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Are Government Employees Overpaid?

News 2010/11/14 11:00:00
Related Topics: Elect, Tea Party, Debt, Deficit
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Something’s gotta give. With President Obama and Republicans vowing to focus on deficit reduction when the new Congress is seated in January, the cuts have to come somewhere.

Tea Party darling and GOP Senator-elect Rand Paul of Kentucky has a simple idea for how we can reduce the federal payroll by at least 10 percent: cut the salaries of all those fat cat government employees.

You know, the ones who are making CEO-worthy cash while the rest of us are struggling to get by.

Paul told ABC’s “This Week” that, according to his calculations, the average government employee earns a six-figure salary.

"The average private employee makes $60,000 a year,” Paul said. “Let's get them more in line, and let's find savings. Let's hire no new federal workers."

And even though the Federal Debt Commission agreed on Wednesday that the federal workforce should be trimmed by 10 percent and that federal government salaries should be frozen across the board, the reality, according to ABC News, is that the average government employee doesn’t earn anywhere near Paul’s apocryphal $120K figure.

Instead, a spokesperson for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management said the median government salary is actually … $65,000, while the latest data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that full-time federal employees earned an average of $73,765 in 2009, while federal civil servants brought home $81,258.

Some federal employees told ABC that because of layoffs, like many office workers, they are now doing more than one job for the same pay.

"You have to consider differences in experience and education," Jeffrey H. Keefe, a professor with Rutgers University's School of Management and Labor Relations told ABC. "My suspicion is the federal government is really weighted heavily towards professional [jobs]."

Unlike the mix of jobs in the private sector, which range from minimum wage to well- compensated CEOs, federal jobs are concentrated in professional, administrative and technical occupations, with most of the lower-skill federal gigs that require less than a high school education outsourced.

So, do you think the government should cut the wages of federal workers to reduce spending?

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Top Opinion

  • Rockies Man 2010/11/14 20:44:11
    Yes
    Rockies Man
    +22
    Without a doubt! Not only should their salaries be cut, but their numbers as well. They are inefficient, non-productive and a drain on the economy. The post office is the classic example of government waste, the price goes up, salaries go up, the post office loses billions every year and production goes down

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  • MusicMan 2012/05/13 12:46:42
    Yes
    MusicMan
    Most definitely!
  • Steve 2011/12/20 20:03:00
    No
    Steve
    I have read so many comments that have all Gov jobs , or Fed jobs lumped together saying We all need to take pay cuts ... Well what about the middle class Government worker. I work in an Ohio Schools Maintenance Dept making an Average of $ 41,000!!! as a Government employee I would be subject to that Mass pay cut.. I am a lower middle class Working man, who Busts his butt to provide for his Family, and you want to take money from My Family !! look at the big picture All Government workers are not on the same pay Scale !! Be more specific as to who is being over payed. I think most of your salary projections are Way off !!!
  • LAAD Gunner - USMC 2010/11/24 05:29:58
    Yes
    LAAD Gunner - USMC
    Yes and guess whose pocket it comes from
  • drewsanchez 2010/11/18 05:46:20
    No
    drewsanchez
    Because the present White House Administration does not want to upset "the apple cart" among the Democratic cronies. And why are they allowed to vote themselves a raise, especially in these poor economic times and for doing nothing for the citizens of the US?
    http://healthproductadvice.co...
  • ray 2010/11/16 16:00:28
    Yes
    ray
    Minimum wage is what they deserve for the jobs the uselly cant do correctly!
  • rt 2010/11/16 15:38:42
    Yes
    rt
    +1
    Don't use the arguement that if we don't compensate them excessively they will go work someplace else like the big corporations and banks do. If they want to go let them go, anybody can be replaced. This goes for the senators and representatives too. Get rid of their mega pensions and let them pay for their healthcare like most of us.
  • John "By God" American 2010/11/16 15:28:03
    Yes
    John "By God" American
    +1
    Even more than that, the benefits they receive!!! Why should they be entitled to the benefits package and retirement they get. Make them responsible for there own retirement, just like everyone else!
  • IndyLinda 2010/11/16 15:19:27
    Yes
    IndyLinda
    +1
    Drop them all back to minimum wage basis and *very* slight steps in wage increase. No mimicking corporate management salaries. No government or public sector unions. "Normalize" their pension to Social Security, NOW! They are, on the whole, drones, not worker bees. They have sucked the system long enough.
  • marissa 2010/11/16 15:14:55
    No
    marissa
    NOO! GO FBI<3
  • merlinskiss 2010/11/16 15:03:45
    Yes
    merlinskiss
    +2
    Not only are their salaries out of line with the rest of America but their benefits are as well. They also have way to much job security. My opinion anyway and I got it from government employees that I know when they talk about how this bad economy doesn't bother them much.
  • THE REV merlins... 2010/11/16 15:22:32
    THE REV
    +2
    And what about elected rank and file officials, they average $174,000.00 per year, and have an automatic salary increase every year. House and Senate leaders make $194,000.00 anually
    Another way to cut salaries and gain taxes would be to have a Fair Tax, 18% across the board for everyone, not on your income but only on items purchased once you paid your tax for purchase that's it. and this would also apply to used items by applying a 10% flat tax.

    It would remove the IRS all together... Average income for IRS employees is $70,000.00
  • merlins... THE REV 2010/11/16 15:30:28
    merlinskiss
    +1
    You won't get any argument from me. But the reality of the situation is that with a simple tax code, there would be a massive rise in unemployment not only in the IRS, but in accountants, lawyers, and a plethora of other related professions. Maybe that would be a good thing after the shock wave passed.
  • THE REV merlins... 2010/11/18 13:45:35
    THE REV
    +1
    Exactly, though some could gain employment with retailers which would be responsible for the increased tax burden, and one other note, no more lawyers in DC, I honestly believe that term limits should be installed, but just the same, and I don't mean to sound as a Socialist or Comunist, but registered voters in a specific age group should qualify just the same a jury selection and be called to service in government, then truly we would once again be a government of the people for the people..
  • Lace 2010/11/16 14:53:14
    Yes
    Lace
    +2
    Hey, finally a question we can all agree on! ;)
    And as for the 50 people who voted 'No', get off Sodahead.com government officials!!
  • Pat 2010/11/16 14:38:54
    Yes
    Pat
    +2
    Especially the latest raises when they also voted down a cost of living increase for social security recipients.
  • phoenix... Pat 2010/11/17 22:24:35
    phoenix AFCL
    I think it is the law that congress gets no raise unless government employees get a raise. Cozy, huh?
  • sjalan 2010/11/16 14:31:49 (edited)
    No
    sjalan
    No they are not over paid. AND this is not the question that was asked in the previous page. That question was "Should government employees salaries be cut by 10%?"

    If the salaries of the roughly 3 million federal employees or for that matter any employee of any company,state or local governmet are cut by 10% you create an immediate 10% INFLATION of salaries v cost of goods and services for those employees. Prices are NOT going to drop just because someones salary drops 10%. Let's look a little closer too. An average federal employee DOES NOT a six figure salary. The last figures I saw was the average is about $59800. So multiply that average reduction in wages of 10% (roughly $6000) by 3 million you get roughly $18 Billion in reduced wages. The ripple effect of that reduction in wages to the rest of the economy will be staggering.

    Along with those salary cuts Rand Paul wants to reduce the numbers of federal employees. Let's see say Rand Paul has his way and we reduce the number of federal employees by 25% (that is the figure he has been tossing around since the beginning of his campaign), that is 7.5 million jobs cut. Now how much will that cost the economy? 7.5 times say the average $60k? -- That's $450 BILLION dollars additional in salaries that will come out of the eco...









    No they are not over paid. AND this is not the question that was asked in the previous page. That question was "Should government employees salaries be cut by 10%?"

    If the salaries of the roughly 3 million federal employees or for that matter any employee of any company,state or local governmet are cut by 10% you create an immediate 10% INFLATION of salaries v cost of goods and services for those employees. Prices are NOT going to drop just because someones salary drops 10%. Let's look a little closer too. An average federal employee DOES NOT a six figure salary. The last figures I saw was the average is about $59800. So multiply that average reduction in wages of 10% (roughly $6000) by 3 million you get roughly $18 Billion in reduced wages. The ripple effect of that reduction in wages to the rest of the economy will be staggering.

    Along with those salary cuts Rand Paul wants to reduce the numbers of federal employees. Let's see say Rand Paul has his way and we reduce the number of federal employees by 25% (that is the figure he has been tossing around since the beginning of his campaign), that is 7.5 million jobs cut. Now how much will that cost the economy? 7.5 times say the average $60k? -- That's $450 BILLION dollars additional in salaries that will come out of the economy.

