Yes, I’ll pay more taxes if the Federal government needs to raise additional revenues, but only after we get our spending under control. Here is just one example of where we need to restore sanity. In a country where we have 9.6% unemployment, and we have a huge excess supply of labor, salary expenses and gross salaries should be flat-to-down for government employees (just like in the private sector, where this is surely true). And the information below is only salary data, keep in mind their benefits are on average far better than the private sector, including gold-plated retirement plans (Source: USA Today) :
1. The number of Federal employees earning $150,000 or more has doubled since Barack Obama took office, and has increased 10-fold since 2005.
2. Federal workers earning more than $150,000 made up .4% of government employees in 2005, now they make up nearly 4%.
3. Since 2000 the benefits of Federal workers have increased annually 3.8% above inflation, vs. .8% for private sector workers. Yes, that’s annually.
4. 82,000 employees make more than $150,000/year, 44,898 employees more than $160,000/year, 27,000 more than $170,000, and 16,912 earn more than $180,000/year.
5. The average private sector retirement age is 65. For Federal employees? 59.
In addition to this, it is likely that the attrition rate in government employment is far lower than in the private sector, because essentially once you are hired you can never be fired. Productivity is low as most government workers have a 38.5 hour work week, whereas the average private sector work week is 44 hours.
I don’t like engaging in discussions of envy or jealousy, and that is not what this is about. In our society some earn more and deserve it, some earn more and don’t, and life isn’t always fair.
But when it’s time to talk about what will happen with my money, and the money of many millions of hard working Americans, I’m going to argue for its use to be efficient and productive. And there is no question in my mind the Federal government in general is neither efficient nor productive, and the 100’s of millions of taxpayers in our country would benefit greatly if we dramatically reduced the amount we spend on it.
I also acknowledge that getting this under control will be painful to the families of some government employees, and I’m empathetic to that. But we can’t simply look at the impact on this limited number of people. We should recognize that this pain, on a societal basis, would be far offset by the benefits to the 300 million Americans who fund this excess and waste through the taxes they pay. If we take appropriate action, billions of dollars will be placed back into the hands of these people, and this will benefit society as a whole far more than the current system.