Misleading tax and spend rhetoric–public worker "overcompensation" and "too-high pensions"
by Linda Beale
Misleading tax and spend rhetoric–public worker “overcompensation” and “too-high pensions”
crossposted with Ataxingmatter
In my earlier ataxingmatter post on how tax rhetoric is used in political campaigning and think tank propaganda, I noted that our nation is threatened by an epidemic of misleading tax rhetoric. The GOP for four decades has made tax cuts its primary (if not only) answer to every problem, as well as its first-choice tool to achieve their proclaimed goal of decreasing the size of government. (I say “proclaimed” since they are notorious, when in office, of actually increasing the size of government by significant increments while cutting revenues through tax changes especially favorable to corporations and the wealthy.)
The advent of the tea party, sponsored in large part by groups run by GOP operatives such as Dick Armey and Karl Rove with lots of corporate funding, has obfuscated matters even further. We are all familiar with the irony of tea partiers decrying government activities and federal taxes as evil while chanting that the government should “stay out of” their federally administered and tax-funded Medicare benefits.
But one of the most noxious forms in which the anti-government, anti-tax screed has thrived is the anti-public servant rhetoric, which suggests that taxes are wasted when they pay decent wages to government employees, which seem to be uniformly assumed to be corrupt and lazy bums who do nothing to deserve their pay, and that pensions for public employees are just another form of welfare entitlements that should be cut in half so that taxes don’t need to be raised on wealthy constituents–whether in the form of the graduated income tax much needed in Michigan or allowing the Bush cuts for the rich to expire as the GOP scheduled them to do without enacting a new tax cut to duplicate them.
The problem with that rhetoric, as I noted in the last post, is at root a misrepresentation of the bargain between employer and employee. Public employees by and large are paid less than they could be in private positions requiring similar competencies. I pulled in about $300,000 my last year at a Wall Street law firm associate, but I left because I wanted to teach–at a significantly lower salary–at a public law school. That story is repeated endlessly for public employees, whether at educational or research institutions, regulatory agencies, high or low level bureaucrats. Part of the way that has been made possible is through collective bargaining–many public employees are unionized and have bargained for decent –not extravagant but decent–pension and health care benefits, in part to make up for the acceptance of lower salaries than they might earn in the private sector.
Yet the rhetoric continues, apparently because those on the right with a ready media voice (either as journalists or think tank operatives) have found that it triggers an expected negative response in the public at large that hears only the fact that government employees have decent pensions that have been underfunded and so will cost taxpayers now to fund them, and fails to hear the other side. That side would include the relentless attack on workers and unions carried out by the likes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. Unions are depicted as uberpowerful and a cause of all the problems that businesses face because of demanding too-high wages, when in fact the problem is the uberpowerful employers that have retained productivity gains for themselves and left workers’ wages to stagnate or decline. What the rhetoric about pensions and taxation glosses over is the fact that many private sector employers could and should have funded similarly decent pensions for their workers out of the substantial profits they’ve made from gains in worker productivity, but they didn’t do so. Or that others promised to pay decent pensions and got workers to work for less salary than they would otherwise have done, and then through acquisitions and restructurings used the employer-friendly laws to renege on those promises and keep all the profits for managers and owners. Or that the laws, beginning with Taft-Hartley labor “reform” and continuing with the refusal of Congress to let union formation have a level playing field (through the refusal to enact a card act, through allowing employers like Wal-Mart have unilateral access to workers to disseminate employer-friendly views about unions, etc.) have consistently weakened the ability of workers to form unions to fight for better pension and health care through the collective bargaining process.
For more on the issue of public sector employees and whether they are overpaid, and David Brooks’ complaint that unions are to blame, see Mark Thoma’s excerpts from Dean Baker’s response, at Are Public Sector Workers and David Brooks Overpaid?, Economist’s View, Oct. 14, 2010, which references John Schmitt, The Wage Penalty for State and Local Government Employees, Center for Economic and Policy Research, May 2010 (noting that some conservatives blame public employee pay for the strain facing local government budgets, rather than acknowleding the recession and the lower tax revenues/higher social service needs that are the real cause).
