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Boehner Dismisses Concerns About Federal Workers Losing Jobs

The Speaker has lots of very good reasons to do so.

12:21 AM, Feb 16, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Talking Points Memo (and the rest of the left) are in a tizzy over John Boehner's comments yesterday about the effect of GOP budget cuts on federal workers:

If House Republicans succeed in cutting tens of billions of dollars in discretionary spending over the next six months, some of the most immediate victims will be federal employees, many of whose jobs will be slashed as their agencies pare back.

At a press conference in the lobby of RNC headquarters Tuesday morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) shrugged this off as collateral damage.

"In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs," Boehner said. "If some of those jobs are lost so be it. We're broke."

Before I break out the subatomic stradivarius, let's review some facts about the federal workforce:

--Average total compensation for federal workers is now $123,049. That's double the pay and benefits of the average private sector worker. The benefits package for federal workers is worth four times the private sector average.

--During the first 18 months of the recession, the percentage of federal workers earning six-figure salaries jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent. The number of federal workers taking in salaries in excess of $150,000 has doubled under Obama and increased tenfold since 2005.

--Federal workers have gotten steady raises -- "3.9 percent in 2009, 3.5 percent in 2008 and 2.7 percent in 2007."

--Six of the ten richest counties in the U.S. are now located in the Washington, D.C. area.

Yes, I know there are the usual objections that comparing the average federal worker to Joe Six-pack is not an apples to apples comparison. But by any reasonable metric the growth in the size and compensation of the federal workforce is totally out of control.

One final point -- Talking Points Memo scoffs at Boehner's assertion the federal workforce has added 200,000 jobs. It does look like they have something of a point, as it sounds like Boehner may have been gilding the lily a bit.

However, looking at the latest data from the Office of Personnel Management we see that in December of 2008 the federal workforce was 1,945,256 strong. By September of last year, it was 2,113,980.

Of course, getting a handle on the size of the federal workforce isn't quite that simple, as Ed O'Keefe at the Washington Post notes. (Though the fact that we can't get a basic count easily is a pretty telling indicator that the federal government is too large in and of itself.)

Still, O'Keefe's probably conservative estimate of 107,057 new federal jobs under Obama means that the size of the federal workforce has increased by well over 5 percent. Any Democrat out there want to defend that kind of growth at a time when 9-10 percent of the country has been unemployed?

Yeah, I thought so.

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