Compensation for federal, state, and local government employees cost U.S. taxpayers $1.9 trillion in 2016. This amounts to an average of $15,176 from every household in the United States. President Trump recently moved to rein in some of these costs by canceling pay raises for federal civilian employees, who received $331 billion in compensation during 2017.
Some politicians and an association of federal employees have criticized Trump for this action, saying that federal workers are underpaid and deserve a raise. However, a broad range of studies have found that most federal civilian employees are paid better than comparable workers in the private sector.
Trump's Action and Criticism of It
When private-sector incomes rise, federal law generally requires across-the-board pay raises for most federal civilian employees. The law gives added raises to federal workers in certain localities if their compensation is lower than private-sector workers in those areas. The law also allows the president of the U.S. to overrule these raises, and President Trump recently did so, writing: