10 Mind Blowing Facts Which Show How Members Of Congress And Federal Employees Are Living The High Life At Our Expense

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If you were asked to guess, what area of the United States would you say has the highest average income?  New York City?  Los Angeles?  Silicon Valley?  Well, would you believe that it is actually the Washington D.C. area?  Median household income in the region is $84,523, which is the highest in the nation.  One of the biggest reasons for this are the huge salaries being pulled down by federal employees in the Washington D.C. area.  According to the latest numbers, the average federal employee in the D.C. area brings in total compensation worth more than $126,000 a year.  Of course members of Congress are even doing far better than that.  Most of the members of Congress are millionaires, and somehow the vast majority of our politicians leave Washington D.C. far wealthier than when they arrived.  So if you want to live the high life, you might want to move to the Washington D.C. area.  Our “representatives” in Congress and the bureaucrats that work for the federal government are swimming in cash, and it is all at our expense.


Before you read the following facts, keep in mind that median household income in the United States has declined for three years in a row.  While the bureaucrats in D.C. are living the high life, most of the rest of us are going through some really hard times.

Today, median household income in the United States is about $50,000 a year, and in most families both parents have to work or the bills will not get paid.

So it just does not seem right that the “average” federal worker in the Washington D.C. area is hauling down more than $126,000 a year in total compensation.

After all, are they not supposed to be “public servants”?

Instead, it feels like we are serving them.  They get to drive around in their shiny new cars and they get to enjoy their shiny new McMansions in the D.C. suburbs while the rest of us pay for it.

Trust me, I have seen the beautiful suburbs in Maryland and in northern Virginia that seem to go on forever, and it is the U.S. taxpayers that are footing the bill.  Spending by the federal government accounts for approximately one third of the GDP of the entire region.

According to the Washington Post, the Washington D.C. area has become a great place for those that enjoy “living the dream”….

Washingtonians now enjoy the highest median household income of any metropolitan area in the country, and five of the top 10 jurisdictions in America — Loudoun, Howard and Fairfax counties, and Falls Church and Fairfax City — are here, census data shows.

The signs of that wealth are on display all over, from the string of luxury boutiques such as Gucci and Tory Burch opening at Tysons Galleria to the $15 cocktails served over artisanal ice at the W Hotel in the District to the ever-larger houses rising off River Road in Potomac.

All of this wealth did not get created because the D.C. area is a great center for industry or finance.

Rather, all of these people are becoming very wealthy because of our big, fat bloated federal government.

The following are 10 mind blowing facts which show how members of Congress and federal employees are living the high life at our expense….

#1 When you total up all compensation (including health care and benefits), the average income for a federal worker in the Washington D.C. area last year was $126,369.

#2 In 2005, 7420 federal workers were making $150,000 or more per year.  In 2010, a whopping 82,034 federal workers were making $150,000 or more per year.  That is more than a tenfold increase in just five years.

#3 In 2005, the U.S. Department of Defense had just nine civilians earning $170,000 or more.  When Barack Obama took office, the U.S. Department of Defense had 214 civilians earning $170,000 or more.  In June 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense had 994 civilians earning $170,000 or more.

#4 Last year, federal employees “earned” approximately 447 billion dollars in total compensation.

#5 According to a study by the Heritage Foundation, federal workers earn 30 to 40 percent more money on average than their counterparts in the private sector.

#6 Today, one out of every 12 people living in Washington D.C. is a lawyer.  In New York City, only one out of every 123 residents is a lawyer.

#7 More than 50 percent of the members of the U.S. Congress are millionaires.

#8 The median wealth of a U.S. Senator in 2009 was 2.38 million dollars.

#9 Insider trading is perfectly legal for members of the U.S. Congress – and they refuse to pass a law that would change that.

#10 The percentage of millionaires in Congress is more than 50 times higher than the percentage of millionaires in the general population.

Meanwhile, most of the rest of America has been going through economic hell….

-The standard of living in the United States has fallen farther over the past three years than at any other time that has ever been recorded in U.S. history.

-According to the Federal Reserve, the combined net worth of American families has fallen by $5.5 trillion since 2007.

-Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

-According to Paul Osterman, a professor of economics at MIT, approximately 20 percent of all employed Americans are making $10.65 an hour or less.

While the average American family is deeply struggling to pay the mortgage and put food on the table, the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. are busy shopping for the latest cell phones and trying to figure out what brand of new car to buy next year.

Over the past couple of decades, the federal government has absolutely exploded in size, but this has not helped the poor.  We now have more poor people in this country than ever before and over 2 million additional Americans slipped into poverty last year.

No, the reality is that the people that have reaped the rewards of a much larger federal government are the lawyers, the lobbyists and the bureaucrats.

This is the kind of thing that the American people should be protesting.  Almost everybody in Congress is rich.  Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are living the high life.  The lawyers, the lobbyists and the bureaucrats are having a field day.

Meanwhile, most of the rest of the country is deeply suffering.

It just doesn’t seem right, does it?



    Agreed, by no stretch of the imagination is this right. But what it can be described as is this: The natural extension of a policy put forth by financial and political elites with the sanction of the people. After all, the people are inflicting these wounds upon themselves everyttime they think that some knight upon a white horse dressed as a republican or democrat is going to come to their rescue.


    I am hoping that you would continue to beat the drums of trying to convince people that the two wings of the war party have not now nor will they ever do what is in the people’s interests. This systematic looting of the treasuries at the federal, state, and local level by both wings of the war party will never end until the people decide that they want it ended. Giving Obama another bite at the apple or bringing in Romney, Cain, Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann, or some other buffoon from the far right will achieve the exact same results as G W Obama………..

  • pryman

    The problem is the cost of living is much higher there. For example a house in the D.C. suburbs cost about half a million dollars. Second, if you’re single, taxes will eat your check right up. But I will admit, there are a lot of over paid federal employees who do a good job of supporting a very corrupt system.

  • Piglet

    I live in Virginia, very close to Washington, and I can tell you that everything in this article is absolutely true. The federal government in DC sucks the life out of the rest of country and sprinkles it among the government employees, lobbyists, “Beltway bandits,” war profiteers, etc. Drive beyond commuting distance in any direction and see for yourself how the rest of the country lives vs. how the parasite class lives. The difference is very stark.

    • Michael

      Great comment!


    • Guido

      Absolutely true. The only place in the nation not suffering from the breakdown is DC, MD, and Northern VA. They continue to build offices, stores, and homes there while nothing is being built anywhere else. Homes are still expensive there, too. DC and military towns will be the last places where cash is still flowing in this country.

  • Jessie

    u mad bro?

  • David

    The total cost of Federal employees last year (incl. compensation) was $447 BILLION.

    What is the total of 0bama’s Jobs Bill? You guessed it.. $447 BILLION.

    Coincidence? Nothing 0bama does is a coincidence.

    • Highspeedloafer

      Dang, Good eye!

    • I would have to agree with David.

  • mark

    The government class needs to have a huge reduction in wages and benifits. If you notice the government nevers reduces their wages. If layoffs happen workers leave but wages seem to always go up. The supervisors never take a wage cut. I believe even in Vallejo,California high wages sent then into bankruptcy. I thought that court would lower wages of the firefighters and police, but all they did was lay some off and keep the wages that got them into trouble in the first place. Cities can’t take care of their towns anymore, most of the money they recieve goes to pay pensions of retired government workers.The only answer is a much smaller government.

  • Guido

    Michael- you’re actually talking about two different things. Congressmen live by a different set of rules. The shocking revelation of the median wage in DC isn’t about politicians- Those people are fedgov bureaucrats-NOT politicians.

    Fedgov workers have it better than you know. I have a friend or two who give me the inside scoop. They can’t be fired. They can sleep at work, fail to show up, stink like hell and refuse to bathe.

    Even if you’re an awful employee, it takes 3 years of bad reviews to get fired. No one wants to give a bad review to one of their employees. In some cases, they promote bad employees to get rid of them! It’s a joke!

    I think part of the issue is the agencies have the ability to decide how they’ll spend their funds. All government agencies and offices have a duty to spend all the money they’re allocated, lest they have the excess removed from next year’s funding. All gov’t leaders fear not balancing their books and having any excess. It is quite an achievement to spend your millions in funding down to the 3 or 4 digits before the last month or two of the fiscal year. At that point, that’s where they start looking for things to blow excess cash on.

