Federal Government: Poll Results Indicate a Belief from Some that Civil Servants “Overpaid”; View Depends upon Whom Is Asked

The Washington Post published an article about the belief that federal civil servants are overpaid.

It turns out the belief is more strongly held by some portions of the society in the United States.

In the new Post survey, 52 percent of Americans think that federal civil servants are paid too much, a view held by nearly two in three Republicans and about seven in 10 conservatives. Far fewer Democrats, independents, liberals and moderates hold this opinion. Overall, among Americans, one in 10 of those polled say federal workers should be better compensated.

I say that the polls results on Republican voters is unsurprising given that the Republican party has been beating this tired drum for quite some time. It’s interesting that the same Republican politicians forget they too draw federal salaries and benefits as well as their staff. Civil servants are an easy target–they cannot truly respond to the attacks because the politicians have power within the Congressional budget process for federal agencies.

According to a Congressional Budget Office report [PDF], in 2005, the average pay of a General Service (GS) employee was $67,000 (for a non-GS employee, the average pay was $82,000. For a listing of the average wages for all occupations in the United States in 2005, see the May 2005 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates.

Readers should also keep in mind the macroeconomic principal of the flow of income. Simply speaking, workers receive wages in return for their labor and businesses receive money in return for the provision of goods and services. Thus, disruption of the wages will ultimately disrupt the production of goods and services, therefore affecting the poor macroeconomic conditions.