I suppose I should say something about this report on the pay of federal employees.
The government’s pay structure is relatively flat compared to private industry – the difference between the highest paid employees and lowest paid employees is much less in the government. The report is generally correct about this.
I think the report badly underestimates the value of government benefits. It says, "workers with a professional degree or doctorate received roughly the same level of average benefits in both sectors." When I recently had job offers and had to value the benefits, I sat down and ran the numbers and thought about the (subjective benefits). I estimated that the benefits at about 100% of my salary (in other words, to leave government I’d need an offer at close to twice my current salary, after factoring in the benefits offered by from outside employers). It looks like the CBO puts this number at close to 0. There is plenty of room for disagreement in this estimate. How much is an actual 40 hour work week worth, or taking a day off every couple weeks, an actual pension, job security, etc? Reasonable people can disagree.
The government is a really good place to work if you’re low-skilled, as the CBO shows. However, I’d add two points. First, your salary increases the longer you’re in government. People don’t often realize how old the federal workforce is, which skews the pay numbers. Also, these low skill jobs are increasingly being farmed out to contractors. Therefore, I’d guess that some of the disparity at the low end of the salary range will go away, as the old folks retire and are replaced by contractors. The apparent pay difference in favor of the private sector at the high-end may also be skewed by time, as a larger portion of these federal employees are relatively newer.