I know that this post is politically incorrect, perhaps even naïve. The general public is often blind to the world of giant corporations and the "play" money which are the earnings of thousands of corporate middle and upper management executives. But, I've always enjoyed tilting at windmills. Until and unless we, as a general public, decide that paying more nearly competitive salaries to top government officials will yield better run government, we will continue to get the government we are willing to pay for.
I will link to two articles which underscore why it is so difficult for the federal government to attract the best and the brightest to the highest levels of government service.
The first refers to how much money Lawrence Summers made after he was turned down for the position of Federal Reserve Chair in favor of Janet Yellen.
The second article delineates the salary current FED Chair Yellen earns, and that many of the subordinates on her staff earn higher salaries than does she.
And, for the record, I get just as much flak from my left-wing friends about my position on government salaries as I do from my right-wing critics. My position on this issue has little support from anyone. I get that, when compared to the earnings of average Americans, the salaries paid with our tax dollars seem outrageously high. However, I find it most difficult to understand why most people seek the best service repair people, the best doctors, the best accountants, the best attorneys, with little regard for the costs of the services they provide, while concurrently expecting superior service from government without being willing to pay salaries which are even close to those in comparable private sector professions.
Yes, there is a "power" component. Being a government official often places one in a position of great power. And, often, working for a while in a high government position, gives people the opportunity to get a great job after finishing their government service. But most of our best and our brightest choose to make their money in relative anonymity in the private sector, rather than expose themselves to criticism -- even derision -- from the general public by being a government official and earning so much less than they can earn in the private sector. And just for those who like to emphasize the great retirement benefits available to government employees, the difference between Yelln's $200,000 salary and the nearly $28,000,000 Summers earned from just one part of his remuneration, can buy a TON of financial security for one's retirement.