The New Hold Music on Federal Phone Lines: Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Let’s Make Lots of Money’
As Vince Vaughn said in Swingers, “You’re so money, baby.”
Here’s the latest Yule Log to keep the Tea Party fires burning:
Federal employees whose compensation averages more than $126,000 and the nation’s greatest concentration of lawyers helped Washington edge out San Jose as the wealthiest U.S. metropolitan area, government data show.
The U.S. capital has swapped top spots with Silicon Valley, according to recent Census Bureau figures, with the typical household in the Washington metro area earning $84,523 last year. The national median income for 2010 was $50,046.
The figures demonstrate how the nation’s political and financial classes are prospering as the economy struggles with unemployment above 9 percent and thousands of Americans protest in the streets against income disparity, said Kevin Zeese, director of Prosperity Agenda, a Baltimore-based advocacy group trying to narrow the divide between rich and poor.
“There’s a gap that’s isolating Washington from the reality of the rest of the country,” Zeese said. “They just get more and more out of touch.”
Total compensation for federal workers, including health care and other benefits, last year averaged $126,369, compared with $122,697 in 2009, according to Bloomberg News calculations of Commerce Department data.
Kathleen McCaffrey seethes at Legal Insurrection, “So, there you have it, the heart of corporatism, rent-seeking and soul-sucking is prospering while the people who invest in businesses and innovation are called criminals. Why bother with a life of innovation and entrepreneurship when figuring out how to allot other people’s money has become such a profitable venture?”
Mark J. Perry, a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan, wonders if the Occupy Wall Street protesters will even notice this: “Considering that Washington has the highest median income in the country thanks to all of the lawyers and lobbyists, and all of the federal employees earning compensation that averaged $126,369 last year, OWS might have the wrong target. After all, it was government housing policies originating in Washington that contributed more significantly to the housing bubble, mortgage meltdown, financial crisis and economic recession than any greed on Wall Street.”
Tina Korbe writes at Hot Air: “That’s exactly what the federal government does — overpays its employees. After controlling for differences in education, experience, occupation and other observable characteristics, federal employees earn hourly wages 22 percent higher than those of comparable private-sector workers. Even Alan Krueger, the chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, concedes: ‘Federal government appears to consistently pay higher wages than the private sector for comparable employees.’ And what about those added benefits? The average federal employee’s benefits package is also greater than a comparable private-sector worker’s — by about 30 to 40 percent. Simply reducing federal compensation to market rates could’ve cut $47 billion from the deficit this year.”
She points to James Sherk’s testimony before Congress in March that declared, “Market forces drive private-sector workers’ pay toward their productivity. A company that pays its workers more than they contribute will soon go out of business. A company that pays its workers less than their productivity risks the possibility of competitors hiring its employees away. In most circumstances, private-sector companies cannot systematically overpay or underpay their employees. These market forces do not exist in government. The government earns no profits and does not go out of business. Competition for workers limits the government’s ability to pay below market rates. Nothing, however, prevents the federal government from paying its employees more than they would earn in the private sector.”