Ultimately, the rhetoric around cutting public employee pension benefits and pay in order to cut taxes or continue existing tax policy benefitting taxpayers generally or the better-off especially is similar to the rhetoric around privatization of Social Security. The argument is that some unworthy group is getting an “entitlement” at the cost of ordinary taxpayers, and that ordinary taxpayers should get angry over it and make sure that those people’s entitlements are cut before they are taxed another dime. The problem with the argument, both in the case of Social Security and in the case of public employee pay and pensions, is that (i) those who receive the benefits have already paid for them and (ii) taxpayers should get angry instead at the politicians who constantly tell them that every problem can be solved by cutting taxes (especially for the rich) even more than already done.
you are exactly right. it’s too bad no one will hear you, even if they gave you five minutes on Rush’s show. the people are already trained to believe that taxes are too high and public employees are lazy and overpaid, and that pensions are some kind of theft the unions extracted when no one was looking.
Federal workers earning double their private counterparts
At a time when workers’ pay and benefits have stagnated, federal employees’ average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn, a USA TODAY analysis finds.
Federal workers have been awarded bigger average pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years in a row. The compensation gap between federal and private workers has doubled in the past decade.
Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data are the latest available.
I would add that the most frustrating aspect of the propaganda campaign that you describe is that at some point nearly every worker, whether a Tea Party fan or a union stalwart (I’d not be surprised if some are both), will be adversely effected by the results of such an ideological attack on the rights of workers to decent pay and a reasonable retirement income.
The most scathing attacks on union workers, both public aqnd private, are generally made by people who have no personal experience doing the jobs that the workers they complain about are doing. While a university professor may have an enviable position, it requires a significant investment of money (tuition) and experience to qualify for relatively modest pay. Less desireable jobs such as that of a therapeutic aide in a mental health facility provide minimal pay and a promise of good fringe benefits, including a pension. Who would do such difficult and emotionally and physically demanding work for less compensation than the little that is provided.
Public employment pensions, like those in private industry, have been continuously reduced for each new generation of employees to a point where many of the current pension plans require substantial employee contribution and are only supplemented by an IRA or 401K type of private savings plan. And those supplements are subject to the wild swings that the financial markets have been experiencing over the past thirty years. The solution to public employee cost is to have fewer employees. See how efficiently and effectively a state or municipal agency can provide an essential service without sufficient numbers of staff. If the pay and pensions of public employment are so generous why are not more people lining up to do the work? Why are college graduates not falling over one another to become teachers?
If the current corps of teachers is so deficient and so much the cause of so-called ineffective education, as so many of those same ideoloques complain, what will be offered to the newest hirees to better assure that better teachers are hired and retained? Corporate America continuously tells the public that hugely generous compensation packages are needed to attract and retain the best executives. Why is that not the answer to better public employees?
Sweeping generalizations from the right met with sweeping generalizations from the left.
Some states (Ohio) are in relatively good shape as far as pension funding and fair employee contracts.
Some states (Michigan, NJ) and their local units are absolue cluster messes. Detroit and environs are the worst basket cases, big surprise (the hottest growth indudtry in Michigan these days is the indictment and conviction of former Democrat office holders).
That Prof. Beale wants higher taxes in Michigan is no surprise, but the second hottest business in Michigan is moving vans. The good old days of assured prosperity are over.
someone is lying to you.
that’s generally true, but let me pick up on one issue you mention.
“improve the schools” has been a perrenial political “issue” for the past sixty years that i know of. the reason is the schools never get better. the reason is the teachers never get better. the reason is the children never get smarter. the sad fact of human life is that humans are not as smart as they think they are. maybe one teacher out of a hundred is a teaching genius. and maybe one child out of a hundred is about as smart as we all like to think our kid would be if only the teachers were better. but it’s never gonna happen.
the really ugly thing about education is that it produces the Mankiws and Orszags and Geithners and Biggses and is proud of itself.
“Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009,…” Sammy
You dumb ass. It took me all of three minutes to find this more explanatory information which debunks your assinine statement.
