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Average Federal Pay Exceeds Microsoft’s

From the American Enterprise Institute:

(Click to enlarge)

Average federal pay matches Microsoft

By Andrew Biggs
January 27, 2012

The average federal government employee receives a salary of around $75,000 per year. With present and future fringe benefits equal to about 76 percent of salaries, that makes for total annual compensation of around $133,000. How does this match up to the private sector?

CNN Money has a nice survey of the 25 highest-paying companies in the country, outlining the average total compensation per employee in each one. According to CNN, the closest match to federal employment is Microsoft, whose average employee compensation is $132,023 per year, making it the 17th highest-paying company in the country.

When high federal pay is pointed out, public employee unions counter that federal employees are more productive than the average private sector worker, due to their greater education and experience. But do you think that the average federal employee is more productive than the average Microsoft employee? Or Intel, or Qualcomm, both of which pay around the same?

Even if federal employees are productive, what do most of them produce? Look at the other companies in the above chart. And think of what they produce, compared to the federal government. Also, notice how federal employees only make a little less than those wicked Goldman Sachs employees.

In any case, lest we forget, according to the New York Times, by 2005 Microsoft has created a least 10,000 millionaires, and 3 billionaires. Which you would think would skew the salary average quite high. Which makes one wonder how many government employees have become millionaires.

For the record, the author of this piece, Andrew Biggs, was previously the principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration. So you have to think he knows whereof he speaks when it comes to government employees.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, January 30th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Average Federal Pay Exceeds Microsoft’s”

  1. Georgfelis says:

    Some background first.
    Federal Government pay scale for 2012 (also 2010, 2011, and probably 2013…) http://www.opm.gov/oca/12tables/pdf/gs.pdf

    Now we are expected to believe that an employer such as the Federal Government, who hires unskilled workers at the GS-5 rate, GS-7 with a degree, GS-9 with a degree and years of service, or GS-11 with an advanced degree such as Engineering, and GS-12 for Masters and PhD level employees, and GS-13 for supervisors, has an AVERAGE of GS-13 employees. That implies the same number of supervisors as employees, which is a little weird.

    Now to top it off, that “average” employee making 75k, makes 58k in fringe benefits? We’re in the land of Delusion now.

    To get up to 58k in fringe benefits, the study includes such things as Retention, and Future fringe benefits. And the Future benefits are derived from A) employee investments in 401K, which is the employee’s money (with 5% matching government contribution), B) the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) which is money the employee pays into a Defined Benefit plan that actually is stable (as opposed to the previous CSRS program, which was a giant black hole of doom, now plugged in 1983), and C) Social Security withholding. In other words, the employee’s salary, invested in retirement plans, is somehow counted as a Future fringe benefit. Oh, and the “Retention” benefit is just assigned a value out of thin air. Very Congressional of the report.

    Figures lie, and liars figure. About the only place these numbers might make sense is within 30 miles of D.C.

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