Who’s Picking Up the Tab?

Federal employees make 50 percent more than private sector peers

NCIS character Tony DiNozzo, played by actor Michael Weatherly.

During a recent episode of the CBS show NCIS, Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo was telling his plans for a date to fellow agent Tim McGee. DiNozzo mentioned he put down a $100 nonrefundable deposit for a reservation at a fancy restaurant.

That prompted McGee to say, “What? Are you crazy? We are on government salaries.”

ForTheRecord says: A supervisory special agent for NCIS in real life makes on average $140,355, according to Glassdoor.com, a website that has collected salaries from 11 million people from a half million companies. According to a Cato Institute report that draws on numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average salary in 2014 for federal civilian workers was $84,153. The average wage for the 111 million private sector workers was $56,350.

So, while TV likes to promote the idea of a lowly paid government bureaucrat to further a plot line, the reality is that on average, federal government workers are much more able to spring for that five-star restaurant than their private sector peers.