Military Paid More Than Federal Civilian Workers | Military Advantage Blog |


Sev­eral news sources and blogs have picked up the fact that the CBO report indi­cates that a typ­i­cal ser­vice­mem­ber is paid more than 75 per­cent of “com­pa­ra­ble fed­eral civil­ian” workers. Some are using the CBO report to sup­port the argue­ment that the mil­i­tary is paid too much.

Specif­i­cally, the report states that the “median for enlisted per­son­nel in 2010 exceeded cash com­pen­sa­tion for most fed­eral civil­ian employ­ees with a high school degree and per­haps some col­lege edu­ca­tion.” In addi­tion, the report’s author writes, “median cash com­pen­sa­tion for enlisted per­son­nel was at least as high as the 75th per­centile of earn­ings for fed­eral work­ers with com­pa­ra­ble work expe­ri­ence.” The find­ings were sim­i­lar for mil­i­tary offi­cers when com­pared to their coun­ter­parts.

But is the com­par­i­son fair?
Many fed­eral civil­ian work­ers may cor­rectly argue that they serve in harms way along­side active duty mem­bers and have com­pa­ra­ble cir­cum­stances. How­ever, the CBO appears to see it oth­er­wise. In fact, the final sec­tion of the report lists the fac­tors which make com­par­ing the two com­pen­sa­tion sys­tems dif­fi­cult. Not the least of which are what the report refers to as the “intan­gi­bles.” These intan­gi­bles include fre­quent relo­ca­tions, deploy­ments, greater respon­si­bil­ity at ear­lier career points, and haz­ardous work­ing con­di­tions, not to men­tion the unlim­ited work­ing hours (24/7 on call). The report’s author states that quan­ti­fy­ing those intan­gi­ble ele­ments among mil­i­tary and fed­eral civil­ians is “extremely dif­fi­cult.”

Note: The report also men­tions the com­bat fac­tor, but com­bat related com­pen­sa­tion was not included in the direct cash com­par­i­son.

Why the report and why now?
Some spec­u­late that the request for the report may be related to Rep. Hoyer’s call late last year to freeze mil­i­tary pay  along with fed­eral civil­ian pay. Hoyer has declined to indi­cate where he may head next; accord­ing to a spokesper­son from Hoyer’s office, the con­gress­man is not ready to make any judg­ment yet.

Military Paid More Than Federal Civilian Workers | Military Advantage Blog |


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