According to Norquist and Lott, the average private sector worker in America earns $61,000 annually in pay, pension benefits, and health care benefits. That compares to state and local government workers who make $80,000 and federal workers who bag $120,000 taxpayer dollars in pay, pension, and benefits.
So how many government workers are there in America?
In Debacle, Norquist and Lott report that "there are 2.2 million federal civilian workers, 1.5 million active-duty members of the armed forces, 5 million state employees in the 50 states, and 14.1 million local employees."
The cost to taxpayers over a government workers career is sizable. Norquist and Lott explain that the hiring of a single federal worker at age 25 will cost taxpayers between $2.73 million and $8 million in wages and benefits, depending on the speed with which the government worker is promoted.
As Norquist and Lott note, "federal law requires that government look to see what jobs now being done by government workers could be done by the private sector." But we know that isn't happening; even the liberals in the Clinton Administration cited 850,000 jobs that could be done by private workers. Indeed, as the authors explain, the average savings to taxpayers when hiring a private worker instead of a government worker is 30%.
Norquist and Lott's book is chock-full of similar policy solutions and insights designed to reduce the burden big government places on taxpayers. Voters and lawmakers should read it.