We in our humble shop have discovered that John Edwards was right after all: There are two Americas. However, we don’t believe this story was quite what he had in mind.
An analysis by Chris Edwards (no relation to the former senator) of the Cato Institute found that federal civilian employees are a group not exactly hit hard by the recession. They now have an average compensation package (wages plus benefits) that doubles the average compensation package found in the private sector. Furthermore, it’s an overall disparity that’s increased over the last eight years.
In relating his findings, Edwards notes, “The result [of a lack of fiscal restraint during the Bush administration] has been an increasingly overpaid elite of government workers, who are insulated from the economic reality of recessions and from the tough competitive climate of the private sector.” While federal employees tend to complain about their pay scale — which is “only” about 60 percent higher than the private sector’s — it’s telling that they quit their jobs much less often than do those in the private sector. Obviously few are forced out because the federal government never shrinks in size, and, as the data show, federal employees are loath to give up their gold-plated benefit packages.
It’s a trend that will only increase with the proclivity of Barack Obama to expand the highly unionized government workforce and create additional bureaucracy. After all, someone has to push pencils for the dozens of czars Obama has appointed to supplement the already burgeoning workforce in place under those Cabinet department heads.
However, there is a chance this difference may be erased soon. With the proposed addition of thousands more workers to referee cap-n-tax and ration our health care, our growing government may finally leave no private sector jobs to be compared. That seems to be the desired result of this administration’s policies.