Fox Business' Stuart Varney cited misleading research from the Cato Institute to disparage federal employees, claiming they make 78 percent more than private sector workers. In fact, when compared to private sector workers in similar occupations and with similar levels of education, government employees are often paid less than their private industry counterparts.
On the October 9 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co., host Stuart Varney and Fox contributor Tammy Bruce used a misleading report from the right-wing Cato Institute to mockingly claim that federal workers are paid too much. Without any discussion of the different types of jobs performed by government and private sector employees, Varney and Bruce slammed "super, super rich" federal workers for contributing to economic inequality in Washington, D.C.:
TAMMY BRUCE: Well look, they're better than us, aren't they? And they deserve more money because they do such-- much more difficult work, and they're just more important and better people. Look, these are the people that all this-- those are the only people politicians really see. Its unionized of course. It goes through the framework of government and politicians wanting to spend more, make things bigger, make things worse. And they're right on that track.
STUART VARNEY: Look what is on the screen. Six of the top--of the richest neighborhoods are right around Washington, D.C.
BRUCE: But that's very small area of D.C., of course. And the talk about the distance between the poor and the wealthy. You see it. Government--super, super rich. And then those other neighborhoods in Washington, D.C, the poverty, the unemployment, the abandonment. That's classic big government where everybody else get pushed out and the people who genuflect, who pay allegiance to that big federal government get all the money, and everyone else suffers.
According to Cato's October 2015 report, total salary and compensation for an average federal worker in 2014 was $119,934 -- compared to just $67,246 for the average private sector worker. Cato's analysis blamed supposedly generous pay for driving federal budget deficits and demanded that compensation for federal jobs be reduced to better reflect the private sector. Cato even acknowledged that federal workers typically have higher levels of education and professional experience than the private sector as a whole, but still recommended that their compensation be arbitrarily reduced -- a common refrain among right-wing think tanks.
In reality, federal and private sector workers are compensated differently because they perform different jobs and have strikingly different levels of education, on average. According to a January 2012 report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), "33 percent of federal employees work in professional occupations, such as the sciences or engineering, compared with only 18 percent of private-sector employees" and "21 percent of federal employees have a master's, professional, or doctoral degree, compared with 9 percent of private-sector employees."
The same CBO report found that after accounting for education and other "observable characteristics," average federal wages were only 2 percent higher than would be expected in the private sector.
According to the findings of an exhaustive November 2014 review by the Federal Salary Council, federal employees nationwide face an average pay disparity of 35 percent compared to private sector counterparts performing "the same levels of work."
Federal worker occupations and levels of education are too different from that of the private sector to easily compare side-by-side, a fact that even Cato's Chris Edwards -- who authored the study used by Varney & Co. -- readily admitted in a July 23, 2012 interview with The Washington Post:
Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, a conservative think thank [sic],and author of several papers concluding that federal workers are overpaid, acknowledged Monday that "it's hard to make an overall sweeping assessment" of whether private- or public-sector employees make more.
Fox News is up in arms over Target's announcement that it will remove some gender-based signage from its stores in the coming months.
From the August 11 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
Right-wing media have reacted to the unveiling of the final version of President Obama's historic Clean Power Plan with claims that it will hurt America, denials that it will benefit public health, and personal attacks on the president and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy. Here's a sampling of the conservative media's most unhinged, over-the-top reactions.
From the April 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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From the December 8 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
Right-wing media reacted with disbelief and outrage at President Obama's post-election speech, in which he said he intends to cooperate with Republicans -- despite Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell making the same claim earlier the same day.
Conservative media began politicizing the first case of Ebola virus diagnosed in the United States almost immediately, speculating as to whether the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could be trusted to contain the virus considering its ties to the Obama administration and about Obama's own role in the diagnosis.
In a press briefing July 19, President Obama responded to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin, saying, "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago...the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that - that doesn't go away." Right-wing media figures responded to the president's remarks with attacks.
