December 14th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Federal workers make twice as much as private sector workers

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out federal government workers haven't had it so bad during the recession... on average making nearly twice as much as workers in the private sector.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/14/art.white.house.money.jpg caption=""]
USA Today puts the average federal worker's pay at about $71,000... compared with about $40,000 in the private sector.

What's more - the number of federal workers making $100,000 or more went from 14-percent to 19-percent during the first 18-months of the recession... This at a time when more than seven million Americans lost their jobs in the private sector.

And, This increase in federal workers making 6-figure salaries is happening everywhere - big and small agencies, high and low-tech jobs. The reasons for the jump in pay are substantial pay raises along with new salary rules.

Consider this: Federal employees will get a two-percent pay raise in January 2010.

50 million Social Security recipients will get no cost of living increase next year for the first time in more than 30 years. But government workers are getting a raise. The reason is that social security increases are pegged to the cost of living. And that actually went down over the last 12 months - which means the cost of living is going down.

So… no increase for the nation's elderly on Social Security… but government workers get a raise - even though they already average almost twice as much as workers in the private sector.

Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that the average federal worker makes almost twice as much as the average private sector worker?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Government
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    Nepotism maybe? The taxpayers let it happen by continuing to elect those who are in it to make money off of the working stiffs.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  2. Doug - Dallas, TX

    It means a couple of things, Jack. They are extremely overpaid, especially for the amount of work they don't do, the country could save millions/billions if they were required to work like employees in the business sector. When you look at the job growth this year, besides health care, government jobs grew the most. Looks like we're getting the same kind of return we got for bailing out the banks. That would be zero!!

    December 14, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  3. David in San Diego

    It is another misleading headline and story. The feds employ relatively few low-pay gardeners, chambermaids, food service workers (most are contracted out and not on the Fed payroll), etc. The Fed workforce is primarily managers, technical folks, etc. living in large cities with well-above-average educations. If you compare like with like, the difference narrows. Add in the stock options, bonuses, profit sharing, and other perks prevalent for people with those kinds of private sector jobs (which Fed employees almost never get) and the difference probably disappears.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  4. Ed

    You know times are getting tough when people are envious of government workers.


    December 14, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  5. fred

    Welcome to the world of Obama.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  6. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    With the government paying so well all those who are concerned about socialism are about to get on board. Since millions of well paying jobs are now in other countries and other people are reduced to a McJob, it looks like that will be the best option.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  7. John from Alabama

    Jack: The private sector will catch up and the federal workers will be last. Don't worry inflation will give the private sector big pay raises, while federal workers will be under a pay raise freeze. It will even out in the end. The private sector will do better in the near future.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  8. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Sounds like a good deal to me. I only hope that they're paying taxes. Actually, I'm not surprised that this is the case since the private sector has moved most of their jobs to China, India, Mexico and Canada and have their banking accounts in the Caymen Islands.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  9. william fitzwater

    maybe I should work for the Federal government.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  10. Maureen Nowosad, Yukon Territory

    This actually doesn't mean what most of us think – that these are lazy government fat cats getting an easy ride on our dime. I grew up in a government city and that is how I viewed things – when I was a private sector worker. Then I became a government employee and it did not take me long to realize that once again I was the one who had been duped by some good PR on the part of the private sector. As a government employee I worked every bit as hard as a private sector worker in my field. The difference was that for the first time ever I was earning a true living wage. Not extravagant just enough. For all the years that I was private I had believed the BS about how if I earned more then that would cost others their job. Actually the bottom line would have changed but payroll and benefits could have been increased while executive bonuses were decreased. Thus the private sector fat cats would have been getting less while the private sector worker bees would have actually been receiving a living wage.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  11. J W

    It means that politicians find it extraordinarily easy to piss away tax dollars without thought, without feeling, without consideration.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  12. Lou from North Carolina

    I was a federal worker and retired under civil service. I never understood why federal workers made so much more than anyone else and then allowed one to work 30 years and retire at full pay. Why is that sensible? And today I read that federal workers are not paying their income tax? That should be grounds for firing a person on the spot. Every federal employee should have to turn in their tax returns to the Comptroller in their organization so that someone would know that taxes have been paid. The article also said that only an employee from the Treasure can be fired for not paying income taxes. Why not every federal employee? Some one is asleep at the switch.

    December 14, 2009 at 3:55 pm |

    Most Americans could care less about this as an issue.While most people try to keep their heads above water to pay their bills ,Congress keeps growing the size of goverment.And the president has the gall to call bankers in and lecture them about financil responsibility !!!

    December 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  14. Mark, Bradenton, FL

    They are slow work half as much and get more money they should paid for performance and not of status.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  15. Peg from NY

    It means the slower you work the more you make. Inequality in salaries is unreal, across the board.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  16. William Joseph Miller, Los Angeles

    Why take it out on the mailman????
    The real problem is the obscene gap between what the CEO's earn and what the average worker earns.
    We need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act to allow workers in the private sector to form unions and demand better wages and working conditions. Rather than slash the salaries of federal employees, let's raise the wages of employees in the private sector and slash the salaries of CEO's who are nothing but a bunch of Crooks, Exorbintantly Overpaid.
    Our economy suffers because of most of our nation's wealth is in the hands of the privileged few. Slash the wages the fat cats at the top receive and raise the wages the workers earn. This applies both here and abroad.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  17. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    It means politicians are not good business people. Government jobs used to be considered a good job with great benefits and mediocre pay. Salaries went up to compete with the private sector jobs and somewhere a long the way they became great jobs. After 35 years I will retire from my city job with a nice pension. With California bankrupt they are working on ways to reduce city employees benefits and pensions.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  18. Mike from Denver

    And has better benefits, can't be laid off, and limited accountability? It means my tax dollars are not working as hard as I am to earn them.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  19. chris

    it means they are making too much and too many benefits at TAXPAYER"S EXPENSE while the business pay their employees from them the owners who don't have a seems never ending pot of money which the govt seems to think they have from us the taxpayers correction over taxed taxpayers

    December 14, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  20. Greg in Cabot, AR

    I guess that means they must do twice as much work... and judging from how screwed-up the nation is right now, they obvisously make twice as many mistakes as private sector workers.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  21. Rick McDaniel / Lewisville, TX

    It means they are getting paid far more than makes sense, at taxpayer expense.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  22. Rafe Clarke

    It is about time someone asked that question. Not long ago, government workers received much less in pay than those in business and industry. As a result, there were given exceptional benefits, such as better health care, longer vacations, more holidays, and greater immunity from layoffs to "make up" for the lesser pay they received. Now they have the same and greater benefits, plus double the pay!

    December 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  23. Conor in Chicago

    I think it means I need to apply for a government job.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  24. Sunshine

    It is disgusting. Any time I have dealt with a government employee, I had to wait while they sit and chat or party. They are a waste of taxpayers money.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  25. Weldon from Canada

    Sounds like the American government operates the same as the Canadian government. I imagine that your private sector worker puts more effort into their jobs also.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  26. Chris - IL

    I'm not sure what it means as I don't think the comparison is "apples to apples." Private sector jobs include many very low wage jobs such as food industry workers, maids, landscapers, amusement industry workers, agriculture workers, home care aides, parking lot attendants, lifeguards, textile industry workers, custodians, etc. I doubt those jobs are included in government statistics but suspect they are in private industry averages.

    In order for the data to meaningful, it needs to compare workers in similar roles between government and the private sector.

    If the average worker at one company makes twice as much as the average worker at another company, does it mean that workers at one company are over or under paid? Without knowing what jobs these "average" workers cover, you simply don't know.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  27. Ron in Rochester, New York


    I think it shows just exactly what most Americans would expect, anything run by the government is going to cost more. I would really like to know of just one government run program or agency that operates at or under budget on a year to year basis. But lets not just blame the government for this, as we the people have had a hand in this through the election process.
    We have become soft in America and our domestic policies show that. We send people to Washington in hopes that they will enact legislation that allows the citizenry to slip more and more responsibility off their plate. Can't run your company well enough to make a profit, hold on the government will fix that. Haven't developed your job skills well enough to provide for your own health care, gotcha covered.
    As a society we have forgotten that the role of government in a democracy isn't to give us everything we want or need, but to provide us an environment where we can get those things for ourselves. A government that provides everything to its citizens and taxes the populace for them isn't democracy, it is either socialism or communism, neither of which interest me much.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  28. Steve in Chula Vista, CA

    It means I want to close my business and get one of those jobs. With the economy and California in shambles I am making less than my few remaining employees, just trying to keep my doors open.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  29. Darren

    How do you think they were going to pay for their cost-of-living increase, by taking it from those who need it the most.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  30. southerncousin

    This another problem of liberal making, non productive workers making twice what productive ones make. Looking so forward to see what they do to health care and energy in America. Just look at the Post Office if you want to see liberal government in action. It is a union wet dream, a lot of pay and no reponsibility at all.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  31. John in St Paul

    Is this a true statement? I’m tired of people spouting “opinions” as facts. I for one don’t believe this. Show me the facts Mr. Cafferty, or is this just another way to get the anti-government /neoconservatives all worked up to have heart attacks?

    December 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  32. Rob in NC

    That depite the governments "reassurances" of fiscal responsibility, they continue to spend our money like water (with little to no regulation). I can assure that I would be willing to take a congressional seat for the 8-9 times what I make as a teacher of 12 years. I just can't afford to run – you have to be rich to do that. Rob in NC

    December 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  33. Don (N.H.)

    It means we need the unions back.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  34. Jimmy in Houston, TX

    It means I'm working twice as hard to pay more taxes to support these nice cushy jobs for many people who are otherwise unemployable.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  35. Randy from Salt Lake City

    It means that business that only care about profit for the elite, screw over their employees out of good wage.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  36. RichP the Pocono's

    Government is a growth industry, most dept heads measure their power by their budgets, bigger the budget the bigger their ahhh, stance.
    Over paid, in many cases for sure and in worthless positions, paper pushers, the ones who actually do the work, forest rangers, etc not so much.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  37. Tina Tx

    Not surprising. The lowly worker has to get through the red tape of an owner and the federal worker is having money flung around like it was confetti. Where do I sign up?

    December 14, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  38. Lil Me

    Many of these federal jobs are jobs that those in the private sector don't want to do .... border patrol, customs enforcement, sorting mail at the post office, IRS audits, ... the list goes on. Many of these jobs are done by people who could make far more money in the private sector - but they work in border patrol / customs because they feel strongly about upholding immigration law. They work at the post office because they believe in the necessity of an efficient and inexpensive mail service. They work for the IRS because they know that our country relies on their services so that this country has the money to function. These federal workers deserve to be paid well for their services. If they are not paid well, they will leave for the private sector and these jobs will eventually be done by lesser-skilled people.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  39. Johnny C (Los Angeles)

    Hi Jack –

    It is very disheartening that my fixed income parents on Social Security are not getting a raise since it is tied to the inflamation barometer. What is even sadder is the equation that filters out the cost of utilities and gas ... this never seems to be going down.

    As for the government workers ... the following statement is always true ... "He has the Gold, makes the Rules".

    December 14, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  40. Phil

    Don't make federal workers the scapegoats here. Look at comparative salaries over the past quarter century before you leap to judgment. It means that private sector workers are paying the price for 20 years of neglect and misappropriated priorities by big business who placed CEO salaries, big shareholder interests, and short-term gain over the future of their employees and long-term company health.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  41. Phil

    Rochester, NY
    Don't make federal workers the scapegoats here. Look at comparative salaries over the past quarter century before you leap to judgment. It means that private sector workers are paying the price for 20 years of neglect and misappropriated priorities by big business who placed CEO salaries, big shareholder interests, and short-term gain over the future of their employees and long-term company health.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  42. al pearis

    One of the reasons is the government workers have a strong union that looks out for their interests while workers in the private sector have no one looking out for them. Employers jerk them around any way they want to.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  43. hank, montreal

    It simply means that President Obama has become the opposite of candidate Obama.....he wanted to cut spending, yet he gives out raises to most gov't employees...especially at management level...and that's a disgrace. He says he wished for peace, but sends his soldiers to war. He agreed to try and help Main Street, but then sends the money to Wall Street for them to enjoy.
    The man must be in constant battle with himself.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  44. ken, DE

    I don't know where usa is getting their information but federal workers salaries are 26% behind private industry. It is pure propaganda that federal workers average 70k per year. There is also no federal pension just a 401 k plan, no free health insurance(average 300per month premiums), and no free life insurance.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  45. Dan, Chantilly VA

    Every problem that exists among federal employees (and that list is growing long) can be traced back to one thing: the government doesn't want to be sued by its employees. Want federal workers to make a more reasonable salary? Send all our lawyers to fight in Afghanistan. Let's see them litigate their way out of that mess.

