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U.N. spendthrifts: Salary creep

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Since U.S. taxpayers pick up 22 percent of the United Nations' regular budget, they deserve an explanation as to why salaries for its so-called “professional” staff far exceed the pay standard for equivalent U.S. civil servants, on which those lofty U.N. salaries supposedly are based.

In fact, those upper-echelon U.N. salaries have risen “sharply” in recent years while compensation for corresponding U.S. positions has been frozen, writes U.N. watchdog Brett D. Schaefer for The Heritage Foundation. And generous U.N. salaries make up about 70 percent of the world body's regular budget.

Based on the latest report from the U.N. International Civil Service Commission, the pay for most U.N. professionals in New York is $138,368 on average, net, Mr. Schaefer says. The U.S. equivalent is $104,904.

Overall, net compensation is up to 43.2 percent higher for some U.N. professional staffers than for comparable U.S. federal workers in Washington, Schaefer reports.

“(W)e simply cannot justify historically high and soaring U.N. compensation levels that are now significantly out of step with the average U.S. civil servants' salary,” says Joseph Torsella, U.S. representative to the U.N. on management and reform.

So, why do we keep paying this? Because lavish compensation is simply business as usual at the United Nations. That won't change unless the United States cuts off funding to the spendthrifts at Turtle Bay.

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