Gov. Scott Walker argues that public employees can sacrifice more of their paychecks for health insurance and retirement because they pay so little for those benefits compared to workers at private companies.
Walker is correct about the disparity, but a new report by the liberal Economic Policy Institute suggests that looking at benefits alone is misleading.
The study looks at total compensation – pay and benefits together – and found that public workers earn 4.8 percent less than private sector employees with the same qualifications and traits doing similar jobs.
Average compensation for public workers is higher because the jobs they do – such as teaching – require a relatively high level of education, and a higher education is one of the main factors that drives wages up, said Ethan Pollack, a senior policy analyst at the institute.