    December 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  46. David A Whitaker

    Good for them let someone make some money, if the private sector stop holding all the money at the top maybe some of their employees can make some money.as well.

    Martinsburg, WV

    December 14, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  47. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    We wonder why people are cynical...!

    December 14, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  48. Dottie

    Why should Congress get a raise when we senior citizens get nada!
    When I was working I only got raises if I did a good job, It most certainly wasn't automatic!! They should learn to work together FOR
    THE PEOPLE and stop acting like kindergarteners. I hope the bill
    by Rep. Paul and Rep. Mitchell will be voted on & passed!!

    New York

    December 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  49. Joe CE

    Where did these staticistics come from. $71000 is about right for a GS 15, 905 of federal workers are below this grade. Are you counting political employees?

    December 14, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  50. Cheryl, Cocoa, Fl

    it means I'm working in the wrong industry, Jack.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  51. Mark, Worcester MA

    It means that the government can't control it's spending... which we already knew.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  52. Yetunde

    Well I'm a federal worker and I deserve that raise

    December 14, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  53. JENNA

    What does it mean that the average federal worker makes almost twice as much as the average private sector worker?

    Many government workers have been government workers for a long time so they have earned salaries. Those that are joining the government are not paid more than the private sector and that is easy to see – postings show salaries. Plus government workers jobs are protected whereas the public sector jobs are not.

    As for private industry workers most have not been employed as long at their private sector jobs so their salaries are less. All thanks to layoff's, downsizing, and outsourcing..

    Roseville CA

    It really is that simple.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  54. JaneE

    They don't call us wage slaves for nothing, Jack. The lower paying federal jobs have largely been privatized, so of course the average is skewed. That doesn't mean that the function costs the government less. It means that the workers are paid less and another layer of management takes some profit. Fire everyone, then have the private contractor hire them at half wages. Fat cats get the difference.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  55. Cheryl

    Wages should be frozen for the public sector. Period. This is an outrage.
    To add insult to injury, the average federal worker is less competent than his/her counter-point in the private sector. Compare the average postal worker to the average Fed Ex or UPS worker. The federal government usually takes those people who not exactly the creme of the crop – and they make more?

    December 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  56. Heather

    On the surface, it's outrageous. However, I would like to know what the average government secretary makes vs the average secretary in the private sector. What kinds of jobs does the government average contain? Are there senior scientists in there along with janitors. What it says to me is:
    – fun with numbers
    – the private sector has exported good paying jobs
    – there may be a race to the bottom in the union bashing, job exporting private sector
    – that people should not have bought the line that unions are bad for the average worker if it's unionized government workers whose wages have kept pace with inflation.

    I'd also like to see the trend lines for private vs public for comparable jobs for the past 20 years to be able to judge better what exactly is going on, all numbers adjusted for inflation. Bald a is 2xb statements don't tell the whole story.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  57. sharon

    the average private worker is not appreciated.
    I think the folks who are getting realy rich.....with greed......should visit us a while.
    They should live in a carboard box/or tent........no home, foreclosed.
    They should beg for money.......no bank loans.
    They should stand in line for food...........for hours........for that 1 wonderful meal.........that would get them through to the next night...
    They should get their coat/pants/socks/underwear,etc....from the 2nd, 3rd, 4th hand store....and be very greatful that a careing individual thought to donate.........
    If they have children............oh well.
    Pets?..............no room.
    Would they have money on wall street.............nope.
    They should have to endure this all winter ......at least to Spring......then they would have a fairly good idea.............
    oh ...........I fogot, they should have to experience this, in the coldest of regions...........yep, thats right. Is this to mean? NO.
    My realtives have to go through this every winter.........they are Native American.
    Oh.........there is no running water/electricity......

    December 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  58. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    They make twice as much and do half the work, damn good pay for what they do.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  59. Russ in PA

    It means that the American public has been taken advantage of by all levels of government. Like Thomas Jefferson said: We need a revolution every twenty-five years... Of course, most people don't give a darn, as they're getting pay back from politicians.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  60. Al Acevedo

    Hi Jack , you are old enough to know how screw up the goverment is . how much more we have to tolerate, we need to spend money where is needed and that is the private sector. the goverment has bail just about everyone that asked, its time for the main stream America get a chunk of the pie now.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  61. Greg, Ontario

    It means they have more power than you are willing to talk about. What gets done if they go on strike? Nothing, that's what and they know it. Any politician that trys to change that would be toasted in the media and you would be the first to fire up the Bar-b-que. Time for you to write another book Jack at least there you don't have to sound like a Fox News pupette.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  62. The Broker.

    But of course they do! Where would Barack Obama's team get the skills, that he does not possess himself; from?

    December 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  63. Allen L Wenger

    Unless you break down the work force and compare "like jobs", this really doesn't mean anything. What percentage of federal workers stock shelves, are cashiers, or are fast food workers? These types of lower paying jobs, pull down the private sector average and make this comparison very misleading. I have been an accountant in the private sector and in DOD, the difference is not as great as your study suggests.

    Mountain Home ID

    December 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  64. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    Hot Damn! It means I've been investing too much time, effort and energy into my job search. My understanding is that it's a good day when you get 2 honest days of work in a week out of many government workers. Where do I get me one of these so called government jobs??

    HD in Phoenix, AZ

    December 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  65. A. Smith, Oregon

    OF course they do Jack. The Federal Workers are protected against sexism, racism, nepotism and petty managers that act like dictators. Unlike the private sector where all the above can be found and are occurring. Plus the Federal Employees are paid a family waged job salary unlike many American Corporations which often pay 50% less than the standard family wage salary to the majority of its employees.

    With the present job market, private employees are likely to become more abusive of its employees, more cut-throat in its wages and more dictating in its practices.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  66. Danny Bucksnort Tn.

    It means if you are smart you are working for the government. next question?

    December 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  67. Brian Smith PhD

    Jack, in the Decoration of Independence it talks about the common working John and Jane Doe. It talks about a long train of abuses and usurpations and an overall design to reduce private sector working people to absolute despotism. It is clear now the government has reversed the table and they no longer serve us. Instead, our tax dollars now serve to make them richer. The Decoration of Independence calls for us, the common working folk, to do something about it. It says it is our right, and our duty, to throw off such a government, and to provide new guards for our future security. It is time for a new government..

    December 14, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  68. Joseph Feng

    It meas that, in the last decade, many of the better payintg jobs in the private sector have been outsourced to China and India. Whenever I have done comparisons for professiional-level jobs, I found that the jobs in the private sector paid about 50% more than comparable jobs in the Federal government.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  69. Jane (Minnesota)

    Accountability to the tax payers does not exist in Washington – period!!!!

    Congress isn't working for the tax payers (the same people that return them to office each election cycle). It makes me mad.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  70. Alice,AR

    It means that you are better off working for the government.. How is senior citizens and government workers comparable? There is no comparison. Government workers are part of the work force. Senior citizens are collecting funds they previously paid into Social Security. This is like trying to compare apples and oranges.


    December 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  71. Darrell Wright from Anderson, Indiana

    As my father always told me, it proves that the Government has different rules than the rest of society. Of course I do not know why you act so surprised about this situation. It has been going on for several decades.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  72. Jim


    At least they're working, spending money, and paying taxes – precisely what economists would like everyone to be doing.

    Reno, Nevada

    December 14, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  73. Mode (PDX)

    It means I'd rather live in a 100% socialist state where I could have a middle class life style resulting from honest work, rather than have a poverty lifestyle for doing the same work in a capitalist system. Capitalism is only good if it brings home the bacon, and it doesn't, for an increasing number of human beings.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  74. Linda in Arizona

    It means I'm PISSED. I heard from Social Security just today that the cost of living has not risen in the last year. Who do they think they're kidding? I didn't know that federal workers were so grossly overpaid. Thanks for giving me something else to feel bad about. I mean, it's not like they DESERVE it.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  75. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    It means that I’m all for big, big, Bigger government so there’s room for me to get a job as a lazy, do-nothing, unaccountable, incompetent, overpayed government worker. Maybe we should increase the size of government 20-30 times so everyone can get a government job. That should solve all of our problems.

    But, seriously, what I really want to know is what planet you just came back from where the cost of living went down? I can’t find one single item that I need that even stayed the same let alone didn’t go up. Not one grocery item, not gasoline, not taxes, not food, not toys, not appliances, not cars. The only thing that went down is the value of my house. Most of everything not only went up but went up by a lot. Where do you shop? I want to go there. I’ll move there.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  76. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    It means that the Federal government employees live in their own little world. It means the Federal government knows nothing of howl the average working men and women in the private sector are suffering. Here in the privacy sector we are going backwards with loss of benefits, no raises and not even knowing if we will have a job to go to the next day. Maybe they should be made to live in our world. Then they would realize you can't fully experience what it is like to be on top of the mountain until you been in its deepest valley.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  77. Anthony.....Swedesboro, NJ

    I understand that on the face of it, it seems unfair that government employees make good salaries. But in these times of needed Federal oversight of business's excesses, do we need employees who gravitate to private industries because the government salaries are not competitive and can only employ less competent job seekers? I want new ideas that only properly salaried employees can provide.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  78. Rob of Brooklyn

    it means we should cut their salary in half. Obviously if their in Government they don't work. .

    December 14, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  79. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    At least someone is making some money, in this Republican economy!

    December 14, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  80. Will from San Jose, CA

    It seems fairly obviously that government jobs should be pegged at no higher than the current private sector salaries in the same industries. While there are not private equivalents for all public sector jobs, it's at least a good yardstick for the ones that can be directly compared.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  81. Dottie

    An increase in pay for Congressmen should go before the people of our country to be voted on!!! It should NOT be automatic. I had to
    EARN my raise when I was working! We seniors aren't getting a cost of living raise. Why should Congress??? All they do is argue like a bunch of school children!!!

    Binghamton, NY

    December 14, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  82. Ray in Nashville

    Jack, it means that while our country's economic policy for the past 25 years or so has allowed the private sector to dump good paying jobs in the US and shift to lower paying jobs in foreign locales, the government has kept paying living wages. But after all, think of the uproar they would cause if they cut the wages of ordinary federal workers without taking a pay cut themselves. I don't see that happening, do you?

    December 14, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  83. Tim

    Ever been to the DMV? Ever dealt with ANY City, State or Federal Office? With the exception of the Post Office, you'll end up standing in line for HOURS waiting for someone to finish a personal call.

    What it means is that government workers can do as they please without any sense of accountability; that government offices have no regard for human life, and that government spending should look for cutting waste and fraud from their own programs before ever raising taxes on the shrinking middle class. Maybe they'll set up some sort of government office to look into it. The study should only take a few hundred years.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  84. Michael Alexandria, VA

    On the whole, it means that both federal and business executives are overpaid and that the government is a bit top heavy. Most of the low-level government jobs, from janitor to junior programmer, have been contracted out – skewing government rates higher, with most of the government workers being higher paid knowledge workers. There aren't too many burger flippers in the government.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  85. Mo

    Jack, I thinks it's a travisty that government workers on all levels make more than their counterparts in the private sector and I'm taking about jobs from the President of the U.S. to the janitors who clean the government buildings at night. I also think it's a travisty to not look at the way cost of living is evaluated since the government does not take into account that the basic costs of living are rising; food, heating fuel, medical costs are all rising; but those items are not figured into the equation when they estimate the cost of living. If the estimate was done fairly, we would see that the cost of living is rising, while wages and pension for the average private sector citizens of the U.S. are not.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  86. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    My favorite of all comments on this blog and I use it allot Jack.
    "'The good ole boys tak'in care of the good ole boys""Not even retired people or struggling mothers and fathers could get a raise or just a little help.................not a dime Jack. BUT!!! the Fedies got big raises no problem..................So you tell me who is lookin out for who.

