Rep. West Hopes Obama’s References to ‘Investment’ Are Not ‘A Synonym’ For ‘Government Spending'

By Nicholas Ballasy | January 27, 2011 | 8:12 AM EST

( - When reacting to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Capitol Hill, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) told that he hopes the President’s references to “investment” during the speech were not “a synonym” for “government spending.” asked West on Wednesday night at the Capitol about data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for 2009 showing that federal worker compensation including benefits averaged $123,049 which was more than double the private sector average (with benefits) of $61,051.

“That’s one of the key things we have to do is not just about freezing these salaries, it’s about the automatic pay raises,” West told

“We have to look at – when you talk about the efficiencies of government reform, you’ve got a public sector that’s outpacing the private sector in compensation and growth period and when I hear the President start talking about investment, I hope that is not a synonym for government spending because if that is the case then we’re not for it.”

When asked if federal employees’ salaries should be cut, West said that “realigning” public and private sector compensation is one of the things Congress needs to consider.

Former Lt. Col. Allen West, (AP photo)

“You’ve got a two-to-one compensation advantage of the public sector over the private sector. We’ve got to close that gap because as long as you’re growing government - as long as you’re paying more on the public sector side, the private sector’s not going to be able to grow and what we have to do is set the conditions for the private sector to grow,” he said.