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Are government salaries too high?

By Abha Bhattarai  |  September 24, 2010; 6:16 PM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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35% of federal work force needs to be laid off and their benefit need to be closed and be absorbed by medicare and social security and 401k. They need to work until 65 for full benefit. Federal workers union needs to a=be banned. Federal government budget needs to be cut by 35%. We will have to shrink the federal government by 35%. No more state bail out by federal government.

Posted by: chaemoondriver | September 24, 2010 11:17 PM

Government employees don't make too much, employees of private companies make too little. The ones who make too much are corporate executives. Republicans try to focus on anything except what the real problems are. The most serious problem our country is facing today is the corporate domination of the government. That is what is driving the high unemployment rate. Corporations use child labor or slave labor in other countries, while spending millions on campaign contributions and lobbying, so that our politicians won't interfere. We need to kick the corporations and their lobbyists out of Washington, so that the democratic process can work.

Posted by: RuEb10 | September 24, 2010 11:30 PM

The Federal workforce is an easy whipping boy for Republicans & anti-government types. Most civil servants are underpaid & work hard at important jobs that actually help people. Boehner & others who pick on the civil service should start by giving themselves a pay cut, followed by a permanent furlough! The answer isn't to cut the Federal pay scale, but to raise the too-low incomes of many in the private sector. That won't happen, of course, because it would cut into the profits of those at the top of the heap--the very people (like the Koch brothers) who finance the teabaggers & their ilk.

The Repubs get irate at any effort to close the income gap (i.e. raising the minimum wage to a liveable wage)--it must be socialism, & it threatens the power & status of the top 3% whom the Repubs are sworn to protect! Better to keep wages as low as possible for all but the wealthiest, even if it means shipping jobs overseas.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 24, 2010 11:30 PM

The thanks of an ungrateful nation. These GOP hypocrites know that most federal workers could earn more for what they do in the private sector. That means once again, they're lying to people.

OMB needs to start pulling the security clearances of any politicians and their staff members who're caught knowingly lying.

Posted by: Nymous | September 24, 2010 11:42 PM

Republicans in congress should simply publish the salaries of all staffers
What do they pay for the "talent" they have?


Posted by: Vince5 | September 24, 2010 11:47 PM

35% of federal work force needs to be laid off and their benefit need to be closed and be absorbed by medicare and social security and 401k. They need to work until 65 for full benefit. Federal workers union needs to a=be banned. Federal government budget needs to be cut by 35%. We will have to shrink the federal government by 35%. No more state bail out by federal government.

Posted by: chaemoondriver
******************************************
You need to lead by example. If you are truly a patriot you need go volunteer to be laid off immediately so that another man may feed his family. It's the Christian thing to do as well.

That goes for the rest of you whiners, too

Posted by: st50taw | September 25, 2010 12:20 AM

Federal and state and local employees and the military should be cut at least 50%.

The country is in a complete financial mess, much worse than Greece.

So, the President and Congress have to take extremely urgent exceptional measures.

Federal, state and local employees should undergo an emergency RIF of 50%. That would correspond to their true efficiency of roughly 50% as compared to the private workforce. No outside contractors should be used. The FSL(Federal, State, Local) employees should do all work done by contractors themselves.

Likewise, the military expenditures and personnel should also be cut in half. Even after such drastic cuts the US armed forces will be stronger than one sick Bin Laden and 50-100 Al-Qaida operatives.

All unions of FSL employees should be immediately disbanded.

The taxes should be returned to the Nixon presidency rates. The Bush cuts should also be foregone right away.

The salaries above the salary of the President of the United States should be taxed 90%.

There should be an immediate tax on all financial transactions of $10 from each thousand dollars.

All profitable sales of securities held less than 3 years should be 50%, and held one day or less - 90%.

All categories of the above-mentioned workers do not deserve their high salaries.

All pensions and benefits of the FSL employees should be the same as of private sector employees.

America will be revived and the Second Renaissance will take place.

People who usurped their powers and our trust should be forced to suffer consequences.

Posted by: m-epstein | September 25, 2010 12:25 AM

I don't get it. People think it's just fine that someone like Carlie Fiorina can run HP into the ground, and leave with a $100 million dollar golden parachute. But now the big problem is the average federal worker? You see them getting golden parachutes?

A lot of the people working for the government are in fact doing less well for themselves than comparable employees in the private sector. Maybe we should make the jobs so worthless that only the wealthy will apply. Then we can have a lot more "heck of a job" Brownies with valuable experience running horse shows in air traffic control, regulating banks, investigating terrorism, and the like. Wouldn't that be just great.

Posted by: orrg1 | September 25, 2010 12:28 AM

Private sector salaries are governed by the free market; if they are low, it is because their skill set is not sufficient to merit a higher salary and they are easily replaced. Government salaries are governed by politicians, and Democrats love to give public employees high wages and benefits, so they will get big campaign contributions in return. Public employees used to work for the public; now we work for them, paying their excessive wages and benefits and retirements.

I don't believe most Federal employees could get more wages and benefits in the private sector. That seems incongruous with the statements above, saying that private salaries are too low; and what private companies need people who generate regulations for a living?

Posted by: calgeorge1 | September 25, 2010 12:45 AM

From elsewhere in the Post - so much for the myth of a bloated federal workforce:

"Despite all the talk about big government and the calls for downsizing and saving money, the civilian federal workforce, now at about 2.1 million, is smaller than it was in 1967. And there are over 100 million more Americans today than there were then.

The federal workforce has grown in the past decade, but two-thirds of the increase is directly related to the terrorist threat sparked by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "

http://www.a.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/24/AR2010092405072.html

Posted by: orrg1 | September 25, 2010 12:52 AM

The core problem is not the size nor the salaries of the federal workforce, but the inability to fire the unproductive members of the GS system.

First, fire the least productive bottom 10% and hire new blood from outside the system. Then change the system to be more like the private sector, so that those who are incapable or unwilling to perform their jobs adequately are 'given the opportunity to pursue options more suitable to them' (fired).

Posted by: readbooksnotblogs | September 25, 2010 1:47 AM

Our Government is too big and too expensive. We have Czars that do the job of Departments that already exist. We need a review of all Government departments and their jobs. Overlapping work, unConstitutional powers need to be abolished. This is not a game. All benefits and retirement packages must be reviewed and made economical for the taxpayer. Government employment is not a right it is a privilege. And what we cannot afford should be ended.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 25, 2010 1:59 AM

The republicans are running out of scapegoats for their failed policies. Reagan blamed the poor (welfare queen), the unions (overpaid workers) hispanics (illegal aliens) muslims (all Islam) and now we are back to government workers. Come full circle. They first attacked those inefficient and wasteful govt workers when they pushed privatization of government services. Has there been any real studies about the real costs of privatization?? Big govt is the bogey man and govt workers are the drain on the treasury.

Posted by: CarmanK | September 25, 2010 2:30 AM

Seriously, the elected Republicans want to politicize federal salaries right now? This is laughable, the elected bozos in congress ALL make 4-5x the average salary of private sector workers. We all know how good Congress' job performance is, an F, maybe a D+? So let's cut their salaries first then talk about Federal workers.

Posted by: CapHillDC | September 25, 2010 4:50 AM

One could easily shut down 50% of the government and it wouldn't be missed. Secretaries that make $60K, no degree; GS 14/15 with no degree, but "upward moblilty" or diversity hirings of unqualified or underqualified minorities. SES get to keep all their leave and be paid for it, another waste of money. CUT, FIRE, Reduce the high pay of BUREAUCRATS!

Also, how about compressed work schedule, 26 extra days off, telecommute, Metro/transit subsidies, OT, pension, late arrival, snow days with pay. Fire them all!

Posted by: Drudge1 | September 25, 2010 4:59 AM

re: "35% of federal work force needs to be laid off and their benefit need to be closed and be absorbed by medicare and social security and 401k." Check your facts; federal employees hired since 1984 are covered by social security and and have a 401K plan. Even those hired before 1984 pay into medicare.

Posted by: mollycoddle2 | September 25, 2010 5:24 AM

"GS 14/15 with no degree, but "upward moblilty" or diversity hirings of unqualified or underqualified minorities. SES get to keep all their leave and be paid for it, another waste of money. CUT, FIRE, Reduce the high pay of BUREAUCRATS!

Fire them all!"

Then you will not have law enforcement, access to services, communications regulations for GPS, digital communications, national parks, highway funding, pirate protection, military, prisons, school lunches, engineering services, , nuclear regulation, dams, shipping channels, air traffic controllers, Coast Guard, US Navy, Air Force, CIA, NSA, GPS service and so on.