    December 14, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  87. Mike S., New Orleans

    You have to consider many federal workers have worked 30 to 35 years to get to those salaries. How many private sector workers have been on the job 30 years, and what do they make? Neither sector can say they make millions of dollars per year repeating other people's blog entries, right Jack?

    December 14, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  88. The Broker.

    "Everybody have a Job?" I told you Barack Obama wares a Red-Suit. But he is no Santa. Just another Mou...

    December 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  89. Rod from Ill

    Don't player hate, just appreciate that someone is getting pay! By the way, how much do you make Jack? That's ok, don't answer.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  90. cy

    It means they have a union. If more private sector workers belonged to unions they wouldn't get lied to, abused and screwed by their greedy employers.cy arlington, va

    December 14, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  91. George, Montrose,PA

    Well Jack it says a lot. And, it's not good. I am a 100% disabled vet and get social security for the many years of work that I 've paid into it. No one in their right mind can tell me that my electric bill, heating bill, and the like, are not on the rise. Sometimes when I go to the VA for an appointment I get so frustrated I could burst. It seems as though the good federal employees there don't know how good they have it at times, you know with excellent pay, benefits, days off, etc.. I can't even count the times I have waited in line until they [clerks and receptionists mostly] have finished talking about the weekend they just had or whatever. Maybe coming down a peg like the rest of us would put their lives in a more ssuitable perspective.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  92. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    It means we need alot more Federal jobs. Cut out all the contract workers and start hiring government workers.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  93. Texas

    "What does it mean that the average federal worker makes almost twice as much as the average private sector worker?"

    It means people are paying taxes so other people can make more than them. Oh and since gov't employees are totally unproductive too... you're paying them twice as much to do half as much as a private sector employee.

    Oh, and Ever try and get a federal job? The law doesn't apply to them basically. I couldn't even be considered for a job in IT because I was "Too old" (even though my job history and qualifications matched perfectly for the job). Oh and guess how old I was... 11 days past my 37th birthday. If I had still been 36, I would have been young enough. The job was in IT!!!!! The army takes people older than that!!! But for this supervisory IT federal job, I was too old.

    There is blatant age, gender, race discrimination going on in the federal hiring practices. Most of it is in the reverse sense. From what I've been reading and hearing and seeing, someone somewhere decided that manipulating federal hiring practices is an excellent way to correct past discrimination by giving people a job, a job they couldn't get in the private sector (usually cause they're not qualified, but thats not their fault, they were held back by society), and pay them twice as much as the private sector pays... all to correct so called past injustices (that may or may not have been in a persons life, thats immaterial). So they get these jobs, jobs they can't do cause they don't have the skills, and then they learn its pretty much impossible for them to lose that job... so they don't even try. Thats gov't workers in a nutshell, its why they're so unproductive.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  94. Ron from SF

    We have to stop this race to the bottom. Every day, more of the nation's resources have to go to Wall Street, instead of Main Street and America's in trouble because of it. I'm tired of watching Americans struggle just to get by and a lot of that can be focused on controlling the flow of money to the top 1%. Look at the numbers you're talking about and then factor in the price of college, housing, insurance and food. If there aren't two members of a family working, then the sole bread winner has to make that number–just for a family to do raise their kids. Instead of forcing Federal Employees to accept wage cuts, let's get the rest of America to earn more. We can do that by refusing to patronize any firm sending it's work overseas and a lot of that cost is Medical. Do you hear that Joe Lieberman? Some of that cost is so that companies can pollute the planet overseas, instead of complying with environmental laws at home. Finally, we have to act like Japan and Europe and control how much money goes to crooked CEO's.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  95. Lynda, Greenville NC

    It means we are suckers for voting for people who make taxes higher all while we are loosing jobs, so that they can line their own pockets and increase salaries on the lackies who don't work that hard in the first place. Who ever saw a government worker at say the DMV or Post Office ever break a sweat or miss a lunch break?

    December 14, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  96. mike saunders

    I guess bigger government means more tax dollars needed. Same as local governments police etc. 5000 cops working and getting paid and 5000 cops on retirement pay 30000.00ea who can afford that?

    December 14, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  97. Randy T

    It means that the rich are using the media (CNN included) to try and redirect populace anger towards government workers making 70k a year. In the mean time, wall streeters and the rich are walking off with billions of taxpayer dollars in the guise of "bonuses" and "stock dividends". Slick.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  98. Scott Stodden

    It means that nobody cares not even the Obama administration about the regular people in this country, I love this real change that we're seeing in America that President Obama campaigned on don't you Jack?

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    December 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  99. Karen Snyder

    I've been working over thirty years as a nurse, most recently as a travel nurse. Payments to these big companies gall since I can't even get approved for employment.

    Karen Snyder
    Frederick, Maryland

    December 14, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  100. Joan Heck Southern Illinois

    To me it means that every time one of those Representatives and Senators stands up there in Congress and says anything about the debt we have, and how it is soooo big, they are showing how two faced they are.
    It is OK for them to get raises and all kinds of perks, but for the tax payers who put them their a big NOTHING.
    i would love to ask them a question. What is it that turns their brain to mush when they get elected and go to Washington? Is it the water, food, or could it be all the money the lobbyists are throwing around? Whatever happened to ETHICS? When did that disappear?

    December 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  101. Terry from Illinois

    It means that the private sector wage scale is terrible and near minimum wage and minimum benefits since most private sector jobs involve Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Target, Menards, Home Depot, Kohls, etc and do not amount to 40 hour jobs. Most good paying private sector jobs, such as manufactering, has been "outsourced" by the Bush administration and GOP...
    There is not a problem wrong with the wages the federal workers receive, the problem is, the private sector workers pay scale !!!
    Quit whining Jack ...

    December 14, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  102. Rick

    This is one of those dangerous questions in which many will be angry and the result might be that federal workers make less, but ultimately, the private sector workers won't earn more. Remember all those comparisons between teachers' pay and various professional athletes? Well, teachers still make the same. The president of the United States still makes $400,000/year. Compare that to the figures you've provided about federal workers. Now compare some CEO bonuses and the 400 times multiplier that is the average of how much more they make than their employees. If our corporations' pay scales were similar to the federal pay scale ratios, you wouldn't have needed to pose this question. In fact, it's likely we wouldn't be in a recession at all.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  103. karla

    Here you go again Jack! Bet the wages you speak of are in DC or NYC – 2 of the most expensive cities to live in. If they cut those wages significantly CNN would then do a hard hitting piece about government workers who qualify for food stamps! Government workers in AZ are paid much less – does that make you smile?
    Jack, how about we discuss how much more you make than the local news folk, then all of us can gripe about how your not worth it!

    Karla in Avondale AZ

    December 14, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  104. Adam

    Jack, this is truly disgusting. I espescially like when Senators and members of congress take time to thank each other for their "public service" to this nation. I sure wouldn't mind moving to DC and playing around in the capital building 3 days a week for a salary of a few hundred grand. I'd even get to fly home to be with my family on the weekends (Thursday through Tuesday) on tax payer money!

    December 14, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  105. Zach - DC

    It means that the government has the money to spend. In particular, this is a good thing for America because the government is able to keep its highly talented employees in agencies such as the DoD and NASA that would otherwise would go to private sector, and contribute their talent to a world pool, rather than keep America at the forefront of technological advances. Unfortunately this isn't a popular point of view because tax dollars pay their salaries. But hey, they pay taxes too.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  106. J D Walling

    What does it mean that 40% of all wealth/income is taken by the top 1% in the pvt. sector, Jack? By the way, the recession is over – depression is at the doorstep.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  107. randy seattle

    Lets face it. the world goes around on money and power. If you meet the requirement for one of these jobs you would take it. How ever government has gotten too big. Simply down sizing it can not work anymore. I would challenge all americans to speak out against all corruption and disbelief by voting in change. We all complain so much but we don't exercise our one right, no matter how tainted the system may be, VOTE. Vote till you can't no more, and that may not be far off.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  108. perry jones

    this is were the cuts need to start wages and numbers
    perry jones

    December 14, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  109. Jack Hewitt

    How about putting these stats in context? I am one of those horrible government employees who make over $100K ($107K, to be exact). I must be grossly overpaid, right? Wrong! I have a BS and an MS in Engineering and 22 years of experience. I could make probably make 30-40% more in the private sector, but I have chosen to make the government my career. Unlike the private sector, most federal government jobs require a college education. The fact is, the average federal worker makes LESS than someone with equivalent education and experience in the private sector. I am a big fan and agree with you more often than not, but you are dead wrong on this one.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  110. Terry from Illinois

    President of U.S. makes roughly $350,000 and workers make $71,000 which seems like a far wage.
    Private Sector CEO's make 30 million plus bonuses on a yearly basis yet private sector workers make $40,000 yearly, seems ridiculous to most Americans !!!

    December 14, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  111. Jeff of Peoria

    From Peoria IL

    Somewhere there has to be Someone who knows where the money comes from Jack. The GOVERNMENT can't exit w/o us in the Business Community but the GOVERNMENT always treat us like criminals.

    It's jealosy. They couldn't make it in the Private Sector so they'll just take from the privaye sector anyway through TAXES

    December 14, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  112. Jack Hewitt

    How about putting these stats in context? I am one of those horrible government employees who make over $100K ($107K, to be exact). I must be grossly overpaid, right? Wrong! I have a BS and an MS in Engineering and 22 years of experience. I could make probably make 30-40% more in the private sector, but I have chosen to make the government my career. Unlike the private sector, most federal government jobs require a college education. The fact is, the average federal worker makes LESS than someone with equivalent education and experience in the private sector. I am a big fan and agree with you more often than not, but you are dead wrong on this one.

    Niceville, FL

    December 14, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  113. Kenny, in Missouri

    Of all our enemies, and BTW we are accumulating an adequate count lately.....the US government is possibly the most serious threat we face as Americans.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  114. William Courtland

    What Government CEO: the Presidential Salary is not even a million.

    Morality against greed: some say you get what you pay for: and others understand that with Government comes a civilization where greed can be defeated with comfort actually enhanced and workship made greater still in appropriate work ethic with faith in civilization for accrued earnings and net worth of national fiat provided an individuals appropriate skill set placement in the workforce.

    But then the government lobbies and parties so they pay private CEO's and cut a private contractor workers salary in half in over management.

    Federal, State, Municiple: then Private: private companies should not work on any public duty: unless drafted, concripted, or volunteering as a national reservist for public works. The pay in respect of skill specification by personal rating and market value of skill is the same under such a model of national reservist works and use of people in private sector trade to promote and answer for the government expectations in their sectored duty. While elected members of Congress are excluded from the listings: service volunteering in a different method of national, State, or Municipal duty.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  115. Gloria Kensington CA

    I'm a retired Federal Govt employee. During the course of my life, I've worked for several govt agencies. Many of the jobs I were assigned to had me sitting at my desk doing nothing (just reading cookbooks and working crossword puzzles. Got to the point where, in many instances, I dreaded going to work. Overpaid?? No! Positions not required.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  116. Scott (Texas)

    Funny how you failed to mention that Social Security recipients got a 5.8% raise for 2009 when Federal workers got 3%. Hmm, people not working get 5.8% and workers get 3%. Funny how you failed to mention that most Federal employees work in the inner-city, including Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, and San Francisco, to name but a few. Costs a bit more to live there than the average American town. Funny how you failed to mention that many Federal workers have advanced degrees, including law degrees, medical degrees, and Ph.D.s. The average American has less than a bachelor's degree. Funny how you get to spread false information and reinforce stereotypes with impunity. Yeah. Real funny. Why don't you tell us how much you get paid to report your opinions as "news?"

