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Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatriotsReign, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign On the Roster

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    Talk about federal waste! And don't forget, this all started before Obama got elected. But based upon his own proclaimed philosophy, it should not be continuing.

    Six-Figure Federal Salary Gravy Train

    "The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.

    Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available.

    When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.

    The growth in six-figure salaries has pushed the average federal worker's pay to $71,206, compared with $40,331 in the private sector."


    The frikkn' TRANSPORTATION department?!! You've gotta be kidding! Of all federal agencies, the transportation dept. likely takes some of the LEAST educated and trained personnel. You could hide some unqualified person in this dept. very easily.

    Your thoughts?

    Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Six-Figure Federal Salary Gravy Train

    For feds, more get 6-figure salaries - USATODAY.com
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  2. resnor

    resnor Rookie

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    Well, we have to create jobs, right?

    LOL
  3. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    First of all would want to know the specific classifications...prior to making any judgement, if they are professional engineers working on a variety of projects.. less of an issue.

    Will reserve judgement... until I know more...

    The Federal government has always paid well, in 1968 my father was making about 45K as he was a lead engineer in the Mark 4 Torpedo project... sure that raised some eyebrows, but he was very good at what he did....

    With all the being said you could cut half the jobs in DC and still get the job done.. there is a lot of patronage jobs that do not have a lot to do with qualifications or skills... including Cabinet level Department, see Dept. of Ed.
  4. NEPatriot

    NEPatriot Banned

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  5. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Definitely eyebrow-raising.

    What is eyebrow-raising is the actual "price-points" had that much of a jump.

    Oddly enough, the top step in the GS system is in the 150K range for the highest locality-adjusted pay. So what we're looking at is Senior Executive Service pay or "pay-banding", not rank-and-file pay. Evidently a lot of the SESs in the FAA were effectively stymied by a ceiling established by their boss' pay then sprung loose when the boss got a raise.

    The Fed structure, if you read the article, is precisely what you would expect: Nobody mentioned in the article, whether they are ultimately responsible for the safe transit of all passenger aircraft in the United States, or whether they are putting their life on the line for their country, makes rookie minimum salary as earned by Mr. Irrelevant in any NFL draft. In other words, no matter how much you risk or how much you are responsible for, in the civil service, you do not get rich enough to, for example, be affected by the tax hikes on the rich that are "really on the middle class" according to GOP talking points (i.e., if they kick in at 250K).

    Put another way: Who do you believe to be more important, the head of the FAA, or these guys:

    2009 Executive PayWatch

    Average compensation: 10.9 million/year. Each.

    Of course, these aren't the really high paid guys. These are:

    100 Highest Paid CEOs

    These guys never kept your plane in flight, never made your trains run on time, and never as a condition of their job put their asses on the line.

    Oh I know, don't tell me: They have great responsibility. What if they don't make a profit -- something the Feds don't even have to worry about. Hold on though, they get the bonuses anyway, remember? :rolleyes:

    As to the broadbrush swipes at DOT and the feds in general, please tell me what experience either of you have within the federal government to determine the accuracy of your respective statements.

    If you don't have any actual experience in DOT, how do you know that they, especially, are unqualified individuals, particularly at the higher grades?

    If you have no actual experience in the federal government, precisely how do you know in an absolute sense that they're generally worthless?

    What I can say is that the general public is NOT going to like the idea that the Feds earn a living wage, and when you compare them to the general population and pay has actually INCREASED in a recession, you know what is coming next: calls for freezes to federal pay.

    No-brainer. Obama already did it to his staff, so it's not like you can't see it coming.

    What you see in the federal government is, comparatively speaking, a woefully underpaid top tier (such as I dunno, the leader of the free world making less than a piss-poor football player; I think the pres. gets 400K? 600K? something like that.)

    There is a very large middle class. There is very little in the way of being "working poor," and what there is of it does not last for most individuals, since pay goes up every year.

    You do not get an automatic raise in the private sector. You do not make a million a year or 10 million or 30 million or for that matter a quarter million in the GS system. Feds can't generally hire for jobs like janitor and dishwasher, because it is not inherently governmental -- and by edict, that's supposed to be arranged via contract labor, not government employees. What do you expect to happen to average pay, when something that anybody can do is always hired through contractors, and only those positions that cannot be contracted out are retained? Are those likely to be jobs you can do without a high-school education? Without a college education?

