Heritage Foundation: Cut feds' pay by $47B


The Heritage Foundation today released a report on federal compensation which calls for drastic cuts in most federal salaries. Heritage concluded that when benefits are factored in, feds earn 30 percent to 40 percent more on average than their private-sector counterparts. Bringing federal salaries in line with market rates would save $47 billion in 2011 alone, Heritage said in its report, “Inflated Federal Pay: How Americans Are Overtaxed to Overpay the Civil Service.”

Heritage also calls for abolishing the General Schedule, with its longevity-based raises, and establishing a pay-for-performance system with broad pay bands, cutting leave and other generous federal benefits, hiring more contractors, and making it easier for managers to fire underperforming workers.

But Heritage said Congress should not implement across-the-board cuts for all federal employees. Highly skilled federal workers such as lawyers and engineers are underpaid when compared to the private sector, the report said.

The report is sure to throw more fuel on the fire of this ongoing debate, which the Republican Party is eager to revisit in an election year that is becoming a referendum on the size and role of the government.

What do you think? Drop by Federal Times’ forums here and sound off.


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  1. Yes, it’s very difficult to fire underperforming feds, if not impossible. Most managers don’t want to deal with them, so they are passed off to others or reassigned. I’ve seen feds who do little to nothing all day. I don’t believe I’m overpaid given what I do (law enforcement). I do believe you could shrink federal rolls by a fair amount. There are too many feds in my opinion. Some professions in civil service are underpaid while others are overpaid. Mixed bag.

  2. The federal government hiring and firing systems should be overhauled. Not only is it difficult to fire an underperforming worker, it’s virtually impossible at times to hire someone who hasn’t worked in the past for the government.

    Hiring more contractors is not the answer, either, as contractors often are more expensive than full-time employees, and you still need staff to manage the contracts.

    The answer is for Congress to take a closer look at the laws it passes. Implementing these laws is then handed off to the federal agencies, where workers must scramble to figure out and address the details.

    And on the topic of overpaid workers, what do the top people at the Heritage Foundation make? Call them up; demand a copy of its 990. One will easily find that it’s top people have salaries and other compensation packages worth $500,000 to $1 million a year.

  3. Lorean Frey on

    I have worked for the VA for 17 years- it is easy to sit on the outside and make judgements. Congress should cut their salaries and try to live as the working class people do.
    If management wants to get rid of bad employees, all they have to do is follow the steps in the contract, and not go to 10 immediately, that is what causes the problems.
    Human Resources need a big cut at the VA. In the last year they have hired 11 new employees and made them specialist right away and they do not know their jobs. There is too much management for the VA system. I personally think that the real workers of the VA , are under paid and there are so many rules you cannot advance, unless you are related to someone or someone owes you a favor. There is alot of hostile work enviornment that Supervisors and management get away with- EEOC does not work in the favor of the employee nor does the EEOC specialist ( ha ) of the hospital, but once again they are paid huge amounts.
    So, once again, do not sit on the outside and make judgements for the employees who work on the inside.
    Congress needs to have their salary cut, wifes of congressman should not receive huge amounts of SS that they receive either. They have made themselves safe and secure and then try to tell the working force that they make too much money!!

  4. I work by fingers to the bone for VHA and don’t really see any managers working as hard – why would you cut worker’s salaries [especially high performance workers] and not managerial salaries? That doesn’t make sense. Even in bee hives the queen bee has cut out middle management and has kept worker bees. Bring the jobs back to the United States if you want to improve something!

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