Studies conducted by the Congressional Budget Office found that jobs in the federal government are concentrated in professional, administrative and technical occupations. Moreover, the federal government outsources most of its lower-skilled jobs, such as janitors and other positions that require less than a high school education.
Comparing all federal wages with all private wages is an apples-to-oranges comparison because the basket of federal wages mostly does not include many low-pay or minimum-wage jobs.
The debt commission's cost-cutting plans for government salaries would put federal employees at a disadvantage. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released late month showed private sector wages increased by 2 percent in the past year.
At the moment, a slightly lower pay raise of 1.4 percent in 2011 is on the table for federal employees. But if incoming Republicans have their way, that number may be pushed to zero in the new session.
None of that has prevented Paul from floating an average salary -- $120,000 -- that is so clearly off base.
Hall, the Virginia visitor, had a theory.
"Maybe he didn't know what he was talking about."