As far as the minorities, there are more white people in the Federal government at high grades with less education then the minorities that are gaming the system.

BTW, this conversation wasn't or isn't about race. Ignorance is amazing isn't it that is what these politicians are counting on.

To throw the heat off of the Banking Financiers, CEO, COOs and the folks who thru the economy under the bus and became very rich.

Poor vs Poor = Still Poor

Posted by: bandy | September 25, 2010 6:53 AM

The proper term is 'federal employee', not 'federal worker'.

Posted by: 1911a1 | September 25, 2010 7:01 AM

Are government salaries too high? It depends. For many positions requiring technical and other specialized skills, it is probably too low. People with high security clearances also probably make less in government than the same position contracted out to private industry.

For other areas such as human resources, it's definitely too high as I have never dealt with a government HR person who was remotely competent or professional. And there are many people in government with outdated technical skills who are still paid as if they had relevant technical skills. So many of your older federal employees are overpaid relative to what they may be getting now in the private sector.

Posted by: yh132 | September 25, 2010 7:06 AM

Just another example of the Republican war against the middle class. Cutting the federal government workforce will put more money into big business pockets.

Posted by: builder701 | September 25, 2010 7:18 AM

The government workers who work show up just 3 days a week, take the month of August off and well as full weeks when national holidays occur are really the most overpaid. That's right folks, I'm talking about your Senators and Representatives! Let's figure out how many days they really put in at the job of "working for America" vs. how many days are spent with lobbyists and campaigning and just not "working for America". After we know that ratio, just apply to the already inflated salary they receive and come up with the amount they actually earn. Next, change the pension package to an IRA and have them contribute to it. We'll even match 50% of the 6% of their contribution dollar-for-dollar. They are fully vested after 5 years, and are term-limited to 6 terms in the House and 2 in the Senate. They can return to office after being out of office for 10 years. They cannot work for a lobbying firm for 5 years after leaving office. Let's pay them for the amount of time they spend "working for American" and let's have them provide for their own retirement, just like the rest of us. After we get that accomplished, we can see is the janitor in the State Department is overpaid, or not.

Posted by: philasportsfan | September 25, 2010 7:19 AM

For what its worth when I graduated with a degree in chemical engineering, I applied for work in both industry and in the federal government. I took a job in the chemical industry because it paid much more than the federal position did and in an area with a lower cost of living.

On the whole it wouldn't surprise me that if you looked at most jobs that the equivalent one in the federal government likely pays less.

Posted by: redclaws | September 25, 2010 7:31 AM

The Republican doublespeak is utterly offensive; they show nothing but contempt for the working class.

What is particularly disturbing is how a certain fake news channels purposely misinform and manipulate. Roger Ailes has been employing the same strategy over and over again since 1968:

"If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, 'I have a solution to the Middle East problem,' and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?"

Only who would have imagined back then that he'd now be in charge of a cable channel that refers to itself as "news" - and who'd have imagined that he would get away with what he's getting away with because he doesn't merely point out who is in the orchestra pit, he throws them in there.

And he doesn't stop at the President, Senators, and Congressman. He goes after state employees.

Shame on the Murdoch family for not having the courage to fire that monster.

And heaven help us all if these John Birch Society nutjobs in the GOP regain power in either seat - especially the brand of radical Republicans attempting - by the most unscrupulous means - to gain the House and Senate today.

Posted by: redjanuko | September 25, 2010 7:38 AM

State and Federal Employees - sorry I typed too fast.

Posted by: redjanuko | September 25, 2010 7:40 AM

It is not that Fed salaries are too high but that some don't earn their pay.

One need only look as far as the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Albuquerque NM to see the "old boys and girls" network in action. Too many lazy people being hired because they have some (truly) esoteric knowledge and are old AF buddies, who will sit on their well-paid butts for the next 20 or 30 years, never doing more than they did when hired.

Posted by: arancia12 | September 25, 2010 7:42 AM

I did project work for a large federal agency about 10 years ago, quit due to boredom caused by the lack of substantive work, and now work for private industry. At the time, my salary was about 20% below market, but with stagnant salaries in the private sector and the continued 2% or so annual fed increases, my old job now pays well above market.

My understanding is the feds are supposed to monitor salaries compared to market. They don't do a good job of this. When the market sours, they are too slow to pull back and won't freeze salaries like they should in a bad economy. It is also true that some fed job categories pay poorly compared to market. Still, stable employment usually means less pay. And, with the plethora of benefits that fed workers get, they are doing quite well.

As for a bloated fed workforce, I believe this is generally true although there are pockets where workers are overworked. At our agency, there was a woman who told me she had no job responsibilities for two years (she floated from cubicle to cubicle talking to co-workers); a man who read the newspaper nearly all day; and a woman who did family business accounting during down times (which lasted weeks at a time)--all in the same branch. Yet, the agency heads always touted that it needed more workers to handle new initiatives, and they got the funding they wanted. I was busy when my projects mattered to the current leadership, not busy when new leadership came on board and changed priorities. I have a friend who was just hired by a federal agency (civilian military) a month ago, and he still has not been assigned any work. A relative who has worked for the feds for nearly 40 years told me she has often had nothing to do over the years.

The feds need to start over and do a top-down analysis of the work each and every agency (this could take a while) and realign its staffing and pay. Easier said than done.

Posted by: 1950snoopy | September 25, 2010 7:51 AM

Government employees as a rule make less than comparable employees in the private economy. I thought everyone knew that! The main attraction is job security and the opportunity to serve society. I'm not saying there might not be some unneeded employees somewhere in some agency, although lord knows we have a lot of work to be done and they could be shifted around if need be. But the idea that public employees are overpaid is just wrong.

Posted by: catherine3 | September 25, 2010 8:03 AM

To those who think the Federal Government or their state government is too big, just suggesting to cut by 10% 20% or 35%, is a "cop-out". Any body can say that. You need to make the tough decisions of EXACTLY what programs you want cut? Do you want 35% of the National or State Parks to close, no more pot hole patching, 20% less snow removal, 10% fewer Coast Guard helicopters for emergencies, lower farm support, less airport screening, a smaller military or less state-of-the-art equipment, no FDIC to protect your bank deposits, less medicare for your parents, less equipment for fighting forest fires?

Posted by: schonee | September 25, 2010 8:03 AM

What they earn in wages and benefits is absolutely OBSCENE. They are fat. They are lazy. They feel entitled. They produce nothing but pain and misery. They are incompetent. And they are driving this country into the ground. Our government is out of control and needs to be scaled WAY BACK. Stop trying to be all things to all people and narrow the focus to just the essential - our defense, our transportation system, our social security, our medical coverage - and not much else.

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | September 25, 2010 8:13 AM

Why isnt' anyone targeting all the corporations who get lucrative government contracts and overcharge...lie...and basically rip off the taxpayers because of the connections with our elected officials?
In the meantime this attack should be a wake up call to the middle class that Repubs are NOT about you at all....

Posted by: ladymcbeth45us | September 25, 2010 8:18 AM

Let's see...the issue is high unemployment and hard financial times. So the solution is to take the nation's largest work force, federal employees, and make 50% of them unemployed? Creating more unemployment is going to help the economy? Reducing 50% of the federal employees spending ability (or killing it outright...) is going to help the economy? The real issue is that big contracting companies lobby the republicans hard to reduce the federal work so that they can do the work at inflated prices. So not really an issue of them wanting to help the economy...it is a matter of helping those who put money in their coffers! The only overpaid federal workers I know of are the ones that get elected to office...

Posted by: mdretcop | September 25, 2010 8:23 AM

I am a federal worker. My parents were federal workers. We go to church, we carry mortgages, we work hard to put food on the table and raise our children to be respectful citizens of this amazing country. I have had to work over-time for 10 out of the last 12 months in order to get my attorney job done where, after 22 years of practice I get paid less than most first-year lawyers in large firms. I work weekends, vacations and nights--there is no overtime pay, there are no bonuses, there was no maternity leave when I had my child. If I am lucky, I get a special act award of $250 to recognize months of OT. I work hard because I was raised to get the job done and done well. I take pride in my work. It is demoralizing to listen to people argue over whether I am overpaid when I am often struggling to balance family and work--and not being paid as much as my private sector counterparts. And I suspect my colleagues feel the same way. Please find a way to address this issue without suggesting that your federal workers are excess baggage. We are people who take pride in our work. Period.

Posted by: Kestie | September 25, 2010 8:24 AM

Do you really think you're going to get an unbiased opinion for this poll in a DC newspaper? A large percentage of people in this area are either federal workers, or have a close family member working for the government. If you asked this poll in other areas of the country, I'm sure the results would be drastically different.