There are a number of factors that explain why average compensation for federal government non-postal civilian employees is higher than average compensation for private-sector employees.
The mix of occupations held by federal government civilian employees is different from that of occupations held by the entire private-sector workforce. The private-sector workforce are in a wider range of jobs than federal government employees — from minimum-wage positions to highly paid CEOs. According to studies conducted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), jobs in the federal government civilian workforce are concentrated in professional (e.g., lawyers, accountants, and economists), administrative, and technical occupations.1 In addition, skill levels and educational attainment tend to be higher, on average, for federal government civilian employees than for private-sector employees because of the occupational requirements in the federal government.2 Over the past several years, there has been a shift in federal employment toward higher-skilled, higher-paid positions because lower-skilled (and lower-paid) positions have been contracted out to private industries.1 This trend has contributed to higher average pay for federal government civilian employees than for private-sector employees. On average, federal government employees receive higher benefits in the form of pensions and health insurance contributions than private-sector employees; some private-sector employees receive no benefits. Moreover, federal compensation estimates include sizable payments for unfunded liabilities that distort comparisons with private-sector compensation. For 2006, for example, the value of these payments for unfunded liability was $28.6 billion or 10.7 percent of total federal civilian compensation. Please see the FAQ “How does BEA treat federal payments to the Military and Civil Service Retirement Funds?” for more information on payments for unfunded liabilities.
“The good old days of assured prosperity are over.” str
Ths problem isn’t an absence of prosperity in the US. The problem is, and has been building to be over the past three or four decades, the markedly skewed distribution of income arising from that prosperity and the disparate wealth arising from that skewed distribution.
What Jack said. Education and tenure-adjusted pay is still lower for government workers than for private workers, despite faster gains for government workers in recent years. The latest comparison I saw put the gap at about 4%. To my mind, since these comparisons are crude, that is pretty close to zero. The pay gap between the sexes is still about 5 times that wide, if memory serves. But there is no big pay advantage to working for government.
And of course, there is the personal cost to taking government pay of having a whole bunch of half-wits saying bad things about you without having the slightest notion of whether they are true.
I was referring to Michigan specifically.
Well let’s not blame the teachers for the sins of their product. In education and learning the teacher is but one factor, and how important a factor they may be is only speculation. We all know the anecdotes regarding the wonderful and awful teachers. Guess what. Teachers come from the same pool of potential professionals as do all others. No profession is 100% excellent. That’s why we can distinguish those that are.
What home life does the child come to school from? How attentive have the parents been to exposing the child to a learning environment from their first months and after? What of the physical and emotional health of the child? All are variables in a child’s learning experience that are out of the teacher’s control. The school environment is also beyond the individual teacher’s control. Class size makes a difference. Class disturbances and disruptions can have a negative effect on classroom learning. The two are related and can have a profound effect on an educational outcome. What of the school’s physical plant? Is your child in a dilapidated classroom and building all day? Is there sufficient lighting and temperature control?
It boils down to one significant and universal factor. Good educational opportunity costs real money. You can’t educate large numbers of children on the cheap. Good funding doesn’t work, you say? Check out the most effective schools in your area. They’re in the neighborhoods with the highest propety/school tax base. Granted the kids come from the wealthiest families and have that for an added advantage. The free market theorists know well that any product development requires a significant financial investment. You get what you pay for in everfy walk of life.
i agree. but i went to school in times that were poor compared to today. we did not have state of the art laboratories and out teachers were mostly so – so. some really great, some closet psychopaths. and while i’d like to see the bad ones get weeded out, when i see who will do the weeding, i’d rather take my chances with the teachers. point i was getting to before i so rudely interrupted myself is that i seem to have gotten a better education than Mankiw, for example, with limited “plant,” and mostly out of old books without any pictures or colored text.
at some point it isn’t a question of “money.” I think it’s a question of honest intent, but i haven’t seen much of that lately.
Apparently Linda Beale, coberly, Jack, and kharris couldn’t locate the following July 2010 Federal pay and benefits study. The same oversight applies to Thoma and Baker in other discussions elsewhere.
