I was surprised, even shocked, to read a front-page headline in the newspaper USA Today that said, "It pays to work for Uncle Sam." The article reported that federal employees receive higher average salaries than private-sector workers in most occupations. Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average when they work for the federal government than in the private sector. Registered nurses who work for the federal government are paid an average of $74,000 a year, which is $10,680 more than the average for private-sector nurses. Overall, federal workers get an average salary of $67,700 a year for occupations that exist both in government and private industry, whereas the average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector is $60,000.
If you know anything about government salaries, you know that they are sweetened up by generous health, pension and other benefits. They now average $40,785 per federal employee versus $9,882 per worker in the private sector. Government employees enjoy close to lifetime job security plus benefits including retirement. Annual raises are a matter of course. Senator Scott Brown, the new Senator from Massachusetts, made federal pay an issue in his successful campaign to fill Ted Kennedy's seat.
One reason why federal workers are paid well and enjoy generous health, vacation, and retirement benefits is the political power of the government workers unions. The political power of unions of government workers unions is also a major reason why government spending is now out of control. The average pay of federal workers is now over $71,000 (in Washington, DC, it's $94,047), whereas the average pay in the private sector (if you have a job) is $50,028. These government workers unions are major political contributors to leftwing causes and candidates.
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