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Want to be rich? Work for the public sector!

bales of money union workers get over private sector

“With the federal deficit and national debt heading into the stratosphere, taxpayers can no longer afford to support such lucrative government compensation. Public sector pay and benefits at all levels should be reduced to make it comparable to the wages and benefits earned by the average working taxpayer.”

It wouldn’t be too hard to fathom that most civil servants do not realize how lucky they are to have their jobs protected for life with a pretty decent salary. The way it works in the private sector is that if you don’t like the salary you are getting at your current employer, you can walk off to another for better working conditions (if they exist).

Unions were formed to protect the public from abusive employers. Public servants are protected by elections so they do not need unions. Now the public needs protection from the civil servants unions. The public sector unions have been setting too high of a standard and are killing private sector unions because only government can afford to pay in that fashion. Services are being cut, taxes are increasing, bureaucracy is growing and it is snowballing.

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A good example would be workman’s compensation the only people that can afford get it are unionized employees anyone else is starved back to work because they don’t have a union to pay and fight for them. Logic would dictate that there should be more work place injuries among labor intense jobs, this is not the case there are more injuries in office and light labor jobs (public service). A construction worker will work everyday till 65 with a broken vertebrae and a blown knee, yet a public servant will spend years on WCB then early retirement with a huge pension because they have some undetectable soft tissue injury.

It’s high time union bosses realised that their “equality” mantra in the good times should be applicable in the bad, writes Sarah Carey.

Before they open their mouths, trade union leaders expect us to believe that we are supposed to interpret their words from a socialist perspective. They also ask us to believe that though they represent specific interest groups, they are unlike the Irish Farmers’ Association or the Irish vintners associations because they seek the betterment of society, not just their members.

But these are false premises and the wilful and changeable meaning they put on words like “equality” exposes the lie of their supposed socialist stance.

A true left-winger knows that equality means what I will call vertical equality. It means that the gap between those at the top of the earning ladder and those at the bottom should be as narrow as possible. It’s a really important principle because the more “equal” we are, the greater our mutual self-interest. If we’re more “equal” we don’t need private schools or the VHI because it’s in all our interests to provide good public services. Then people don’t get left behind because they ended up in the poor school or die because they waited too long for the cancer diagnosis.

For decades, public sector unions have peddled the fantasy that government employees were paid less than their counterparts in the private sector. In fact, the pay disparity is the other way around. Government workers, especially at the federal level, make salaries that are scandalously higher than those paid to private sector workers. And let’s not forget private sector workers not only have to be sufficiently productive to earn their paychecks, they also must pay the taxes that support the more generous jobs in the public sector.

Data compiled by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis reveals the extent of the pay gap between federal and private workers. As of 2008, the average federal salary was $119,982, compared with $59,909 for the average private sector employee. In other words, the average federal bureaucrat makes twice as much as the average working taxpayer. Add the value of benefits like health care and pensions, and the gap grows even bigger. The average federal employee’s benefits add $40,785 to his annual total compensation, whereas the average working taxpayer’s benefits increase his total compensation by only $9,881. In other words, federal workers are paid on average salaries that are twice as generous as those in the private sector, and they receive benefits that are four times greater.

private vs public sector pay graph since 1980 show public increases

Steven Greenhut talked about his book Plunder!: How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation (The Forum Press; November 23, 2009). He took a critical look at government workers and the unions that represent them.


  1. David Jeremiah David Jeremiah May 2, 2010

    It is funny how people developed a something for nothing mentality. This Mentality is actually an American marketing old trick of “bait and switch”. It is time people got wary of this “FREE” business. We have encouraged it and now we are debating whether public or private sector is better paid. Whether it is physical, mental or spiritual there is no such thing as FREE LUNCH. If you don’t pay for it, your boss is paying for it , your children are paying for it or somebody from Iraq, India or Malaysia is paying for it !

  2. Steve Steve June 1, 2010

    All the Fat Cats on the Hill ought to pass a bill that employs every unemployed person in the country so they too can join the ranks of the overpaid and highly benefited public servants that work for the government. Makes perfect sense to me since this government is hell bent on going further into debt anyway.

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