I am not sure I can agree with the job security premise A lot of State and Local governments are laying off or have laid off works. We also have hiring freezes and furloughs. So at a minimum job security in the public sector is not what it used to be. However, I will agree that the considerations for government work are different than private sector work.
I will agree that public sector work is more of a calling, especially now. I work in for the State of Colorado. State employee have seen a pay freeze for at least 3 years. While we have seen benefit costs (i.e. health care and such) increase. In addition, we have been asked to pay 2.5% more into the public employee retirement program. Furthermore, some state agencies have been required to take furlough days. In short, most state employee have seen a decrease in take home pay.
So I would say that anyone who wants to work in government is either financially well off or just a little crazy.
Thanks for raising this questions because it raises an important topic for everyone. We have increasingly seen a trend today of people either saying or purporting to say "I don't get health care benefits, why should they?", "I don't have a pension, so why do they get one?", and other sentiment of this vain. I find it troubling that we have invested so much into a race to the bottom rather than question why we should accept these trends.