Inflated Federal Pay: How Americans Are Overtaxed to Overpay the Civil Service
by James Sherk
Center for Data Analysis Report #10-05
July 7, 2010
Those who want to challenge the study should try to refute it with hard facts.
Beale’s claim, “Public employees by and large are paid less than they could be in private positions requiring similar competencies”, is a typical throwaway line that isn’t supported by evidence here for many occupation groupings.
Beale is out on a weak limb, particularly with regard to Federal wage and benefit increases including military pay during the last decade. The old, standard line of defense for Federal wages and benefits isn’t going to cut it at this point. The same applies to citing Wall Street salaries. Such nonsense.
Back in June, the Senate Democrats flatly refused an opportunity to freeze Federal wages at current levels. Yet, Social Security benefits will not be adjusted next year.
what a farcical article. Typical for a big government public employee. There is an old saying about never confusing a good story with the facts. The facts are that public sector compensation has been surging while real wages in the private sector have stagnated or even falling. Transfer payments account for a huge proportion of personal income and almost entirely all of its gains. Look at what the NPV is for these pensioners. For most of us to be comparable in our 401ks we would have to have contributions in the millions to equate with the type of benefits that have been negotiated with the unions. There is going to come a time when people simply refuse to pay for the largess when they themselves are getting squeezed at every turn. If the pensions go bust, so be it. Hopefully Beale and her merry band of Socialists will enjoy that moment.
It is a pyramid game in reverse. You have fewer and fewer people able to support the insatiable appetite of funds from the big government oligarchs. It never ceases to amaze me who people like Beale think money and wealth is created from nonething. I guess in the world with a maniac like Bernanke and Obama, one would tend to believe such jibberish. But there is no free lunch. Somewhere along the line, someone has to EARN that money to create the wealth. When their ability and incentive to do that is crushed beyond the point of recognition, I will offer my hand to the likes of the Socialists. “Congratulations Ms Beale, you know have 100% tax rate of nothing”.
That is one hell of a study by Sherk. There is a ton of data presented in graph format that perports to present measurements and valid comparisons of a great many job categories. Problem is that there seems to be no way to check the validity of any of the data that Sherk presents. Also, in good Heritage Foundation style, Sherk jumps from his poorly referenced mountains of data to recommendations concerning balancing the Federal budget. So we’re to believe that this “researcher” is unbiased and honest in his reporting though he concludes his paper with suggestions that are ideological in their intent. Please MG, provide us with some scrap of evidence that Sherk’s data can be replicated by an unbiased researcher. It would otherwise seem that Sherk is being paid by an ideological organization to spend his time compiling unverifiable statistics for the purpose of supporting a predetermined argument.
Actually we should attack the politicians who wanted their cake and to eat it also. They chose to underfund the pension accounts (much more state and local than federal where the plans are not as good). By not paying today they kicked the can down the road. Now there are a few obvious ways to stop gaming the state and local pension system. 1 it is the highest 3 out of the last 5 that determines the pension, and only some percent of overtime may be used in the calculation. Secondly make sick pay not accumulate over time, vacations if untaken yes, but sick pay no. Thirdly send the folks who ran Bell Ca to jail as a message about sucking at the public trough, much of law enforcement is by example.
Didn’t we just go over this three days ago? The issue is that politicians promised pensions and other benefits without charging the current citizenry for it. Now that current citizenry is pissed because
1. They see their own wages and benefits responding to the market and competition while those of the public sector APPEAR (whether factually true or not) to not respond to the market. Shouldn’t it be cheaper to hire new public sector employees today than 4 years ago?
2. They missed their opportunity to choose the level of services and/or how those services were procured and paid for because their elected leaders hid the true costs of those services.
Conclusion: the public may be missed enough to withdraw benefits and pensions, or force their government into bankruptcy to get out from under them to start fresh, All the other comments and claims in this post about lazy workers, high paid workers, etc are just strawmen.
And lastly, the third reason the citizenry is pissed about this issue, is that it appears public sector unions use their political power to support pols who turn around and reward them with pensions and benefits. I think the citizenry is correct in considering this unseemly.
