It’s Hard for Public Employees to Live Like Mere Mortals

In Virginia’s Arlington Sun-Gazette, reader Linda Jones complains about the fact that only a few public school teachers in Arlington County receive more than $100,000 a year in salary, claiming that “it’s hard for a single teacher to live in this area on a salary of less than $100,000 a year.” But of course, most Americans, and most Arlington residents, live on less than that.

I’m an attorney with years of experience, but I make less than $100,000, and I support a family on that (I’m the only wage-earner in my family). But then again, I’m not employed by the public sector, so I can’t pass on an inflated salary to the taxpayer.

Even in the public sector, professionals don’t usually make $100,000 a year. The average Virginia state attorney makes less than $80,000 per year.

Private-sector professionals often make far less. The average accountant in the Washington, D.C. metro area, which surrounds Arlington, makes about $50,000.

By contrast, the average Arlington teacher makes $71,148 per year, and also receives benefits worth $27,636 per year, many times the benefits received by the typical private-sector employee.

If the letter’s claim that it’s impossible to live on $100,000 a year strikes you as misguided, you can send a letter to the editor of the Sun-Gazette at [email protected].