Posted by: liberalsareblind | September 25, 2010 8:27 AM

Having been a "federal" employee for 5 years in the Solicitor's office of the Dept. of Labor I can state that some federal employees are grossly underpaid based on their performance & a great many are grossly overpaid. The government has based it's employment practices on U.S. Steel,GM, Ford etc. Remember, the government gets most of it's heads from the private sector & the Ivy League. They manage the way they have been told.There are way too many people in some agencies & way too few in others.Take the SEC; Bush populated it with lawyers from many inferior law schools who had no clue what the SEC was about AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, did not believe in regulations.What republicans want is to downsize the regulatory bodies so that Dickie Armey & his cronies can halt regulations. In 1973, the Nixon adm. pulled a similar move by not funding the Solicitor's office of the Dept. of Labor. If you can't travel, you cannot enforce the OSHA, MSHA, EEOC, etc laws/regs. Ain'T THAT CLEVER!!!Look for the same deal when they return to power. BUT, if that's what the people want, so be it.Most will survive but a lot of folks will die or go busted AGAIN!!!

Posted by: tlrasnic | September 25, 2010 8:32 AM

m-epstein:

You've been reading too many Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute reports under the covers (while doing something else with your free hand).

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | September 25, 2010 8:34 AM

Their pay is only high in Bad Times and when the Republicans need a distraction from their blind support of Corporate Greed.

In Good Times, government employee's pay is a non-issue!!!

An Independent

Posted by: aeaustin | September 25, 2010 8:35 AM

Hey calgeorge1,

Hate to tell you, but there is on such thing as a "free market" - hasen't been for a long time!

You are living in a fantasy world.

When the Koch brothers and their kind control the markets - and they do - then there is nothing "free" about the market; it is controlled and manipulated for their own profit and interest.

Yes the government tries to regulate the market, but they do not have a chance in hell of doing that when all of the ex and current politicians line up at their pay window and take marching order to write the regulation to suit their goals of total financial dominance.

Posted by: dotto | September 25, 2010 9:09 AM

It is typical of the Republicans, the uneducated, and the uninformed. Most of those making the "fire them" comments have NO IDEA what federal workers do.
As in any organization, there are pockets of workers who are underworked due to management inefficiency. Some of these situations arise when administrations and focuses change and managers simply do not redirect their efforts.
The negative comments show that the Republicans have NO positive programs to put forward and simply need an "easy target" that can not be quantified. Bet they wouldn't scream so loud if the jobs to be cut were in their districts, like the Joint Command Center in Virginia.

Posted by: pjohn2 | September 25, 2010 9:12 AM

I've worked briefly in federal government offices and there are the good and the bad. Saw way too much web surfing, crossword puzzle engagement, mid-morning 'breakfast breaks', extremely long lunches, personal phone call abuse.

I have no problem w/ paying civil servants a good wage, but if someone's on the phone talking to their boyfriend/spouse for 4 hours a day and reading a novel the rest of the time, they should be getting a pink slip.

Posted by: randysbailin | September 25, 2010 9:22 AM

During the Bush years I was a program manager for a DOD contract where we made 48% profit on every dollar. That was a 48% profit margin during a time of war by the way - on borrowed money from a deliberately inflated housing market. By cutting down on the Contract workforce the current administration is doing more than any administration in memory to cut down on fraud, waste, and abuse. The GOP attack on Fed. employees is really nothing more then a warm embrace of their corporate sponsors at Lockheed, General Dynamics, and Northrup et. al.
I understand why Americans are angry - I just don't get why they are so incredibly misguided in the things they are angry at. Where was the anger when Bush and Cheney were squandering our Nation blood and treasure? If Cheney announced he was running for office these angry people would support him over-overwhelmingly. Crazy. We are living in up-is-down times.

Posted by: HeavyD1 | September 25, 2010 9:43 AM

Let's start by cutting the most useless federal workers' salaries.

Ooooh wait ... congress would never take a pay cut.

Posted by: topwriter | September 25, 2010 9:44 AM

Are government salaries too high? It depends. For many positions requiring technical and other specialized skills, it is probably too low. People with high security clearances also probably make less in government than the same position contracted out to private industry.

For other areas such as human resources, it's definitely too high as I have never dealt with a government HR person who was remotely competent or professional. And there are many people in government with outdated technical skills who are still paid as if they had relevant technical skills. So many of your older federal employees are overpaid relative to what they may be getting now in the private sector.

Posted by: yh132 | September 25, 2010 7:06 AM

=====

Good post, your observations are spot on. There are large pockets of waste in the Federal workforce as well as areas where people do not make salaries commensurate with their educations. Government rarely goes through the sort of economic stresses that private sector firms do, and thus does not benefit from the creative destruction that forces business to reorganize / re-prioritize on a regular basis. And of course there are the unions, government mandated labor monopolies producing what monopolies always produce, poor value for the customer.

Posted by: robert17 | September 25, 2010 9:45 AM

Most government workers are overpaid, have outrageous retirement programs and work very little. The reason the vote attached says they are not is because most voters are government workers themselves. They have nothing to do but serf the net and read articles like this and vote while they are supposed to be working.

Posted by: griff4 | September 25, 2010 9:55 AM

The average federal employee makes over $100,000 a year. Now if you think that is a small amount you havent worked in private industry, where $40,000 is the norm.AND the time off, the office parties, other important things are the norm. Poor souls, I dont know how they get along.

Posted by: jpiorky | September 25, 2010 10:12 AM

Government work is nice work if you can get it, otherwise why would so many people seek these jobs for life with benefits that most average workers can only dream of. Sure there are a few in government who could make more in the private world, but they obviously don't want to take on the risks involved with private employment, so they stick with their job for life. Public service for personal gain. While the rest of us worry about keeping our jobs, government workers worry that a 2% raise isn't enough to afford this years vacation... vacation, what is that anyway? I couldn't afford one this year after two years without a raise, but then I am lucky compared to the millions who got laid off or fired. Should we fire government employees? Sure... the ones not doing anything. Should we give government employees raises when the rest of the USA is just trying to make ends meet? NO! Common sense needs to be applied to this issue, but that is hard when you have a huge union that needs to be fed, and bureaucracy that needs to be maintained.

Posted by: steved1 | September 25, 2010 10:15 AM

I'm a Fed and admit my salary is too high. Anyone in for more than 10-15yrs has reached their step 10 max due to time in grade rather than performance. The system is broke. Too many earning too much. Most couldnt survive in the private world.

Posted by: espnfan | September 25, 2010 10:26 AM

It's not there salaries that is generally the problem (which the poll fails to mention). Their benefits and retirement options are what really costs the tax payer.

Posted by: moebius22 | September 25, 2010 10:36 AM

The problem isn't the average fed worker or even their bosses. The problem is federal contracting. Look at how much money the fed spend in farming out work to the private workforce, because the fed doesn't have the money or personnel to do the job. But, in the end we spend billions of dollars paying big corporate america for alleged "cost overuns". How about no-bid Haliburton? Still making billions of dollars at the federal nipple in Iraq, Af-stan , all over the world. How come no one ever writes about this stuff?

Posted by: toms5 | September 25, 2010 10:37 AM

All of us know Fed workers who have co-workers that either do nothing or don't have enough intelligence to do their own work so others must pick up the slack. Trying to get rid of those no-loads is a federal case and most of the time they are just moved around and continue to pick up a check.

The unions don't care if they have no-load workers, the unions just want those union dues.

Think those govt motor employees caught drinking on the job will lose their salaries? Think those SEC employees who would rather look at porn than do their job will lose their salaries? NO they're all still at work and getting paid.

Same situation with govt employees all over the country, whether fed or state. What a joke....Nov can't come soon enough.

Posted by: Christian1941 | September 25, 2010 10:38 AM

My ex-boss in Club Fed was paid $160k as a GS-15 Step 10 (not including benefits). She spent most of her day surfing the net and gossiping with other supervisors. Because she knew nothing about the substance of our work, she "managed" by sending out nagging emails about minor administrative matters. Her management style drove out many talented professionals. Poor managers can wreak havoc in the government because there is no bottom line to worry about when you can't retain qualified personnel. Oh, and she also had three days of free time (on the taxpayer's dime) to adorn her office door with an anti-GOP display for the annual holiday door decorating contest.

Bottom line - government must shrink. There is no way that capital in the hands of wasteful arrogant government bureaucrats beats small business owners, who use that money to hire workers, to invest in equipment, and to grow their businesses.