Well, this citizen is pissed about public sector pensions because no one I know who’s worked in the corporate sector HAS a pension, of any kind.
The trick is to target the anger away from the public sector pensions and TOWARD the corporations that eliminated pensions. The unions that are left could go a long way to getting the general public on their side if instead of fighting for their own pensions they fought for pensions for EVERYONE.
Corporations don’t endure long enough to offer pensions. They come and go. And when they go the PBGC is on the hook, which is backstopped by taxpayers. Taxpayers cannot be in the business of backstopping corporate errors. Companies do stupid things that destroy their viability. They commit fraud and go bankrupt. They miss changes in customer taste and disappear. There are so many thousands of ways for companies to fail that it is foolish to depend on them for a pension. We know this now.
Social security is the backstop and works just fine.
The paper only included three simple graphs, one of which was a six panel. There is nothing earthshaking in the charts…that’s basic info.
The report’s action is outlined in the ten primary tables presented, all of which identify data sources. The author provided seven additional tables of info in the 9 appendix section, which included one appendix for data and methodology as well as another for detailed Oaxaca decomposition results. Moreover, the author included 38 footnotes which provided further explanations.
All of the source data cited by the author is publicly available data. There is no mystery here.
I saw no problems with the econometrics and labor economics employed in providing this analysis. If you have a specific complaint about any of the tables, cite it.
If you know of a more detailed current report on Federal wages and benefits in comparison to the private sector, provide a link if one is available.
And some of the powers that be want to cut it also. I guess work until you die is their motto.
I don’t think it should be cut, but our society needs to move away from pensions based on transient things like companies and municipalities that can shrivel and disappear from migration of people from one area to another. Social security is the backstop.
But consider for example Belgium which may well split up, (the french and the flemish have no use for each other) so even countries are transient.
yes, that is the hope of the current “government is bad for you” politicians.
the South shall rise again!
That’s an interesting example for transitory states that you give. Considering that Belgium has been a recognnizable entity for about 3,000 years I’d say it has some staying power.
nice of you to cite me by name.
so i guess i have to respond.
Your assertion that “I saw no problems with the… analysis” is hardly determinative. What qualifications have you ever demonstrated that “analysis” means anything to you other than “I like or dislike the conclusions”?
There is no need to carefully examine the details of the claim. It is a classic logical error on its face.. one of the standard models for deceiving the people.
No “analysis” of milions of jobs that claims to compare them “for similar work” across completely different settings, ought to be taken seriously. If you can show a single government job which is “overpaid,” you should bring it to the attention of Congress, which is in a mood to cut costs these days. On the other hand you will have to deal with the market reality that these jobs are filled by the same sort of supply and demand in the labor market as private sector jobs. So I guess a job is “worth” whatever you can get someone to do it for, or pay for it.
Now, if you had asked me when I was a public sector worker if my boss deserved his pay, I’d have said no. But there is a good chance he would have said the same thing about me. No doubt you could build a political campaign around this, especially if you were careful about exactly what you said to which audience, but you really couldn’t run a railroad,much less a country, on that basis.
Your friends will not be happy until public employees are forced to take bribes as a way of making a living.
it’s all a question of using “the little grey cells.” (H. Poirot)
I don’t know who I am addressing with this comment. All here know “lies, damn lies and statistics” but I am disappointed in some of the remarks (but not surprised). Aside – I am beginning to wonder if, to some extent, the word “socialist” is a substitute for an old word that starts with “N”.
Those who say that the comparisons are bogus are correct (IMO). For example, the federal government has broad job classifications that lose their relation to the job performed quite rapidly but most federal employees do not change classification.
As I understand it a “biologist” might be anyone who has a biology degree at any level and in any job if no one bothered to reclassify them. They might be holding a job that is more like “full or associate or assistant professor” or “chief scientist” or “transition manager” or “research biologist” or “bench biologist” or ….
With engineers as I understand it, the job performed by federal government engineers are typically higher level with more responsibility than most engineers in private companies.
