As the Foundation for Economic Education’s Dan Bier once wrote, “in Government, nobody quits and you can’t get fired.” Anyone who’s ever visited the DMV knows this to be true anecdotally, but it really is true objectively. In the private sector, doing a crummy job gets you fired. In government — not so much.
In fact, federal employees are 70% less likely to be fired than public sector employees. Despite this level of job security, “Federal bureaucrats make 78% more in total compensation than people in the private sector. State and local employees make on average 25% more.”
Just to put in perspective how out of touch the federal government is when it comes to the quality of their workforce, the Daily Signal reports: According to a recent study by the Government Accountability Office, virtually all federal employees are above average.
In a five-scale rating system, 74 percent of federal employees were given the highest two ratings of “exceeds fully successful” and “outstanding.” Including the middle category of “fully successful” encompasses more than 99 percent of federal employees, leaving less than one-half of one percent as either “minimally successful” or “unacceptable.”
And it’s not because they’re hiring the “best people,” as Trump might say.
According to a study by the Office of Personnel Management, almost 80 percent of all federal managers have managed a poorly performing employee, but fewer than 15 percent issued less than fully successful ratings for problematic employees.
Even fewer—less than 8 percent—attempted to reassign, demote, or remove problematic employees, and among those who attempted to do so, fully 78 percent said their efforts had no effect. Consequently, the federal government’s annual 0.46 percent firing rate is less than a third of the private sector’s 1.5 percent monthly layoff and discharge rate.
It’s not only hard to fire federal employees—it’s hard just to rate them as anything less than “fully successful.”
It’s great to work for government — paying for it is a whole other story, however.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]