Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Monday, November 8th, 2010.

He-Men Budget Cutters

Obama Administration

Now that they’ve taken back the House Republicans are in full chest-thumping mode. Rand Paul and Jim DeMint bragged to ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that they were going to take an axe to budget bloat and cut excess government spending. But when Amanpour tried to pin them down to specific cuts, the he-men wimped out.

AMANPOUR: Give me one specific cut, Senator-elect.

PAUL: All across the board.

AMANPOUR: One significant one. No, but you can’t just keep saying all across the board.

PAUL: Well, no, I can, because I’m going to look at every program, every program. But I would freeze federal hiring. I would maybe reduce federal employees by 10 percent. I’d probably reduce their wages by 10 percent. The average federal employee makes $120,000 a year. The average private employee makes $60,000 a year. Let’s get them more in line, and let’s find savings. Let’s hire no new federal workers.

I checked on the claim about federal versus private sector salaries:

The August report does not compare the salaries of people working in specific federal jobs to similar positions in the private sector. The BEA [Bureau of Economic Analysis, an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor] notes that its private-sector data includes employees of all professions. That means everything from minimum-wage jobs to the salaries of chief executive officers. Federal employees typically work in professional occupations that pay more, such as accountants, attorneys and economists, according to Congressional Budget Office research.

The BEA also noted in recent years that the federal government is hiring more highly skilled workers who tend to make more money. Many of the lower-paid positions, the BEA found, have been contracted out to the private sector.

I’m sure it’s easy to imagine that drastic cuts to federal bureaucracies will be oh, so easy when you have no idea what they do and no personal experience working within a large organization, public or private, to provide a service or put product on store shelves.

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