Wall Street bankers aren’t the only ones to emerge unscathed from the recession: government workers aren’t exactly starving either.
The portion of federal employees making six figures rose from 14 percent to 19 percent during the first 18 months of the recession, according to USA Today.
The figures don’t include overtime pay and bonuses. The recession began in January 2008.
Just like in private industry, those at the top are doing best. The number of Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more rose more than five times to 10,100 in June 2009 from 1,868 in December 2007.
The Transportation Department went from one worker making more than $170,000 when the recession started to 1,690 staffers 18 months later.
"There's no way to justify this to the American people. It's ridiculous," Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of House's federal workforce subcommittee, told USA Today.
Jessica Klement, government affairs director for the Federal Managers Association, defended the government salaries, telling the paper that the federal workforce is highly paid because it includes so many skilled professionals – scientists, physicians and lawyers.
Federal workers make 26 percent less than their private sector counterparts, she says.
While the increases in government salaries may be escaping public attention, bankers’ record bonuses are not.
The U.K. and France have decided to slap taxes on their bankers’ bonuses, and there is talk that the U.S. may do the same.
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