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Federal Worker Pay About to Rival Compensation of Senators

Federal Worker Pay About to Rival Compensation of Senators

“salaries for most bureaucrats in the General Service will rise next year”

Working for the government has become very lucrative. In fact, some federal workers are inching very close to the same pay enjoyed by United States senators. Is this the way it was supposed to be?

Paul Bedard reports at the Washington Examiner:

Federal workers poised to overtake salaries of senators, DC gets highest pay raise

The top paychecks of federal workers are set to grow again next year to a six-figure number that rivals the $174,000 salaries of America’s 535 House and Senate members.

Under a new federal order, salaries for most bureaucrats in the General Service will rise next year when the cap on top pay hits $164,000.

And for the upper reaches of the government, senior executive service employees will be allowed to earn a maximum of $189,600.

The Washington area, where the bulk of federal workers are employed, will get the biggest pay raise under the order signed by President Trump before Christmas. There, the increase for General Service workers will be 2.29 percent.

This situation creates two very obvious problems. The first is the cost. The second is that this community of workers, most of whom live in the Washington area, are unlikely to ever vote for smaller government. This is their industry and they won’t vote against their own best interests.

Katie Pavlich talked about this on FOX News last night:

How is job satisfaction in this sector? Positive and rising. Is there any wonder why?

Megan R. Wilson writes at The Hill:

Survey: Satisfaction of federal workers rising

Employee satisfaction across the government improved by an average of 2.1 points in 2017 in the months after President Trump took office, compared to the same time last year, according to a new survey of federal workers.

Federal government agencies, large and small, reported an average score of 61.5 points in employee engagement on the 100-point scale, an increase from 2016, according to data compiled by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

“The three-year increase in employee engagement follows a concerted effort by agencies across government to improve how employees view their leaders and their jobs. Building on this momentum will require a strong commitment from the Trump administration to continue improving the employee experience — from training and developing leaders to ensuring employees have a positive work environment and the resources they need,” said the analysis of OPM data by the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and the audit and consulting firm Deloitte, the groups which conducted the survey.

I’m delighted to hear that federal workers are happier since Trump took office. There is however, something unsettling about the idea of bureaucrats earning nearly as much as senators.


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I read somewhere recently that the top 5 richest counties in the US are now in the Washington D.C. metro area. This is a recent thing also, they achieved that in the fall of 2017.

It reminds me of Ross Perot with his ‘giant sucking sound heard around the US, except it isn’t jobs going overseas, it’s our federal government, confiscating the wealth of our nation.

DINORightMarie | December 27, 2017 at 8:27 am

Oh no – don’t give them any ideas! The Congress will give themselves raises!!

As a federal employee (that is the ONLY place hiring during the Obama years in Va), I can say that I would – and do – vote for conservative, principled government salaries, as well as policies and etc. that will reduce government. However, I am (as you note) in the minority.

I will say this: the IT/tech industry salaries in the area for in-demand skillsets is much higher than what the federal government pays. So, in that case the federal agencies are not keeping up with private sector salaries. But, given that there has been long-endured stagnation in salaries in the private sector in all areas (including IT/tech), the attraction of the federal sector for the “guaranteed” increases and job stability is attractive.

    DINORightMarie in reply to DINORightMarie. | December 27, 2017 at 8:29 am

    *salaries are (correction)

    Vladtheimp in reply to DINORightMarie. | December 27, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Unless, of course, you are Pakistani agents and grifters who were hired as “IT Experts” without any expertise by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and then hired by these Democrats:


    And those experts accessed national security files without authorization and were paid well – Imran Awan, who started working for Wasserman Schultz in 2005, received $164,600 in 2016, with close to $20,000 of that coming from Wasserman Schultz.

    His brother Jamal, who started working as a staffer in 2014, was paid $157,350.12 in 2016. Abid, who started working in 2005, was paid $160,943 in 2016.

    Hina Alvi, who was employed as a staffer from February 2007, was paid 168,300 in 2016. Rao Abbas was paid $85,049 in 2016.

    And the media has shied away from this story like it carries a crucifix.

re: “In fact, some federal workers are inching very close to the same pay enjoyed by United States senators. Is this the way it was supposed to be?”

We already know the response to this question, if anyone is courageous enough to ask it: “…well, if you want the BEST there is, it will cost you!” I totally agree – so when are we going to start getting the ‘best there is’?

I visit the VA trembling; will this be my time to die? I attempt to get medicaid and am handed forms that I can’t understand by rude people who could care less.

There are other issues I have with the government workers, starting with their ‘rights’ to unionize. But it all means nothing, they’re going to get every penny they can ween from that Sugar Tit called America while telling everyone else to go piss up a rope.

There is however, something unsettling about the idea of bureaucrats earning nearly as much as senators.

