Are Federal Workers Overpaid?

Republicans are building the case for a government pay freeze -- and eventually a cut -- as a way to reduce the deficit.

Government workers have never been the most popular people -- even when they’re sending out Social Security checks or coming to the rescue in a national disaster. But the anger this year is reaching a peak, spurred in part by concerns over big government and whipped up by GOP leaders. On their Web site proposing solutions to the deficit and debt problem, House Republicans featured a freeze on civil service salaries as an option and millions enthusiastically jumped on it.

Then came a report from the Heritage Foundation that added fuel to the fire. It found that government salaries are, on average, 22% higher than in the private sector, and when benefits are added in, the difference rises to 30%. The disparity has gotten worse in recent years, as private sector pay has been frozen or cut while government workers continue to get pay raises -- 2% last year.

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Mark Willen
Senior Political Editor, The Kiplinger Letter