    So Total $450+$18 Billions is $468 BILLIONS in salaries that will NOT BE SPENT into our economy. Result? Well lets just say the ripple effect will be Catastrophic!!. Want to see retail take a $468 BILLION DOLLAR CUT!!! Where do the jobs go when that many people stop spending????

    Oh and where are all those people going to go the first day out of the job. Straight to the unemployment line. Opps!! That won't be there either, cause the Republicans and Tea Baggers want to get rid of unemployment benefits too!!!! As well as health care OPPS!! Another big one Everyone of those people laid off will head for the wellfare office for food stamps and general assistance and MEDICADE!!! MORE money going out. OH BUT NO!!! The Republicans want to get rid of food stamps and general assistance and MEDICAL as well!!!!

    ONSET of the second major and devistating recession since the great depression. Think I'm wrong? JUST ASK ANY MACRO ECONOMIST!!!!

    Certainly glad I live in the country and away from the big cities. Certainly glad I have a nearly indestrutable home, all concrete. Certainly glad I owe no one any money. Certainly glad I saw this coming 15 years ago and put my finances a ZERO debt position.

    THANK YOU DAVE RAMSEY!!!
    (more)
  • erinjoy sjalan 2010/11/16 15:18:15
  • sjalan erinjoy 2010/11/16 15:42:51
    sjalan
    Thank you erinjoy, You just doubled my figures. Instead of $6000 and $18 billion and $60k and $450 Billions, they would be $15000 and $45 Billions and $1.125 TRILLION Dollars TOTAL???
    $1.17 TRILLION DOLLARS TAKEN OUT OF THE RETAIL BUSINESSES IN THE COUNTRY!!! And the ripple effect will be felt all around the world!!!!

    Thanks very much. You just MADE my case for NOT pulling off the Tea Bagger agenda.
  • erinjoy sjalan 2010/11/16 15:52:34 (edited)
    erinjoy
    +1
    Here is what you and everyone else who thinks it's ok to pay the Public sector so much money are missing:
    *Private is paying the Public's salary. Public IS NOT paying Private's salary.
    The Public sector is funded solely on the taxes the gov't takes in.
    The Private sector is solely funded on investment and/or profits.
  • John "B... sjalan 2010/11/16 15:29:42
    John "By God" American
    +2
    You sound like a typical faceless bureaucrat trying to justify their existence.
  • sjalan John "B... 2010/11/16 15:34:32
    sjalan
    Nope self made independant business person who got out of the entire system some 15 years ago and have never looked back. The constant division being created in our country by the ultra right, both political and religious, as well as the corporatist that are the greedy bastards that caused this mess, are tearing our country apart.

    Soon, VERY SOON, there will be a revolt by the little guys against this greed and this country will see an upheaval the likes of which has NEVER been seen before.

    I would suggest to you John "B" that you get YOUR house in order as well if you want to survive it.
  • erinjoy sjalan 2010/11/16 15:54:24 (edited)
    erinjoy
    You are not a business person. True business people do not agree with your assessment, buddy.
  • sjalan erinjoy 2010/11/16 16:59:50
    sjalan
    Really? I started my business's when I was 18. I have made and lost more money than most likely you have earned in your lifetime. About 16 years ago I hit bottom, AGAIN, because of actions outside of my control. Then I met Dave Ramsey. I have been debt free for over 13 years. I live outside of the normal economy. I have NO DEBT of any kind except to the local county for basic taxes. I live on my own ranch where I homesteaded over 200 acres. I am fully independant of the outside economy, but do buy things occationally for improvement of my independance. My investments are in growth areas and I watch them closely.

    I have watched the economy go up and down so many times I got off the roller coaster and now live a simple life. That roller coaster that you say I am not a part of is going to implode shortly because of the greed and lack of concern for the little guy. The Big Corporations have stripped the wealth from the little guy and sent it overseas via jobs and buying from "cheap" produciton markets.

    You see the problem is that those "cheap" production sources are simply transfers of wealth OUT of the country. We send trillions of dollars out of the economy that we could be spending right here in the US.

    As for your "true business people" scrach the surface of each and you...

    Really? I started my business's when I was 18. I have made and lost more money than most likely you have earned in your lifetime. About 16 years ago I hit bottom, AGAIN, because of actions outside of my control. Then I met Dave Ramsey. I have been debt free for over 13 years. I live outside of the normal economy. I have NO DEBT of any kind except to the local county for basic taxes. I live on my own ranch where I homesteaded over 200 acres. I am fully independant of the outside economy, but do buy things occationally for improvement of my independance. My investments are in growth areas and I watch them closely.

