Public sector unions are bleeding taxpayers dry

For decades I was told by friends who work in government that they were entitled to higher job benefits than private sector workers because they received less salary.

Why is it I don’t hear that anymore? It’s because the numbers decisively show that now most government workers earn more pay than “privates” and earn far more in benefits. In fact, the bennies are four times greater for federal workers than private workers.

Even union-friendly media are turning a critical eye to public sector unions, who throw up picket lines and pack the halls of government to bleed dry the American taxpayer.

Here’s how bad it’s become: the average federal worker earns $119,982 in salary and benefits, while the average private worker earns $59,909. Looking at benefits only, the average federal employee receives over four times what the private worker receives. The feds spend almost $250 billon each year for employees’ compensation.

Over 85% of public sector workers are given defined benefit pension plans with high monthly benefits, and they can retire 10-25 years earlier than Social Security permits. Not only that, many receive free or excessively subsidized health insurance when they retire.

USA Today compared “salaries in every federal job that had a private-sector equivalent”, and found 216 such occupations; “180 jobs paid higher salaries in the federal government, and 36 paid better in the private sector.”

It’s even gloomier for the taxpayer if we look at compensation to state and local government employees, compared to private sector. According to Sunshine Review, using hourly wage comparisons, total compensation to state and local government employees was 45% higher than the private sector.

This whole business of federal compensation is a hot issue politically these days. The private sector cannot afford to pay salary and benefits to public workers that are greater than we can afford to pay ourselves.

This viewpoint is not an attack on the people who work hard to keep things running. We should provide early retirement for those in high-risk occupations who face danger on our behalf. We need to reward them, but we should not be providing high rewards to all public employees.

Public policy needs to be changed. Self-serving politicians have created unsustainable financial burdens on those who produce the benefits that so many politicians try to redistribute to others. A shrinking pool of private sector employees are subsidizing an expanding number of increasingly-costly public sector workers, causing the creaking ship of state to founder. Standard & Poor’s got it right. Friends, the time is coming when we will be unable to pay the public sector’s bloated tab.

Elected officials have forgotten that they represent taxpayers too, not just themselves and the bureaucracies they control. We need to confront them. There are 115 million voters in the private sector who carry the burden of operating under these massive bureaucracies that lumber along, costing unconscionable amounts to stay fed.

In short, we must fight. Our only good choice is to take back control of government at all levels in America, before free enterprise passes the point of no return.

John R. Smith GET AUTHOR RSS FEED

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company. He is a frequent columnist for BizPac Review.
John R. Smith

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