    December 14, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  117. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    It means that you would more then likely get an argument from our soldiers about being rich and famous from the great eagle flying over and doing his thing maybe its time that the federal workers share the wealth with us and the soldiers.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  118. Henry

    Well, I'd say that this is a very tricky subject Jack, considering that military personnel are federal workers as well. I can imagine that the average private sector worker really doesn't think about that fact. They probably only identify a federal worker as a politician or bureaucratic paper pusher, but then I imagine that you'd have to be able to think beyond your own circumstance in order to do that.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  119. Annie, Atlanta

    Bottom line, it means we’re not getting our money’s worth. Seems to be the theme these days, from the lowest government job all the way up to the top.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  120. GWTripp, Mch'sburg, PA

    Jack, it means that the bureaucracy has expanded to meet the needs of the bureaucracy.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  121. Esther Massillon Ohio

    can you say pay cuts for all if we are doing it to the banks CEO it should go to all government workers as well. We are bankrupt. Everyone should be helping out. After all JFK said ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your COUNTRY. Since his death everyone wants a free lunch.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  122. Panfilo Fuentes Bakersfield

    Sour grapes as usual, whine to the CEO that run your company.
    Sympathy can only be found in the dictionary between sh*t and Shinola.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  123. tim mapel

    Jack, It means the Servants are Serving The Private Sector !

    December 14, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  124. keith in ky.

    It is just more of the same old thing, those that wouldn't have a clue how to make it in the real world. Can someone explain to me why people keep electing the same people that think what we need is more goverment, more people dependent on goverment to keep these morons in office. Everyone else is doing without, but not the goverment, they just want more,more and more spending!!!!!!!!!

    December 14, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  125. Larry from Dallas,Texas

    It means I'm going to start looking for a goverment job.

    December 14, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  126. john j. grimes Watertown, Ma.

    What it means is that we have too many people who dwell in the Sargasso Sea of the Civil Service who love the seaweed that camouflages them. I've heard it called our secret weapon- it doesn't work and it can't be fired.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  127. Don in Grand Rapids , MI

    Duh, Jack perhaps we need to spread the wealth and stop growing big Government?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  128. H.W. Garcia

    Wow...I didn't know I had it so good! I have been a Federal Employee for 20 years and i still don't make 70K...where is Cafferty getting his info from? Yes, I'am blessed to have a good job during these times, but the only thing i have to look forward to is the COLA, and when it's 2% or less, well that means an extra $40.00 a pay period. That should be enough to go out and buy my cavier & champagne.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  129. Michael from Ft. Hood

    I don't fault workers being paid an honest days pay for an honest days work. But as an Army officer when I see my enlisted soldiers living at the poverty level, and barely squeaking by, I am incensed at the lack of priorities. But that is the attitude of greed that has gripped our nation for decades now. Get what you can, anyway you can, and let the rest of the country be damned,

    December 14, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  130. B

    It tells me the government needs to be thinned out like they do the deer population every year to keep the population in check. You could just go get a federal job though, it'd probably be easier.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  131. Charlie

    It means the government is going broke.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  132. Amy in Indiana

    Private sector people live in both low & high cost-of-living areas, while federal jobs are mainly in DC and big cities, so I don't think they're living high off the hog. You can't buy a 1- bedroom condo in DC on a $71,000 salary but you can buy a 3-bedroom ranch house with a big lot on that salary in Indiana.

    Also, you can't pay me enough to battle Beltway Traffic twice a day.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  133. Craig in Washington

    It means that corruption is alive and well, Jack. The taxpayers are being fleeced, and the politicians are laughing all the way to the bank.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  134. Pars

    I don't think this is as scandalous as you make it out to be. There are a few other causes that might be at fault: perhaps the feds have contracted out more low-paying jobs, or have given grants to nonprofits instead of employing human services employees directly? These statistics cannot be taken at face value.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  135. Bob

    The only reason I can think of Jack, is that they are way smarter than the rest of us.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  136. Casey | Ruth, CA.

    When the federal government is asking GM and others to take cuts; when our states are cutting everything right and left, especially medical and social help; when our schools are failing because of cuts to their budget - it's obscene for federal workers (or politicians) to get a raise.

    I say let them take a cut if the cost of living has gone down. Or maybe buy their OWN health care insurance from that "oh so wonderful" private sector!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  137. Ruben

    It means the proletariat get stiffed once again.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  138. Louis

    Very little. You are comparing two very different groups of workers, as the private sector figure includes a larger percentage of workers who perform low-skill professions not performed by as large a proportion of federal employees. Compare a federal employee with a private sector worker who perform jobs of a similar skill level (for example a federal judge and a partner in a law firm). You'll get the exact opposite result. The federal worker is drastically underpaid compared to his private sector peer. Stop drumming up faux-populist rage when you have no reason to!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  139. Shon Rainford

    I think we are comparing Apples and Oranges. When you throw in all the entry level jobs at fast food restaurants and retail which are all private, the private sector average is going to be driven down. Most public jobs require slightly more skill and experience level.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  140. Kris

    This question isnt even fair. Did that number even include bonus from banks and wall street?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  141. Jim from Fairfield, NJ

    Wow Jack... that makes me so angry! ..... How much do you make?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  142. Gene Roos

    Government workers have figured out that they can vote for leaders who will give them higher salaries and more pension money. As a group, government workers don't work very hard, except at avoiding work. We as a country have created a mandarin class which sucks money out of the economy.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  143. chris moats

    This is pretty simple. Federal employees are well paid because the Federal govt. as an employer values their workers more than private industry does. They also have great unions and benefits.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  144. EG

    I could tell you exactly why this is. Im a labor economist. The answer is not very exciting. There are basic reasons why the averages are different,

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  145. canadian

    It means your minimum wage is too low, and your corporates first system is failing you. The question was asked implying federal workers make too much. But they are actually a bell weather of proper union protected wages and benefits.

    Other workers need to be brought up to there level, and the country needs to stop forcing americans to compete with third world wages and workers.

    Top down economics failed long ago. Pay the workers more, and put money in the hands of people who will actually spend it. Companies will make more in the long run, from increased spending...

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  146. Mike from Oregon

    This just verifies my suspicions regarding them - they are all self-serving thieving weasels! That is also why the insurance companies are writing the scripts for Lieberman, Boehner, and other deceiptful, lie-generating politicians - they are obviously deep in the pockets!!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  147. Tim

    There are a lot of sterotypes out there about government workers that are not accurate. My partner is a federal employee, and he averages more than 60 hours per week. He worked 9 hours on Thanksgiving, and brings work home every night. And his weekly work hours are not that unsual. Does he make more than the average U.S. worker? Yes he does, but we also live in a city where a small two-bedroom condo costs more than 400K.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  148. Eric

    It means I want a federal government job, Jack! When do I start?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  149. David K

    my wife took a 30% pay cut going from working at a private law firm as a legal assistant to working at the California Attorney General's Office. She works for 5 attorneys, up from 3. Tell me how she is making more money.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  150. Ken in NC

    It means government workers are twice as likely to make twice as much as I make and it is twice as hard to fire them or lay them off too.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  151. Jennifer

    Part of the reason average salaries of federal workers have gone up because more and more lower paying jobs have been farmed out to contractors.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  152. dave

    You need more info on this. I'm a Govt employee. We were forced to go to this new pay system called NSPS. It was a pay for performance. It was so horrible, not fair that its being scrapped. So the Govt went back to giving everybody the original pay system which was a standard, mandatory pay increase based on years in and your current Step. After Step 3, a Govt employee doesnt get a pay raise for 3 years. So we're not getting as much as you think. And since I have your attention, will you guys get it right on your reference to guantanamo bay? It's GTMO, not GITMO. Thanks.


    December 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  153. Samuel

    It means Capitalism is bad. Think about it Jack. Companies are loyal to profits, not the consumer, not the worker, not the nation. How do you raise profits? Keep wages low. The government is "loyal" to it's citizens, the workers. How do they help the citizens? By giving raises to the ones they can. Maybe the government should regulate wages and companies to prevent them from destroying our economy. Oh wait, thats Socialism and Socialism is nazi commie devil loving america hating evil.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  154. Moby

    What does it mean?? Its simple Jack. Just like Congressmen, they don't feel the pain of the average guy. I had my salary cut by 20% this year and the local government employees are griping their raise is only 2%. Where is the shared sacrifice the politiicians always talk about.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  155. MJL

    I don't think any federal employee should get a raise or have insurance until ALL of us are working and have the choice of health insurance. I am way under employed and no insurance, since 2008.

    SSI should receive a raise, people on SSI barely get anything anyway and they still have to pay for medicare from that income. What there is of it.

    I think our goverment is screwed up. I really think we need NEW blood in there and not the same old, same old.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  156. Bob


    Private sector workers earn that much less because they are so easily taken advantage of. Name one corporation that will willing give their workers a fair wage, when they can lay them off anytime, threaten them and keep them in line. They'll replace them with the next sucker, if they don't stay the course. That's after all the tax breaks the corporations get! What a world this AMERICA is!.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  157. Leigh Ann Tampa, FL

    It means nothing. People who work in the public sector would make twice as much as they already do if the had the same job in the public sector. We should try to compare apples to apples.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  158. frankie

    It's the same kind of reason the trickle-down theory is never, ever going to work.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  159. Bob of Baltimore, Md

    This means that Federal employees make 4 times as much as non federale workers. Federal workers only work half as much as non federal workers.

    Bob non federal worker working in a fereral office, I see it first hand!!!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  160. Mary from Virginia

    Part of the reason for the disparity in pay averages is that there is a much higher percentage of white-collar, higher education required jobs in the Federal Government than in the private sector which has blue collar and service jobs which pay a lower salary. Given that, I think that government employees should have their salary frozen this year the same as those in the White House and Social Security.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  161. John of Jackson Heights, NY

    I am amazed that this question is even asked during a recession. Of course, federal workers SHOULD be making more now! Jack, will you ask the same question of the private sector when it once again makes triple or more what federal employess make, once the economy takes off again? I am SURE you will not.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  162. Carol Dixon

    So what else is new? Who makes the law? Who looks out for number one? As long as the legislature is the sole creator of all the rules, including creating the guidelines for their own wages and benefits, the average person has no chance. Maybe we need to take the view of California and put our own questions on the ballot. Let the average person vote on these ideas and maybe we would get somewhere!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  163. Jeff Jones

    It means we now know the reason why republicans are so "for" the private sector...there is a bigger pool of people to exploit.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  164. Ryan

    I would like to know what workers are being compared. When you say federal workers make almost twice as much as the average private sector workers, are you comparing all private workers, or just the private sector workers who hold comparable positions to federal workers?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  165. Tom

    Jack, it is very simple..... It is easy to give extravagant wage increases when it is not your money. This is the problem with the government, they think it is their money. Worse it is their money to use to get re-elected not solve the country's problems!! Tom

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  166. lee ann

    It means the overlords always take care of their own.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  167. Diana

    The reason federal Employees earn more is that they usually have a higher education - a dgree being reuquired for all decenly paying jobs with the government.
    Boynton Beach, FL

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  168. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – It does not mean much. There are about 1.5 million Federal employees, many of them middle managers of large bureacracies that deliver services and payments to citizens. The average is high becasue there are no longer any janitors, garbage collectors, and other menials on the payro;l, all these having been outsourced to contractors. Government pay is lower than private industry pay for the same jobs, including project managers, department Directors, and senior executives. In this case, the averages are misleading, a comparison between apples and oranges.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  169. Paul B.

    Regarding federal workers making twice as much as the rest of us, it means that everybody should be working under the same rules. To continue this double standard in the workplace is to invite demonstrations in the streets and other preludes to revolution. It's time everyone had a level paying field.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  170. Charlie

    It only demonstrates that our government has grown doing less and with the president promising change I have to wonder when? We are only increasing a deficit that is getting out of control. If the presidents stands for change increase in federal pay will not happen, but you and I both know this won't happen.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  171. Cliff

    What happened to being a PUBLIC SERVANT? They're supposed to be working for the rest of us!