Posted by: fingal | September 25, 2010 11:16 AM

Federal salaries may be too high. I don't know. But if they are, I'd make two observations--(1) The rise occurred over a period of time when the GOP held the White House most of the time; and (2) One reason the middle class has been almost wiped out is that the GOP argued over the years that industrial workers, manufacturing workers, service workers, air controllers, etc., were being paid too much. Their solution was to give tax breaks to companies who sent many of those jobs overseas and to fire, en masse, the workers whose work had to be done here so they could hire lesser paid employees. And Walla! The death of the middle class.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | September 25, 2010 11:25 AM


My ex-boss in Club Fed was paid $160k as a GS-15 Step 10 (not including benefits)


POSTED BY: FINGAL | SEPTEMBER 25, 2010 11:16 AM

Club Fed. LOL

Posted by: randysbailin | September 25, 2010 11:40 AM

The government pays people what they're worth. My mother has been working as a secretary with the same employer for over 30 years, and had she been working for the government, she would probably be making double what she earns now. It's appalling to me that after so many years of hard work with the same employer, she has not been rewarded with the pay that she deserves.

Posted by: graphchick1 | September 25, 2010 11:44 AM

Federal employees average $60,000 plus annually while private sector workers make roughly $45,000. Notice it compares govt EMPLOYEES to private sector WORKERS.

There are a huge number of federal bureaucrats plodding away in obscure programs from bygone days.

Posted by: thehamptons1 | September 25, 2010 11:46 AM

The reality seems to be that government employees are not subject to the same pressures for controlling costs that have become common in the private sector. Given the state of government debt, that issue at least raises the question of how more control can be established over government salaries.

Posted by: dnjake | September 25, 2010 11:54 AM

hmm, I was about to post a big comment on this when I read this person's comment. He has said it all, so there is nothing more I can add. I am glad, that there is at least ONE person who is not a brain-washed imbecile by the right-wing hate media and their puppets in elected office.

"Government employees don't make too much, employees of private companies make too little. The ones who make too much are corporate executives. Republicans try to focus on anything except what the real problems are. The most serious problem our country is facing today is the corporate domination of the government. That is what is driving the high unemployment rate. Corporations use child labor or slave labor in other countries, while spending millions on campaign contributions and lobbying, so that our politicians won't interfere. We need to kick the corporations and their lobbyists out of Washington, so that the democratic process can work."


Hear! Hear! Nuff Said.

Posted by: 1970sRedskin | September 25, 2010 11:56 AM

Simple example of the stupidity of the republicon argument thatthe federal workforce is overpaid and their jobs woiuld be better off privatized...we now hire private contractors to do military jobs. They are typically paid 4-6 times what a soldier is paid to do the exact saem jobs. On top of that they are not accountable to the government because they are private contractors. So when these folks like Blackwater start shooting civilians they get away with while undermining the security of the US, endnagering soldiers, and costing the taxpayers a fortune.

If you try to get private secotr firms to do much of what the federal worforce does - and yes your semi literate republicons, they perform vital functions -- it would cost far more. UNLESS you think we should model our nation on Haiti. THEN we could get rid of the government and see how that works out.....it's rgreat in places wher it is currently happening - like Hatit, SUdan, Somalia....all thriving centers of commerce and culture.

Posted by: John1263 | September 25, 2010 12:02 PM

There's a reason the Washington, D.C. metro area is the "richest in the country", according to the US Census. Three counties in the subject area are populated by federal employees.
And like private corporate employees, high paid government bureaucrats survive and prosper just as much, if not moreso, by their abilities to 'get along' as they do performing their job duties.
Enough paid 'personal time', holidays, sick leave, retirement benefits, and salary all more befitting...well, a congressman or senator...or French autoworker.
Granted, government shouldn't be run like a capital enterprize. But it's not supposed to be an imperial city, with multiple thousands of equerries performing niche and unnecessary tasks.

Posted by: dancain1514 | September 25, 2010 12:19 PM

I worked for the federal government for over 30 years and it is plain to me that there are lot of stupid, bitter, government-hating idiots posting here that are just pulling "facts" out of their a##.

Anyone else notice that the right-wingers of this country hate seeing anyone get paid a decent wage? They have been attacking teachers for years. TEACHERS! They hate unions and now they are going after government workers using lies and myths.

This country is sliding into third-world status with the right cheering nus on. Amazing!

Posted by: Trakker | September 25, 2010 12:47 PM

Karl Rove must behind the new Republican Tea Party's deceptive practices to divert attention from the fact that they only support Corporate Greed. Scumbag tactics!

An Independent

Posted by: aeaustin | September 25, 2010 1:05 PM

Yes,you betcha our pathetic total incompetent overpaid,overstaffed,useless
Federal Bureaucrats need to be reduced by at least 40% and Congressional Staffs CUT
by 50%.just for openers! When the USA can't
Afford To Give It's Own Senior Citizens a
stinking 2 or 3% COLA,that alone means we
need to FIRE these excess bureaucrats! It
sure as Hell is time to Impeach Obama,and
Vote Every Incumbent Democrat,Republican,
and RINOS like Amnesty John McCain OUT!

Posted by: sandy5274 | September 25, 2010 1:11 PM

Tea Party ignorance at its best......

Posted by: aeaustin | September 25, 2010 1:40 PM

Federal employees are paid salaries from taxes. Why do they pay taxes then? It would save a lot of money to just lower their salaries and have them not pay any taxes. The expense must be huge and what a waste. Anyway, all western governments will have to cut their employees/spending by 50% due to the incredibly arrogant and ignorant Keynesian spending of the last 20 years by both parties. Republikrats and Demoblicans pointing the finger at each other is like two guys in a canoe blaming each other while going over Niagara Falls.

Posted by: shred11 | September 25, 2010 1:59 PM

Federal works make so much that they live in the finest homes in town, their children make up most of the graduating classes in the ivy leagues schools, they summer on the beach all summer and they winter in the tropics. That's what these people think. Their real gripe is that the see someone getting a fair deal and it gets under their skin. They're so fearful and full of want they measure their own success by the amount of starving people around them. Then they see someone that isn't doing poorly and they resent that they had to pay for any of it. Do they cringe when they drive on government made highways? Do they resent the federal government for sending its agents in the form of mailmen to their house every day of the week to deliver packages? Do they think those damn air traffic controllers are milking the system because there's 24 hours in each day and they don't work every one of them while their benefits protect them while they're asleep? In the end, they just want something for nothing. When I was a child this was called being grabby. Now it seems to be called anti-government. Good gracious. Isn't there an island they could move to and enjoy the right of making everything on their own?

Posted by: Focus-on-the-goal | September 25, 2010 2:03 PM

AEAUSTIN sez:
"Their pay is only high in Bad Times and when the Republicans need a distraction from their blind support of Corporate Greed." Its exactly this kind of partisan stupidity that has allowed this corruption to happen in the first place. BOTH are to blame. Don't forget how Dems under Clinton got rid of Glass-Steagall and let banks do what they wanted to. I'm sure old FDR was turning over in his grave to see the financial destruction his party was equally repsonsible for. Very sad to point fingers when your own ignorance is part of the problem. Wake up and open your eyes to the banks controlling both parties.

Posted by: shred11 | September 25, 2010 2:03 PM

I know the price of rice in China. But, like federal pay scales, has little to do with remedies for unemployment.

Both parties seek reasons and distractions and not deal with unemployment.

Posted by: Maddogg | September 25, 2010 2:26 PM

Wow...a poll conducted in the Washington DC metro area on Fed employee pay...gee, I wonder if the poll with be slightly skewed...

All I know is, I pay income tax on my Social Security so that some fat cat bureaucrat can work 3 hours a month and get driven around in a limo. There are lotsa hard working Fed employees out there that are holding this Country together. Leave them be. In times of fat, they get the gaspipe and wind up behind their private sector counterparts. In times of lean, let them keep what they earned...BUT slow down or stop pay raises until better times for ALL. No furloughs - keep the machine running smoothly (or at least as smoothly as can be.)

Posted by: redroomfotog | September 25, 2010 2:36 PM

As a retired military officer and a current community college instructor, I'll believe I'm overpaid when Ms Fiorino (formerly of HP) gives back her golden parachute and admits that through her incomptence, almost drove HP into the ground.

