Sunday, June 28, 2009

Public Employees Must Suffer To Appease the Ruling Class

A recent Tampa Tribune editorial explains what I have been telling my clients, friends and anyone who would listen for years. Twenty years of devolving the middle class into oblivion from the private sector viewpoint would not appease the wealthy ruling class. Such a travesty must now include public sector employees, as well.

When I first began public employment 35 years ago, public sector employees were distinctly underpaid by private sector standards. Over time, the disparity decreased but only because those who controlled wages in the private sector, were able to largely neuter the unions who protected the rights of employees in private industry. No matter what means were used, it happened.

“Private industry only pays 75 percent of the average pay given to employees of state and local government, according to research by the U.S. Department of Labor. The biggest disconnect is on benefits for retirement and savings. Government pays on average $3.14 an hour while private industry pays only 96 cents.

Pensions have become rare in the private sector, and many companies have temporarily eliminated their matching contributions to employees' 401(K) plans. According to a recent survey, companies do plan to resume contributions to help workers save for retirement, but the new trend will be to link the matching contributions to the level of company profits.”

Notice words above that should incite some thought. “Private industry only pays 75 percent of the average pay given to employees of state and local government…” In the sixteen years I worked in government, my wages were earned and nothing was given to me or my colleagues.

“Pensions have become rare in the private sector…” As a private sector employee, I have no pension and am very likely to become, along with my colleagues, a ward of the state because I cannot put enough money in my 401(K) plan to live on when I get too old to work. Well funded pensions are surely preferable to having senior citizens holding out their hands seeking “alms for the poor.”

The wealthy ruling class screwed themselves when they decided it would be a good idea to make sure future generations were denied any portion of the wealth they helped to create. Now they want to make it worse on everyone by taking any semblance of wealth from public employees.

But then, that is just my opinion and… Oh yes, have a nice day! wjc

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