Well, I won’t quibble about this but if it is true that “biologists” in the federal government tend overwhelmingly to be older and more degreed than private industry, then that alone means that in order to do an appropriate study, each actual job capacity needs to be compared as well as age and responsibilities. A study like these that compared Pharmaceutical research chemists with agricultural extension service test chemists would be similarly bogus.
The data in Table I of the publication below is interesting and I am sure the first objection will be that it doesn’t show the entire picture; but, isn’t that the argument that people are making, correctly IMO, about the Heritage studies?
One thing I do note is that the governments can’t use H1Bs to lower salaries of highly degreed people. But I guess private industry could whittle away over time and then Republicans could use comparisons to whittle the remaining high skilled US wages using “thinkers/thinners” like Heritage and CATO.
Jack says sammy you dumb ass.
I won’t take this personally as it would be better directed to the authors of the study for USA Today. Also, these guys would considered “dumb asses” by you:
Federal Employees pay Outpaces Private Sector Pay
The average federal worker earned $100.178 in wages and benefits in 2004, which compared to $51.876 for the average private-sector worker, according the the US Bureau of Economic Analysis data. http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb-0605-35.pdf
The Commerce Department recently released its annual report on worker compensation by industry. In particular, the report compared the average compensation for federal civilian (non-military) workers versus those employed in the private sector. We’ve long known that the average federal worker makes more than the average private industry worker.
The new report was a shocker as it revealed that the average federal worker made more than twice that of the average private sector worker in 2009 – $123,000 versus $61,000!
Public employee compensation is out of line with the private sector in every area. There are thousands of individual government agencies in the state employing over 2 million individuals. Whether the standard is salary, working conditions, benefits, or especially pensions. public employees recieve compensation far in excess of what workers in the private sector do. http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/files/2010/10/Californiacenterforpublicpolicy.pdf
When so many individual studies, using data that is straight forward to analyze, with numbers that are not in dispute, come to the same conclusion. you should at least consider that they might not be the “dumb asses” here.
Damn those government McDonald flippers with those $123K wages.
My apologies. Others have had their posts appear multiply but this is my first experience. Hope it doesn’t happen again but here goes nothing.
Sammy, the USA today has been completely discredited.
For example you say that the “AVERAGE” federal employee earns $123,049.
Take a look at the federal pay scale in the Stack study MG references.
You see there are 15 pay grades each with 10 steps for a total of 150 pay divisions.
Accorditng to the table a federal employee earning $123,049 dollars would be a grade 14 step 6 employee.
That is pay grade 146 out of 150 grades. If the federal employees and equally distributed among the 150 pay steps that would mean that the ‘AVERAGE” federal employee is paid more than 97% of all federal employees. Maybe you can figure out the math that makes that possible, but I can not.
According to what is the best paper on federal pay is the the CBO paper, “Characteristics and Pay of Federal Civilian Employees,” March 2007, at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/78xx/doc7874/03-15-Federal_Personnel.pdf.
It reports that the average federal employee is a GS 10 step 2. In the Stack study the table of federal payrolls shows that a GS 10 step 2 earns $58,702, or 47% of what you claim.
MG — I would suggest that you also look at the CBO study and tell me what is wrong with it.
The Stack study like the USA Today cherry picks data to reach an erroneous study.
Did you read all of the stack study, including annex D. I suggest you look at it.
What you will find is a detailed explanation of how he derives his estimate of federal pay.
His study is more sophisticated than the USA Today study in that he uses Oaxaca Decomposition of the characteristics of employees to determine what accounts for their pay. He appears to use what is standard categories to determine this.
For example, on education he has five categories: High School diploma, an AA degree, some college, a BA,
a Masters, and a PhD. But he omits one variable, employees with a BA degree.
On marriage status he looks at: widowed, Divorced, separated, never married and married. But again he omits one variable, married.
At citizenship his variables are: Native born, foreign born citizen, foreign born non-citizen, native born of American parent. This time his omitted variable is native born of American parents.
On sex he omits male.
I’ll quit here. But that what this means he is reporting on regression analysis that determines federal pay for female, unmarried, without a BA, not native born of American parents, etc.,etc.
Do you really think this describes the typical or “AVERAGE” federal employee?
