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You struggle while federal employees are getting bonuses

Posted: May 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm   /   by

This story is from a couple of weeks ago, but until this problem is solved, you can consider it to be evergreen:

A new in-depth database of federal worker salaries shows the government paid out a whopping $105 billion in salaries last year for most of its civilian workforce — to boot, the workers got $439 million in bonuses.

The information, which was obtained and number-crunched by The Asbury Park Press through a Freedom of Information Act request, challenges the old notion that government workers trade high salaries for job security and benefits.

In fact, many workers get all those things.

“They get better pay and they especially get better benefits,” said James Sherk, senior policy analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The database, which is now online, allows users to enter a federal worker’s name and their department, and then look up their salary information. The trove covers about 70 percent of federal workers, with some eye-opening results.

The average salary, for instance, for New Jersey’s federal employees was $83,749. Many senior executives throughout the federal government make a six-figure salary.

These government workers are being paid more than private sector workers, during an economic downturn, no less—AND, they’re getting paid bonuses. Why not say, “Hey, I know you’re doing a great job, but times are tough, so we’re not going to be giving out bonuses this year.

Oh wait, I know why they don’t say that—because it’s taxpayer money they’re playing with. It’s not their money. it doesn’t come from any bottom-line. It comes from the same people who are toiling away, making less in the private sector.

Police, military, courts, a few other public goods—-sure, we need government workers for those. Fine. But remind me again, what are the rest of these people doing, exactly?

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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You struggle while federal employees are getting bonuses