The ultra-conservative Cato Institute released a shameful piece of propaganda masquerading as a "study" this week claiming that federal employees' pay and benefits are 78% higher than their private sector counterparts. The so-called "report" is complete and total nonsense.
"The data are wrong, the calculations are wrong, the methods are wrong and the conclusions are wrong," said Jacqueline Simon, policy director for AFGE. "Any time someone tries to compare average anything between the entire private sector and the federal workforce are fundamentally misleading. The distribution of jobs performed by federal workers is very different from that of the private sector as a whole, and averages include all the employers that provide low wages, no health insurance, and or pension plan whatsoever."
The Koch Brothers-backed Cato Institute numbers stand in stark contrast with the findings of the Office of Personnel Management that are used by the Federal Salary Council. These data consistently show that federal pay is substantially below levels in state and local government and the private sector.
The biggest differences between Cato's propaganda and the Federal Salary Council approach come from data and methodology. In the Cato assertions would compare federal pay and benefits with the 26% of the American workforce making less than $10 an hour and the 45% that have no employer pensions. The percent of the federal government workforce that makes $10 is only 1%, and all federal employees are eligible to participate in federal retirement plans.
Despite all the smoke and mirrors, the truth is that federal employees all across the country go to work every day to serve our veterans, protect our skies, and support our troops. They know they’ll never get rich doing it, but they believe in the mission and are willing to accept a lighter paycheck for the privilege of serving their fellow citizens.