Monday, January 17, 2011

Letter to editor on govt v. private compensation

Government workers are not overpaid

Robert Smith (Jan.7), quoting a Wall Street Journal editorial, says it is unfair that government employees make twice as much as private sector employees. Assuming this number is correct, which is questionable, it still doesn't prove that federal employees are overpaid. The comparison cannot be made fairly without pointing out a few important differences between the two sides (my source is the site,

1. Government employees are much more educated than private employees.

"The Office of Personnel Management (of The Bureau of Economic Analysis) reports that 44.3 percent of federal civilian workers held a bachelor's degree in 2008. That's more than double the percentage of private sector employees who have a bachelor's." They're also five years older on the average.

2. "In a 2007 report titled 'Characteristics and Pay of Federal Employees,' the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said '44 percent of federal workers were in management, professional, and related occupations, compared with 32 percent of private-sector workers,' citing the U.S. Census Bureau's 2005 Current Population Survey (see page 5)."

On a side note, I would advise people like Mr. Smith to take Wall Street Journal editorials with a grain of salt. The paper has a strong bias against the government (with an exception for the military).

Jack Davis



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