So maybe public sector folks are not underpaid — if the dollar value of increased job security is taken into account? Consider the following from http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/117753788.html (which is about state and local workers, however, not federal workers – but I would not be surprised if something similar held for federal workers – and if it doens’t maybe it’s becasue federal workers don’t get to do collective bargaining):
” The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nationwide, state and local employees are fired or laid off at less than one-third the rate in the private sector. How much is this job security worth? A lot. A worker who loses his job spends an average of almost 20 weeks unemployed, during which time he must subsist on unemployment.
We can put a number on this. Assuming that Wisconsin workers would have the same probability of being discharged, and the same duration of unemployment as private workers, their extra job security is equivalent to about a 9% increase in pay.
In short, the total job package for Wisconsin public employees – salaries, benefits and job security – is roughly 10% higher than what is paid to similar private workers and in certain cases far more. Government workers should bear that in mind as they press their demands.”