By Paul Gable
I read a statistic recently that startled me. The average pay for federal government employees is nearly $78,500 per year ($78,467).
The number of workers in the pool that determines average wage is 1,850,311 (one worker for every 167 Americans). Of this group, 4,744 more workers are making over $140,000 than at the same time last year.
And these government workers also have rather attractive benefits packages including such things as excellent health insurance coverage; a solid, defined benefit retirement plan, and liberal paid holiday and vacation packages.
None of these numbers includes the workers who are contracted by the government annually, but who are also paid from public tax dollars.
I know a major part of the reason I find those figures so startling is my age. I remember when members of Congress made $22,500 per year (pre-1965). That number is over $176,000 now.
Members of Congress are not included in the above statistics, I just used them for easy reference. The average is calculated for GS rated, full-time, non-seasonal employees.
Another factor in my reaction is living in South Carolina these past 30 years where pay and benefits are traditionally some of the lowest in the country. The last statistics I saw have the average salary in South Carolina at less than 50 percent of the $78,500 salary of the average federal worker.
I’ll bet you would be hard pressed to find an “average” South Carolina worker in the private sector who wouldn’t trade places with one of these “average” federal workers immediately.
These statistics are one of the examples of government out of control, in my opinion. How many private sector workers does it take to support the pay and benefits of each government worker? They have to be paid out of federal tax revenue or federal borrowing.
Of course, this is just one small example of the need for hard looks at government spending and, maybe, for a modern discussion on the proper scope of government and its services. We all realize this, but it’s not getting done.
The public debate right now is concentrated on gun control, immigration and gay marriage, all topics to stir the emotions of many Americans and to deflect their focus from the real problems of spending that are not being addressed by Congress.
We should demand better.