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Two-Thirds Favor Cutting Federal Payroll by 10%

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters nationwide favor a proposal to cut the federal payroll by 10% over the coming decade. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found that just 22% are opposed and 12% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Earlier surveys found that 46% believe government employees make more money than comparable workers in the private sector.

Only 15% say government workers make less than similar private sector workers.

In addition to believing that government workers are paid more, voters overwhelmingly believe those on the public payroll have more job security but don’t work as hard as their counterparts in the private sector.

The federal government currently employs approximately 2.1 million people, including 1.4 million civilian employees. During 2010, the number of federal employees grew to the highest level ever, and the president is requesting a 1.4% pay raise for the federal workforce in 2011. A very slight reduction in the number of federal employees is expected in 2011 as the Census process winds down.

USA Today reports that the average federal worker’s pay and benefits totalled $123,049 in 2009, while on average private workers made $61,051 in total compensation.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 19-20, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

A 10% reduction in federal payroll costs would lead to direct annual savings of approximately $25 billion a year. However, if no change is made, the federal payroll would continue to grow by approximately $80 billion over the coming decade (assuming growth rates similar to the past decade).

So the combination of direct savings and elimination of expected increases would lead to direct savings of more than $100 billion annually. Additional saving would likely be generated as well as a smaller workforce would probably lead to the elimination or reduction of some government programs. A smaller workforce also would require less spending on supplies, training and support.

How do Democrats feel about cutting the federal workforce? Are younger voters more enthusiastic or less enthusiastic about the idea than their elders? Become a Platinum member and find out.

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