During President Obama's January 16 speech on steps he supports to stem gun violence, conservative media figures responded with vitriol on Twitter and on the radio. A sampling:
Rush Limbaugh: Speech Is "The Children As Human Shields Show"
Fox News Radio Host Todd Starnes: "Freedom Ends. Tyranny Begins."
After Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted responsibility for the security of diplomats in the wake of the deadly attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya, members of the right-wing media launched a series of sexist attacks, calling her a "doormat" and a "battered woman."
Right-wing media have attacked the Obama administration's policy change allowing some young undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States as "amnesty." In fact, the policy change is not amnesty, a term shown to produce negative reactions, but deferred action that only lasts for up to two years, subject to renewal.
UPDATE: In a subsequent post on her blog, Bruce wrote that she was being snarky and sarcastic in her tweet and defended Fox for being "willing to hire an openly gay women before anyone else in television." She added that she had been told she would never guest host O'Reilly because of her sexual orientation by "a friend of mine" and that she has "never even asked to host the Factor (or any other show at Fox), and no one at Fox ever told me I couldn't."
Longtime Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce tweeted yesterday that she's been told she'll never guest host The O'Reilly Factor because she's gay. Bruce did not specify whether she had received that message from the network's personnel, but replied favorably to a fan who responded to her tweet by criticizing the network.
Bruce is a conservative radio show host who regularly appears on The O'Reilly Factor with host Bill O'Reilly. According to Nexis, Bruce most recently appeared on the program's April 6 broadcast with guest host Juan Williams.
Bruce is openly gay, a fact she's noted on The O'Reilly Factor. A biography posted on WMAL, which carried her radio show (the program now streams "exclusively at TalkStreamLive"), states that when her radio show "debuted in Los Angeles in 1993, she was the first openly gay woman in the country to host a show on a mainstream talk radio station."
Bruce's comments came in response to a follower who told her she needs "to fill in for O'Reilly sometime." Bruce replied: "I'd love to fill in for O'Reilly, but I've been told it will never happen because I'm gay. Go figure..."
Several followers responded to Bruce's tweet with criticism of Fox. One follower tweeted: "Tammy, so sorry to hear that! You've always been an intelligent and thoughtful commentator. Bad on Fox :-)" Bruce replied: "Thanks @gutsy9 I appreciate the support :)"
Messages to Bruce seeking clarification and comment were not returned. Fox News also did not return a request for comment by posting time.
This week, the right-wing media began its annual fake "War on Christmas" campaign, freaking out about a bogus Obama "Christmas tree tax." Here's what to expect from right-wing media during the next six weeks.
Days late to the artificial war on Christmas trees, Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce is accusing President Obama of displaying "contempt for Christianity" by levying a tax on Christians that she says is rooted in Muslim tradition.
On November 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a plan initiated by tree farmers during the Bush administration to levy a fee on large tree farmers. The assessment was intended to fund a marketing campaign promoting fresh Christmas trees. Media conservatives quickly launched a false attack on the Obama administration, which subsequently announced that the industry-backed fee would be put on hold.
Bruce dismissed the undisputed fact that the fee was sought by tree growers, modeled on similar USDA initiatives including the "Got Milk?" and "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" campaigns. Pointing to the innocuous fact that the Obama administration has issued decrees honoring the Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha, Bruce instead argued that the "checkoff" fee -- sought under a 1996 farm act -- is further evidence that Obama is "pandering to Muslims" while showing "contempt for Christianity":
Oh sure, the Fed is saying it was a marketing fee for the Christmas tree "industry," to supposedly improve the image of the apparently much hated and dreaded tree. The fact is it was a tax meant to fund a board appointed by a federal agency targeting one religion and one religion only -- Christianity.
There is a precedent for this -- in the Muslim world it's called the "Jizya" -- a tax levied on non-Muslim citizens in the Islamic world, allowing them to practice their religion while being "protected" by the Muslim state.
In our case, it seems more like an atheistic federal government looking for tribute by those pesky Christians who dare to think there is a higher authority than the permanent political class.
Bruce's vitriolic screed is being promoted at Fox Nation as evidence of Obama's "War on Christianity."