    One final note: A very small proportion of jobs in the federal government are patronage jobs. They are a small group of pollitical jobs at the top.

    The "politicals" are put in place by each administration to translate the administration's agenda to the career feds who make the agenda happen. So you have a Cabinet level guy and his chief of staff as politicals. In DOT you have modal administrations, and probably a lot (or all) of the administrators are politicals. But the competitive service jobs are the vast majority in the federal bureaucracy.

    So there's the lay of the land. By any measure, feds are underpaid at the top. There's a big middle. There's little or no bottom (accounting for the skewing vs. the general population. Feds don't believe in keeping a guy at 15K per year for his whole life. The private sector, where it can, does.)

    So what can I say... feds surely are not all heroes, and they're not starving saints, but they're not useless either... and to put it mildly, IN GENERAL the numbers do not tell the story very well.

    During a recession, people are always galled by somebody else's salary, and I suppose there's a baseline assumption that feds must all be incompetent and not worth whatever they earn. The ceiling's pretty low, but the floor's pretty high. RIFs are less common than bankruptcies, and in terms of the whole "company" going under a la the private sector, despite repeated calls for said outcome, the gubmit's been here a couple hundred years. In a recession that in itself is an attractive prospect.

    On the flip side, periodically people will get on soapboxes to deride you whether you are doing a good job or not, and you don't get rich.

    It is what it is. If it looks that appealing to you, here you go:

    USAJOBS - The Federal Government's Official Jobs Site

    PFnV
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  6. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign On the Roster

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    I would expect that under the current economic crisis that wages of federal employees not rise as much as this article exposes. Regardless of the level of responsibility, a raise is a raise.

    You're right, they're not heroes or under-qualified employees. But when it's you & I paying them, then we have a right to know and complain if we so choose.

    For the number of federal employees making $170K/yr to increase from under 2,000 to 10,000 in 18 months is definately something to be alarmed about. It is wrong on all levels when the unemployment rate is over 15% (the REAL rate).

    If some feel they have been under-paid for a long time, I have one thing to say to them....

    "They took these jobs by choice for reasons only they know. If someone really wants to make it rich, you don't get a job in gov't...and that's the way it should be."

  7. DarrylS

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    This trend started in '07, so it is not a new phenonemon...

    To retain the best and the brightest, you may have to pay more... otoh there is no real indication who these people are, if they are just more Browns from FEMA it is not good for any of us, but if it is highly valued classifications it may be....

    People have always thought if you worked for the state or feds, you are providing a service... which is partially true, but in reality to retain a professional crew that can keep pace with all of the contractors may need to pay more.

    Surprised as the median is so high, in just about every salary survey that I have seen is always skewed down, due to clerical positions... sure there are a lot of clerical folks reading USA today saying I do not make close to 71K....
  8. PatsFanInVa

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    I think the middle skewing is due to the fact that clerical > flipping burgers. Remember, the really low-paid jobs that occur in the general population aren't represented in the federal government; those are done through contracts.

    Remember also that the feds skew older than the general population. Most people find a way to make more at 50 than at 30 - this is certainly not to say that this is a universal rule, but across the entire sampling, I think it would pertain. So you take a group of people averaging 30 years of age and compare it to a group averaging 50 (or 40 or whatever, so long as there is a gap there,) and you will skew the outcomes.

    As to the guy that gets into the federal service and knows what he is getting into you are absolutely right: they forego the truly high-paying jobs in favor of security and incremental gains over time that they can rely on.

    In terms of a government full of "Brownies", don't conflate the career feds with the politicals. Now Brown may have been a particularly inept political, or you can argue that he was representative of the "plum" guys, but crisis presented HIM the "epic fail" opportunity, and he took it. What you cannot argue is that he's representative of the entire government.

    I think just the fact of economic pain in the private sector is likely to generate calls for federal pay freezes (as I've said.) I do not, personally, believe that those calls are justified, but a better study than "Hey look! A rule says you can't make more than your boss caused 1700 raises when the boss got a raise!" may be in order.

