No, Federal Workers Aren't Underpaid
Should federal workers get a raise? With salaries and benefits paid to the government’s civilian workers totaling $271 billion in 2011, deciding whether to extend the freeze enacted last year on cost-of-living increases has important budgetary consequences. Unfortunately, the government’s methodology for comparing pay is too flawed to offer real guidance.
The Federal Salary Council, an advisory body of academics and leaders of public employee unions, suggested last month that federal workers are underpaid by an average of 35 percent relative to nonfederal employees. The council’s data come from the “President’s Pay Agent,” the bureaucratic entity that conducts the federal government’s annual pay comparison.