As Deficit Rises, So Too Does Number of Federal Employees

Thanks to the $800 billion stimulus package, and other huge government spending increases, the number of federal and state employees is projected to increase massively. The federal government’s payroll may grow by more than 200,000, and perhaps as much as 600,000, over the course of the Obama administration. Obama’s budgets, which would result in record deficit spending of $9.3 trillion, would add at least 100,000 additional bureaucrats during just his first budget, and perhaps as many as 250,000.

This is going to be enormously costly, because federal employees are paid much better than private-sector employees, especially for unskilled jobs and jobs requiring only a liberal arts degree. (On the other hand, there are a few highly-skilled professional jobs that are paid lower in the federal government than in the private sector, but that’s rare).

State and local government employees are even more overpaid. “More than 40% of city employees In Vallejo, California, had salaries greater than $100,000 in 2008. In May 2008, Vallejo filed for bankruptcy. Taxpayers support some hefty teacher salaries in Illinois. For example: a physical education teacher earning $163,000 (more than 400 earn in excess of $100,000); an English teacher earning $164,000 (more than 300 earn in excess of $100,000); a driver education teacher earning $170,000 (94 earn in excess of $100,000). In New York, state agency workers collected more than $459 million in overtime, with one aide clocking in 2,455 extra hours, nearly tripling her base salary from $38,500 to $110,841.”

Government employees have radically better benefits and pensions than private sector workers. “When wages and benefits are combined, federal civilian workers averaged $119,982 in 2008, twice the amount of $59,909 which workers in the private sector averaged for wages/benefits. The value of benefits for federal civilian workers averaged $40,000/year, four times the value of benefits that the average private sector employee receives. Only 12% of retirees from the private sector have defined benefit pensions to supplement Social Security. Their average annual pension is $13,083, and they are not eligible for full Social Security benefits until their late 60s. But the majority of public sector workers have pension plans that allow them to retire 10-25 years earlier with benefits many times the retirement payout that Social Security would provide. In San Jose, California, 256 retired officers and firefighters and 34 other city workers collect $100,000+ pensions, and all city retirees get free healthcare.”

Pay in the public sector rises faster than in the private sector even during Republican administrations. Pay for federal workers rose 53.7% between 2000 and 2008, compared to 28.5% for private sector workers.

Many of the new bureaucrats are being hired as a result of Obama’s welfare-filled stimulus package, which largely repealed welfare reform.

Obama claimed the stimulus package was needed to prevent the economy from suffering from “irreversible decline,” but the Congressional Budget Office admitted that the stimulus package would shrink the economy “in the long run.” The stimulus package has since destroyed thousands of jobs in America’s export sector, and subsidized countless examples of government waste and corruption.

Earlier this year, Obama fired an inspector general, Gerald Walpin, who uncovered millions of dollars of waste and fraud in the AmeriCorps program, including by a prominent Obama supporter, endangering the Obama supporter’s ability to administer federal stimulus spending in Sacramento.

The stimulus package also imposes on states racial set-asides and prevailing-wage requirements, which increase the cost to taxpayers of government contracts. The prevailing-wage requirements will increase states’ costs by at least $17 billion. Racial set-asides also are very costly.

The Democratic Party is closely tied to the government employee unions, which consistently endorse its candidates. This poses a political risk, since the Democrats are already viewed by some “working-class voters” as “the party of the undeserving rich.”

The $9.3 trillion in deficits under Obama’s budgets is twice the $4.4 trillion baseline left behind by Bush, despite at least $1.9 trillion in tax increases projected under Obama.