    You always lose some feds when such calls go out, and there's a concern within government that a big cadre of well trained and qualified professionals will be departing in the next 10 years. They're quite worried about ramping up the best of the middle cadres, and they're not very sanguine about their prospects of hiring from outside (given that you can't make a lot being over 1,000 feds as opposed to being over 1,000 private-sector workers, or for that matter being over 100 private-sector workers.)

    So yeah, we'll see a reaction to the USA Today article, and probably any similar articles that follow it up via the Kinkos school of journalism. It is a recession, after all.

    I do not think high unemployment is an argument against incremental raises among those with jobs, but I do think that flat wages in the private sector would be (due to the plethora of potential applicants for any private-sector job.)

    I'll note, however, that I have yet to see an article in USA Today urging that feds get an extra-big raise during times of especially robust private-sector economic growth.

    PFnV
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
  9. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Wasn't Messiah supposed to "CHANGE" all this?
  10. PatsFanInVa

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    PS, I am serious when I post the OPM jobs page. If any of you guys do have talents that the gubmit can use, and you do have a good work ethic, and you do have even a slight belief that government does necessary work, I encourage you to look around the OPM job site. It's a pretty robust resource and these are pretty tough times. If you've got a job you like, but you know someone who's lost a job, get the information to that person.

    Granted, feds check your background, and expect you to abide by a lot of rules. There's no breezing in late "because I got that big project done for the deadline yesterday," but you CAN take the next day off if you think ahead to wanting the time off and get the leave approved ahead of time... that sort of thing. The application is a bloody endurance test. But once you've filled out your paperwork if you make copies of everything it's simple to do for another federal job, and the OPM system will keep resumes around and allow you to clone them and tailor them for different jobs (the resume is only one part of the process.)

    Darryl, for a guy like you, it's worth thinking about if you don't make close to 70K. I don't know what you do, but you strike me as pretty bright.

    It's not like you'll come in making 70K, but in federal service, if you keep your eyes open for opportunities to really show what you can do, you have the advantage that there are unlikely to be setbacks due to random chance (company going bankrupt, big layoffs, a specific position not being needed.) If they RIF your position (which is fairly rare), they look throughout the government for an equivalent opening. You get the idea... the perk is that the government is good for security, and security is huge for "ratcheting" at a certain level and striving for the next.

    It's a great deal for a talented hardworking guy who is okay with not getting a yacht, but needs to always have a working car, and thinks he might want a shot at someday buying a little boat. It's a bad deal for a guy who really really wants a yacht. Sure a lot of people skate by with the automatic raises and COLAs. But if you go for promotions whenever the opportunity presents itself, and hold yourself to the standard that will get you the promotion instead of the standard that maintains a current level, you can build a nice middle-class career.

    (I know, I know, we really want starving saints... but the government is a place where people build careers).

    I'm personally glad (well, 90% of the time,) that I work in the government. I did take a pay cut initially to start out with the feds, but since then promotions and yes, COLAs, have made up for it. And importantly, I've had no periods of sporadic unemployment in that time.

    As anybody who's been out of work for a month or two or six can tell you, that can take you years to pay for. You get paid vacation and holidays in the government. You have access to insurance, a small defined benefit pension, and a defined contribution match (like a 401K).

    So I'd urge anybody who thinks that deal sounds "too good" to look into it for themselves.

    What can I say, when I waited tables in college I thought the local guy who sold real estate had a great deal, when he scored a 5K commission in one weekend. People in North Dakota think everybody in NYC is rich because of the median income... without looking at median housing. Guys without paid vacation or benefits think the feds have a great deal, and just about everybody is agog at executive pay on Wall Street.

    But I don't know anybody who complains about Wall Street pay, who wouldn't at least think about applying for a position there if there were an open, public, easy way in to the positions we're talking about. Well, in the federal service, they are looking for people all the time, and they try very hard to make known the opportunities.

    It seems to be the only type of job people can feel envious of, yet never deign to apply for, all opportunity aside. :)

    I think we've made "government job" such a dirty word that people will cut off their own noses to spite their faces, in terms of applying for them. After all, how can you talk about "starving the beast" when you're in its belly?

    PFnV
  11. PatsFanInVa

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    No.

    He did however change it for the White House staff within his first week.

    Why don't you cite where Obama campaigned on excessive federal pay? Or are you just drunk?

