Federal Salaries Explode

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That’s the title of a USA Today analysis, which reveals an outrageous increase in salaries at the top levels of the federal workforce. I’ve been complaining about excessive federal pay for some time based on one set of data, and now Dennis Cauchon provides strong support for my thesis using a different set of data.

Cauchon finds that since the economy fell into recession, the number of federal workers earning more than $150,000 has more than doubled. The federal government has become extremely bloated and top heavy, even as families and businesses across the nation have had to tighten their belts. With 383,000 workers earning six-figure salaries, the government has become an elite island of overcompensated administrators immune from the competitive job realities of average families.

There are a remarkable 22,000 federal civilians earning salaries of over $170,000, illustrating that Big Government works for the benefit of well-off insiders, not average Americans. And Cauchon only looks at salaries and wages. Average annual federal benefits are more than $41,000, which pushes total federal compensation even further ahead of the private sector average.

The Bush administration let federal pay and benefits grow completely out of control, as it did with other areas of federal spending. President Obama has an opportunity to fix these problems. He should call for a multi-year freeze on federal pay, work to overhaul a system that moves workers up the pay scales too rapidly, and begin purging the upper ranks of federal management.

Here are some of my recent analyses of federal pay:

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/08/24/federal-pay-continues-rapid-ascent/

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/08/26/federal-pay-response-to-the-critics/

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/08/31/wall-street-big-oil-and-federal-workers/