Political Editors / Apr. 26, 2017

Want the Big Bucks? Join the Government

The public-private sector wage disparity isn’t a fantasy. It’s real, and it’s worsening.

A new analysis shows that the public-private sector wage disparity has not improved. In fact, it’s worsened. Previously, the CBO, based on 2005-2010 data, calculated that public sector employees were compensated at a roughly 16% better rate than commensurate private sector workers. That disparity is now up to 17%, according to 2011-2015 data.

And check this out, via Government Executive: “Federal employees with bachelor’s degrees as their highest level of education earned an average of 5 percent more in wages than their private sector counterparts, 52 percent more in benefits and 21 percent more in total compensation. Federal workers with a high school diploma or less earned a 34 percent more in wages than those in the private sector, 93 percent more in benefits and 53 percent more in total compensation.” As nice as it must be to have a higher base pay as a government worker, it seems the primary catalyst for the increasing disparity is the extremely lucrative benefits. Meanwhile, those of us in the private sector are struggling just to pay for health insurance.

An aside and caveat: There are extremely hard workers who earn their pay as public servants. Military personnel are government workers, and many others do admirable work. The problem is we have people like the EPA employee who browse porn all day and IRS employees who steal from taxpayers. When you factor in the total job security that government workers have and then lump in extra pay and benefits, the private sector simply can’t compete. Notwithstanding the fact that there are public sector people who do their jobs well and work hard, the inherent imbalance is glaring. And as much as Democrats rail against the gender wage gap, don’t expect any demands to balance the public-private sector wage disparity.

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