There are 2 million civilian federal workers. About 1.1 million of them have direct equivalents in the private sector. The latter are doing similar jobs for less pay—often a lot less, according to a March report in USA Today.
"Accountants, nurses, chemists, surveyors, cooks, clerks and janitors are among the wide range of jobs that get paid more on average in the federal government than in the private sector," according to the report. In jobs where there are private equivalents, the government employees' wages averaged $7,645 more than their private counterparts. (Private-sector workers beat the feds in jobs—such as lawyers, veterinarians, and airline pilots—where licensing requirements or powerful unions have erected high barriers to entry.)
On average, broadcast technicians employed by the federal government earned $90,310, while their private-sector counterparts brought home just $49,265. Government graphic designers earn $70,820, which is $24,255 more than comparable private workers. Dry cleaning workers (yes, the government employs dry cleaners) earn $33,100 in government vs. $19,945 in private industry.
To add insult to injury, these figures don't include the value of benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee in 2008 vs. $9,882 per private worker.