Wednesday, January 05, 2011

5 Myths About Federal Workers

For those of you misguided enough to buy the GOPmyth that government workers are over paid, are the problem and that we can balance our budgets on their backs:

Just a little more of the plethora of evidence that the entire modern conservative agenda is fueled by lies. But we know that wingnuts need enemies, so here are your "enemies".

1. Federal employees are overpaid compared with private-sector workers.
Federal employees make on average 24 percent less than their private-sector counterparts. In addition, the average private-sector salary in 2010 for a recent college graduate was $48,661. Entry-level federal workers start at $34,075, or $42,209 for candidates with superior academic achievement.

2. The federal workforce is bigger than ever.
federal government employs 2.1 million people. The workforce is now slightly smaller than it was in 1967, at the height of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, and today there are 100 million more Americans to serve. Even during the Reagan administration, when small government was a political mantra, there were still between 2.1 and 2.2 million federal workers. In fact, there was an increase of about 95,000 federal employees between 1981 and 1989. Today, two out of three federal civilian employees work for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs or Justice. The vast majority of government hiring since 2003 has been in these four departments.

3. You can't fire a federal worker.
In the 2009 fiscal year, 11,275 federal employees were fired for poor performance or misconduct. In addition, a survey of federal managers by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board suggests that besides those who are formally terminated, there are a sizable number of employees who voluntarily leave after they are counseled that their performance is unacceptable.

4. Most federal workers are paper-pushing clerks.
The vast majority of federal workers hold white-collar professional, administrative and technical jobs. Approximately 20 percent of federal workers have a master's degree, professional degree or doctorate, vs. 13 percent in the private sector. Fifty-one percent of federal employees have at least a college degree, compared with 35 percent in the private sector. Remarkably, more than 50 current or former federal employees have received Nobel Prizes. In fact, about one in four American Nobel laureates have been federal workers. Their contributions have included the eradication of polio, the mapping of the human genome and the harnessing of atomic energy.

5. Pay or hiring freezes would help slash the federal budget.
History has taught us that arbitrary, broad hiring and pay freezes don't return significant cost savings. How much will the government save by cutting 10 percent of the federal workforce - about 200,000 employees - as recommended by the president's deficit commission? If the work of federal employees is simply contracted to the private sector, the savings could be minimal or the move could even cost us more. If government employees are not replaced and their salaries are returned to the Treasury, the government would save at most $20 billion annually, or roughly 0.5 percent of total budget outlays.


B.S. Miller said...

Posted over at the Pledge:

Sean Cranley said...

Thanks Bryan!

libhom said...

It's great to see people countering the lies and scapegoating.