Public versus Private Pay

There is a big talk of unionization and public-sector pay versus private-sector pay as of late. 

We all remember the articles in USA Today, detailing how employees of the government are paid much more than their equivalents in the private-sector.

They each respectively ran at different points last year, both during the arguments about Health Care reform and the stimulus packages.

Here are the links: Federal Workers Earning Double Their Private Counterparts

                                  Federal Pay Ahead of Private Industry

Using the government’s own numbers, we shall compare the actual pay differences between those who work for the government and those who serve the government:

Average Annual Wage 
Federal Govt. Workers $67,756 
State Police $61,000 
Local Firefighters $60,572 
State Govt. Workers $48,742 
State Legislative Workers $48,129 
Government (all types) $47,552 
Private (total sector) $45,155 
Local Govt. Workers $43,140 
Local Schools $41,113 

Average Annual Wage
Private Sector CPA $71,216 
Federal Govt. CPA $67,531
Local Govt. CPA $64,050 


As we can see, the total of the private sector is, on average, paid substantially less than the average government worker. There is no argument about this. That isn’t even to mention the pensions and guaranteed benefits which warp the numbers even more.

I write this because there is an attempt at re-education in the progressive media.

Outlets such as NPR, the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, the DailyKos, the New York Times, and more (who are all cheerfully supporting the union strikes in Wisconsin) are bringing on labor economists who are now claiming that public-sector workers are actually paid less than private-sector workers, despite the government’s own numbers.

These economists, such as Robert Reich, are claiming that those numbers aren’t actually correct because public-sector workers are “more highly-educated” and therefore must pay for more schooling, making their pay less. Granted, this is apparently making the case for why we should support these public-sector unions who are paid a “paltry” salary.

We catch those lies as they come.

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, writer, and consumer advocate. His writings and interviews have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online outlets across the world in multiple languages. He is the founder and editor of Devolution Review and deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center. He was previously a national investigative reporter at He has a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) from the CEVRO Institute in Prague, and a Bachelor's in Political Science from Concordia University, Montreal. He currently splits his time between Vienna, Austria and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Posts created 860

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top