Government wage increases vastly outpaced the public sector, and the number of government jobs have soared. For the federal government alone, there are 2.1 million workers, “costing over $260 billion in wages and benefits this year.” according to recent data analysed by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).
There is no justification for government workers to earn more than the private sector. What was once a noble profession — the idea of ‘public service’ — has been replaced by as system that allows for and encourages the economic imbalance because the government is not market-driven. Structures such as arbitration and non-firing allow public service employees to continue to receive their benefits and artificial pay raises regardless of the outside economic conditions.
Because of this, public sector wages eventually exceed the normal market-based wages. Negotiations in the public sector should never be “how much of an increase will I receive from before”, but rather, “can we justify these wages and benefits at all?” We should not be paying more than the private sector, which responds and adjusts to the mitigating economic factors; the government does not, and the result is what we see today: sprawling wages, busted pensions, and bloated budgets.
In essence, government workers have stronger job security because they are not dependent on the economy to keep them going. What’s even more sobering is the fact that the private sector marketplace is beginning to lose the best and brightest people, because the government is paying more, and providing employment with better benefits. This will have long-lasting detrimental effects. It was never intended for the government to compete with the private sector. This phenomenon has turned the entire system on its head.