    Welcome to THE BORG!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  172. David K

    It isn't a matter of being better paid, it is a matter of the private sector not paying enough

    December 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  173. Dan OBrien

    Leberman Must be looking for to get out of politics, He was always wissy and 2 faced.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  174. Dave

    it means that govt workers and those that don't want to work and/or don't pay taxes (who also get more than double from govt than I do)... keep voting for a Congress that pays them... both parties

    December 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  175. terry

    jack it means that the american tax payer is being raped by the fat cats just as they have always been.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  176. Ron Rabie


    Federal workers have to answer to Federal managers-that has to be worth something. R. Saint Johns, AZ

    December 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  177. Viktor Hlon

    It means envy of all Ukrainians, because things are quite opposite here. Of course, excluding those guys who are sitting in Parliament who own half of this country.

    Kyiv, Ukraine.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  178. Mike, Michigan

    It's not that the government workers are making too much, it's that the private sector workers , as usual, are making too little.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  179. Russ in Colorado

    Wages for federal employees have not been artificially depressed by the threat of outsourcing to low cost countries. Private sector real wages have decreased in America for a decade primarily because of outsourcing.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  180. Ron Foyee

    The US federal government now taking liberties with Social Security recipients' benefits speaks for itself. Govt. employees being given a double cost of living raise next year and leaving out sr. citizens' on Medicare increase for same speaks loudly! It says to me, who receives such benefits at the proper age to do so that today's government does not give a %$#@ about folks over 62.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  181. John in L.A.

    It means you're using fuzzy math and stacking statistics Jack;
    comparing apples and oranges. There is a far greater percentage of educated professionals in government than in the general population and there's a lot of minimum wage jobs in the private sector: fast food,
    hotels, etc. that skew the numbers. No one should be getting a raise right now, but the way you present the question is just inflamatory.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  182. Darrin Johnson

    I think you should do some more research sir!!! I understand you are speaking to averages. But I am curious as to how much government workers are paid compared to private sector by job description. My counterparts in the private sector make MUCH MORE MONEY than me. I, however, enjoy the stability of government service. But as a taxpayer, I am ALWAYS upset as to the amount of money paid to contractors for work that a government employee can do. It's typically $30,000 to $40,000 more.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  183. L. Harrison


    The problem is not what government is paying it's employees, but what big business is paying it's employees. Once again, big business is putting the screw to the working class. I would like to see the CEOs support a family of four, save for a college education for their children & prepare for their own retirement on $40k a year.

    L. Harrison
    Lafayette, CO

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  184. ken turman

    Jack, it means they can work half as hard. Math courtesy of House Stimulas Oversite Committee.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  185. Joe

    It means it's time to increase wages for private sector workers.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  186. Chuck O'Connor

    I don't know where the Government gets off saying that Social Security recipents didn't have a cost of living increase. They raised my Medicare part B payment from $90 to $110 in 2010. My part D payment has doubled and my co-pays have went up 75 to 3000% for 2010 and I did not have a cost of living increase? I guess the Government does not count cost of living inflicted by them! Chuck from NC

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  187. Paul

    Like your comments usually. As a Federal worker, and I am a worker, with over thirty years of service it is informative to know that I am below average in income. Way below.
    The "raise" in January is a cost of living increase since our insurance, medicare deductions, etc. increase at that time too.
    I am concerned over the Social Security recipients situation too. But should I take a cut?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  188. Kris - Louisiana

    It means welcome back to big government. Sounds a lot like Moscow 30 years ago....but hey, we get what we voted for, right? We were promised change and that we have received! 7 million lose their jobs, seniors not getting COLA increase but hey, lets pay ourselves some more! Kinda like congress being allowed to regulate themselves. (Oh, but wait.....I'm sure this is all Bush and Cheney's fault, right Jack?)

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  189. Wilhelmina

    Dear Mr. Caffety:

    It means that the left-leaning politicians in this country are achieving a long-sought goal: that the of making the government and its agencies a self-sustaining entity at the expense of the rest of us...

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  190. Gordon

    Where are these number coming from? What a blown out of proportion oral blog from Jack. What about the trillion dollar budget that props up lots of programs across the country and the thousands of contractors who are private sector(not)...they are ghost fed workers. And lazy..those on unemployment get a benefit and dont even try and find work..you really need to go look at a lot more compensation studies before you lay this line of BS out.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  191. Sheila

    We are talking apples and oranges here. The government has been outsourced so much that the government workforce is mostly professionals. Comparing professionals with the total workforce is not a fair comparison. Let's compare accountants with accountants and you will find that government accountants are paid much less.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  192. Annie

    One word...GREED. The rich will always get richer, there is no getting around it.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  193. Kristin Howard


    The way the federal government works on a pay scale system means that the president isn't making $30 million dollars like a lot of private sector employees. The distribution of wealth is greater. Lower level employees are making more because high level employees are making less.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  194. Robert


    It means you've got misinformation. Instead of giving us percentages, try disseminating real numbers. I'm sure you would not want to do that since percentages make the issue seem more exagerated than it really is. You know during boom times of the 90's no one cared what we federal workers made probably because their salaries far surpassed on average anything federal workers can ever hope to earn. But it seems in these leaner times its open season on federal employees. The federal government is hiring so instead of whining maybe some of your readers should get interviews and answer the call to duty for their country. At the end of the day Jack lets be fair and balanced in reporting issues such as this. Its very harmful to a very small group of people who ensure daily that our country is safe from terrorist whether it be the prison workers detainining alleged terrorist, FBI agents who bring these criminals to justice, to air traffic controllers who ensure our skies are safe and I could go on and on....I think you know what I mean.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  195. Mike

    I'm a federal employee and make a little above the average. I've been deployed twice to Iraq for a total of 25 months. Should my pay be cut? Working for the government means long hours at understaffed agencies. When it doesn't run properly the people and the country suffers. Do you really want someone earning $25k per year processing your taxes, assessing the cost of the Senate's health care, guarding the President? Higher pay attracts better people. The people you want running the country.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  196. Reed

    Jack, you're looking at this the wrong way
    This just shows how much the government respects workers rights and their unions. Government employees have good contracts with an employer who respects them. This is just a testament to the low quality of the private sector in an economic recession. The government needs to expand the amount of workers it takes on, to provide competition to the private sector to shape up and pay workers good wages... That is what is going to lead to a better economy!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  197. Jeff from New Jrsey

    It clearly means that private sector workers are underpaid. The real question is what does it mean that Jack Cafferty makes 100 times what private sector workers earn? Do those "fat cat" dollars mean that he will favor the bosses over the workers in his reporting?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  198. Rynofinal

    Well when you say federal are you talking about goverment jobs are private seperate business . I just found out that the federal reserve bank is not apart of the U.S. Goverment

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  199. Ravi from Cambridge, MA

    This isn't even the concern. Bush gave himself a 100% raise up to $400 grand when he was in office and gave a 50% raise to congress. Yet Congress was "forced" by the Democrats in 2006 to raise the minimum wage. I say we take a national popular vote to determine congressional and presidental wages. then we'll see what they think a "living wage" is.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  200. Tony in Va

    Hi Jack,

    This is a no brainer. Is it a surprise why we are in a recession? These fat-cats in the Government and Wall Street are the reason we are running the country insolvent

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  201. Docb

    It's called 'career service'!...I know someone who has gone from job to job- can't be fired – in Colorado State gov't but gets raises with every 'forced transfer' ! This is the nations biggest secret–a govn't 'union' on the lines of the 1960's!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  202. Anna in Chicago

    It means that we in private business we are competing with India and China for lower wages where government is not. We need big US companies to be an American and bring jobs back and pay fair wages. We can not outsource jobs and insource consumption because there will be only 20 percent of population that will be able to afford it.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  203. lorie

    Federal Workers, Talking about your "Fat Cats", this has been going on for years, the pay rasies and the like, most of 'em are "Revolving Door" (Double dippers), coming out of the military, they retire one day as active and come back as civilian doing the same job... what an arrangement. Bankers have nothing on them.


    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  204. Sean

    I am a Federal employee. I'm also a member of the Washington National Guard. The fact the I serve in the National Guard affords me the privledge to work for the Federal Goverment. The compensation that I receive is a decent wage. It allows me to take care of my family, and put more money back into the economy. So what if the average Federal employee makes six figures. I bet you make six figures. Maybe you are over paid for what you do. I think that you should go after the companies that are moving the jobs overseas.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  205. George

    Cost of living down? Yeah right. Tell us that when milk, gas, bread, eggs and all the necessary essentials come down to an affordable price. Rephrase that question, in terms of the capitol equation; when profits are down the fat cows refuse to go hungry and cut their losses. Then they sit around till profits go back up and start all over again exactly where they left off; selling milk at a higher price and making more profits than before. In the capitol equation there is no such thing as cost of living going down.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  206. ralph from hamilton nj

    well jack

    I remember someone saying in the 90's that russia would be more democratic. And we the United states was becoming socialist, When the big goverments salaries are double that of us poor working saps (i do 70 hrs aweek just to get by) The one word to describes this is COMMUNISM. Can please let me know how i can get my communist card stamped. Keep it coming Jack. Maybe you should run for VP with Lou Dobbs .

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  207. Jerry - Salem, OR


    It simply means that the private sector is working for the government, not the other way around as it is supposed to be.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  208. Steve D

    If we want our government to be able to attract the best employees we have to pay a decent wage. I am a retired civil servant in the information technology field. During the year 2k debacle I was actively sought by headhunters waiving huge figures in front of me. I was in a position where other people were getting credit for my work and women and minorities were being promoted in front of me to keep the process politically correct. It was only the total benefits specifically being able to retire at 55 that kept me from jumping ship. Now that civil service has been replaced by FERS the only thing the government can do to attract and keep the better employees is to offer a decent wage.

    Steve D
    New Windsor, Maryland

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  209. Cassie

    Hey Jack, you can't be including teachers in that study. People should look more specifically at where there might be waste without assuming it is all government employees. I'm afraid this headline could be misleading.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  210. Barb

    It means that we are a nation of fools to allow this to continue.
    It ranks right up there with the plan to cut Medicare benefits for the elderly.
    For goodness sakes; just add one more tax; surely that will justify this.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  211. don critchfield

    You're comparing apples and oranges. There are very few if any gardeners, laborers, ditch diggers, cashiers, or other low skilled jobs in the federal workforce so the average for the federal workforce is, as expected, much higher. Why not compare with Goldman Sacs which CNN stated had over a $700,000 average salary! Guess we need to raise federal salaries.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  212. george

    ANSWER IS....................unequivocally YES !!!! How about if those of us in the Private Sector...."Switch Jobs"....with some in the Government Sector and see HOW they like it. Another wast of "Taxpayer's Money"... I have alwasy said that Washington Bureaucrats live "ON ANOTHER PLANET" ....and this proves it....They have NO SKIN IN THE GAME so therefore they cannot "Feel the Pain!".......So what's new...we are the SERVANTS they are the LORDS !!!!!!!!!!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  213. Cliff

    Like all statistics those you quote might be misleading. Could it be that the comparison you cite compares a Federal worker apple to a average a American worker orange? It strikes me that it would not take many NASA astronauts, Federal judges, army generals, fighter pilots etc. to drag up the Feds average while an army of Macdonalds counter staff might tend to drag the American worker average in the other direction. I do not know what to make of the comparison absent more information.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  214. Dave

    It means that the federal employee union motto should be:

    Half the Work for Twice the Pay – Makes Us More Inclined to Stay

    December 14, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  215. Willie Gene Wynn

    Jack. It means that statistics gets the headline again. The real story is how all of that was measured. I'm sure there is an even greater (and untold) story there.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  216. Sam

    Jack, it means that the government is probably just as bad if not dirtier than the people tare witch hunting. After all, they are already infamous for their $50 hammers they supposedly buy. You know they do sheisty things to pay for top secret, not-in-the-books programs like men staring at goats. And I find it hypocritical for them to be crucifying these companies for their taking bonuses.....let's see how much of a paycut and change in lifestyle these pillars of society have been taking "in the name of their constituents". Where's the private entity that overlooks THEIR books, and THEIR finances and holds THEM accountable? Listen, Obama is agreat man, and a great leader, but he isn't helping us shake that long standing mistrust of federal government.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  217. Leigh Ann Tampa, FL

    It means nothing. People who work in the public sector would make TWICE as much as they already do if they had the same job in the private sector. We should try to compare apples to apples.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  218. Mack Richards


    Most Union workers make much more thatn non union workers. I retired 3 years ago making $22.00 an hour driving a truck in a quarry. The drivers at a non-union quarry made about $14.oo. If you want to make more money join a union.


