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US Wastes Billions Paying Contractors More Than Public Workers For Same Job

While Republicans decry big government and push to decrease the number of public workers and many within the government claim that outsourcing work to contractors can save taxpayers money, a new study has found that the United States government wastes billions of dollars paying contractors twice as much as public workers for performing the same job.

The report, released by the Project on Government Oversight, found that the federal government pays contractors 1.83 times more on average than what federal workers get for performing the same duties. For example, a government employee earns an average of $124,851 for accounting services while a government contractor gets paid an average of $299,374 for performing the same service. Not only is that more than federal workers, it’s much more than the $83,132 that the average private sector accountant earns per year.

The number of government contractors has grown rapidly over the last 15 years. The government spends $320 billion on federal contractors annually. That’s about 25 percent of all discretionary spending directed towards contractor pay. The number of federal contractors was estimated at 7.6 million in 2005, a huge leap from 4.4 million in 1999.

Union leaders quickly cited the study as showing a need to boost the public workforce rather than continue to shrink it and hand over duties to higher paid contractors. Gerald McEntee, President of the AFSCME, said “In the wake of the worst recession in our lifetime, federal, state and local governments should not be doling out billions of dollars to private contractors to perform services that can be done more efficiently and at lower cost by public workers.”

Worse, the government has spent the last four years attempting to weed out budgetary waste and has not been able to reduce discretionary spending. The report noted that “The federal government has failed to determine how much money it saves or wastes by outsourcing, insourcing, or retaining services, and has no system for doing so.”

(Image courtesy of Phillie Casablanca)

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Igor Derysh is the Managing Editor of Latest. com and a syndicated columnist whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, and Orlando Sun Sentinel, and AOL News. His work has been criticized in even more publications. Follow him on Twitter @IgorDerysh