You have heard it before, but it bears repeating: Government pay growth outpaces private pay growth. Look at this chart, which is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
From 2001 to 2009, average annual private pay grew by 24.9 percent, total government pay grew by 30.1 percent, and federal pay grew by 38.4 percent. This pay growth compounded an existing pay differential; initially higher, federal and total government annual pay rates still grew faster than private pay rates this decade.
If you’re interested in federal employees vs. private employees, Chris Edwards at the Cato Institute has done good work on the subject here.