No. 786



If you have been hearing an ear-splitting sucking sound over the past few years, it could well be the federal government siphoning off the wealth of private citizens and businesses to support a vast and growing leisure class of federal employees whose only concern, it seems, is to further augment their perks and privileges at taxpayer expense.
USA Today reports that “At a time when worker’s pay and benefits have stagnated, federal employee’s average compensation has grown to double what private sector workers earn.” While many of our citizens would lay this problem at the feet of the current administration, this problem did not start here.
According to the government’s own figures, as published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, federal employees now average $123,049 in pay and benefits, private-sector employees make $61,998. That’s a pay gap of $61,415 since the year 2000.
What we have here is a classic case of too many people riding in the wagon and too few pulling it. We have all heard this before, but this is truly a case of “Killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.” It is my privilege to explain why this is happening and the best course of future action. As someone famous has said, “Let me be clear” -- I do not fault federal employees for this sad state of affairs.
When any person is working and doing what they think is a good job, they don’t turn down raises and perks. That is just human nature. As human beings, we are constituted in a way that makes us rationalize and justify where we are. “Hey, I am working hard, I deserve it and I have earned it,” is the attitude of most working people. The real villains here are members of Congress and the President who set policy and make the rules.
In principle, it works the same way in the private sector. Who determines who is going to give you a raise? In most cases it’s the consumer or the one buying products and services that make raises possible, and ultimately they must come from profits. Again, because of human nature, it would be nice if we could just give ourselves a raise any time we wanted one. In a very real sense, this is what our politicians have been doing for a long time.
But back to the issue at hand, why federal employees are making off like bandits with too much taxpayer money. Of course, the bottom line is “greed,” and Congress and the President (whoever may be in office) are taking advantage of their position as caretakers of the public treasury. To have a healthy economy where raises are possible for all working people, it is necessary to have balance between the private and public sectors. Private sector jobs are those that provide a useful product or service and continue year after year, so long as they remain competitive and stay in business. Here is the real issue that is important to understand. These jobs are not funded by taxpayers and are the back bone of the American free enterprise system.
Millions of American jobs have gone overseas because of government policy and regulations, and this results in high unemployment. Those jobs are in the private sector, because federal government jobs are doing quite well, thank you, especially in our nation’s capital.
What is the answer? Well, a good place to start would be for our president to fire all those Czars and at least half of his cabinet members, and replace them with people with business experience who have actually met a payroll.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)