salary and take your only prospect at any job, perhaps you will really understand.

I'm not spoiled. I recognize that I made a smart decision by taking a Fed. job. Yes, there is some job security, yes good benefits, but no one offered me a huge raise when my private sector friends were making 6 figures 4 years ago. But they complain now that their bank accounts are dried up(rightly) from their many prosperous years. I make a good living, but I am a single parent of 2. And I make $40,000 less then the "average household income" in my jurisdiction, but I make too much to get assistance. That's ok. I'm a Fed. We suffer, but we survive for you! After all, we are servants

Posted by: stilldoin | January 6, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Gibbs' federal salary is modest compared to what he could earn in the private sector, which has enormously skewed compensation toward the top. They now think they "deserve" these outsized benefits and all little people can eat cake. All the talk about federal salaries is just a smoke screen, the real issue is the economic imbalance between the rich and everyone else that is getting more grotesque every day.

Posted by: vmax02rider | January 6, 2011 10:05 PM | Report abuse

sacrifice "more"? How? How can the Border Patrol agent that was killed a few weeks ago, sacrifice more?

I live with this, a few years ago I was jealous of all the money my public sector own their own company friends were making (the realtors, the contractors, the investment folks, IT). They laughed at my "regular paycheck" while they got rich. No one offered to catch me up to their pay. Then the bottom (or top) fell out. They spent their savings. Now the grass is greener. They are jealous of my "regular paycheck" that at least pays my bills. I never lived beyond my means, because my means remain constant. Don't hate me because I'm smarter than you.

Posted by: stilldoin | January 6, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Wow, pettier and pettier, smaller and smaller.
The Republican Governor of Arizona is allowing the state's citizens to die. The criminal Governor of Florida is reinstituting discrimination. Two Republican Congressmen ducked out on their own oath of office to attend a fundraiser acting UnConstitutionally, even as their party spent $1.1 million to read a Constitution that many new Republicans can't wait to eviscerate. The Congressional Republicans have already taken back their promises to cut the budget, to offer transparency and debate on amendments all while denying a CBO study that the healthcare bill will save our nation money. And someone thinks the modest salary for Obama's college educated and well connected Press secretary is worth ranting about. Pathetic

The more rope Republican hate machine takes, the higher it will hang.


Posted by: mhitchons | January 6, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

75% of Americans earn less than $77,000/year,
republicans don't want to raise taxes on anyone earning more than $250,000 ... where are you in the equation?

Ready to burn some tea bags?

Posted by: knjincvc | January 7, 2011 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Mr. O'Keefe and Ms. Kornblut, please read the articles in your own newspaper before inaccurately claiming that federal workers on average make more than workers in the private sector.

If you had read this article published just a few months ago on Nov 2nd by the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/02/AR2010110206424.html) you would know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed "federal pay an average of 22 percent behind the private sector" last year and falling behind by an average of 2.1% more this year.

Posted by: greyselkie | January 7, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

While I would agree that 'populism' remains an abstraction for this president...even though 'populism' is what elected him in the first place, because it sure wasn't track record or competence...I think people need to zoom out and realize what Robert Gibb's days were like. He didn't get trips to Hawaii to laze on golf courses (The Kaneohe Klipper is an awesome course with unmatchable scenery). He didn't get vacations at Martha's Vinyard. He was on duty 24/7. Sleeping was a luxury. The amount of guidance he must translate and give, the amount of access he must grant, the message he must frame, the diplomacy he must engage in, the pursed lips he must use, the emotion he must swallow just to do his job makes 172K a year almost not worth it. Can you imagine trying to stay on message ALL of the time...the cost of making a verbal mistake that the press would jump on in a New York second, the amount of time lost just trying to fix a simple slip of the tongue, the energy lost trying to regain the trust of the man who hired you to get his message right? I didn't vote for the President and I won't again but 172K for Robert Gibbs to do what he has done is NOT an exorbitant salary. Maybe the President could have used better context than 'relatively modest,' like mentioning relative to what, but you'll never convince me Robert Gibbs was overpaid.

Posted by: PanhandleWilly | January 7, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

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