- WASHINGTON, DC -- Bad news for financially strapped holiday shoppers: You're
going to buy a $2,500 "Christmas present" for every overpaid
federal bureaucrat in the country -- whether you want to or not.
- That's because President Clinton signed
an executive order this week giving the nation's 1.8 million federal civil
servants raises averaging 3.1%. U.S. Rep. Albert Wynn of Maryland gleefully
called the pay hikes, which will cost taxpayers a total of $4.5 billion,
"a perfect Christmas present."
- Libertarians disagree.
- "To the federal workers who will
receive these huge raises, Bill Clinton may be Santa Claus. But to the
ordinary Americans who have to pay them, he's a real Scrooge," said
Steve Dasbach, national director of the Libertarian Party.
- "He's taking money out of the pockets
of hard-working parents to give his fellow federal workers a gift that
keeps on giving all year long: Pay raises that average $2,500 each."
Why do Libertarians oppose pay raises for federal workers?
- * Federal workers are already overpaid.
"According to a study by economist Wendell Cox, the wages and benefits
of federal workers have risen five times as fast as private-sector workers
since 1980,"Dasbach said. "The result? Cox found that these bureaucrats
now earn 50% more than those of us paying their salaries. Raising federal
pay even further would turn the holiday spirit on its head by taking from
the needy -- and giving to the greedy."
- * Many of their jobs are unnecessary
and/or unconstitutional. "During the 1995 federal government shutdown,
the government itself labeled as 'unessential' up to 99% of the employees
in some bureaucracies, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development,"
Dasbach recalled. "The fact is, the vast majority of the alphabet-soup
agencies have no Constitutional authority to exist in the first place.
So what could be more absurd than bestowing $2,500 raises on unessential
employees performing unnecessary jobs at unconstitutional agencies?"
- * The raises would be triple that of
other Americans. "According to the U.S. Department of Labor, private-sector
raises will average $846 next year, about a third of the $2,500 that federal
workers are scheduled to receive."
- * They make products nobody wants --
except them. "Whether private-sector workers are making computers,
waiting tables, or sweeping floors, they're producing something that other
Americans voluntarily pay for," Dasbach said. "But not government
workers. Instead of offering things that you want, they force you to pay
for things you really don't want, such as taxes, regulations, and destructive
- * They already have guaranteed jobs.
"Civil-service rules insulate the political class from many risks
faced by ordinary Americans, such as arbitrary firings, or layoffs due
to a changing economy," Dasbach pointed out. "Rewarding them
with big raises as well is a prescription for endless government expansion."
The $4.5 billion holiday "gift" illustrates another important
difference between government workers and the rest of America, Dasbach
- "Politicians and bureaucrats don't
understand that meaningful gifts can only be purchased voluntarily, and
with your own money -- not coercively, through the tax system. Leave it
to Bill Clinton and his fellow government workers to pervert Christmas
into another expensive government program."