Share & Connect
Rep. Michele Bachmann, the congresswoman from Minnesota that is trying to run for president, often gets her facts really screwed up. And just because she is running for the GOP nomination does not mean she has started to check her facts any better.
Trying to make a point for smaller government, Bachmann has taken on federal employees. I have much to say about picking on governmental workers when we tax the rich less than the middle class but we will save that for another day.
While on “Fox News Sunday” this past weekend, Bachmann said, “We had one employee at the federal Department of Transportation that made $170,000 a year at the beginning of the recession.”
“We had the trillion dollar stimulus, and 18 months into the recession, we had 1,690 employees making over $170,000,” she continued. “Government has really been growing at — a lot of largesse. But people in the real world aren’t. And that’s what has to change. Government has no conformity at all with the real world,” She stated.
Although federal transportation workers making $170,000 or more a year increased after Obama took office, the increase was authorized under President George W. Bush.
It was not associated with stimulus spending but was a modest pay raise for highly-trained employees. Most of the pay raises were to air traffic controllers, experts responsible for thousands of airline passengers’ lives each day. Furthermore, the congresswoman herself voted in 2008 for a separate bill that increased federal worker pay.
Bachmann used her statistics from a USA Today article that talked about the increase in transportation workers pay. However, the article never mentioned any stimulus spending.
“Because of the technical difficulty, stressful nature, and critical importance of the air traffic controller work, many of the highest paid employees at the Department of Transportation work in air traffic control,” a Department of Transportation spokesperson wrote in a statement sent to The Huffington Post.
“In December 2007 (the beginning date used by USA Today in compiling their 2009 report), the statutory cap on yearly salary was set at $168,000, and a number of senior air traffic control employees were at the statutory cap.
For that reason, once the cap was raised by the Bush Administration in January 2008 and 2009, even modest year to year salary increases bumped a number of air traffic control employees over the arbitrarily chosen $170,000 limit used in the USA Today report.”
Percentage-wise, the pay increase Bachmann keeps referring to is actually quite small, John Palguta, vice president for policy and research at the Partnership for Public Service, pointed out. And most federal employees have been working under a pay freeze for the last couple years, he added.
“What you want to do is pay a salary that is in the ballpark competitive with other major employers, if you’re the government,” said Palguta. “No one wants to overpay federal workers — I certainly don’t.
I’m a taxpayer too, and I’m a former fed. But you don’t want to underpay either, such that you’re not getting people who are the best at what the job is.”
Image Courtesy of http://www.facebook.com/RepMicheleBachmann?ref=ts