    PFnV
  12. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Actually I am retired from State systems.... did very well there, but not 170K well... my major benefit is my pension and paid health insurance until age 65....
  13. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Disclaimer - I am not one of these people.

    That said :

    I live in a city with a large military base so I know a good number. As has been stated above :

    The average Federal Employee has much more education than the average non Federal Employee. Keep in mind most low level jobs on the base, like Janitors, are contracted out so they don't count in the numbers.

    To make right around $100K you have to have a 4 year technical or business degree and have tons of experience, around 20 years. And you are topped out there unless you take the jump to a program manager type.

    And if you are a program manager type and making $150K or so, I wouldn't want your job. The ones I know are on the road constantly, overseeing program in the hundreds of millions and work extremely hard for their money. Honestly, they are underpaid.

    Now, I don't know what it's like everywhere but in the town I work all the above is true.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
  14. PatriotsReign

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    Such DEFENSE stated....

    My main point which no one has truly addressed as everyone thus far seems to be getting into a "defensive" mode, is that the unemployment rate is over 15% and the number of federal employees making over $170K has gone from about 1,900 to 10,000 over the 18 months since the recession started. Not only a recession, but a MEGA-recession.

    No one said gov't employees aren't valuable, hard-working or deserving individuals. It's just the wrong time for that to happen. Not "inconvenient" but wrong.

    The money would have been better spend HIRING new employees to address unemployment. But maybe both have happened, I'm not sure.

    But I do believe that PFinVA, BF and Darryl are all gov't employees. Am I wrong?
  15. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Yes, I am a software engineer for the DoD. I am topped out below $100K and quite happily so. That said, I have previously called for a 10% cut in government spending for all but active military salaries. That would go for all federal employee salaries but also all programs and social security payments.
  16. PatsFanInVa

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    You know I knew that about you, Darryl, and my apologies for not remembering.

    I mean this in the best way - you always strike me as young, because (at least to me) it doesn't seem like you've sunk into the repetitive inflexible thought that's so often and so unfortunately the consequence of experience. You seem young in the best way (and that's not saying you don't seem experienced or wise, you just don't seem brittle and broken.)

    All apologies,

    PFnV
  17. PatsFanInVa

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    Understood, PR, and defensiveness stipulated. :)

    Unlike Belichickfan, I don't call for an across-the-board cut for feds or for federal programs, but I think we also have two different views of government.

    As to the timing of the jumps in the USA Today article, they represent jumps of thousands, at specific "price points" in specific circumstances, within a workforce of (I believe still) millions.

    But as mentioned, I think a call for federal freezes is likely coming based on exactly the perceptions you're talking about and embracing here. I won't personally take impassioned exception. In terms of desire for wealth I'm pretty easily satisfied.

    But in terms of fairness in general, per my explanations in this thread, I think it's a bit misguided. Rarely, it looks like B-fan and I actually agree on some of the causes for the skewing in the middle, and as for the top, the advantage demonstrably goes to the private sector.

    We'll see what comes of it.

    PFnV
  18. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign On the Roster

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    But of course!

    Former gov't employees from the left never get brittle or bitter or even old!

    But man, if you're a republican, or GOD FORBID...a conservative, you're doomed for bitter & brittle golden years.:p:p

    Well, at least I'm a democrat.....Sigh...
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
  19. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    This is unbelievable! Look at the jump in the figures! More than 5x's in 18 months! WTF is going on here? I've been posting about six figure salaries in the state of Massachusetts, and the city of Boston, since I joined here PR. WOW, the fed numbers are ridiculous! How can anyone defend such a drastic increase in the six figure totals? I swear man, bankruptcy is the only option. I used to laugh at some of my libertarian friends when they used to say that, but with each passing year, it seems more and more real. We almost need the fed to go under, so we can tear things up, and start over. Buy a weapon.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
  20. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I thought I may get one of these reactions, and I do mean reactions, based on "us versus them" thinking -- with the "us" being those who perceive themselves not to be grinding partisan poliltical axes, and the "them" being those whose ideology is more consistently identifiable as on a "side."

    Can't you just compliment a guy's views without starting an on-the-bus, off-the-bus argument of one sort or another? :)

    PFnV

    PS, RW, read the rest of the thread too. You have the right to have nothing but outrage etc. etc. etc. You also have the right to consider all sides of this conversation.

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