My new bulletin [.pdf] regarding federal vs. private pay has set off lots of rowdy discussion at a popular website for federal workers.
An article on my piece is here, and about 80 responses are here. Federal workers are against me, but a few brave souls ask their comrades essentially, “If all you federal workers get paid so poorly, then how come so few of you ever leave?” One worker with the Social Security Administration notes, “I am a libertarian, and working for 35 years within the government to witness its dysfunction first hand has made me so.”
Still, critics of my piece had at least one good point. I noted that the average federal pay advantage over the private sector has risen sharply in recent years. Folks pointed out that is because many low-skill federal jobs have been contracted out. I think that is part of the explanation, but some workers agreed with me that other factors are in play, such as ”inflation” in setting job classifications. And certainly, federal pay increases are consistent and generous, while private wages occasionally stagnate during economic slowdowns. And then there are those gold-plated government benefits….