Posted by: jamalmstrom | September 25, 2010 2:38 PM

As usual -- wrong question, and wrong choices in your poll. The question isn't if salaries are too high, but recognizing that living costs in and around DC is too high. Housing is ridiculous -- a mortgage on a condo in metro DC would buy a single family farm house and 40 acres in Kansas. Food is high. Commuting by car or metro is equally expensive. Food is costly. Day care and children's activities are costly. Insurance is costly. Professional clothes and school clothes are very costly, even if you shop at outlet stores, Utilities are not going down. Homeowner fees are not going down. Yes, some federal employees make a lot compared to the average income of someone in middle America. But it's not very much when you look at what it costs to live in Metro DC. If you compare that to what it costs to live in New York, then it's even lower. That's why putting out just the numbers sells outside of urban areas -- what journalists need to be reporting is how little $90,000 dollars a year is in these areas.

Posted by: guybrarian | September 25, 2010 2:39 PM

Ask this question anywhere OUTSIDE of the Beltway, and you will get a resounding, Yes, Fed workers make too much for these economic times. Hell yes."

Posted by: mirrorgazer | September 25, 2010 3:59 PM

You can tell by the response to this survey that the residents of DC, who suckle at the teat of government and grow fat on their federal pay packages while the private sector withers know they have a good deal and want to keep it.

Posted by: jkk1943 | September 25, 2010 4:08 PM

The wrong question is asked. The ratio today is 7:1 private sector/federal jobs. That means it's taking seven private sector jobs to support a single federal position with taxes. Since that doesn't include the state and local govt jobs imagine how few private sector jobs there really are now. We are a nation of govt workers and our govt budgets are out of control. All agencies with the exception of law enforcement need immediate 35-50% reductions. It's going to get tough in the beltway but you will learn how the rest of America lives. It's painful but it's necessary.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | September 25, 2010 4:08 PM

The republicans want to cut taxes for the super wealthy and de-simulate the economy by reducing pay to further shrink the middle class . By pointing the finger at federal workers they hope we all forget that republicans tanked the economy and encouraged sending jobs overseas. Then your true base is only one or two percent of the population you have to be creative with propaganda, to use hate, lies, distortion, twisted patriotism, bigotry and even religion to turn us against each other.

Posted by: korendo | September 25, 2010 4:51 PM

I worked for the Federal government. I made a little more than I did when I worked for a large DC non-profit, but frankly, my benefits were NOT better (worked a longer workday, started at 3 days less vacation, and contributed more to my health insurance). Also, all of those perks you get working in the private sector -- birthday lunches, holiday parties, free coffee in the breakroom, office happy hours, company picnics or outings, paid out-of-state professional conferences, early dismissals the Friday before holidays, etc. -- forget ALL of that when you work for the Federal government. If you want to have a holiday party, pass the collection box!

Also, I worked weekends, nights, and sometimes 60 hour workweeks when I had a deadline. NO overtime.

I think the grass is always greener. But Federal employees work hard and are paid fairly. They do NOT get the same raise that others gets (I got between 4-6% a year in the private sector, and COL only -- about 2% -- with the Federal government). Nor do they get a lot of the perks that people working in the private sector take for granted.

Posted by: CAC2 | September 25, 2010 5:30 PM

I spent 10 years at a federal agency and the last 8 years in the private sector. I get paid slightly more than my state and federal peers, but I also work harder. I've had coworkers move to state and federal positions that took pay cuts but made the change for the the lower stress work environment.

This experience leads me to conclude the average civil servant probably get's paid about the right amount. Like any work environment, there are state and federal workers that are a waste of space, but I think the Republican characterization of federal workers as tax money down the drain is just wrong.

Most Americans have no idea of all the services their taxes pay for: roads, schools, clean air, national defense, social security, national parks, clean drinking water, sewers, medical research... The American people are mostly ignorant of all the things they get for their tax money. See how people rant about toll roads, increases in sewer and water rates, trash pickup.......Make all these services market based and the American people will really be poor.

Posted by: baltimoremike | September 25, 2010 6:40 PM

Looking over the comments, I see a lot of misdirected anger. As a federal employee, I have seen first hand some of the slackers and goof offs. What I see more of are very dedicated people doing their jobs while dealing with multiple masters (Congress, White House, political appointees) and conflicting guidance. At the same time, our fellow Americans ask for more services and assistance while paying less.

For the folks demanding 35 percent or more cuts to the federal workforce, I would ask is this across all agencies, or only the agencies you don't like? If you want to bring all the troops home from overseas, do you have any idea the extent of an undertaking that is, not to mention repudiating most of our current treaties and security agreements?

If the Tea Partiers are serious about reducing things, how about reducing the current tax deductions? How many folks are willing to give up the mortgage interest deduction? This dates back to FDR's day as a means to increase homeownership. Has that desire seen better days?

Do we federal employees make more than private sector employees? Tough to say as there is no good way to compare salaries between the two. If the fed is so bad, then why are folks banging on the door to get on board? When the economy recovers and moves forward, then we can't compete. We get beat up either way, so I plan to keep working my 50+ hours per week and do good things to benefit the entire country.

Posted by: sixofone | September 25, 2010 6:49 PM

I retired from the government the day I turned 55. To be honest, I didn't hit a lick for 30 years and now I have a 6 figure annual retirement courtesy of you fine folks.

$8000 a month deposited the first day of every month in my bank. Life is good...

Posted by: vinnie777 | September 25, 2010 7:17 PM

It appears that 37% of the Posts readers work for the federal government...

Posted by: Woodlands_TX | September 25, 2010 7:23 PM

The ones hired by the last republican president ought to be considered for dismissal since the republicans have made clear that there is too large a gov't work force

Posted by: charlesalaska | September 25, 2010 7:24 PM

As a supervisor of 250 federal employees in the DC metro, I can tell you that NONE of them can afford to live here on their current salaries. Most of them live in West Virginia because it is the closest they can afford to buy a home. Others live in very small apartments.

Those who say that feds make too much money are simply envious of the job stability that comes from the selfless sacrifice federal workers make to serve their country. I say, if they're that jealous, then they should be putting their energy towards competing for one of those "overpaid" federal jobs they think others are somehow less qualified for.

Posted by: trambusto | September 25, 2010 7:41 PM

The very best federal employees can hope for in at least the next 5 years is that their salaries will only be frozen.

If you want more money, get a promotion or join a lobbying firm.

(Be aware that lobbying firms have a very different definition of "results" than you night be used to in government employment! Showing up every day and not showing open contempt for your boss doesn't translate into automatic raises and promotions like it does in the government.)

Posted by: corco02az | September 25, 2010 9:12 PM

As a supervisor of 250 federal employees in the DC metro, I can tell you that NONE of them can afford to live here on their current salaries. Most of them live in West Virginia because it is the closest they can afford to buy a home. Others live in very small apartments.

Those who say that feds make too much money are simply envious of the job stability that comes from the selfless sacrifice federal workers make to serve their country. I say, if they're that jealous, then they should be putting their energy towards competing for one of those "overpaid" federal jobs they think others are somehow less qualified for.

Posted by: trambusto | September 25, 2010 7:41 PM

====

Yea, that's it. We're jealous of your selflessness. And your modesty too.

Posted by: robert17 | September 25, 2010 9:38 PM

Some of the comments above reflect complete ignorance of an economic system that has produced the greatest results in human history. Companies constantly balance the need for talent against the market. They also balance the price of their products and services against the market. The problem with government is that it is divorced from any economic discipline or accountability and continues to grow regardless of the society's ability to support the government expenditures. We are way past the point where we can hide our heads in the sand and assume the laws of economics don't apply anymore.

Posted by: efcotter | September 25, 2010 10:13 PM

There are fewer federal employees than there were in 1967. There are 100 million more citizens than there were in 1967. The problem is bloated government contracting. The GOP's un-wonderful idea to privatize the government has not worked out well for citizens because many of these companies have turned ripping off the government into a part of their business model. Of course the GOP doesn't want you to know the facts though.

They're a party of liars who refuse to take responsibility for their own failures. Listening to them before allowed them to dig the country into a pit. Listening to them now will just let them keep digging.

The GOP doesn't care about poor people, hell they don't even *like* people who are poor. For them there are only 3 types of people, "our people" meaning rich people, "our supporters" meaning people stupid enough to listen to their lies, and "our enemies" who are everyone else, but especially those with enough sense to challenge them about their lies.

Posted by: Nymous | September 25, 2010 10:58 PM

Sheer nonsense! Hubris and idiocy. The guy who wrote the skewed report at Heritage Foundation is a goon for the Republican Party and the stupid conservatives.

