Public Sector Salaries Soar

The salary gap between the public and private sector workforce continues to grow. During a time when workers’ pay and benefits have seen little movement, government employee’s compensation has grown to twice that of the private sector. Democratic Strategist Mary Ann Marsh, of the Dewey Square Group, joined Varney & Co. to discuss the widening divide.

“I’m going to tell you it’s mostly George Bush’s fault,” said Marsh. “This study covers the past decade. That covers eight years of the Bush administration and almost two years of the Obama administration.”

In 2009, federal workers’ average salary was $123,049, compared to $61,051 for private sector workers.

Mary Anne Marsh thinks that adjustments need to be made and the way to do it is to publicize federal salaries. “I think the more people who know [federal employee salaries], the better off we are,” explained Marsh. “I think that’s how democracy works. So in Bell, California when they found out the outrageous salaries those folks were making, they got fired as they should.”

The average federal salary has grown 33% faster than inflation since 2000, and federal workers have received $41,000 in average benefits. Most of this was the government’s contribution to pensions.

Defenders of government salaries argue that they reflect the higher skills and education required for federal jobs.

President Obama has halted bonuses for 2,900 political appointees, but for the rest of the federal workforce, he has asked for a 1.4% pay increase in 2011.