Poll: Americans Think Government Workers Have It Better, Don’t Work as Hard

Survey finds half of public-sector employees agree they receive better compensation for less effort

A new poll reveals that a majority of Americans believe government workers have it easy, receiving greater-than-average benefits for a less-than-stellar work effort.

According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey released on Thursday, 57 percent of American adults believe that private-sector workers work harder than their government-employed counterparts. Just 13 percent of American adults believe that government employees work harder than those in the private sector.

The survey also reveals that nearly two thirds — 63 percent — of Americans think that government workers have more job security than their private-sector counterparts, while almost half, 49 percent, believe that government workers earn more money annually.

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Rasmussen notes that “[g]overnment workers generally agree that they have more job security and higher pay than those in the private sector, though private-company employees more strongly believe both to be true.”

Most interestingly, the polling firm also notes that “while most in other sectors say private employees work harder, though, government workers are evenly divided” — which suggests that at least half of government workers agree that they receive better pay and benefits for less work.

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The findings are relatively consistent with a Rasmussen survey released only a day earlier, which revealed that a majority — 52 percent — of “likely U.S. voters” agree with former President Ronald Reagan’s statement that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” while only a third disagreed.

That same survey also revealed that nearly half, 49 percent, of voters are worried that the size of the federal government will not be cut enough under the Trump administration. Fewer than one-third of likely voters, 31 percent, fear that the government will be cut too much.

“The American people clearly have had enough of being treated as the rube in the poker game who is allowed to play in order to empty his pockets,” Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, told LifeZette.

“The fact is that civil servants have virtual lifetime tenure and make more on average than those who pay their wages through their taxes. The fact is that government spending continues to grow and that the overreaches of the Obama administration have damaged the average private-sector employees’ ability to achieve the American dream,” said Manning. “Fortunately, the federal workforce has declined, and the cost to the taxpayers for carrying these public employees has correspondingly declined.”

Unsurprisingly, both surveys confirmed Republicans to be more skeptical of government than Democratic or independent voters. According to Thursday’s survey, over two-thirds of Republicans — 67 percent — believe private-sector workers work harder, while Wednesday’s survey similarly revealed that 66 of likely Republican voters think government is a problem.

One of the very first actions President Donald Trump took upon entering office was to issue a presidential memorandum calling for a federal hiring freeze. The latest Rasmussen surveys suggest a majority of Americans will support further efforts on Trump’s part to reign in the size of government.

The surveys also suggest, however, that Trump’s recent decision to implement a pay increase for government workers might go over poorly with voters.

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“I have determined that for 2018, across-the-board pay increases will be 1.4 percent and locality pay increases will average 0.5 percent, resulting in an overall average increase of 1.9 percent for civilian federal employees,” Trump wrote in a letter to congressional leaders just over a week ago.

But Manning noted that while “the 1.9 percent average pay increase just approved for federal employees is likely to disappoint taxpayers … I would bet that the 2.1 percent average pay increase for members of the military would be strongly supported.”

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