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Washington Democrats are using “income inequality” as a wedge issue, a ploy that has benefited them throughout the years, but their deceptive strategy masks the real inequality in wages and benefits, according to Jim Tobin, noted economist and President of Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF).

“While it is true that median incomes of the middle class have been dropping while incomes at the very top have been climbing, the largely unmentioned inequality is the disparity of salaries and benefits of government employees and those working in the private sector,” said Tobin.

The January 2014 Reason reports that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, total employer compensation costs for private sector workers averaged $29.11 per hour (roughly $58,200), whereas total employer compensation costs for state and local government employees averaged $42.09 per hour (roughly $84,200). “There’s your real inequality,” said Tobin. “The average local and state government employee receives 40 percent more than the average worker in the private sector.”

Furthermore, an August 2013 Cato Institute report found that a civilian federal employee had an average wage of $81,704. The average federal employee received 74 percent more in wages and benefits than the average worker in the private sector. “For the federal employee, that would come to about $101,300,” said Tobin.

The report also found that between 1975 and 2013, the total number of federal, state and local government employees grew from 14.8 million to almost 22 million – one for every 15 citizens.

“It’s ludicrous that the very same government bureaucrats who use ‘income inequality’ as a platform for reelection propose more government jobs as the solution,” said Tobin. “The government sector is devouring the private sector.” As David Malpass stated in the Wall Street Journal, growing the government shrinks the rest of the economy and after-tax paychecks.”

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