To say that federal workers are overpaid is idiocy and lunacy. Those who are overpaid are the fat cows who control the private sector. Those who get paid millions of dollars are the private industry executives(friends of the foul mouthed Republicans)who steal their workers' salaries and benefits and when they are asked to leave or retire, they still get $10 to $20 million or more in severance packages. While in office, they fly in corporate or personal jets, they cater to their lustful desires (recently fired CEO of HP for example)instead of striving to better the lot of their employees. And, when they put the national and global economy in serious jeopardy, they run to the Government of the United States for a BAILOUT. Shameless people.

It is simple commmonsense that requires no rigorous analysis to say that when virtually all corporate profits are spent to provide the executives with living and remmuneration that competes with the life of the Queen of England; there will not be enough to pay the people who do the work.

Whereas their counterparts in the federal government could only be paid at about $200,000 per year and perform overly stressful job on behalf of the American people; these corporate executives live their lives in stinking opulence.

Now you are going to have one fake intellectual at Heritage foundation begin to cry that federal workers are over paid. And then these morons in the Republican Party are going to take up the cry. Whinners! The same age old bashing of those who wake up day in day out to serve the American people is their convenient way of satisfying their ego. It started with Ronald Reagan and some 30 years after, they are still crying and blaming the harmless federal workers. Shameproof individuals.

Posted by: midas20874 | September 25, 2010 11:07 PM

When times were good, and the economy booming, you couldn't beg people to work for the federal government. Reports were published stating how there was going to be a shortage of federal workers to replace those who were retiring, and that the federal government would have to be creative in order to entice young job seekers to work for Uncle Sam, In fact, federal employment was thought of as a lower class of work for those who couldn't hack it in the private sector. Now, when times are tough and the economy is in the toilet, federal workers are being paid too much! Hog wash!

Federal employees will always be the butt of criticism because we're paid with taxpayer dollars and it's the nature of Americans to criticize government expenditures. However, looking at it objectively, we're not over- or underpaid compared with the private sector, but we're just paid differently. White-collar federal workers generally are paid less than their private sector counterparts, but have better benefits, such as leave time. Blue-collar feds are treated more evenly than the private sector and their pay and work schedules are fairly consistent. Private sector blues can make much more money if they're highly skilled and willing to work long hours.

However, all private sector employees are at the whim of the market, where the feds are not. The private sector work experience mirrors the ups and downs of the American economy, while federal employment is steady and stable -- not too hogh in the good times and not too low during the bad. People also expect a lot from their government, especially when times are bad, so federal employees have to work harder. if there is any fair criticism of federal employees, it is that there may be too many of them because the federal government itself is too big and too intrusive in our lives. Resolve that problem and you may still have to pay federal employees well, but you'll have fewer of them.

Posted by: braunt | September 26, 2010 1:39 AM

It's very interesting how US society views our different job sectors. Government employees are often viewed as lazy, inefficient, overpaid and a wasteful drain on the economy. Yet business is given a free pass even when it is greedy and lacking in the most basic services. When it comes down to it, do we trust business to work for us (the consumer) or for its own best interests?

As much as we would like to cut back on the US government work force, it will not balance the deficit and, when it comes down to it, we want our services even though we complain about them. For all the complaining about lousy and wasteful government, the system is designed exactly as we prefer it.

Do we want to live in a society where K-12 education is privatized, with every road being a toll road, without environmental cleanup and restoration (Gulf oil spill), supplementary and socialized retirement or health care, complete corporate deregulation, unsubsidized agricultural products or gasoline (where prices would be much, much greater)... I don't think so.

As much as we complain about government services we are highly dependent on them to make our lives easier, safer and more convenient.

Unfortunately, government employees get a bum wrap. Having worked for the USGS, I can tell you they represent some of the brightest and hardest working individuals I have ever met, and much more dedicated and conscientious than those I have encountered in the private sector.

The salaries of government workers are less than comparable private sector jobs. We should be creating a government employment atmosphere that attracts our brightest young graduates. It's unfortunate government jobs are viewed as less prestigious than private sector jobs.

Posted by: citizen4truth1 | September 26, 2010 8:06 AM

Update those resumes all ye Gs. The Tea Party is a comin'.

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Posted by: itkonlyyou1 | September 26, 2010 9:08 AM

WELL SAID. I've worked in both private industry and federal gov't, and your average civil servant does not get the same benefits. There are a lot of stupid, bureaucratic rules one has to put up with while working for the gov't. And my health benefits aren't nearly as good as they were when I worked for a large consulting firm. I don't get any of the same bonuses I used to get, and I took a big pay cut.
If the republicans want to cut salaries, they can start with their own.

"I worked for the Federal government. I made a little more than I did when I worked for a large DC non-profit, but frankly, my benefits were NOT better (worked a longer workday, started at 3 days less vacation, and contributed more to my health insurance). Also, all of those perks you get working in the private sector -- birthday lunches, holiday parties, free coffee in the breakroom, office happy hours, company picnics or outings, paid out-of-state professional conferences, early dismissals the Friday before holidays, etc. -- forget ALL of that when you work for the Federal government. If you want to have a holiday party, pass the collection box!

Also, I worked weekends, nights, and sometimes 60 hour workweeks when I had a deadline. NO overtime.

I think the grass is always greener. But Federal employees work hard and are paid fairly. They do NOT get the same raise that others gets (I got between 4-6% a year in the private sector, and COL only -- about 2% -- with the Federal government). Nor do they get a lot of the perks that people working in the private sector take for granted."

Posted by: bassclef | September 26, 2010 9:14 AM

Get serious WAPO. Spend the $$ and do an unbiased national poll. What are you, Faux News Corp.?

Let's see, we'll ask for an opinion from the majority of web users that read our rag made up of 95% of those federal employees in the D.C. metroplex and those other that live off the government.

What a crock.

Hey, how about a poll that asks WAPO subscribers about why they subscribe?

Posted by: wesatch | September 26, 2010 10:15 AM

How many commentors that claim they are republican said that government employees are not over paid? This is the party that rails on and on about how "big" the government has become, yet, a lot of them work directly for the government or depend on government contracts. Hypocrits.

Posted by: ajackson3 | September 26, 2010 10:26 AM

Appearances are important and my visits to Washington, DC reveal a relatively high level of affluence and the presumption that those doing lots of spending are federal employees.
And also look at how much Washingtonians are as a class spending on shelter. Very expensive place to live with housing prices driven higher by high govt. salaries. Not much unemployment among govt. employees.

Posted by: canvassback | September 26, 2010 11:19 AM

GRIFF4:

They have nothing to do but serf the net and read articles like this and vote while they are supposed to be working.
=======================
Griff4 (serf),

Supposed to be working on Sunday? Since you don't seem to know what day it is, I'll excuse your other shortcomings in analysis (and spelling).

Posted by: rgv1129 | September 26, 2010 11:23 AM

Why is that question being asked when Wall Street jerks, CEO's and other private managerial and financial executives are laying off millions of Americans while paying themselves millions and billions in unfair and undeserved compensation? Yours is a ridiculous question to be asking in this latest Gilded Age/Depression.

Posted by: ejs2 | September 26, 2010 11:24 AM

I have a question I'd like answered: Why do private mercenary "contractors" get paid many multiples more than our actually military people for doing military work in Iraq and Afghanistan? Who got that scam started, or is it just part of the system under which our government gets to fight unnecessary wars of choice using an all-volunteer military, which keeps the people from getting too upset over fellow Americans bleeding and dying for some neoconservative's toxic pipe dream?

Posted by: ejs2 | September 26, 2010 11:29 AM

If you compare levels of education and experience, public sector employees make less than their private sector counterparts. Of course a clerk with a b.a. makes more than a Wal-Mart cashier. The problem is that the private sector no longer offers decent jobs for uneducated workers. Our pervasive anit-intellectualism is biting us in the behind and we only have our "Lost" culture to blame.

Posted by: wd1214 | September 26, 2010 11:36 AM

"Private sector salaries are governed by the free market; if they are low, it is because their skill set is not sufficient to merit a higher salary and they are easily replaced. Government salaries are governed by politicians, and Democrats love to give public employees high wages and benefits, so they will get big campaign contributions in return. Public employees used to work for the public; now we work for them, paying their excessive wages and benefits and retirements." calgeorge1
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Hoo-Hah! Hooey! In case boygeorge doesn't realize it, we have always paid the salaries of public servants. The remainder of his/her line of thought is equivalently insightful.

Having worked in a major insurance company's home office, I can attest to the superior efficiency of the private sector being a total joke. Tripping over vice-presidents, watching employees shuffle papers from one side of their desks to the other, then back again, all the while hiding excess profits in "loss reserves" put out for interest, I dare anyone to complain about the quality of government work which only really went downhill with 'Publican politicizing of the hiring process and insistence on de-regulation..