    If the average American knew how good fedgov workers have it… I don’t know what they would do.

    They waste a ton of money in the process, too. They can manipulate funding and direct it into ridiculous things like new computers to replace perfectly functional ones, new blinds or chairs, or even sculptures.

  • …and they wonder why people are screaming on the streets.

  • Golden Child

    This article is right on the money, literally. I live in one of the “richest” counties in Howard County, Maryland. However, these “wealthiest county” rankings are quite deceiving. Most of that wealth is highly concentrated into the hands of a few to a sizable percentage of above average earners. For example, over 50% of the housing is Section 8 where I live in the Harper’s Choice village in Columbia in Howard County. You should take a drive down Harper’s Farm Road in Columbia and look at the “equal opportunity” housing here. It is not terrible, but not rich by ANY means. Some of the housing in the worst of the worst California ghettos in places like Sobrante Park in Oakland and Compton are much nicer looking and better maintained than the Section 8 we have in Columbia, Maryland in wealthy Howard County. We have much less crime than similar income inner city communities in nearby Baltimore and DC because we live literally right next door to much richer folks and the county police treat this place like it is the Texas side of the Mexican border. “Wealthy” Montgomery county is home to some of the most violent and roughest blocks in America in the gang-infested poor illegal immigrant entry communities that resemble East L.A. around University Boulevard, like the infamous Langley Park (Langley Park is the second national headquarters for MS-13, second to L.A.). Yet, the overwhelming amount of insane wealth in nearby Bethesda and Potomac in Montgomery County shoots the county’s overall wealth through the roof.

    DC is the most corrupt city in the nation. I go to DC multiple times a week and I see how our “public servants” act like aristocrats on our tax dollars. These people are the most self-important, self-involved, condescending, elitist, soulless, compassionless, arrogant, rude and pretentious people I have ever encountered in my life. These non-producers can surf porn eight hours a day on the tax payer dime and still can’t be fired! These people act like they are the most important people in the universe yet they produce NOTHING! I say its time for “Hollywood for Ugly People” aka the District of Columbia ************!



  • VegasBob

    The largesse doesn’t stop with salaries. Those who were employed by the Federal Government before the 1986 pension reform act made out like bandits for the rest of their lives.

    My Dad was a career civil servant. From 1946-1977, he contributed about $28,500 into the Federal Civil Service pension system. From 1977 until he died in July 2006, he collected over $1,340,000 in Federal civil service pensions, and he collected Social Security on top of that!

    Now do you understand why the American government is so broken that it cannot be fixed? US Government mathematics CANNOT ever work. The US Government must be allowed to collapse so that a new healthy government can rise up in its place.

  • William

    Be sure to reelect your MORON in the US House or US Senate in Nov of 2012. That is a sure way to ensure nothing will ever happen to right the ship of state in America.

  • Joe

    How does this surprise anyone. The fact that anyone would be surprised by this shows how uneducated our country is. I do not want to reform Washington, I want it to just go away into the dung heap of history in favor of sovereign states. This is just a optimistic dream, we will probably have the “blue helmets” in charge of our country if this ever happens.

  • Tim

    I worked for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, D.C. for many years. I feel that, for the most part, federal employee compensation is excessive. I visited other federal agencies to perform audit work where I saw bureaucratic waste firsthand. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in Baltimore, MD was a joke. It was like a country club. Then there are quasi-governmental agencies, like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), where employee compensation is higher than the rest of the federal government. I spent several years at the FDIC working on GAO’s recurring annual audit of the Deposit Insurance Fund’s financial statements, and I can tell you that, for FDIC employees, it’s a gravy train. For example, there was an employee in the FDIC’s Office of Inspector General who worked with GAO staff on the audit. He retired while I was there, and his salary the year he left was $140k! That was in 2003 or 2004. He was a likable guy, but he didn’t do much.

    In all fairness though, I must say that there are many dedicated, talented and hard-working professionals in the federal government. Some of my former coworkers were the most brilliant people I have ever known or had the privilege to work with.

