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Wage Gap Widens Between Private and Public Sectors

“American government employees do little more than process paperwork made necessary by millions of government regulations and policies (few of which are themselves constitutionally legitimate in the first place).”

According to a new study by the Cato Institute, the gap between the haves and the have-nots in the United States continues to widen. This isn’t much of a surprise; we’ve all become accustomed to the dire warnings, mostly from anti-business liberals within the government, about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The irony is that those rich, over-privileged classes include – indeed, are dominated by – government employees.

The average annual pay for our roughly 1.95 million federal civilian employees stands at $81,258. America’s 101 million private sector workers, on the other hand, earn an average of only $50,462. Not only that, the so-called “federal pay advantage” has increased dramatically over the past decade; in the year 2000, federal and private sector employees made, on average, $51,518 and $38,862, respectively. Put otherwise, the average private sector salary was 75 percent of the average federal salary ten years ago; now, it is only 62 percent.

Nor do raw salary statistics tell the full story. When the value of average employee benefits is factored in, the gap is starker still: $123,049 for federal employees versus a mere $61,051 for those in the private sector – more than a 50 percent advantage for the feds. A decade ago, the figures were $76,187 and $45,772, respectively – a 40 percent advantage for government workers.

Federal employees also enjoy much greater job security — as anyone paying attention to all the Obama Administration government layoffs that never happened will appreciate. The layoff rate in the private sector in 2009 was a whopping 24.1 percent, while federal employees were laid off at an almost negligible 7.7 percent. Not only that, federal employees obviously appreciate the superior benefits and privileges of their occupation; the “quit rate” among federal civilian employees in 2009 is a paltry 2.3 percent, compared to 19.1 percent for private-sector workers.

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2010-08-11

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