Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Obama: Wants Pay Hikes for Federal Workers

Washington DC, Feb 15, 2012. President Obama wants to give raises to people collecting federal paychecks, but in his new budget proposal, troops would get a larger pay boost than civilian employees.

The White House budget plan released Monday would increase federal civilian pay by a modest 0.5 percent, a bump that would end a two-year cost-of-living pay freeze. Uniformed military personnel would receive a 1.7 percent raise in 2013, the increase indicated by law, according to the proposal.

While this proposed pay hike is modest, when combined with the extremely generous benefit package that federal workers get, this will widen the gap between public sector workers and private sector workers.

A recent CBO (Congressional Budget Office) study shows that federal employees earned an average 16% more in total compensation, meaning pay and benefits, versus workers at private companies.

Public sector unions will not share in the sacrifice
The study comes at a time when President Barack Obama has called for "shared sacrifice" in the form of higher taxes in his State of the Union address and campaign speeches.

The full-time federal workforce has grown by 140,000 employees during the president’s term, to about 2.2 million workers.

Federal-worker compensation was higher versus what private-sector workers receive in almost all categories, the CBO study says.

Compensation for federal workers costs taxpayers about $200 billion a year, the CBO study says. Of that sum, $80 billion was spent on federal workers in national defense, the study says, with the remaining $120 billion spent on personnel in other federal agencies.

Federal benefits drove the swing higher versus the private sector. The average benefits package for federal workers, including health and retirement benefits, costs taxpayers a whopping 48% more on average than what private sector workers get in comparable jobs, the CBO study says.

"While millions of Americans continue to struggle with stagnant wages and high unemployment, government bureaucrats in Washington continue to enjoy significant advantages over those whose tax dollars finance their compensation," says a statement by the office of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, chairman of the House Budget Committee.

A USA Today analysis of the federal “job for life” issue in July 2011 found that in 2010, federal workers enjoyed a 99.43% job security rate, and in many agencies, employees were more likely to die of natural causes than get laid off or fired by the federal government.

The paper also says the federal government fired just 0.55% of its workers in the budget year ending September 2010, versus a rate of firings in the private sector that was about six times higher, at around 3%.

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