So why do you think he put this in an appendix that hardly anyone will look at?
So I just did a factual analyis of the problem with the Stack study as you requested. You do it for the CBO paper.
Here is what is going on in DoD anyway (since about 1988): Fewer GS employees, more contractors so the concentration of managers versus lower level GS’ replaced by beltway bandits means more GS 15’s relative to GS 12’s, both fairly high rates. Similarly fewer captains’ work done as badly if not worse by beltway toadies, means relatively more telephone and bird colonels.
I venture the contracting out has done that to DoT, and DoE as well as the others which do “technical” management stuff.
One could conclude rightly that the higher grades are not managing very well so the object grades should get reduced.
Won’t do much for all the waste and abuse in the corporate welfare side other than increase the margins going to the beltway bandits.
The key term is who keeps the bandit off the taxpayer, and the civil service with “cronie seeking employment in the future” colonels ain’t doing so well.
I take anything from Heritage with a huge bag of salt.
What has also happened is: federal sector pay scales have been rising based on congress’ annual determination of both military and civil service pay raises.
In years that SS COL rose congress rarely legislated the raises equal to COL for military and civil service rates. It has usually been lower than COL.
If federal pay scales are now higher in some measures than private sector it is also because of the depression in industry.
If the market is less successful at raising living standards than the congress then do you blame congress, the market or military and civil service workers?
Data leads to something being done, what good is Heritage data?
I just did a factual analyis of the problem with the Stack study as you requested….If the federal employees and equally distributed among the 150 pay steps that would mean that the ‘AVERAGE” federal employee is paid more than 97% of all federal employees. Maybe you can figure out the math that makes that possible, but I can not.
That’s because you did it wrong.
You say For example you say that the “AVERAGE” federal employee earns $123,049.
That’s not what the study says. It says the average employee earns $81,258. With benefits, including pension, that comes to $123, 049 http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/income/2010-08-10-1Afedpay10_ST_N.htm
Well, the Chicago Fed did a conference on the issue in Feb, 2009, and provided the caveats appropriate to the reseach done by reputable persons. Including several time frames of periods of comparisons…I am still trying to get original data, but the summary is useful, which I will post.
Much of the google search links provided the junk reporting and spinoffs from the USA Today article and their use of the one study as confirmation of whatever was being sold.
Your facts are non existent in your remark. Bring some along instead of slogans gml. And few bumpersticker slogans.
A matter of strategy and framing isn’t it. I wonder when that will happen?
Well again, the chicago Fed in 2009. The USA and Heritage stuff is useless stats…MG I know is stirring the pot to goose responses.
Sammy, benefits have a history and a growth that favors government employees currently due to percentages of health insurance premiums and retirement packages, yes, but I think the same flaws in who is “average” apply to wages and benefits. But descriptions that lead to simple divisive formulas should be suspect due to sources and electioneering.
There were also times when government employees were on the very short end of the stick as well.
I saw others saying that the benefits at $42,000 is almost a median private sector wage. Now, explain to me how $42000 a year in benefits is managed on average…or 50% of wages on average.
you’re ridiculous. Should I reprint all of the articles over the last year and economic reports that confirm all of that on a blog? Well, here is a morsel.
Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data are the latest available.
American states’ pension fundsA gold-plated burdenHard-pressed American states face a crushing pensions bill
Oct 14th 2010
I could sit here and write all day.
No, you’re entitled to nothing. Nobody owes you anything. Those so called Corporations that you despise are what generate wealth and keep people employed. The key is to make the tax burden lower and regulations lower (not Obama Care and Tax and Cap) so that they hire more Americans instead of shipping the jobs overseas. Stop pontificating and learn what it takes to make a living rather than someone else giving you a living
The message is a simple one. The non productive, non producing bureacratic charlatans are having their incomes and benefits rise disproportionally and substantially greater than the private sector. The economy will not survive such nonsense.
It appears that you already enjoy the liberty to express yourself in an ignorant and uninformed manner. Would you like to be a little more specific about who it is that is being a “non productive, non producing bureaucratic charlatan..” Or do you simply enjoy throwing stones in an indiscriminate manner?