Not sure why; that’s a mighty low bar. The job qualifications for a Senator are minimal; no tests, no particular education or history of job performance. All one has to do is win an election, and to do that one just has to be better than some other guy who didn’t pass any tests or obtain a particular education or show a history of job performance, either. This is not a system designed to skim off the good stuff which percolates to the top.

The situation is actually scandalous. Everybody from truck drivers to cowboys has to have some relevant skills and experience. But not the Senate. In practice, they’re all lawyers; which accounts for rather a lot. Consider what sort of government we’d have if nearly all senators were, say, interior designers, or chicken farmers, or TV repairmen. We could expect certain biases to dominate government business. And we do; from a government of lawyers, we mostly get a miasma of delay, pettifoggery, and astonishingly large bills. It’s not at all clear that this serves the Republic well … although I imagine it serves the lawyers involved very well indeed.

If the Federal employee is performing the requirements of the job, it is probably more than many Senators and Congresscritters are doing.

    Paul in reply to Edward. | December 27, 2017 at 9:43 am

    And if they are not, it is damn near impossible to get rid of them.

    I also take issue with their defined-benefit retirement plans which virtually nobody in the private sector receives. Those plans are backed by smoke-and-mirrors that the taxpayers will eventually pay for.

Welcome to third world and/or banana republic and/or socialist America.

In all of these places the best jobs for the avarage person are government jobs.

American Human | December 27, 2017 at 9:47 am

A few other little tiny perk for government workers. During a shutdown, they don’t have to go to work but yet at the end of the shutdown, they get paid for all those days they didn’t work. Also, they have Curtailed Ops, which is that on the Friday before a Monday holiday, everyone can just work until 10 am and then go home. Telecommuting, to a government worker, means that they can bring their laptop home, answer an email or two, and not get anything else done.

    These are federal bureaucrats, nobody is going to notice a difference if they opt to show up to work or not, their output would be the same either way.

buckeyeminuteman | December 27, 2017 at 9:55 am

Sort of like the Capital in the Hunger Games series. All the territories’ wealth goes to the out of touch, do nothing Capital people. Everybody else labors for their leisure. Spending a good many years working with federal employees, I can tell you once you’re in the club, you’re in the club. Impossible to get fired and work expectations are very low.

Sure, salaries for unelected bureaucrats might be scandalous in some cases.

But to compare the salary of the 535 in the elected class to anyone else is a hoot. Almost every member of Congress is a millionaire. And perhaps as high as 90% or more BECAME so wealthy AFTER being elected. Do the math. The salary could be $1 and they would be just as wealthy.

Hence the label “swamp” and the reason Trump was elected.

Salary……ha ha ha.

Back in the day, working for the fed was an honorable profession that paid less than average, but was mitigated by having excellent benefits. Today, the benefits are still excellent (pensions for example), but the pay is now far superior to the private sector for the same qualifications.

As Heinlein said, our civil servants are misnamed, as they are actually our civil masters. Federal pay must be restructured to being equivalent to the private sector, and benefits as well. DC must share the pain as well as the prosperity of the nation they serve.

    JHogan in reply to Immolate. | December 27, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    The benefits now are far, far better than what 98% of companies in the private sector offer. Companies in the private sector cannot afford to offer what the government does. They’d go out of business if they tried. Government, OTOH, just borrows and taxes more.

If you “earn” or are “entitled” to government pay, then you should forfeit your right to vote.

OleDirtyBarrister | December 27, 2017 at 11:27 am

In addition to the pay, federal troughfeeders have the best insurance of any workers in the US now. They were not adversely affected by ObamaCare like those of us in the private sector.

The problem with government wages is not the individual wage schedules. It is the huge number of government workers. Government bureaucracies just keep growing. Most government agencies produce nothing. They are service agencies [regulation is a service]. So, we actually have far more government employees, in non-critical positions, then we need.

Most government salaries are 15-30% lower than comparable salaries in the private sector. The trade-off, for the workers, is greater job security and, in some cases, better benefit packages.

The problem that exists, today, is the bloated size of government bureaucracies. They should be significantly reduced, but this would result in the loss of employment for a large number of people. And, unfortunately, due to hiring preferences, most of these employees will be minorities. The optics would be terrible.

But, sooner or later, these bureaucracies will have to be culled. Politicians just do not want to deal with it unless there is no other choice. Until then, salaries will continue to grow, especially if tax revenue is up.

    Humphrey's Executor in reply to Mac45. | December 27, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Don’t executive salaries vary depending on how many one supervises? There is a huge disincentive to downsize or increase efficiency.

Federal employees often fly first class when they travel too.

Congress’ compensation should be three hots and a cot and fifty cents an hour. No outside income during their terms. Let’s see how many civic minded patriots line up when they can’t line their pockets.