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FCW Insider: Are feds overpaid?

Are feds overpaid? Yes, according to the Cato Institute's Will Wilkinson. (Read his blog, The Fly Bottle.)

Wikinson had a commentary this morning on the Marketplace Morning Report on public radio that was originally about a United Nation's proposal to set a minimum wage for the world's poor.

Then he said this:

After the tech bust of 2001, incomes in Silicon Valley and New York City drifted closer to the national average, and inequality between American counties declined. But then with the advent of the Global War on Terror, the District of Columbia and surrounding counties began to enjoy outsized gains in average incomes.

So far, the "military-industrial complex" is the one clear winner in what has been a $1 trillion war. But it's not only security and defense contractors, and the lobbyists who love them, who've been pulling ahead on the taxpayer dime.

According to the U.S. government, compensation for the average federal civilian worker in 2005 stood at over $106,000. That's double the average for private workers. That's top 5 percent of the personal income distribution. And average wages for a federal worker rose 5.8 percent that year, compared to a 3.3 wage hike in the private sector.

But who knows? Maybe all these new federal office buildings really are hives of extraordinary productivity. In San Jose, they make software, in Detroit, they make cars, and here in D.C., we make memos about meetings about regulations -- very efficiently. Maybe we Washingtonians deserve our good fortune.

Alas, according to a recent Pew Research poll, the federal government's favorability rating has plummeted to a 10-year low. If taxpayers are getting what we're paying for, we don't seem to know it.

But, hey, you just wait until the next guy gets into the White House. He's really gonna clean this place up.

You can read or hear the whole piece here.

I'd be interested in your thoughts -- are feds overpaid?

UPDATE: A friend sent along this Web site: http://www.fedjobs.com/pay/pay.html. It lists the pay schedule and steps.

Posted by Christopher J. Dorobek on Jul 02, 2008 at 12:17 PM


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