    December 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  219. wolfgangpitbullingtonIII!

    The Federal workers, in all branches of government, no longer are there to "serve", they came to "be served", and they "have their plates full" at the expense of the American taxpayer. What a shame. wolfgangpitbullingtonIII!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  220. Dan OBrien

    Let the people who are out of work Bid on the jobs ,Bid down people with the same stats. maybe we could cut the national debt in half, What do you think Dan

    December 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  221. Steve

    Jack, good story.

    I think its ridiculous for the govt to pay twice as much and they already have better health care and retirement... Also when the New Admin took over they only 1 person making 170,000 a yr, and now they have over 1600 people making 170,000 a yr, you convenantly left that out. Seems as though with the new Admin, its good for them and the private sector suffers, Do as I say , not as I do.... If they really wanna put people back to work, they should all make what we do an average 40K a yr. and also if they wanna pass in Health care, they should ALSO have to be on the SAME Plan. Whatever happened to Of the People FOR THE PEOPLE? Its now all for us govt and Screw the people. Our govt employees should try reading the Constitution.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  222. Steve

    It means many US companies aren't paying a wage people can live on. I don't know many federal employees making that much where I work. I know my military hospital doesn't pay competitive salaries for doctors compared with what local hospitals pay, so we don't get the talent we could to take care of our veterans and soldiers sometimes. many of us are doing the work of 2-3 people. Still, we're unappreciated.

    If you think we're just a bunch of coffee-drinkers, try taking care of returning and deploying soldiers with all of their needs only to hear on the news that you're overpaid.

    It's not the fault of all federal employees, its the fault of outsourced jobs and corporations with their boot on the throat of the working public, but federal employees are a convenient whipping post.

    Come work with the nations wounded warriors Jack – do it for what my federal coworkers get paid, and see if you have the same feeling.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  223. Steve

    Jack, it means the slugs have taken over. Arm yourself with copious quantities of salt.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  224. jeff las vegas nv.

    well Jack,
    the government are like a bunch of fat kids at a candy store ! The more you give the more they want!
    Does anyone understand TAX REVOLT?
    Look it is time to quit giving in to these self rightous nemrods
    I can't remember did I mention( TAX REVOLT)
    we need to make our plump little tikes get lean and trim

    December 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  225. Kay, TX

    the problem isn't how much the average govt. worker is paid, but how little the average american is paid. the average govt. workers deserve the salary they earn.

    they don't deserve their annual COLA during such recessive times. The fact that they, and i assume the house and senate as well, will receive their COLAs just goes to show that those on wall street aren't the only ones out of touch.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  226. Roger

    First of all the reason why federal workers get a pay raise this year and Social Security retirees do not is simple. Federal raises are delayed by a year when compared to social secuirity raises or federal retiree raises. The federal workers raises are based on numbers from 2008 ... whereas the Social Security/Retiree raises are based on numbers from the 2009 recession. Next year Federal Employees will not get a raise and the Social Security / Fed Retirees might get a boost based on the 2010 numbers.

    Secondly, there are many ways to slice and dice comparisons between private and public sector jobs. I often find that these so called "studies" skew their data and compare jobs such as farm workers salary to professional and specialty jobs in the federal government. Hey guess what !?! There arent a lot of farm workers or factory workers working for the federal government.

    Jack, make sure these studies you are using compare apples to apples, (equivalent job types) and don't just take a statistical average of all jobs in the United States and compare them to all federal government jobs. The result is a worthless answer to a badly posed question.


    December 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  227. Roy Vest

    I am one of those Government workers that makes the average salary of 71K. I have worked for the Government for 40 years, supervising up to 110 people, budgeting and expending up to 14 million per year, accounting for millions of dollars worth of property. I earn every penny I'm paid. The Government employees I know have worked long and hard to reach the average salary, the exception is the political appointees. What is the average non government salary after 40 years?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  228. SYA4you

    Wow!! Talk about only presenting what you want..... The reason why private sector "on average" make more than the public sector is becasue private employers have no qualms about paying its employees minimum wage. If you really want to know the true average, let's break out the wage in range categories. Additionally, where do you think these people that have received new gov't jobs have come from! The private sector. Next time, try to present the WHOLE story and not just sensationalize tidbits of info to increase ratings.....

    December 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  229. Ian

    Jack I don't know where you got your facts from, but maybe you should check them again. The cost of living certainly hassn't gone down for me and my salary a a Fed has not doubled, as a matter of fact we are being paid below inflation rates. Jack I love your show but lay off the federal workers, we work for our money.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  230. gloria lewis

    Thisis the world we are living in everyone sees another persons faults but no oes sees their own ills .The people recieving these raises will not see anything wrong ,but if they were on the other side of the fence they would be upset ,

    December 14, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  231. David Griffiths

    I don't have an answer to my own question, but could it be that governmental workers tend to be better educated than non-governmental workers? If so, does the fact that the former "earn" more than the latter not provide an incentive for our youth to pursue a college degree?

    David Griffiths
    Blacksburg, Virginia

    December 14, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  232. Mike Big Dog

    Journalist is right. As a federal employee myself, I am appauled at getting a raise at all-when our counterparts in the private sector that are lucky enough to have jobs get nothing. It is true that federal employees health insurance rasies more annually more than any cost of living adjustment, but who isn't facing these odds?

    The percentage of federal employees making more than 100k is offensive. And it gets worse because I don't see that this includes those in the US Commissioned Corps, used by agencies like the Public Health Service. 100k salaries in non-physician positons are a dime a dozen, especailly for those with 20 years in the agency. These are "military officers" that don't have to go to combat in foreign countries. They get detailed a few weeks a year to disaster-relief efforts in places like Florida. The rest of the year they go home at 4:30 sharp just like the civil service employees. Worse, the agency claims they couldn't survive without the corp, but the truth is that many take a job as a civil servant in some "isolated" part of the country and join the corp later.

    Big Dog

    December 14, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  233. Evan

    Jack, the way you put it infuriates me and I am a federal employee! However, you have to examine how the salaries are allocated. As a resident of New York City, I receive a little more than the same person doing the same job in Denver because the cost of living is much greater. I make less than the $71k average and lose 45% of my salary to taxes before I see a dime of it. You neglect to point out that someone with my education, skills and experience would make far more in the local private sector. Yes, we are in tough economic times, but this isn't these Wall Street schmos giving out gigantic bonuses, it is me and many others just trying to put food on the table.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  234. Carol

    Jack, For one thing, Federal employees must pass testing to get their jobs. Does the average worker need to do that? Maybe the average worker would not pass such tests. I know a federal employee who holds not one, not two, but three Master's degrees...well educated I would say, and deserving of her salary. Let the average worker go take the federal exams; maybe a few of them will make it. As for no SS increase n 2010, that is based on an entirely different formula. Perhaps this formula needs to be reworked. Whoever thought there would come a year with no increase at all. Certainly it has never happened before. At least Pres. Obama wants to help out by issuing $250 to SS recipients. At least he cares.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  235. Mark Talmont

    The public employee unions have successfully protected themselves from globalization while their political overlords have thrown the rest of us to the dogs. They don't stand for actual working people anymore,or even for the country. In a strange way they are aligned with the investment bankers who have sold us out while they think only of what is good for themselves in the short term. They should realize that the pension benefits they have been promised can never be paid if we keep exporting jobs to the Third World as profits are invested offshore.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  236. Ken

    To use a line from a Mel Brooks movie......" It's good to be the King"!

    Mechanicsville, VA

    December 14, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  237. raptor

    They have a good thing going, they still get their pensions, Congress gave the private sectors pensions to the C.E.O.s. And what ever else they want. The Workers of this country are waiting, and waiting, and waiting!!! It is still ironic that we are allowing 125,000 immigrants into this Countries welfare rolls each month. Their sponsers wont take care of them.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  238. jim snyder

    Jack, I don't know were you got your figures on federal emmployees

    December 14, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  239. Robin

    It means that the federal government does not employ people in the lower wage jobs like custodians, retail clerks and food service workers. These services are usually provided by contractors and are not included in the federal wage figures. If these job categories were removed from the private sector figures, and a comparison is done between the pay for jobs that exist in both the private sector and the federal government, the average private sector pay would probably be higher than the average federal pay.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  240. Dick Carlson

    Federal workers do not comprise a representative sample of the nation's workforce. Said another way, very few federal job descriptions include "do you want fries with that?". Most federal jobs have credential requirements that are over and above the "average" worker. So your question poses a false dilemma.
    I would agree though, that the decision to give a 2% "cost of living adjustment" when the cost of living has gone down.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  241. Don Dahlin

    As a former private sector employee who supported several Federal Agencies, here's my opinion of too many of our Federal workers:
    under worked and overpaid. Can't make decisions, abuse the system, can get away with just about anything short of murder or embezzlement and not get fired. We could save billions by cleaning house for many of these free loaders.

    Aside for the generous pay, the Federal government would be the last employer I would advse anyone to seek out.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  242. John Halasovski New Tripoli, Pa.

    It means we are at the bottom of the barrel, because gov't workers have always been the lowest paid. It means all our higher paid manufacturing jobs are gone. It means our ability to protect ourselves is gone., because we do not make anything anymore. It means the fat lady is singing, and it is time to turn out the lights.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  243. Bill McLaughry: DENVER, COLORADO

    Jack, Almost every federal worker has at least a B.A. degree; many of them have Master's in a specific specialty, for which they could pull down much more in the private sector. You are only trying to generate outrage, which your bosses equate to audience expansion. Level with us once, buddy! Television exists only as an audience delivery system, as you surely are aware.
    Bill from Denver

    December 14, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  244. MJL

    Since tax payers pay their salary, let fire them all and start over, maybe then I can get a job.

    Have you ever applied for one, you have to nominate yourself for some government jobs. What is THAT all about???

    I would love to make that kind of money.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  245. A Federal Worker

    As a Federal Worker, I wish you were correct. I am a land surveyor with 5 years in the field and a land survey degree, I make 16.00 an hour, and I am required to spend 80% of my time away from home. I work to support the needs of Americans and recieve very little for it, I deserve a mere 2% COL. You need to check your facts.

    Thank You,

    December 14, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  246. ken domke

    living in hudson county nj, those federal numbers dont seem so high. our state county and municipal employees wouldn't get out of bed for such a paltry sum. and the stimulus money seems to be going primarily to these folks, while those of us out of work try to figure out how to fill the fridge...

    December 14, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  247. Rob F.