The issue is bureaucracy; the problems are endemic to the structure; ask any university faculty member, hospital employee, member of the armed forces, etc., etc.

And lazy people have to eat, too.

Posted by: mini2 | September 26, 2010 11:52 AM

I am a state employee in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, as around the rest of the country, republicans are campaigning on reducing government by "privatizing" many traditional government functions and jobs. However, what they fail to mention is that "privatizing" means contracting out those services at a price up to 3 times what it would cost for that same job to be done by a government employee (including benefits).

It is easy to see the republican strategy at this time. They have chosen scapegoats to blame for their own failed policies. Those scapegoats are in no particular order: Homosexuals, Hispanics, Blacks, Democrats, Muslims, Public Employees, and Unions.

Let us hope that the afore mentioned scapegoats will form a coalition that is capable of putting these neo-fascists back under the rock them came from.

Posted by: insider9909 | September 26, 2010 12:20 PM

AVERAGE US Government salary is $73,500.00 which is obscene and needs to be stopped. Government is broke and giving employees way too much money. The minimum is that all salaries and government spending need to be frozen which is how previous presidents kept spending in line.

Posted by: mascmen7 | September 26, 2010 12:34 PM

The thanks of an ungrateful nation. These GOP hypocrites know that most federal workers could earn more for what they do in the private sector. That means once again, they're lying to people.
Posted by: Nymous |
---------------------------------
Do you mean that ALL federal workers could make more in the private sector, or do you mean some could make more?

I suspect that there are many who could make more, but that there are lots who would make less or have less solid benefits. And moreover there may well be too many federal workers.

Obama expanded the federal workforce by about 8% at a time when the economy is tanking. was this wise?

We need to ask questions. "Those nasty Republicans!" is not the answer to every possible question, any more than "God told me" is the proper explanation for every action.

Posted by: rjpal | September 26, 2010 12:39 PM

To say that federal workers are overpaid is idiocy and lunacy. Those who are overpaid are the fat cows who control the private sector. Those who get paid millions of dollars are the private industry executives(friends of the foul mouthed Republicans)who steal their workers' salaries and benefits and when they are asked to leave or retire,...
Posted by: midas20874
--------------------------------
Isn't it possible that they are BOTH overpaid? I do not see the logic of saying that if executives are overpaid then federal workers CAN'T be overpaid.

There are a few CEOs who are indeed overpaid, and there are hundreds of thousand of federal employees who are also overpaid.

And they are both costing us money.

What is wrong with that explanation?

There are also the medical establishment and the insurance companies who are collecting too much money - money that we need to stay competitive with the rest of the world.

While Democrats and Republicans are at each others' throats in the US, the rest of the world is moving ahead.

Posted by: rjpal | September 26, 2010 12:47 PM

The GOP doesn't care about poor people, hell they don't even *like* people who are poor. Posted by: Nymous
----------------------------
Then how come they voted for Christine O"Donnell is poorer than practically all of us?

You offer us a simplistic anti-Republican model. But that is not the way to solve our problems.

Bashing republicans might be your Sunday hobby, your alternative to going to church.

But if you want to do good by this nation, you need to make intelligent criticisms, including acknowledging it when Rpublicans are right about something.

(I am not saying that they were right to vote for O'Donnell. But she IS poorer than Castle and they did vote for her and not for him.)

Posted by: rjpal | September 26, 2010 12:53 PM

I myself am a highly paid federal employee. I work hard and am quite productive, but to be honest, I actually feel I am overpaid relative to people I know in the outside world, even at public universities, who are doing similar work. And when I look around my office, I do see quite a few people who are getting ample salaries but who are not really worth what they make - their work is okay, but they are getting GS-13 or GS-14 salaries for what is really more like GS-11 or GS-12 work. There is a "GS-creep" effect that is pretty insidious. And within the government, it is difficult to do anything even about really poor performers, much less these more mild underperformers.

Posted by: Luciana1 | September 26, 2010 1:28 PM

If we want to keep seeing people learn all the rules, and then go to work in the private sector to help people who are corporations break them, then doing all the lunatic things that the teabagging morons who have posted here suggest, then we ought to be in great shape. Let's get rid of all government workers, which will make governing super-efficient, and drop the tax rate to zero, which, since tax cuts pay for themselves, will provide an infinite source of funds for all the things we need (teabaggers: please post only the things the personally benefit you, and we will compile them and only fund things that everyone lists).

Posted by: daweeni | September 26, 2010 1:42 PM

GRIFF4, It's a good thing you work at McDonald's. I hope your Middle Eastern female boss is nicer to you than you are to people. I would never ever work for a cranky, mean spirited fool as you.

Posted by: swatkins1 | September 26, 2010 1:51 PM

If you ask the question you know the answer or it would not come up.

Posted by: wkcc36 | September 26, 2010 1:52 PM

If you ask the question you know the answer or it would not come up.

Posted by: wkcc36 | September 26, 2010 1:53 PM

Since there are no jobs in the "Private Sector", it seems there are some people who want to now attack those who have been working in Gov't all of their lives.

Funny thing is, is that these are the same people who also want to "dismantle" the Federal Gov't at every level, except for those working in a Conservative Congress, Conservative WH, Conservative Justice Dept, Conservative AG., Dept, Conservative Supreme Court, Conservative...et al.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | September 26, 2010 2:23 PM

I have worked with a number of high quality federal workers and I don't begrudge them if they are paid a lot. However, we should be honest here: in terms of productivity and economic stimulus, the federal work force is a "sink." That is, the federal work force doesn't really produce anything, rather, it provides a service or supports that service. Some of those services are really important - like the military - which are actually provisioned by the constitution. Now, I do understand that federal workers do stimulate the economy (in their local regions) when they spend their respective earnings. But in true economic terms, it is redistribution of taxes since that is where their pay is coming from. I think most Americans don't have a problem paying for military service; however, I am sure not many think it is import to pay the salary for redundant administrative staff working for an agencies that is past its prime or usefulness like the DOE and Education.

Posted by: njoebott | September 26, 2010 2:28 PM

LOL at the Washington Post. It asks Federal government employees if they are paid too much.


Why don't you ask Postal employees if they are paid too much? You'll get the same response. He11 No we're not paid too much!


The real issue is inefficiency. The government uses three employees to perform a similar task that the private sector uses one employee. Oh, and the federal government produces NOTHING.

Posted by: FormerDemocrat | September 26, 2010 3:08 PM

From an early career in government and later career in business my impression is the pay for professionals and managers in government is good - but the pay for executives is way under business.

The top executive of the entire government - the President of the United States - doesn't even get half a million.

The total takeaway of the CEO of Virginia's electric power company is $6M.

You think government isn't good? My impression is taxpayers are cheapskates when it comes to pay for the leaders and executives.

What's the starting salary for a member of Congress? $174,000. That's peanuts for leadership in large business organizations.

What do you thing you get for that money? The best talent money can buy?

You get what you pay for.

Posted by: cmckeonjr | September 26, 2010 3:11 PM

Blindly cutting the size of government will not accomplish much other than giving more reason to complaint about how ineffective government is. A large number of government offices do a lot with a small staff, insufficient resources, and outdated technology. One of the biggest problems, though, are the constant changes in priorities by agency leadership, generally at the political appointee level. Like any company, careful evaluation of all employees, positions, and business units (agencies) is the only way to get anywhere. If you're not hiring the people with the right skills to get the job done, then it doesn't matter how much less you can get away with paying them. Where you have good people that are idle, then you need to manage work flows better or reassign them to areas where more staffing is needed. And where people are poor performers, you need to give supervisors the discretion to fire them. People are always saying that we need to run government like a business, but we never try to implement this in the ways that will really count. Like any business, government will only be as good as its people- and the good ones will be the first to leave if the complete package isn't competitive.

Posted by: NatinFallsChurch | September 26, 2010 3:12 PM

Republicans in congress should simply publish the salaries of all staffers
What do they pay for the "talent" they have?


Posted by: Vince5 | September 24, 2010 11:47 PM

I think lobbyists write everything for both parties now. But is is still a good idea you have.

Posted by: Elisa2 | September 26, 2010 3:32 PM

PS- I also appreciate those folks who have pointed out how much MORE efficient government is at providing some services. Try running a private insurance company or retirement plan for the 1-2% admin costs that Social Security and Medicare maintain. Not in a million years- private sector costs 5, 10, 15, even 20% in administrative overhead to provide the same functions.

Posted by: NatinFallsChurch | September 26, 2010 3:35 PM

I would venture a guess that the majority of those who say "reduce the federal workforce"; "federal employees are overpaid"; "RIF the bottom 10%"; etc., have never worked for the federal government and/or they themselves were hired by the federal government, but then fired for incompetence.

