I haven't been in Government as long and I also have gone through a RIF (found my own position). The only reason the salaries are in the news is because we are in a recession. Five years ago, government salaries weren't being mentioned because everyone was doing well. I'm in the professional series and I still make less than my private counterparts. I also have less benefits when it comes to 401K, dental, vacation benefits and bonuses. Also, I have worked in the private sector and certain businesses have their own poor performers that stay on board because they are related to the owner or have other connections.