Rasmussen: Two-Thirds Favor Cutting Federal Payroll by 10%

Monday, 22 Nov 2010 02:56 PM

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Two-thirds of the voters nationwide favor a proposal to cut the federal payroll by 10 percent during the next decade, according to a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey. The survey found that just 22 percent oppose the plan, and 12 percent are not sure.

Previous surveys had found that 46 percent believe government employees make more money than comparable workers in the private sector, while only 15 percent said government workers make less than similar private sector workers.

The new survey of 1,000 likely voters, taken Friday and Saturday, found that, in addition to believing that government workers are paid more, they overwhelmingly believe that those on the public payroll have more job security but don’t work as hard as their counterparts in the private sector.

The federal government employs about 2.1 million people, including 1.4 million civilian employees. The number of federal employees grew to the highest level ever this year, and the president is requesting a 1.4 percent pay raise for the federal workforce in 2011.

A very slight reduction in the number of federal employees is expected in 2011 as the Census process winds down.

USA Today reports that the average federal worker’s pay and benefits totaled $123,049 in 2009, while private workers made an average of $61,051 in total compensation.

A 10 percent reduction in federal payroll costs would lead to direct annual savings of approximately $25 billion a year. However, if no change is made, the federal payroll would continue to grow by about $80 billion over the coming decade (assuming growth rates similar to the past decade), Rasmussen says.

So the combination of direct savings and elimination of expected increases would lead to direct savings of more than $100 billion annually, Rasmussen says. Additional saving probably would be generated, and a smaller workforce probably would lead to the elimination or reduction of some government programs, the polling firm noted. A smaller workforce also would require less spending on supplies, training, and support.

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