It’s impossible to get your arms around the reach and cost of the federal bureaucracy in our lives and pocketbooks. But a new analysis by a government oversight group provides confirmation it’s even more massive than many of us think. The Daily Signal breaks down the distressing findings of the report, appropriately titled “Mapping The Swamp: A Study of the Administrative State.”

Looking at 78 large agencies, the nonprofit organization OpenTheBooks.com found that the average salary of a federal employee exceeds $100,000 and that roughly 1 in 5 of those on the government payroll has a six-figure salary.

Almost 30,000 rank-and-file government employees make over $190,823, more than any governor of the 50 states.

“Our oversight report shows the size, scope, and power of the administrative state,” Adam Andrzejewski, Open the Books’ CEO and founder, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “Two million federal bureaucrats have salaries, extraordinary perquisites, and lifetime pension benefits. This compensation package has never been seen in the private sector.”

Federal government employees’ paychecks dwarf the median annual take-home pay of $44,148 for the folks who pay their way. But their taxpayer-provided benefits really stand out.

When federal employees reach the third anniversary of their employment, he said, “they get eight and a half weeks’ paid time off,” including “10 holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days.” [Correction: The word “plus” has been replaced with “including” to convey his meaning accurately.]  

“We estimate those perks alone cost the American taxpayer $22.6 billion a year,” Andrzejewski said.

No surprise the number of federal workers earning more than $200,000 a year shot up 165 percent during the last administration. But that just scratches the surface of the stunning details of the pay scale for federal worker revealed in the OpenTheBooks.com report.

“Congress should hold hearings to bring transparency to all the information we’re still missing, including performance bonuses and pension payouts,” Andrzejewski said in a prepared statement. “It’s time to squeeze out waste from compensation and stop abusive payroll practices.”