While many Americans are struggling just to make ends meet in today’s sluggish economy, a damning new report shows that government workers are prospering.

According to USA Today, the ratio of federal employees making $100,000 or more increased from 14 percent to 19 percent in the first 18 months of the current recession.

One agency with a particularly high concentration of six-figure bureaucrats was the Department of Transportation. “When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.”

The dramatic salary increases means that the average federal worker now earns an annual salary of $71,206 versus an average annual salary of $40,331 in the private sector.

State and local government employees also saw their pay raised over the last year-and-a-half, though, to be fair, the percent increase (3.9 percent) was on par with that of a private sector employee. Still, the average state and local government employee now earns $54,000 a year, or about $14,000 more than their private sector counterparts.

The growth in public sector wages and compensation is troubling, particularly given the current recession. By taking more and more from those who produce (in the form of higher taxes and increased borrowing) and awarding it (in the form of higher wages and increased benefits) to those in non-productive positions, we are removing the incentive to be productive and slowing our own economic recovery.

– James Quintero