    Jack, before we get too out of control, let's make sure we're comparing apples to apples. The federal sector can't be considered equally against the larger private workforce – there are many lower paying professions that aren't represented in the federal sector, just as there are many medium-to-higher paying professions in the federal sector that aren't represented in the private sector...my current job included.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  248. Dick Carlson

    Federal workers do not comprise a representative sample of the nation's workforce. Said another way, very few federal job descriptions include "do you want fries with that?". Most federal jobs have credential requirements that are over and above the "average" worker. So your question poses a false dilemma.
    I would agree though, that the decision to give a 2% "cost of living adjustment" when the cost of living has gone down was a bad one.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  249. peter benton

    If that is true Jack, it is a recent phenomina. I worked in the Government for 17 years, and in those days we made about 2/3 as much as our private counterparts. Of course in those days we still had Steel, and iron workers , and auto workers . We still made tractors and wheelbarrows, and shoes and bluejeans. People ate meals at home and kids worked part time at Mc Donnalds. Now their grand parents are working there. and we don't make squat. The Government goes onward and upward because they keep their jobs even in times of recession or whatever.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  250. Ravi in Arlington, VA

    I don't have a problem with the government paying its employees more than the private sector as long as the qualifications necessary for those high paying job are also higher than in the public sector. If we want effective and innovative governance, we need to attract quality people to government service.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  251. SHAWN

    What does it mean, the same thing it has always meant, go into gov.
    not to serve the people but to serve ones self. Here you have the very people who have survived the most difficult times this great county,
    being sacrificed for Washingtons gain, This is a sad time for our Country, and it didn't happen overnight, and it won't be resolved until there is more accountability. Had we depended on the current men/women in Washington to accomplish what was done 200 plus years ago, we would be speaking a different language. When was the last time someone said "its the American way" and it mean what it once did. God help us, and my kids, we are screwing it up more every day.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  252. Andrew from Dallas, Georgia

    Jack, please look into the difference in education level when you compare federal workers to the rest of the workers in the country. Most federal workers are college educated and earn less, yes I said less, than they would working in the private sector. The reality is that most people would rather work in the less secure private work world for more money (about a third more on average) than the more secure public work world for less money. This has always been true, but it sure gets people who have lost their jobs in the private work world riled up, hey? If these private sector folks would like a public federal job, please put in your application. You just might get one, but I doubt it will satisfy your lifestyle once the economy improves.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  253. Sriram


    Generally, I agree with your positions and think you take a balanced view on things. This case is an exception, however. First of all, you should consider the size and nature of many government jobs. It is a small percentage of the overall employment numbers and many require a college degree. So, it is no surprise that the averages are higher.Six figures could mean anything; an upper middle-class family to an extremely rich fella-$100,000 to 999,999.

    You should really be asking how many government employees make obscenely high salaries (say greater than 250k)?

    -Sriram (Toronto, Canada)

    December 14, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  254. Don from Picayune MS

    Jack, your comparison if flawed. You're lumping Burger King and other low paid workers. I was an aerospace government worker for 30 years and the comparable contracter engineer pay was 30% higher than mine. The only fair way is to compare wages job for job. By the way what is your's and Wolf's salary?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  255. Richard Stoll

    I am a ex-government professional who decided to go to the private sector partially because of the high salries and gross inefficiency in my government agency.

    There are four primary reasons for high government worker salaries. 1) There are no lines of accountability, no shareholder oversight, no profit accountability. 2) One way for individuals for to get promoted is to increase the number of higher paid subordinate workers. 3) Agencies feel obligated spend their annual budget so they will not get penalized in the next the budget cycle for underspending their current year budget. 4) merit promotions through the new pay-banding systems without realistic ways to evaluate performance except by those who tghemselves want p[romotions. What better rationale to raise salaries and/or hire more people.

    Government agencies are growth oriented with few if any incentives to save money.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  256. Mike

    If a closer look were taken at the hiring that has been done over the last year in the Agency I work for, most Americans would be outraged. As an older Federal employee, I have watched newer and younger employees promoted to the highest grades within a couple of years that it normally took 15-20 years to attain. In many, many cases in the region I work for, these new employees are related to each other (we have two sisters working side-by-side and their mother working in an adjacent department). Our Agency likes to think of itself as a family – which in many cases is so very true. My complaints to my Senator resulted in the responsible parties effectively investigating themselves.
    Believe me, most of the older workers have actually earned their wage increases over a 10-15 year period – its the hiring of relatives and their quick promotions over a three-year period that raise the average compensation to the point of puking.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  257. Barry Kean

    The comparison is meaningless unless you know what the employees on each side of the equation actually do. A lot of private sector employees make minimum wage (not just flipping burgers, either – for example, nursing home attendants typically make minimum wage or close to it). That's a disgrace in itself, but I digress – the point is that very few federal workers are doing these low-paid jobs because the federal government contracts that kind of work out – to the private sector.

    Full disclosure – I worked for the federal government for almost 40 years, and retired with a final salary well into six figures – but folks in the private sector doing the same job with equivalent qualifications typically made several times that much. The federal workforce has its share of drones, but also many, many dedicated public servants who could make more in the private sector if money was their motivation. Let,s not forget that, please.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  258. Jerry plenert

    Not a simple question. you need to factor in:
    1. What percentage of government workers live in high cost ares?
    2. What is the average education level of government employees?
    3. What is the relative level of responsibility of the work that government employees are involved in?
    4. How do government salaries compare to the financial industry?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  259. H. L. Chorney

    Why is the private sector worker getting less pay than the federal worker? Because the money in the private sector is going to the CEO's, CFO's and other upper echelon types, in huge salaries and bonuses. Federal workers' payscales at various levels are more related to what they actually do in relation to their jobs and each other. I wish we were doing more in the private sector that resembles the federal than we currently do.
    I , for one, still believe that I am my brother's keeper.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  260. Mardo Soghom

    Before simplistically assuming that something is fishy about federal employees making more money, consider these.
    In the private sector, some workers might be making less than a normal middle class salary, but many others also have a chance of great advancement and making much more than a government employee. The latter may be earning a good middle class salary, but he is where he is. He cannot hope to make $300,000 or even more – millions in bonuses. So it is a trade-off.
    Also, many government employees in the State Department, the CIA and similar agencies take a great personal risk and also have developed special skills to do the jobs the nation needs. Remember how after 9/11 everyone was screaming about shortages of linguists and specialists.
    Third, there are not many blue-collar workers in federal employment compared with the private sector. The government does not have factories and hired private companies to maintain many facilities and do basic technical work. This is another reason why salaries are higher.
    It is easy to do rabble-rousing by stressing the simplistic appearance of something, without looking deeper inside the problem.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  261. Gene from Hopkinton, Ma

    Could it be that you are comparing two groups that are not statistically equivalent? I suspect that if one could select a sample of workers from the private sector that reflects the same skill set and experience as the employees in the government sector, the average pay of that group would be higher.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  262. Sean

    Atleast the Federal Government is taking care of it's employees. I have a Civil Service job. I worked for Boeing prior to getting this job. About two months after I left Boeing, there was a strike. Now Boeing is moving a second 787 assembly line to another state. I so thankful to have a federal job. It's definitely better and more secure than working in the private sector. The pay I receive is sufficient. It allows me and my family to pay our mortgage.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  263. Bill Mezger

    Jack, forty nine percent of current federal employees are college graduates or higher. Mid career college graduates in private industry average $80,000 according to YOUR website. The federal government has countless engineers, doctors, managers, technicians and scientists who would make far more in private industry than in government.
    The $40,000 wage you quoted includes all types of work and is not representative of the skill level required in government. The files clerks are gone. The federal work force is smaller than it was in the sixties. It is now a very highly skilled and educated work force.

    Jack, you have to compare apples to apples.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  264. Jim

    What ever happened to fair reporting Jack? Is the media hell bent on dividing this country? You cannot have everything one way. You complained that contractors profiting off of the war is wrong, well there are literally thousands of government employees working in Iraq and Afghanistan and they are paid for the dangers they are exposed to.

    Tell me Jack, how much would you have to be paid to go work in a war zone? I mean work too, not just stop in for a photo shoot to report on a pre-determined story whereby the outcome has already been decided. Tell us Jack, how much do you make? How much do you war correspondence make? I would lve to hear how much the media working in these countries make, they never leave the safety of the Army and actually interview anybody but they portray themselves as experts on the country they are reporting from as well as knowledgeable military experts yet you never see them interview a local.

    Fair reporting Jack, CNN was created on that promise but somewhere in the last several years that has been lost you guys spend more time promoting your twitter accounts and self image then you do reporting the news. CNN is quick to point out the one sided reporting of Fox but you do the same for your party.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  265. exFed employee

    After 13 years on the federal gravy train, I had to jump off to regain my dignity. There is no accounting in a bureaucratic environment. No one thinks about the bottom line. The goal is not to rock the boat and sail to retirement as painless as possible. I don't understand why there is no public out cry to this waste of funds.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  266. Desmond from Calgary Alberta

    What it means is that the federal government has been more effective at shedding its lower wage employees than the private sector has.

    So much for the the idea that the federal government the friend, of the working man or that big government is friendlier to the so called workingman and unions than is the private sector.

    Maybe Michael Moore ought to make a movie in which he harasses top level federal bureucrats for not hiring more unemployed Americans, but then again that might make him look like an objective thinker rather than a partisan hack.

    Lets also keep in mind that all this is true even now in the "Age of Obama."

    December 14, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  267. Barb - Arizona

    Our govement always finds a way to get their raises while the rest of us eat crap. It shouldn't be to much longer when the people will rebell . Lets not foget, the senators gave themselves a nice big raise too. Equality for all – right ?????????

    December 14, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  268. mike

    Dear Jack,
    What it means is that everyone should try to be employed with the
    government. I could care less how much the air traffic controller is
    making who handles my flight from New York to Chicago. If you have a problem with the high wages, get out and earn more. This still is
    America and you still can go as far as you can reach.


    December 14, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  269. Dennis

    I now see the reason that my Florida Members of Congress when sent emails asking (Four times) if they, and other Federal workers would be getting a COLA for 2010 on the backs of people getting Social Security who would not be getting a COLA they 'beat around the bush' and would not give me a direct answer. I guess that the cost of living only went up for then and needed a 2% increase in their pay.

    Thanks Florida Members of Congress for not having the GUTS to answer a simple question.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  270. Charlotte E, Maxwell

    Jack: The question should be how are Senior Citizens going to survive? Let's remember we paid into the Social Security System for years and what most people forget is that Medicare is not free, Seniors paid into that system for years also. Social Security takes $98.00 out of my SSI check every month for Medicare and then we also have co-pays. I have worked for 50 years and I just had to sign up for food stamps and heating assistance for the first time. We need a system in which everyone is treated fairly and in an equal manner.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  271. Sarah

    Jack, are you kidding? We serve overseas and for years and years my husband has worked extremely long hours, going in early coming home late and there is NO overtime and no compensation for all the weekends and holidays away from his family in the office. In fact the joke here is that if you average out the salary many of these federal workers are earning about $1.25 an hour, how's that for a fair wage? Over the years it's amazed me how our private sector friends are on these amazing packages earning huge salaries and even bigger bonuses. There certainly may be some federal employees who do little and are paid much but Jack, don't make the mistake of lumping everyone in the same category, do us a favor and look around before you cast stones. There are plenty of very hard working, underpaid federal workers who support our country every day!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  272. Carlos Escalante

    Jack, You have a bunch of numbers that express a concern that Federal employees are over paid. You did not mention that the government has, and always will pay less than the private sector for skilled laborers. In the FAA, the engineers, electricians, teachers, airspace design engineers, Flight Check pilots and a whole list of others could make much more money outside of government work. In fact we can not attract the most talented people because we don't pay as well as a civilian job. The 1 in 5 who make a 6 figure job are usually managers or executive employees or folks in the agency with over 25 years service, and believe me they started at the bottom and worked their way up for decades at one or more jobs. So while seniors who are retired are not getting a raise this january from social security, many Federal laborers are getting a raise that still leaves them behind in the pay levels experienced by the private sector, well behind.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  273. Steve from Iowa

    Simple answer. Our President and Congress don't get it. No fiscal responsibility. Spend, spend, spend.
    What caused the housing collapse? Bad loans to people who can't repay. Or can't pay because the bill is more than they take in? Sound familiar? What happens when China calls in the loans?
    How do we reduce the deficit? When are the taxes coming? It will have to be paid somehow.
    Government health care? In private business, controlling or fixing costs or controlling competion would be a violation of antitrust laws. But ok for the government?
    The only jobs being created are government jobs. The only raises or bonuses going on are government or bank jobs?
    Please just show me 1 government program or agency that operates at a profit or is efficient.
    When will the American people wake up and put a stop to this mess?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  274. andrew

    "USA Today puts the average federal worker's pay at about $71,000... compared with about $40,000 in the private sector." How many hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, in the private sector are working for working for minimum wage for one reason or another (lack of education, experience, capabilities, etc.) Does this skew the average private sector wage at all compared to the feds? Do you think that the federal government has the same percentage of uneducated as the private sector? Are these the folks you want administrating the federal government? What is the top of the federal pay scale compared to the limit of the private sector (limitless)? Are we really comparing apples to apples here? I think not!!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  275. Marc


    Before reinforcing the old stereotype of unqualified, lazy government workers being overpaid, let's hear the real reason why they're getting a higher wage. While the private-sector has actively lobbied to break the back of unions and outsource every private-sector high-skilled manufacturing and service sector job that pays a living wage to China and India, government workers have used their constitutional rights to collectively bargain and secure better wage conditions and health care benefits for themselves, even under the last three Republican administrations. Say what you will, but it sounds like they're smart enough not to believe all that trickle down economics baloney!


