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Trading  | December 28, 2017

The folks at Open The Books decided to take a deep dive into the salaries of 1.97 million federal employees, using data collected from the Office Of Personnel Management and the USPS via FOIA requests, and the endless examples of excessive pay and pure waste are sure to make you sick, if not downright suicidal.  Here are just some of the key takeaways as summarized by OTB:

1. The federal government pays its disclosed workforce $1 million per minute, $66 million per hour, and $524 million per day. In FY2016, the federal government disclosed 1.97 million employees at a cash compensation cost of $136.3 billion.


2. Over a six-year period (FY2010-2016), the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more has increased by 165 percent; those making $150,000 or more has grown by 60 percent; and those making more than $100,000 has increased by 37 percent.


3. On average, federal employees are given 10 federal holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days per year. If each employee used 13 sick days and took 20 vacation days in addition to the 10 federal holidays, it would cost taxpayers an estimated $22.6 billion annually.


4. In FY2016, a total 406,960 employees made six-figure incomes – that’s roughly one in five disclosed federal employees. Furthermore, 29,852 federal employees out-earned each of the 50 state governors receiving more than $190,823.


5. At 78 out of the 122 independent agencies and departments we studied, the average employee compensation exceeded $100,000 in FY2016.




6. With 326 employees at a total cash compensation of $28.8 million, we found a federal agency in San Francisco – Presidio Trust – paid out three of the top four federal bonuses including the largest in the federal government in FY2016. The biggest bonus went to an HR Manager in charge of payroll for $141,525.


7. Together, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employ more than half of the disclosed federal workforce. As the largest civilian employer within the federal government, the USPS employed 32 percent of all disclosed federal employees, totaling 621,523 people on payroll in FY2016. The VA employed the second most employees with 372,614 or 19 percent of the disclosed federal workforce.


8. Only one-third of the 35,000 lawyers in the federal workforce work at the Department of Justice. The entire staff of federal lawyers earned $4.8 billion in FY2016.


9. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employed 3,498 police officers at a total cost of $172 million in FY2016. When asked about corresponding crime statistics, the VA was unable to provide any information on the number of crimes or incidents.


10. There are an additional 2 million undisclosed employees at the Department of Defense and in the active military. Their estimated cash compensation value, combined with $1 billion in undisclosed bonuses and $125 billion in hidden pension data, amounts to roughly $221 billion in undisclosed federal cash compensation per year.

So where is all the money going?  As it turns out, federal employees working in “the beltway” and California receive 22% of all federal compensation dollars.  Meanwhile, employees located in just the top 10 states received 41% ($55.5 billion).  Of course, out of that top 10, only two states, Georgia and Texas, consistently vote ‘red’ in national elections which may help to explain why the Trump administration has struggled with leaks from a variety of agencies since moving into the White House.

The growth in the number of federal employees earning over $150,000 per year is simply mind numbing.  Keep in mind, these salaries are doled out regardless of whether or not these employees take advantage of their 8 weeks of paid time off every year. 

There are now 29,852 federal employees who out-earn every governor of the 50 states, receiving more than $190,823 each. Over a six-year period (FY2010-2016), the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more has increased by 165 percent, those making $150,000 or more has grown by 60 percent, and those making more than $100,000 has increased by 37 percent.


Of the roughly 2 million disclosed federal employees, 406,960 made six figures in cash compensation in FY2016. Additionally, 24,799 federal employees earned $200,000 or more while 3,154 made $300,000 or more. The top-paid federal employee overall, Dr. David Harpole, made $403,849 as a thoracic and cardiac surgeon for the Department of Veterans Affairs. This department employs more top earners than any other department or independent agency

As if the above isn’t bad enough, things get really disturbing when you learn that various agencies employee an army of “Interior Designers” making up to $150,000 per year…

The Department of State displayed the most egregious trends in regards to interior designers, doling out – on average – $122,093 to each of its 24 interior designers. The highest-paid interior design employees, however, worked for the Department of Treasury, earning $132,438, on average. In all, the federal government paid 40 interior designers more than $100,000 each.

…and an even larger army of “Gardeners” making up to $160,000.

Perhaps it’s time for a career change?  Here’s an idea…you could pick up a job mowing the lawn at the State Department for 40 hours a week at a salary of $141,555 and then use the other 128 hours of every week to get an Interior Design gig at Treasury for $152,687…all the while collecting two pensions and making nearly 5x the average American household yet still working less hours despite having two jobs…

Here is the full report from Open The Books:

A revolutionary initiative is helping average Americans find quick and lasting stock market success.

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