The Public Sector Thrives in this Rotten Economy


While the rest of us tighten our belts, those in the public sector thrive. And we get to foot the bill. Federal employees are doing better than ever – at any time in history.

The number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more a year has soared tenfold in the past five years and doubled since President Obama took office, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

The fast-growing pay of federal employees has captured the attention of fiscally conservative Republicans who won control of the U.S. House of Representatives in last week’s elections. Already, some lawmakers are planning to use the lame-duck session that starts Monday to challenge the president’s plan to give a 1.4% across-the-board pay raise to 2.1 million federal workers.

A spokesperson for a federal employee union said the raises are justified to make the jobs competitive with the private sector. Um – hellooo – federal employees make twice as much as their private sector counter parts! Throw in the nice bennies and I’d say they’re already pretty competitive, wouldn’t you?

Here are some of the other findings:

Government-wide raises. Top-paid staff have increased in every department and agency. The Defense Department had nine civilians earning $170,000 or more in 2005, 214 when Obama took office and 994 in June.•Long-time workers thrive. The biggest pay hikes have gone to employees who have been with the government for 15 to 24 years. Since 2005, average salaries for this group climbed 25% compared with a 9% inflation rate.

•Physicians rewarded. Medical doctors at veterans hospitals, prisons and elsewhere earn an average of $179,500, up from $111,000 in 2005.

Federal workers earning $150,000 or more make up 3.9% of the workforce, up from 0.4% in 2005.

Back to the whole issue of “fairness” the Democrats like to bat around. How is it fair when those of us stuck with the tab are foregoing raises, taking pay cuts, or losing our jobs while government employees are overpaid? Again, we pay for this! Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) would like to give federal workers a 10% pay cut – especially the higher level ones. I suppose that’s a good start. But why not just bring their pay in line with their private sector counterparts? Come on, it’s only fair!