Public Employees’ Compensation Races past Private Sector Workers’

As union membership in government has outpaced that in the private sector, so has compensation. As the Washington Examiner reports:

Compensation for government workers grew about 55 percent from 2001 to 2008, while pay for private-company employees rose 40 percent, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The average compensation for local workers grew about 45 percent.

“Everyone knows that it’s impossible to fire federal workers, just about,” said Dan Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. “That, to me, is slam-dunk evidence that federal workers are overcompensated.”

State and local government employees also are earning more. Private industry workers earned an average of $25.11 an hour, while state and local government workers earned $29.99 an hour, according to local data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics taken from August 2008 to October 2009.

This shouldn’t be surprising, as government doesn’t face competitive pressures to keep costs — including labor costs — under control.  Just as a monopolist can pass added costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices, government can just pass the cost on to the taxpayer.

Worse, the massive expansion of government that the Obama administration’s health care “reform” could well lead to even faster growth in the number of employees considered “public.” Government hiring aside, organized labor and its political allies are working to expand the definition of “public employee” to private service providers — such as for child care and home elder and disabled care — who receive any form of government assistance, which is bound to increase enormously under the new health care law.

Also in the Examiner, columnist Mark Hemingway offers the second installment of a five-part series on Big Labor’s wielding of power under the Obama administration (first part here).

For more on public sector unions, see here and here.