Rep. Gerry E. Connolly, a Northern Virginia Democrat facing a tough re-election challenge, has come out against letting the Bush tax cuts expire — even for the top brackets. This puts him right up in the teeth of the Obama administration and Nancy Pelosi. Why would a Democrat resist ORP’s (ORP = Obama-Reid-Pelosi) soak-the-rich agenda? Have a look at Connolly’s district: Fairfax County, part of the vast, soulless suburbs of Washington, D.C., is pretty high-income.
As our Battleground blogger Andrew Stiles reports today, the average household income in Connolly’s district is more than $100,000 a year. And there are a lot of families with incomes over $200,000 a year and over $250,000 a year. In Washington, it’s not that hard to end up with a family income over $250,000 a year: Mr. $130,000 Bureaucrat marries Miss $130,000 Bureaucrat, and they join the ranks of “the rich.”
And under Obama, official Washington is getting a lot richer, with average federal compensation packages now worth about $120,000 a year — more than twice the going rate in the private sector. And it’s not just high salaries, pensions, and generous benefits: It’s private-sector-level bonuses, too:
Under the Obama administration, the government is doing such a good job that it’s decided to reward itself. Last year, Uncle Sam paid out $408 million in bonuses to 1.3 million federal workers, according to the Asbury Park Press, which obtained the information through a Freedom of Information Act request. That’s about $80 million more than the previous year. About one in four federal workers received a bonus, and awards ranged from $25 to, in the case of one lucky State Department worker, $94,500. . . .
Federal bonuses are being doled out liberally, even as federal salaries are exploding. From December 2007 through June 2009, the number of federal workers earning six figures increased from 14 to 19 percent. In 2008, average federal compensation, including pay and benefits, was $119,982 — considerably more than the $59,909 average in the private sector, according to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the midst of a brutal economic downturn that saw millions of jobs lost and unemployment soar above 10 percent, the Office of Personnel Management data shows the federal workforce actually added nearly 100,000 jobs from December 2008 to December 2009.
This is how Obamaism eats itself: Fattening the federal workers who are his natural constituency, Obama has helped to create a lobby for tax breaks for “the rich,” now defined as those who earn about the same income as a married couple consisting of two federal middle managers. Federal workers already receive a big piece of their compensation tax free (through extraordinarily generous benefits that are not taxed as income) and they are not eager to pay the taxes that fund their own inflated salaries and those of their colleagues. Taxes are for you serfs in the private sector, and Rep. Connolly is one Democrat who can be counted on to defend the tax preferences of the new ruling class in the Washington suburbs.