On Tuesday, August 10, a new analysis was released by the USA TODAY. The analysis found that at a time when private sector workers’ pay and benefits have stagnated, the average compensation of federal government employees has grown to double what private sector workers earn.
According to the analysis, federal workers have been awarded bigger average pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years in a row which has resulted in a doubling of the compensation gap.
Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The federal compensation advantage has grown from $30,415 in 2000 to $61,998 last year.
Last week, President Obama ordered a freeze on bonuses for 2,900 political appointees. For the rest of the 2-million-person federal workforce, Obama asked for a 1.4 percent across-the-board pay hike in 2011, the smallest in more than a decade. Federal workers also would qualify for seniority pay hikes. Republicans in Congress want to cancel the across-the-board increase in 2011, which would save $2.2 billion.
While the disparity is not as large in Iowa, there is still a significant difference in the pay for private sector employees versus government sector employees.
Through calendar year 2009, private sector employees earned $98.7 billion in wages, or $35,877 per capita. Government employees earned $11.9 billion, or $46,091 per capita. That’s a difference of $10,214, or 28.5 percent above private sector compensation.
This is evidence that something must be done to limit the growth of government employee salary and benefit packages. In the past two years, House Republicans have proposed reducing state employee salaries temporarily (using the progressive “Principal Plan”) and asking state employees to contribute at least as much as those who qualify for HAWK-I have to pay for their insurance plans.