Some better than others. Americans, ever since Ronald Reagan, have gotten all too used to this fact. As I said in an earlier post my grandfather was able, as a GS-18 to send his four children to college without having to borrow money and his wife could stay at home. In 1975 Federal workers earned 10 percent less than their private sector counterparts, with job security and certain benefits compensating for this. Since the election of Reagan, the gap has never ceased to widen and even the benefits have come under assault. The result has been a brain drain from the Federal workforce, as people leave the Government out of a desire to just get paid more, or because there are other considerations, like children going to college that motivate them to run to what has become known as "the revolving door." This latter motivation is no way evil and is entirely understandable, they hate the idea of saddling their children with debt. When Federal workers complain about the wage gap, politicians of both parties mutter about a wage freeze (which has finally happen and I don't see it being unfrozen in 2013) and then, to get a few points with people who for one reason or another do not like Federal Bureaucrats, strut around and say that these sinister people have their own agenda, are lazy, overpaid already and perhaps even need a paycut. Lest we forget, some also say that the brain drain is a good thing because the Government has no right hiring talented people. This is because, according to prevailing economic wisdom, Government absorbs and redistributes wealth, rather than creates it. Therefore all talented people need to be in the Private Sector. As Ronald Reagan once said "There are no talented people in the Government, if there were, private industry would have snapped them all up."
Of course this is just window dressing for the true motivations behind the assault on the Federal workforce. One can see, with a moderate knowledge of History, that the economic theory itself is quite simply nonsense. Say what you want about the Soviet economy, it was almost entirely driven by Government spending, and this economy transformed Russia from a backwards, near feudal state, into one of the two mightiest countries on Earth with a standard of development, while certainly full of imperfections, some glaring, that any third world country would have and still would welcome. Or take the United States, the New Deal and WWII were massive spates of Government spending, the former recovering the economy, the second launching a boom that lasted for more than 30 years. It should also be noted that in WWII the US had a command economy, so in certain contexts, a command economy is far more effective than a decentralized one can ever hope to be. So Government can create wealth and $161,000, for a senior civil servant, is certainly more than many can ever hope for, but for the kind of work they do? And the responsibility? The qualifications and skills they must have? Certainly Government service should never make you rich but $200,000 or even $250,000 would not be asking too much. It is also outrageous because the very people who make these comments, often are people who would draw $5,000,000 in pay and bonuses, or who eventually do get that sort of pay from using their office to help their friends.
One other thing, I don't know its name, but there is Youtube video, that has someone from some rightwing foundation saying there are too many Bureaucrats and they are too well paid and that the correct pay for them should be zero. He also asks why we need a Department of Labor (after all the Boss should be able to hire and fire at will to increase Labor market flexibilty) or a Department of Education (after all, poor people gorge themselves on the $150 dollars a week of Social Security and can easily afford private schooling)? Furthermore, because of high Federal pay, Washington has six of the nation's most affluent suburbs around it. Really? It's a miracle! I did not know you could build a 10,000 square foot mansion, with the same amount of garden space, for just $161,000! Here again we see the glaring discrepancies in this argument. The video itself shows there are only around 2,000,000 civilians on the General Schedule, and these people are outnumbered by more than 3.5:1 by private contractors. Okay so who exactly needs to be streamlined?
But I digress. The attack on pay, benefits, jobs, and autonomy of the Federal workforce is deliberate. Why? Now Mr. Loomis, I know you don't think this, and with some reason, but the reason Bureaucrats are hated is that they are there to help people. Even in places like DoD, the CIA, the State Department, Federal workers view themselves as servants of every last American citizen. In fact being Government employees it is inevitable that they will usually side with the 'left.' Government employees think that Society needs to be stable, so why outsource or downsize any aspect of the welfare state? If you are short of money, the rich have plenty of it, why not tax them? Why shouldn't the Government heavily inspect industry? A soldier should know that his rifle will work and not break apart because of bad manufacturing, and a person should know that their food is safe. The very presence of such people is intolerable to Business, because their very existence leaves the possibility, no matter how remote, that one day the Liberal State will resurge, perhaps with a vengeance and then the party is over. That is why Federal workers come under attack, they exist to help people, not business. For Liberatarians and any others who believe that Government's only reason for business is to provide business maximum protection and Labor none, a strong, autonomous, financially independent Civil Service and Military, is simply unthinkable. In order to prevent their interests, which as the current Depression has shown are ultimately detrimental to themselves and most people, from ever being endangered they need a snivelling and obsequious Government, not a powerful one.