dGovernment Workers Earn More - Road to the Middle Class - by Christopher Chantrill
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A Question of Belief Pushing Back Against "Bush Lied"

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Government Workers Earn More

by Christopher Chantrill
November 21, 2005 at 11:21 am

SIXTY-YEAR-OLD baby boomers all across the nation are reporting a curious experience. When they go to their 40-year high school reunions they discover that their old school pals that went to work for the government have already retired. Imagine that! The humble toilers who opted out of the fast lane have already left the rat-race for a comfortable retirement. Who would have thought it?

Of course, it’s worse than that. Not only do government employees retire earlier, they get paid more than workers in the private sector, as Steve Malanga reports.

Take teachers. Everyone knows they are underpaid. But according to the National Compensation Survey, public school teachers earn about 20 percent more in hourly pay and benefits than professional workers in the private sector.

The federal government’s national compensation survey estimates that local public school districts pay teachers an average of $47.97 per hour in total compensation, including $12.39 per hour in benefits—figures that far outstrip not only what private school teachers earn, but also the average of what all professional workers earn in private business, a category that includes engineers, architects, computer scientists, lawyers, and journalists.

OK, but that is just teachers. What about ordinary workers? Well, state and local government workers earn about $35 per hour in wages and benefits while private sector workers earn a little less than $25 per hour. Wow. That means that the average public sector worker makes about 40 percent more than the average private sector worker.

No wonder that liberals are trying to do a number on Wal-mart. If they could force Wal-mart to pay more then it wouldn’t seem that liberal government workers are overpaid. Never mind that, if we arbitrarily raised worker pay with minimum wage laws and mandatory benefits we would end up with European levels of unemployment.

Still. Forty percent more! That starts to make private sector workers look like mugs. What is the point of accepting the risk and the challenge of private sector work if the tenured, lifetime employment government worker earns more?

You tell me.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill