"government workers make more than private sector workers"
By Bob Braun
"Nothing destroys the fun of an argument more than facts. They get in the way of rhetoric and turn black-and-white issues into muddy shades of gray. That's nowhere more true than in the fight over pay for New Jersey public employees.
Leave it to Rutgers, New Jersey's state university, to hold a conference that raises questions about popular contentions - for example, that public employees make much more than private, that they are the highest paid anywhere, or that their numbers are multiplying out of control.
Not necessarily so, say some experts on labor and management relations who presented their findings in New Brunswick the other day. Jeffrey Keefe, an associate professor at the university's School of Management and Labor Relations, said public employees do not make more than comparable private employees.
According to Keefe, comparing private and public employees with the same educational level, experience and work schedule shows private employees make 11 percent more in wages and 5 percent more in total compensation than public workers.
"It's hard to show that public workers are overpaid compared to private sector workers," said Keefe, but he quickly added: "Even though their wages are lower, it's also hard to argue they are underpaid.''
In other words, it's not simple.
Using the latest federal data, Keefe said the average total compensation for workers in the private sector with bachelor's degrees is $89,041 compared with $56,641 for public workers.
For workers with professional degrees - lawyers, say, or doctors - the gap is more dramatic: $175,141 in the private sector, $79,330 in the public..."