As Americans struggle to make ends meet, federal government employees are taking home a “minimum wage” of $100,000 and getting two months paid vacation after a mere three years of employment, according to government watchdog group Open the Books.
President Trump is theoretically in charge of the federal government, but that doesn’t mean he controls the fat cat federal bureaucrats in the Democrat-dominated civil service, many of whom within the Beltway work every day to undermine his policies. He even ordered a pay raise for federal employees in the new year, although the increase is smaller than what had been scheduled had he not acted.
With a workforce of 2 million people, the U.S. government is one of the most generous employers around, shelling out more than $1 million a minute in pay and benefits to its employees, for a total north of $136 billion a year in fiscal 2016, according to the report titled “Mapping the Swamp, A Study of the Administrative State.” The study excludes 742,000 civilian employees at the Department of Defense as well as the 1.3 million men and women on active duty.
Out of control federal pay is driven by the unrestrained greed of government workers’ unions that keeps upward pressure on wages, making feds increasingly removed from the everyday American experience. As the nation plunges deeper and deeper in debt, governments at all levels find themselves unable to meet their obligations, yet public employees continue to press their demands for unreasonable compensation and benefits. All across the country, rapacious government unions are eating taxpayers alive, while working feverishly to shape the political battlefield to their own advantage—under cover of a crusade for “social justice.” Instead of serving as a check on government power, government employee unions function as an unelected fourth branch of government, augmenting its power at taxpayer expense.
This makes draining the Washington swamp especially difficult, or as President Ronald Reagan remarked in 1983, “It’s hard, when you’re up to your armpits in alligators, to remember you came here to drain the swamp.”
Open the Books found that over the previous 10 years the number of federal employees earning $200,000 a year has jumped 165 percent and that 406,960 employees earn $100,000 or more, prompting the group to label the $100,000 paycheck the federal “minimum wage,” the Washington Examiner reports. Those 406,960 constitute about one out of every five federal workers.
At 78 out of the 122 independent agencies and departments studied, the average employee compensation in fiscal 2016 topped $100,000. The typical fed gets 10 federal holidays off, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days, and those with three years of service receive more than eight weeks paid vacation.
About one-third of the 35,000 federal lawyers work at the Department of Justice. The entire staff of federal lawyers earned $4.8 billion in fiscal 2016 which works out to an average salary per lawyer of $137,000.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had on staff 3,498 police officers at a total cost of $172 million in fiscal 2016, which works out to an average salary per cop of $49,000. The VA was unable to offer any data on crimes or incident, according to the report.
The VA had the second most employees with 372,614 or 19 percent of the federal workforce, putting it well behind the United States Postal Service (USPS) which employed 621,523 individuals, or 32 percent of all federal employees in fiscal 2016.
Despite leftist apoplexy over the Trump administration’s imagined austerity measures, federal pay rose this year effective Jan. 1. Executive Order 13819 signed by President Trump on Dec. 22 boosts federal civilian pay by 1.9 percent, reports Government Executive.
Although some lawmakers called for Trump to continue the tradition of pay parity between the military and civilian workforces, Congress did not intercede to further increase civilian pay rates. In August, Trump formally announced his alternative pay plan to increase pay by 1.9 percent, a requirement to prevent a much more generous raise from automatically kicking in as a result of the 1990 Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act.
“A pay increase of this magnitude is not warranted, and federal agency budgets could not accommodate such an increase while still maintaining support for key federal priorities such as those that advance the safety and security of the American people,” Trump wrote in his August statement.
The Washington swamp has yet to be drained.
This article by Matthew Vadum first appeared at FrontPageMag on Jan. 2, 2018.