The Beat-Down of ‘Public Servants’ December 21, 2012
For several decades, the American Right has heaped contempt on government employees as part of a strategy to delegitimize federal regulation of the private sector, contributing to such disasters as the Wall Street meltdown of 2008. But the beat-down of “public servants” goes on, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
By Paul R. Pillar
The annual survey of job satisfaction of federal employees has been released, and the picture is not pretty. Overall job satisfaction suffered its biggest one-year decline and is as low as it has been since the survey began nine years ago.
The survey provides some comparison with sentiments of employees in the private sector. The job satisfaction index computed from the survey data is 60.8 for federal employees; for private-sector employees the corresponding figure — which did not drop this year — is 70.0.
One does not have to look hard for sources of the feds’ malaise. They are about to enter the third year of a pay freeze, and the Federal Salary Council calculates that federal employees are now underpaid by about 35 percent compared to counterparts in the private sector. (The biggest contributing factors to drops during the past two years in federal employees’ satisfaction, as measured by the survey, involved pay.)
Not quantifiable but no doubt also a major contributor is a nationwide ideological drift, fueled from one side of the political spectrum but affecting the entire national political climate, that disparages the contributions of government and of those who serve in it. The employees, like other Americans, constantly hear a refrain of “private sector good, government bad.” .....................(more)