  • Jeffrey

    Unfortunately, they way they are calculating all this allows them to sway this argument. YES, the average federal employee brings in a good salary; however, to put it in ACTUAL perspective, approximately 70% of ALL federal employees are …now able to retire. This means that they are at the highest salary of their entire career. In other words, people tend to make more later in life as they build education and experience. As these people start retiring and there is a subsequent shift toward the lower grades and steps take place, you will see a huge reduction in the average salary of federal workers.

    Interesting how all these demonizers always skip this critical fact.

  • Sarah

    I am a federal employee from the Baltimore/dc area. I am a veterinarian. I don’t get paid 150k a year, no where near it. I actually do very important work ensuring our meat is safe. I pay 489$ a month for my health and Dental benefits, my copays are outrageous and I typically spend over 800$ a month if you combined my copays and cost of health insurance. As a trained pathologist I could make at Least 140k a year in the private sector. I do what I am doing because I believe in the work! I owe over 200k in student loans which I can’t afford to pay, I don’t get any help with them. We r not all living high off the hog.

    • Golden Child

      I don’t think Michael was smearing the great public workers like police officers and teachers who actually serve a vital purpose. He was shedding light on the thousands and thousands of overpaid deadweight federal paperpushers in DC who get paid to surf porn, drink coffee and take three hour smoke breaks and not come into “work” at all and still can’t get fired. I live out here in the DC area and see it all the time. Many federal jobs are nothing short of professional welfare disguised as work. Real businesses pay for themselves through selling a product, not grubbing the pockets of working people who help produce wealth. Face it, there is A LOT of deadweight in DC. Many agencies are overstaffed with lazy people who do nothing to “serve the public”. Google “Social Security Administration” and look at all the one star ratings (which is the lowest possible rating) the service receives.

  • JC Vaughan

    All that needs be said was said on the “Economic Collapse” blog. When you choose Crony Capitalism, you choose Satan. When you choose Satan, you choose Doom. What else in the World did you expect to happen?! It is like a guy who eats a big box of rat poison and is then shocked – SHOCKED!! – when he develops severe health problems.

  • DB200

    #2 In 2005, 7420 federal workers were making $150,000 or more per year. In 2010, a whopping 82,034 federal workers were making $150,000 or more per year. That is more than a tenfold increase in just five years.

    That’s what I call hyperinflation – literally, economically and morally!

  • Gay Veteran

    “…While the bureaucrats in D.C. are living the high life, most of the rest of us are going through some really hard times.
    …So it just does not seem right that the “average” federal worker in the Washington D.C. area is hauling down more than $126,000 a year in total compensation.
    …Instead, it feels like we are serving them. They get to drive around in their shiny new cars and they get to enjoy their shiny new McMansions in the D.C. suburbs while the rest of us pay for it….”

    Usually I like your articles but this makes two in a row that are really bad.

    In the previous article you allowed someone to use the epithet “fag”.

    Now in this article you state that Federal employees “drive around in their shiny new cars and they get to enjoy their shiny new McMansions in the D.C. suburbs”.

    That is a total crock of ********. The Federal employees I work with don’t drive fancy new cars or live in McManions.

    I work in Beltsville (MD suburb of DC) and live in Baltimore because the cost of living in DC is AWFUL. And I drive a Honda Civic. And I could make at least 3 times what I currently make if I worked in the private sector.

    So quit smearing Federal workers.

    • mark

      Government employees are out of touch with most of the population. When you compare your wages, benifits and job security to what the common Joe living in the US earns you are not being smeared. My union pension has no cost of living increases. What I recieved when I retired is what I still recieve. When I worked at my job my employer could hand me my final check and that is it. I feel lucky to even have a pension. You claim that you could make a lot more in the private sector, good luck finding a job and if you do it would be less than what you recieve now. Another problem that most do not understand is there are only so many tax dollars to be had. As you government workers retire and start collecting pensions, there are not enough dollars to pay your ever increasing pensions and pay for the new government employee’s wages and benifits. Government just keeps on growing, consuming scarce real wealth that is created by those that work outside of the government. Enjoy it while you can and quit crying about how hard the government class has it.