In other words, they do not know of what they discuss and/or are projecting.

I'd also venture a guess that the majority of those who say 'reduce the government (by any means)' proportionally watch more Faux News than other commentators to this subject.

Posted by: critter69 | September 26, 2010 4:31 PM

I am glad to see that you present your guesses as guesses and not as "facts".

Too many other posters seem unaware that what they think might not be true.

---------------------------------
You say, I would venture a guess that the majority of those who say "reduce the federal workforce"; "federal employees are overpaid"; "RIF the bottom 10%"; etc., have never worked for the federal government and/or they themselves were hired by the federal government, but then fired for incompetence.
In other words, they do not know of what they discuss and/or are projecting.
I'd also venture a guess that the majority of those who say 'reduce the government (by any means)' proportionally watch more Faux News than other commentators to this subject.
Posted by: critter69

Posted by: rjpal | September 26, 2010 5:11 PM

What's the starting salary for a member of Congress? $174,000. That's peanuts for leadership in large business organizations.
What do you thing you get for that money? The best talent money can buy?
You get what you pay for.
Posted by: cmckeonjr
================================

True enough but in the first place if you add the campaign expenses and earmarks for their districts, the members of congress are far far more expensive than a mere $174,000. Some members of congress cost us more than a typical CEO of a large corporation.

In the second place, most members of congress are not decision makers. Most Democrats in the house ask themselves, "How does Pelosi want me to vote?" Ditto for Republicans who could not possibly present a united front if they voted their own consciences.

Surely these Democrats and Republicans could be replaced by machines programmed to say "Aye" and "Nay" as directed and no one would notice the difference.

I agree with you that CEOs in the US are paid far too much. But your comparison does not stand up to scrutiny.

Posted by: rjpal | September 26, 2010 5:20 PM

feds since the mid-'80s have a "matching contribution" retirement fund, very much like the private sector, and they pay about 1/3 of personal health insurance costs, whereas in my experience the private sector pays 100% of employee health insurance.

sure, feds have a guaranteed pension that amounts to something like 1%-of-salary per year-of-employment. the "old" system was 'way better, but the "new" system is competitive with private sector, and 'way worse than the "old" retirement system.

yes, i retired under the "old" system, but the "offset" -- since i had some time in the private sector too, so i have the worst of both worlds. minimal accumulated retirement savings, that were decimated like everybody else's in the recent economic downturn, and they dock my retirement to account for social security earned while a fed.

BUT, that guaranteed access to health insurance used to be a rock-solid benefit. not sure it was worth my last 6 years as a fed, now that the rules have changed.

Posted by: retiree2010 | September 26, 2010 5:59 PM

How about the salaries and bonuses of corporate thugs who steal for themselves millions of dollars?

Posted by: kevin1231 | September 26, 2010 6:26 PM

It depends on the location.

In places like DC, LA, and NY, the salaries are less than in the private sector. In places line Omaha, Fresno, and Denver they are way over the norm.

Can you make them all equal--all the way around? No.

Posted by: FredChatard | September 26, 2010 6:28 PM

"Government employees don't make too much, employees of private companies make too little. The ones who make too much are corporate executives. Republicans try to focus on anything except what the real problems are. "

That's a great point.
In a yearly budget of $2T you can find a lot of fat. Any part of it better than looking at exactly what the Republicans have contributed to our nations' problems over the past 25 years. Especially if you're a Republican seeking reelection. And certainly if there *isn't* fat, as in this case, because we *do* have a compensation program in place that has been in place for years now, then they just make up some "fat" and like they generally tend to do when rousing their rabble, just shout at it and lead the pitchforks and torches on an assault.

Democracy, gotta love it.

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | September 26, 2010 7:13 PM

"I would venture a guess that the majority of those who say "reduce the federal workforce"; "federal employees are overpaid"; "RIF the bottom 10%"; etc., have never worked for the federal government and/or they themselves were hired by the federal government, but then fired for incompetence.

In other words, they do not know of what they discuss and/or are projecting."

...is that what you call "logic"?

Who gives a damm what you "guess" about the commenters here? Regardless of what you think of them, there are about 4M Federal employees counting civilian and military, and almost 100M voters. You might want to stop focusing on your assumed characteristics of the people responding here and look at those numbers. Those numbers are what count not your damm "guesses".

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | September 26, 2010 7:17 PM

"BUT, that guaranteed access to health insurance used to be a rock-solid benefit. not sure it was worth my last 6 years as a fed, now that the rules have changed."

..."not worth it" relative to what? Not working and not earning your salary for working your job for 6 years?

Jeez talk about "tone-deaf", really. You don't retire and then talk about whether your job was "worth it" relative to *anything*, doof. You worked, you earned your salary, you retired. That's it: you're done until you go out and get another job. Shut up.

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | September 26, 2010 7:21 PM

I must assume from the poll results that most of the Post readership is Government workers.

Most private sector employee can't retire after 30 years with a pension until they are 60 or so, if there is a pension.
Most private sector employee pay in part for health care and other insurances, if they have any.
Most private sector employees are faced with layoffs and job loss in bad economic times.
Most private sector employees face job loss if their company is sold or moves.
Most private sector employees face reduced pay for reduced hours in hard economic times.
And of course the number of public employee continues to grow.

I'm not a class warfare guy, but it seems that in a poor economy with increasing tax burdens, that a little belt-tightening should occur in the public sector.

Posted by: flyover22 | September 26, 2010 7:21 PM

I guess if your not in private industry, YOUR WORTHLESS AND DON'T DESERVE A JOB, IS THAT IT? You people really need to get over yourselves... I think you guys need self examination....If corporate america treated it's employees so great, there would NEVER have been a need to Unionize in the first place....And it used to be that private industry paid more, you only have the CEO's to thank that they NO LONGER DO!!

Posted by: Angryman | September 26, 2010 9:53 PM

I can't wait until the TEA party tries to cut the salaries and fire the 32,000 newly hired military veterans!!!!

The most recent hired is the first fired!!!

Anyone commenting here who says they work for the government and is willing to take a pay cut is a not a government worker!!!

another angry hard working federal worker...

Posted by: KenArcher | September 26, 2010 10:24 PM

You can't do a blanket comparison of private sector employees to government employees because you could be comparing lawyers to Walmart clerks.

The most overpaid employees in the nation are CEOs and who fights for them relentlessly the Republicans. A couple years back Barney Frank introduced a bill say on pay, which basically means when I buy a stock, ownership in a company, I should get to decide what the top executives make. Of course the Republicans fought this because according to them the board of directors knows better how to spend MY MONEY than me, I'm a fool who can't decide how much of MY MONEY should be paid to MY EMPLOYEES!

Posted by: geber22 | September 26, 2010 11:38 PM

Some are and some aren't. I can point to some federal employees who are receiving way more than they would in the private sector. What's more they seem to lack a work ethic, taking a full day off to go to the doctor. I am dealing with one person who takes 2 weeks to respond to an email, 6 months to respond to a letter and takes 2 hour lunch breaks. There are matters that he should have taken care of 2 years ago that are still sitting in his in-box. In the private sector that guy would be gone in 2 weeks. Yet there are other people who are very diligent and actually have a good work ethic, so you can't lump them in together. In general though I would say most federal workers at the executive level are overpaid for what they do and their experience.

On the other hand, jobs that require a lot of technical skill, like DOJ and SEC are probably underpaid. One of the reasons Madoff tricked the SEC for so long is that the SEC can't attract the brains to ferret out the Madoffs of the world on the puny salaries the SEC offers.

Posted by: Afraid4USA | September 27, 2010 8:12 AM

What validity does your poll have when a very large percentage of people reading this newspaper are federal employees? I never met a federal employee who thought he or she was overpaid.

Posted by: Afraid4USA | September 27, 2010 8:14 AM

Here are some facts:

Outside of a recession federal employees make 22% less than the general workforce for similar positions.

A recession should not set the standard for wages.

The government to maintain there services needs to hire employees. What are you going to cut? Would that be prison guards, food inspectors, transit planners who fix your highways--to think hard would make it hard to know.

Everyone always thinks as DC as the federal work force--as you are sitting near your Aunt Mariel--the postal worker, your cousin Jake---the warden, or Linda from the park service.


To cut their job or talk about cutting their job will make them not spend money--or confidant in the economy--the root cause of the prolong recession.

Republicans in their new pinky swear with America appear to be fact adverse.

Posted by: CultureClub | September 27, 2010 11:11 AM

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