    December 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  276. Eric

    First I am Federal Worker. I am also an engineer and my pay is less than that of my counterparts in industry by at least several thousand dollars. Second the starting salary for an engineer in industry is much greater than that of a starting salary of a engineer in the government. I started out almost 10k less than that of a fellow engineer that started at a private firm. My salary will still lag that of the private sector by a good 10K even after this 1.5 % pay increase not 2%. Also I pay into social security which is my primary retirement since I am under the FERS plan. Yeah I have TSP but that is pegged to the stock market and it sucks right now. Yeah I have it good on benifits etc but I make a whole lot less than that of say a engineer that works for Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Exxon Mobil, and GM just to name a few. Also my pay is pegged to industry and the engineering industry hasn't had a starting pay salary increase in almost 7 years. So I report all the facts not just snippets. I like you Jack but come on man do some fact checking.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  277. Jerry

    I believe 2 possible causes. One, it's to give government workers the idea (attitude) that they are better than the average citizen. Two, maybe they hope that when they're paid so well and have much better health ins and other benefits than the average worker, they will keep there mouths closed on the unscrupulous activities going on there.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  278. charles spanos

    what itmeans to me is, that the system is corrupt !!!!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  279. Don Brown


    It means your government might actually get some decent people in it to help run it. It means private industry has a little competition and might have to pay its workers a living wage and some decent benefits.

    Frankly, I'm surprised at you, Jack. You've been around long enough to know that, historically, government workers make less than private industry workers - trading large salaries for job security. No one in government makes a million dollar salary, much less a hedge-fund-manager billion plus a year.

    If government workers are now making so much in comparison to private industry , it only means that corporations have been truly criminal in cutting the American worker's wages. And as you *should* know, that wage peaked in 1972.

    Instead of complaining that someone pays *workers* too much, you should be complaining that someone pays *workers* too little - while paying themselves multi-million dollar salaries.

    Don Brown

    December 14, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  280. David Hill (Hopkins, MN)


    You missed a couple of figures in your dissertation there, like the fact that on average, federal employees make about 30% less than their private sector counterparts for the same job. That's in your source material in black and white. Also, employees of private companies seem able to earn nearly unlimited salary, as there has been much grousing about lately, including on CNN. Federal employees are limited to no more than what the President makes. Agency employees cannot make more than what their agency chief makes, which is usually far less. Public servants dramatically limit their earning possibilities in order to do the nation's work.

    Could the government be structured more efficiently? Perhaps. But don't aim criticism like this at federal employees when it is better laid at the feet of Congress who controls the pursestrings and enact the laws, including the pay scales. To not do so is to dishonor every civil servant doing their best in the service of their nation.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  281. Jason Shapiro

    Comparing the salaries of those in the government with those in the private sector is like comparing apples and oranges.

    Government employees generally, though not exclusively, are white collar, college educated individuals. On average,those in the the private sector are not as educated. We all know that the rate of employe compensation is directly related to the amount of one's education. This would explain why the average rate of pay is higher than those in the private sector.

    What should be compared is the rate of pay for the college educated government worker versus the college educated worker in the private sector. I bet that he salaries are more comparable. I would even wager than those in the private sector are even paid at a higher rate, when the comparison is "oranges to oranges."

    –Jason Shapiro
    Columbia, Maryland

    December 14, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  282. Fred


    I agree, this system is broke. I am a combat wounded veteran (OEF 2002) and have been trying to get hired on with the government since my medical separation in 2003. I am supposed to have an advantage/first look for certain government jobs, but have encountered nepotism everywhere I have applied. You can run a report on how Government workers are all connected. Government managers normally have someone in mind when they post a government job and always manage to find a "loop hole" for not hiring veterans or so it seems. They have to post the job for a certain number of days before selecting a nominee. This process is very subjective.

    It doesn't surprise me that they have lobbied for a COLA increase. My father is retired and is struggling tremendously. It troubles me that people that have paid into social security all of their lives are having the proverbial back of the government turned on them, now, when they need it most.

    Can you imagine how the government is going to run health care for these same folks that are near the end of their years? So sad...

    Here is a point of discussion, ask a veteran how long it takes to get an appointment at the VA Hospital? Better yet, you could pretend that you were a veteran and call for an appointment yourself. That would be quite an experiment. There is so much red tape with hospital administrators that a typical doctor cannot spend the time necessary to perform a full work up. Subsequently, they must reschedule, so that they can complete the exam. Administrators are only concerned with quantity and not quality so that they can ask for pay raises when they show how much they have done in a year.


    December 14, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  283. Paul P. Bump

    Let's talk about the difference between the avg. and the highest paid Gov. Sector worker, vs. Private Sector worker. It means the government low end workers are not screwed over nearly as bad as Private Sector workers. However we are all taking it down here, avg. and under.
    Paul in Fla.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  284. jim snyder

    jack, i don't know were you got your figures gov. workers compensation. i have been a blue collar federal employee for 20 years and i don't make that kind of money. i think your numbers don't include, cost of living adjustments in some areas that would tend raise that average. jim

    December 14, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  285. John Daley

    Jack: Not only will Social Security recipients not receive a cost of living increase next year, but what they receive now/next year will decrease because Medicare will rise – dubble whammy. My pocketbook indicates the cost-of-living has gone up as I pay more for groceries, utilities, car repairs etc. Thank you.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  286. KKN Wisconsin

    Have you ever worked for the Federal Government? The perception that we "have it made" and are a bunch of lazy people is wrong. I happen to work on weekends (without compensation) simply to keep up with my Federal Government (yes, Federal Government) workload (work that used to be done by two Federal employees; my agency can't afford to hire). I have colleagues who are so dedicated that they work evenings and weekends (without pay) simply because they enjoy what they do. Just like the public sector, our health insurance premiums keep on increasing (there goes the 2% raise). We do have managers who are inept and over paid. Otherwise, we are primarily hard working people. Lastly, the reporter forgot to mention that we get a 0.5% locality pay increase too!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  287. Brittney McClain

    Jack, what's wrong with paying federal employees more? These are the very people who actually run and implement services provided by the government, including Soc. Sec. The federal government has to compete with private firms to recruit and retain the best and the brightest, who often chase the bigger salaries that private industry can offer. Besides, the work of federal employees affects us everyday. They are paid sustain to what is essential to us: the government. I'm happy they're getting increases for that, rather than for maximizing profit.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  288. steve in virginia

    It means that the federal government hasn't had their wages depressed by the importation of cheap foriegn labor, legal or otherwise. Change we can believe in?

    December 14, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  289. Rachel

    This is the kind of analysis one would expect of a child. Those numbers are totally meaningless unless they are only looking at jobs that are comparable to the fed job. You will find that the private sector pays much more for the same work. That is one of the causes of the revolving door. Pieces like this do little more than generate I'll will toward federal employees that is undeserved 99 percent of the time.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  290. Leon Huff

    I worked for the federal government for over 30 years. While top execs were probably under-paid compared to the private sector, there are a hugely inflated number of falsely categorized "professional" or "technical" people who automatically go to $100K a year. Since the government does not have to make a profit, there is no incentive to stop the escalation. Furthermore, politicians protect organizations in their districts so you can't get rid of the inefficiency and inflated pay. Believe me, you could get rid of half of federal employees, deploy the other half where they are truely needed, and the country would not recognize the difference.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  291. Gregory Dittmer

    What does it mean when Federal employees make twice as much as the average worker? Well Jack, that can mean only one thing... According to the Constitution, Federal workers are employed by The People... it is time for We, The People, to take over direct control of government worker's wages.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  292. Andy D'Amico


    What it means that Federal employess make more than the private sector is that Reagan and the Corporate World couldn't outrsource those jobs.

    Face it, the Republicans and their Family value plan destroyed America's manufacturing base by allowing jobs to be sent overseas to China, India, etc. The Corporate world is still doing it. It screams we don't have enough hi-tech people to work for them even though Silicon Valley was loaded with well trsained people. So they insist on work visas for lower paid foerign workers.

    Ship jobs out bring in low paid workers. That's why federal workers who didn't take the then higher private sector jobs now are the higher paid.

    Reagan also allowed the conservatives to undermine Unions anywhere and place they could. Unions mean negotiating power.

    Working for what minimum wage service industry jobs that are left in this country means you can't increase your woth. Employeers are getting more and more productivity out of the American worker and hiring less people.

    Don't like the fact Americans are going down the drain? Blame the Corporate World and their maximum profit ALL COSTS.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  293. Jim

    For those appalled at government employees that cannot be laid off, well that is not true they can and are laid off. What is difficult is to fire a federal employee and that problem is NOT a government issue, it is a union one. Most Federal jobs are unionized and like any unionized sector a lot of people who should not be there because of laziness or lack skill remain on the payroll because the union has made it near impossible to get rid of them.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  294. Bill Babcock

    It is meaningless to compare average private sector salaries to average federal salaries because the private sector and the federal government do different things. The private sector salaries are dragged down by many service sector jobs that pay low and even minimum wages. The federal government doesn't have many workers asking "you want fries with that?"

    December 14, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  295. Carolyn

    Hey Jack!!!

    Here's the rest of the dirty little secret! All of those wonderful disabled vets that we swear we love so much...well, they're not getting a raise either because their COLA is also based on the Consumer Price Index (like SS).

    So, the people that have sent them to war and caused them to be disabled get the raises and the disabled vets get the finger. And we keep saying that we are treating the vets better than they were treated after Viet Nam. Well, actions speak louder than words!


    December 14, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  296. Donna

    I think it means that in 2010 we should simply clean house and put in people who will pay attention to their constituents instead of lobbyists. Then maybe we can rethink Federal Employee wages.

    That is disgraceful that some of these people make six figure incomes and we have people who are out of work or working two jobs just to feed and house their families.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  297. Kelly

    When I Comes To The Senators, Congressmen and, Other Elected Officials They Are Voted In Based On The Idea That They Share The Same Ideals As The People Who Elected Them. However Are We Supposed To Believe That They Share The Same Ideas When They Do Not Share The Same Problems? Personally I Think People Who Work For Our Government Should Be Living The Same Way As The People Who Vote Them In. And Dose Anyone In Our Government Know The Definition Of Recession? A Recession Is A Decline In The Gross Domestic Product For Two Consecutive Quarters. We Are Past Two Quarters. When Is Everyone Going To Stop Putting A Happy Spin On Things. We Are In A Depression And Unless We Change Our Governments Opinions And Greed We Will Never Get Out Of This Situation........

    December 14, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  298. Nathan Babbcock

    Its rediculous that the federal workers are making so much money for doing nothing and we should use the money we are giving the fed govt to hire people who actually deserve the money and do their jobs right. And I'm sick and tired of waiting for a sprinkle down for the fed govt to fix this mess.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  299. Carol

    I once worked for TSA and was hired before Obama took office, so don't blame that guy. My part-time starting pay at the lowest level of seniority was $13.25 hourly plus locality pay, plus time and a half on federal holidays, plus 10% increase for working 2nd shift after 6 pm, plus 25% increase for working Sundays! Apply today at TSA! No special skills or IQ test required!

    December 14, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  300. William Thornburgh

    It means that all the grunt work jobs are subcontracted and that you're not including the hundreds of thousands of enlisted military personnel as "Government employees." Check the salaries of the military nuclear operators against the civilian ones.

    December 14, 2009 at 7:47 pm |