    • PaulF

      As with Gary, you need to try thinking.

      So you know some federal workers who are not “rich”. This is the same type of subjective “logic” that drives people to say things like “My uncle smokes two packs a day for 40 years and never got cancer!” That does not mean smoking is not dangerous.

      Do you have statistics to refute Michael’s? Of course not. Then you should really just not post.

  • TK

    This is an outrage.

    When will the people stand up and put an end to this madness?

    We have got to stop paying people so much!

    We should be able to change this, but it will not happen. Greed and thievery is ingrained in our political system.

  • Pauly

    Per day stipend for congress $150, Per day stipend for out of town truckers $40.

  • Gary2

    Government jobs are very much in demand as the ***** private low pay sector sucks so bad.

    • PaulF

      Gary, if the demand for these federal jobs was high and was a *free market* wages would be driven *down*, of course. Think, then type.

  • Douglas Dillard

    The protesters need to occupy Washington instead of Wall Street!

  • Matt

    Theres No State like No State,Tolstoy was right..

  • Gay Veteran

    This article reminds me of a cartoon: A shoeshine guy is shining the shoes of a Wall Street fat cat. The shoeshine guy is looking over at a government employee and complaining how the government employee has medical insurance, vacation time, etc. Meanwhile the Wall Street fat cat is stealing money out of his tip jar.

    So instead of raising everyone up, we’re pulling everyone down (except the Wall Street fat cat who is making out like a bandit!).

    • Dose of Reality

      … but you miss the part where the government employee can take part in insider trading. In this case, he *is* the “Wall Street fat cat”. Thnk about it like this, as a member of congress I can vote a large loan to a company (say Solyndra) after having purchased a bunch of stock in the company. Then I sell the bounce, and its all perfectly legal.

      Do you see how that makes our members of the legislative branch even worse than these “Wall Street Fat Cats??”

  • Colin

    Washington, D.C. is rated with nine states as having the highest number of people living in poverty.


    • Guido

      Funny, the news this morning reported DC has the lowest poverty in the nation…

  • Kathy Smith

    The author (???) needs to distinguish which Federal worker is making the exhorbitant salary and his basis for why that particular worker is undeserving. I am the surviving widow of a US Federal Agent who gave 21 years “serving and protecting”. He began by serving 5.7 years in the USAF where he earned his BS Degree, then 2 years with the NC State Patrol, and finished with 17 years as a Federal Agent. During that time he furthered his education by obtaining an MBA ($25K paid in full by us) and was 50% finished on an MPA,again paid 100% with our income. I’m 100% disabled and we have a child with serious health concerns. He was a “supervisor” with his Federal LEO Agency and I can say we NEVER filed an IRS form showing a salary of $150K. This wonderfully smart and intellectual man established the 4th ‘Electronics Crimes Task Force’ in the nation for his agency. Salary wise, he could have made much more money in the private sector. Yet, he chose to SERVE AND PROTECT!

    The author needs to differentiate and use very specific criteria when making assertions and claims regarding Federal employees, many of whom are highly trained with a specific skill set, hold degrees at a Master’s level and beyond, and have VOLUNTARY CHOSEN to risk their life while serving their country. Yes, that mindset still exists.

    Do not dishonor those who still believe in doing what is right and good and true, irregardless of the pay scale.

  • John

    A fried the other day had a coment when I asked him how he was doing. He stated “Just living the American dream, one nightmare at a time!”
    May God bless America and bring us to our senses before it is too late.

  • PaulF

    This is an article to bookmark.

  • ConcernedCitizen

    Our problems are not so much linked to the “total compensation” paid to federal workers in D.C. (a very high cost area), but more linked to the trillions of dollars we’ve given away to foreign banks and foreign bankers, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars wasted. The benefit package these workers receive is probably around a quarter or more of the total compensation package. We have to stop turning on eachother and start working together. The more we are divided, the more likely it is that we will all fail. Yes, the federal government is too big and should be downsized. But let’s do it rationally and mercifully so as not to cause further turmoil. A hiring freeze is a good place to start. “Treat others like you would want to be treated.”

