But soul destroying government jobs do tend to pay better than those in the private sector. According to a report in the Federal Times:
Federal workers made an average $75,296 in pay last year, plus $28,323 in medical, pension and other benefits, the USA Today analysis found. That’s about 60 percent more than the average private wage, a difference explained largely by higher education levels and more professional jobs in the federal workforce.
Federal compensation has soared in the past decade, especially in the past five years, at a time when private wages and employment have sputtered.
Newly hired federal workers are starting at much higher salaries than those who did the same jobs in the past, a lift that has elevated the salaries of scientists and custodians alike.
Strangely – or perhaps not so strangely – this puts most federal workers beneath the new poverty line. Yes, we’re all poor now – or at least most of us are.
Traditionally, a U.S. household was considered “low income” or “near poor” if it had income below 200 percent of the official poverty income thresholds. The Obama administration has raised those income thresholds and thereby transformed the way the government measures poverty and near poverty.
Under President Obama’s new definitions, a family of four in Oakland is “near poor” if their annual pre-tax income is less than $89,700 plus medical insurance. In metropolitan Washington, D.C., the near-poverty line became $80,500. In New York, it’s now $78,500; in Boston, $68,900; and Chicago, $68,600.
One result: The income level for “near poverty” is now very close to the median household income in most communities. (Median income means half the households have more income and half have less.)
So if you heard that NPR report that nearly half of Americans live at or near poverty, that’s why. And if you hear federal employees whining about their low salaries compared to the poverty line, that’s why too.