The second chart appeared in the New York Post on September 6 and is based on a Heritage Foundation analysis of figures from the U.S. Labor Department, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Haver Analytics. Between December 2007, when the Great Recession began, and last July, the private sector lost 7,837,000 jobs (down 6.8 percent). Local-government employment dropped 128,000 positions (minus 0.9 percent), while state governments shed 6,000 positions (less 0.1 percent). Meanwhile, Washington, D.C., boomed. Federal employment zoomed by 198,100 slots as Uncle Sam’s workforce expanded by 10 percent.
This graph’s whiff of Marie Antoinette should boil every patriot’s blood. While the American people live increasingly ascetic lives, and even city halls and statehouses have displayed some restraint, Washington, D.C., increasingly resembles Versailles — an out-of-touch, extravagant, and callous place that fuels little beyond the nation’s disgust, fury, and organized rebellion. As the party rages within the Beltway, federal revelers scream, “Let them pay taxes!”
Finally, USA Today on August 10 published this front-page chart based on Bureau of Economic Analysis data. It shows that in 2009, the average private-sector employee saw compensation of $61,051 ($50,462 in wages and $10,589 in benefits). Among state- and local-government workers, the relevant figure was $69,913 ($53,056 in wages and $16,857 in benefits). For federal-civilian employees, the picture was far prettier: Compensation stood at $123,049 ($81,258 in wages and $41,791 in benefits).
These nauseating numbers show federal employees earning 201 percent of the average private worker’s compensation. Federal benefits equal 395 percent of private-sector benefits.
This bloat is bipartisan. While President Obama’s spending spree has exacerbated the inequality of federal vs. private compensation, this problem reaches into the irresponsible Bush-Rove years. Between 2000 and 2009, private salaries and benefits grew by 8.8 percent after inflation. Among federal civilians, however, salaries and benefits exploded by 36.9 percent.
Liberal pundits who wonder why so many Americans are so angry today should examine these graphs, which should answer that question.
If these charts infuriate you, please forward them to your friends. Copy and hand them to your co-workers. Distribute them on street corners.
And ask everyone who sees them to do one thing on November 2: vote.
— Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.