Gov Careers

By Phil Piemonte

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Overpaid feds found!

Flash! Most of the highest-paid federal employees are doctors and lawyers!

(If you are thinking "duh," you are probably not alone.)

But that's the news from USA Today, which has generated a lot of the stories that have provided fodder for purveyors of “overpaid fed” hysteria.

According to the publication, docs at the Veterans Health Administration and the National Institutes of Health, together with Securities and Exchange Commission attorneys, “represent the most numerous groups among at least 17,828 federal employees whose annualized salaries totaled $180,000 or more in September 2010.”

Wait a minute. We’re talking about not quite 18,000 employees — a large number of them doctors or lawyers — out of 2 million or so federal workers?

Isn’t that almost statistically insignificant or something?

The publication looked at Office of Personnel Management stats and found that, as of September 2010, about two-thirds of that group — 12,708 of them — were VHA doctors. And there were lots of other docs at agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Indian Health Service. Another 598 of the highest-paid group were SEC attorneys.

If you are saying that these are, after all, doctors, lawyers and top scientists and that’s how much they make and more, you would be right. More in private practice, from a quick look at docs’ wages and earnings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Of course, that won’t stop critics from saying that the federal workforce is overpaid as a whole.

But you already knew that.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on May 04, 2011 at 12:13 PM


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