What we've long suspected turns out to be true: Government workers really do live better than workers in the private sector.

The Washington Free Beacon reports on this just-released study from the Cato Institute:

Federal workers’ pay and benefits were 78 percent higher than private employees, who earned an average of $52,688 less than public sector workers last year.

The study found that federal government workers earned an average of $84,153 in 2014, compared to the private sector’s average of $56,350. Cato based its findings on figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

But when adding in benefits pay for federal workers, the difference becomes more dramatic. Federal employees made $119,934 in total compensation last year, while private sector workers earned $67,246, a difference of over $52,000, or 78 percent.

Mmm, don't you want to run out and get a job for the federal government?

There's more:

“Since the 1990s, federal workers have enjoyed faster compensation growth than private-sector workers,” according to the study, written by Chris Edwards, the director of tax policy studies at Cato. “In 2014 federal workers earned 78 percent more, on average, than private-sector workers. Federal workers earned 43 percent more, on average, than state and local government workers.

“The federal government has become an elite island of secure and high-paid employment, separated from the ocean of average Americans competing in the economy,” the Edwards wrote.

Bottom line: Even lowly local-government workers make out a lot better than the poor Joes and Janes who slog to work for private-sector employers. So if you can't quite make it to the "elite island" where the federal workers sway to the hula in their taxpayer-supported paradise, you can still live the good life on a slightly smaller and less elite island.

Mmm, don't you want to run out and get a job for any government?

The Cato study doesn't even get into the fabulous fringe benefits, flexible work hours, and generous vacations that federal employees enjoy. And oops! I almost forgot to mention the retirement plan! And the "transit subsidy." Don't you wish your employer helped cover your commuting expenses?

The federal-benefits page I've linked above quotes Michael Jimenez, a federal field economist working out of Chicago:

Our salaries are very competitive with the private sector. I also like the employee benefits.

No kidding!

The purpose of the Cato study is to persuade voters to do something about the plush lives of government employees. Good luck with that one.