  • some federal employees are working on Constitutionally mandated agencies, hence they did “earn” a living……

  • Kristen

    What percent of all federal employees live in the DC area? Anyone know? Anyone even care that the vast amount of federal employees live spread across the country and have nothing to do with the high cost of living in DC? And does anyone think that #7 is true because the weathly millionaires in our country can buy their way into office? Yes, lets all demonize the postal worker and public health officer living in Nowhere, Flyoverland and compare them to the corporate lobbists, who do all live in Washington and are awash in politically-motivated dollars.

    • Johnhovah

      While I don’t agree with the entire article. It is specific in defining DC as those living large off of the American Taxypayer teet. I have been in various governmental positions/employment (far from the figures quoted above) and know plenty of people who are above or below those numbers.. struggling or insanely compensated. The fact of the matter is, is that Fraud, Waste and Abuse is commonplace, seeing as there are X amount of funds allocated for any fiscal year, so in the last quarter funds are spent without abandon so that the following years budget is not impacted.

      So yes, the DC median (meaning half make more and half make less) salary range is entirely accurate. There are many who will retire now or in the future with benefits unmatched in the Private sector except for the largest of corporations.

      Facts that infuriate many people:

      1. Congressmen and Senators get free HealthCare for life.

      2. Congressmen and Senators get a pension nearly equal to their pay when in office for the rest of their life

      3. Congressmen and Senators do not pay into Social Security or medicare, in fact, they are exempt from the Medi-Care and Social Security systems we all pay into.

      4. Congressmen and Senators work less hours than any comparable job in the private sector.

      5. Congressmen and Senators determine there own compensation, raises, benefits, etc.

      6. Congressmen and Senators; Wages, Salaries and benefits have increased at a ten-fold rate over even the most modest statistical average in the private sector.

      And this is only the 535 members of the federal government who change every few years.

      The greater probably shows the greatest disparity between the rich and the poor, considering they have the most special interest groups, appointed and elected officials, lobbyists, lawyers concentrated in a single 67sq mi area compared to the rest who are on the opposite end of that spectrum.

  • knightowl77


    I don’t know whether you heard or not but Rush Limbaugh quoted your blog and this piece in particular this morning….Whether you agree with him or not, he has the largest talk radio audience in the country. You are becoming well known, congratulations!

    • Michael

      Wow I did not know that. Thanks for letting me know. I saw that traffic had increased today, but I had no idea why.

      Now I know.

      It is amazing that God has opened up so many doors for my little blogs. My articles are getting quoted by people that I never dreamed would see them.


  • E R Pitassi

    My good friend is a federal retiree. She lives the good life… new SUV; long weekend vacations; European vacations; 4-6 weeks in Florida between mid-January thru mid-March…eats out alot. Her yearly pension is somewhere between 80-95K per year. My yearly pension is 8K…and guaranteed to go no higher after a 15-year stint with a Fortune 500 company. My car is 10 years old. My husband and I haven’t been on a vacation in 11 years. I believe I live a more ‘authentic’ life in many ways. She lives ‘the good life.’

  • Chris

    If you pay them peanuts you will get….
    What isn’t being said is that people such as these, with their qualifications will get the same pay anywhere in the U.S..
    The majority of these people have Masters degrees, and are specialist in their area.
    ‘Do the yards and get the pay’ always upsets those that haven’t.

  • try

    interesting articles for teenagers

  • Rafael

    The solution? Elect Ron Paul and other constitutionalists to replace the parasites.

  • If you are not paying into programs like SS & Medicare. Then how in the hell can congressmen, senators and the like make decisions on these benifit programs, that don’t involve them ??????Also, there should be limited terms for these so called decision makers.

  • ryan

    my family worked for senators till they retired and they receive 6k a month and have had plenty of money for their habits trust me they don’t call them fat cats in washington for nothing.

  • ryan

    i just recently read an article on how some of the members of government are sleeping in their offices because they can’t afford to pay a thousand dollars a month for rent.. lmao compton california 2 bedroom apartments cost a 1000 a month studios in la cost that much who the hell do these congress members think their kidding.. they make almost 200,000 and they can’t afford a 1000 a month in business expenses i doubt that.. im sure they could find a way to pay for it.