FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
While the economy - with nearly 10 percent unemployment - is struggling to get on its feet, it seems like it's still a pretty good time to work for the federal government.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/12/art.dc.bldgs.jpg caption=""]
USA Today reports that on average, federal employees earn double what private sector workers make. In 2009, federal civil servants earned about $123,000 - that's the total of pay and benefits... compared to $61,000 for private workers.
For nine years in a row, federal workers have been getting bigger pay and benefit increases than private employees... and the compensation gap between the two groups has grown from $30,000 10 years ago to almost $62,000 today.
Unions for public employees insist this is because most federal jobs require a high level of skill and education; and because the government contracts out many lower-paying jobs to the private sector.
But a lot of people don't buy that argument. Critics say federal workers are overpaid. And Republicans in Congress want to cancel the 1.4 percent across-the-board pay hike for federal workers that Pres. Obama is calling for.
Consider this: federal compensation has grown nearly 37 percent since 2000... compared to less than nine percent for private sector employees.
It's no wonder our government can't keep a lid on spending with statistics like this... the federal budget deficit just for the month of July was more than $165 billion. Meanwhile millions of Americans are losing or have lost their jobs, and millions of others have been forced to take a pay cut.
Here’s my question to you: In this economy, should federal workers be earning twice what private sector workers do?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Every government faces this question and the answer is always obviously 'yes'. The problem is if you freeze wages or cut back you will only see strikes and discontent. You think they do things slowly now? Try messing with their paycheck and see what happens.
Ken in Maryland writes:
As a private-sector contractor working for the government, I can tell you first-hand that the argument made by "unions for public employees" is accurate. Averages can be deceiving. Private sector jobs include lots of typically low-paid and minimum wage jobs. Jobs held by government workers tend to be higher level positions... Some government workers are overpaid for what they do, and many private sector workers are underpaid but it's not an across-the-board thing. A global statement can't be made like that.
Lizzie in Los Angeles writes:
I'd love to have a government job. I'd love to have any job. But alas, we 60-somethings are looked at with disdain and contempt even by the government. But we'll be around to vote come November.
Buddy in Illinois writes:
Jack, I don't know if all federal employees are being overpaid, but I'm pretty sure there are 535 overpaid federal employees on Capitol Hill.
I am a federal employee and have been working for the past month to have our salaries frozen for 2011. But the powers that be are still going to give us a raise. This is insane.
Joe in Chicago writes:
Jack, Self-entitlement in the government is out of control. Public service was once honorable, but now it is as corrupt as any other union.
Sylvia in San Diego writes:
No, no and no. And if you do not believe me, just visit your local Social Security Office and witness first hand the incompetence, inefficiencies and lack of customer focus that these government employees exhibit. It will make you weep!