    I have watched the economy go up and down so many times I got off the roller coaster and now live a simple life. That roller coaster that you say I am not a part of is going to implode shortly because of the greed and lack of concern for the little guy. The Big Corporations have stripped the wealth from the little guy and sent it overseas via jobs and buying from "cheap" produciton markets.

    You see the problem is that those "cheap" production sources are simply transfers of wealth OUT of the country. We send trillions of dollars out of the economy that we could be spending right here in the US.

    As for your "true business people" scrach the surface of each and you will find a greedy individual or corporation that is not looking out for the people but looking to put as much money in their own pockets as possible.

    The country is Bankrupt but doesn't have the sense to face it. ALL caused by greed.
    (more)
  • erinjoy sjalan 2010/11/16 17:11:00
    erinjoy
    You are not completely independant of the gov't--you must pay property taxes on that 200 acres of land...unless you're flying under the radar?
    Dave Ramsey is wonderful, too. Agreed there.
  • John "B... sjalan 2010/11/17 10:51:10
    John "By God" American
    +1
    I don't disagree with you about greed and big corporations. What I vehemently disagree with you about is you singling out the ultra right. Extreme viewpoints on either side cause division. You think there aren't any greedy corporatists who are progressive? Think again. Your boy Obama is one of them. He takes our tax dollars and hands it out as bailout money to corporate fat cats who use it as f*cking bonuses. He has more loser, piece of sh*t Wall Street insiders in his Cabinet than any other President, ever. Progressives are just as greedy, they just do it differently...
  • Netminder69 2010/11/16 14:18:59
    Yes
    Netminder69
    +1
    A federal worker doing the same job as private sector employee makes more money. Add in their benefits and it's significantly higher, no matter what BS ABC is spewing. Cut the pay. Cut the # of workers.
  • Theojt 2010/11/16 14:14:59
    Yes
    Theojt
    +2
    Superb idea! Government salaries have eclipsed those in private industry - no doubt because this Administration see only two castes - (1) the government, where people are gainfully employed and well paid; and (2) the welfare state, where people subsist off of the government teat.
  • freethinker 2010/11/16 13:57:52
    Yes
    freethinker
    +2
    Hell Yeah!! Like Beck said, "Pay them as much as our soldiers on the front line!"
  • BRADY 2010/11/16 08:20:16
    Yes
    BRADY
    +4
    Parasites.
  • PatrickJLoveless 2010/11/16 07:34:20
    Yes
    PatrickJLoveless
    +4
    They're overpaid. They are important, yes, but does the President really need a salary of $400,000 a year in a house he lives in free of charge? And I realise senators play a vital role in the government, but maybe they could trim down their $174,000 a year salaries a bit? For the people? Pleeeaaase?

    We can't afford to keep borrowing money from China! We'll become the next, gigantic, Iceland!
  • Theojt Patrick... 2010/11/16 14:16:12
    Theojt
    +1
    I don't have a problem with those salaries so much - they are elected officials. It's the thousands of other salaries that are all in 6 figures that I think are the problem.
  • Patrick... Theojt 2010/11/16 17:21:54
    PatrickJLoveless
    +1
    Ah, yes, like the Postmaster General. So I have heard, he makes $800,000 a year. And the post office is going bankrupt! Hah!
  • Theojt Patrick... 2010/11/19 18:54:55
    Theojt
    Yeah, how is that?
  • Patrick... Theojt 2010/11/19 19:38:20
    PatrickJLoveless
    *shrugs*
  • AgitateEducateDisseminate 2010/11/16 05:49:36
    Yes
    AgitateEducateDisseminate
    +3
    The president should receive no salary.
  • IndyLinda Agitate... 2010/11/16 15:21:41
    IndyLinda
    +2
    Minimal room and board. No Kobe beef.
  • Manuel 2010/11/16 05:31:18
    No
    Manuel
    Why cut them now? Just because Obama is President? How stupid...why didn't they cut it when Reagan or Bush were in?
  • Agitate... Manuel 2010/11/16 05:50:36
    AgitateEducateDisseminate
    +4
    Yeah, I agree that they should have done it earlier, but might as well do it at some point...
  • Manuel Agitate... 2010/11/16 18:01:39
    Manuel
    Should every American that works take a pay cut too? Wouldn't that also help the economy?
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