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Rep. Elijah Cummings

Rep. Elijah Cummings

One of the primary differences between progressive and conservative philosophy was beautifully expressed by Ronald Reagan, who said:

The most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.

Progressives believe that government is the wellspring of all good, and the bigger the better. Conservatives believe that government is inherently corrupt and dangerous, and the smaller the better. Yes, I know that where big government is concerned, it’s becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between progressives and conservatives, at least the congressional variety, but the general principle still holds.

Consider that, however, in light of Rep. Elija Cummings (D-Md) via CNS News: 

Cummings was speaking in Washington D.C. at the Legislative Conference of the National Treasury Employees Union on February 4th when he made [this comment:]

‘People do not seem to understand that so many people come to government knowing that they are not going to make the kind of money that they would make in the private sector but they come to government to feed their souls.

People work for the government to “feed their souls?!” This is hardly surprising coming from Cummings, who is one of the fiercest partisan Democrats in Congress–a true believer. There was once, many, many years ago, a time when government work did require some measure of sacrifice, perhaps even a touch of nobility, because it paid less than the private sector, though the compensation was that it was essentially work for life with little or no possibility of being fired regardless of the offense or lack of performance. My father lived that reality–though he always did more than an honest day’s work–and so did our family. However, Cummings’ comments suggest a kind of warped theology, a warped substitution of government for religious faith and a coherent theology. Considering many Progressives still consider Barack Obama a messiah, this is hardly surprising.

Cummings was far from done in his exposition of progressive worship:

So what are my priorities? What’s my reason for being here?’ Cummings said. ‘My ardent priority is to do whatever I can to help federal workers obtain fair compensation and meaningful pay raises.’

‘President Obama’s budget for the next year recommends a 1.3% pay raise for federal employees I believe this is to low. I love the president but I believe this is far too low, far too low.’

‘That’s why I co-sponsored with Representative (Gerry) Connelly (D-Va.) the FAIR Act.  Which would raise pay up to 3.8% – even that’s too low.

Now that the Obama Administration is rehiring scores of incompetent IRS employees, including—of course—tax cheats, perhaps it would be propitious to examine the reality of federal vs. private sector pay.

A December 2014 Cato Institute report on federal and private sector worker pay finds, ‘In 2013 federal civilian workers had an average wage of $81,076, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. By comparison, the average wage of the nation’s 107 million private-sector workers was $55,424.

Apparently federal worker’s souls are very well fed indeed, but that’s far from all:


When benefits like health care and pensions are included, ‘federal worker compensation averaged $115,524, or 74 percent more than the private-sector average of $66,357.’

A 2012 Congressional Budget Office report shows that overall compensation for federal workers is 16% higher than for private sector workers, with private sector workers with bachelor’s degrees making $7.50 less per hour on average.

People ought to be fairly compensated for their labor, but it would seem the average federal worker has little trouble being properly fed, whether by soul or tummy. One wonders what the upper compensation limit would be for people like Cummings, or indeed, if there is an upper limit at all.

Progressive souls, as always, are hungry—for tax dollars.