Saturday, May 1, 2010

Caveat Lectores on Public Sector Wages

Public employees are regularly assailed, castigated, ridiculed and harassed because of the perception they are not worthy economic actors, make too much money and their benefits are too generous. Right? Well, maybe not.

The following website is a summary of recent findings to the contrary. Maybe we should quit hiding from a reality that is perceived but not quite factual.

A recent study commissioned by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence and the National Institute on Retirement Security provided an analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that:

• Jobs in the public sector typically require more education than private sector positions. Thus, state and local employees are twice as likely to hold a college degree or higher as compared to private sector employees. Only 23% of private sector employees have completed college as compared to about 48% in the public sector.
• Wages and salaries of state and local employees are lower than those for private sector employees with comparable earnings determinants such as education and work experience. State workers typically earn 11% less and local workers 12% less.
• During the last 15 years, the pay gap has grown - earnings for state and local workers have generally declined relative to comparable private sector employees.
• The pattern of declining relative earnings remains true in most of the large states examined in the study, although there does exist some state level variation.
• Benefits make up a slightly larger share of compensation for the state and local sector. But even after accounting for the value of retirement, healthcare, and other benefits, state and local employees earn less than their private sector counterparts. On average, total compensation is 6.8% lower for state employees and 7.4% lower for local employees than for comparable private sector employees.

The Lector is not foolish enough to believe that the common perceptions of the ignorant masses will be effectively changed by this study, but maybe, just maybe some of the lies will begin to be recognized for what they are.

The anti government right wing politicians are what they are. Ignorant fools? No. They are neither ignorant nor fools. Well, they may be arrogant fools. They cry crocodile tears for less government, but they do not describe what that means. They want less of those things they do not appreciate which usually means less social programs, fewer services their supporters do not want and more privatizing so their friends can profit. They want less regulation so their corporate supporters can plunder at will. They want fewer taxes so their constituency can buy luxury freely. They want to starve government into oblivion because government serves all the people if run effectively. There is no room in the political platform for serving all the people, just those who have paid the price of admission.

The Tea Baggers are merely dupes who have fallen prey to the mantra. Tea Baggers are disenfranchised rePuPlicans who cannot get satisfaction unless they see others suffer as much as they think they suffer. Tea bagger leadership, if there is any, adopts and invents issues that inflame the sense of dignity of those with neither dignity nor pride. The right wing media has become adept at stirring the fears of a certain segment of the right wing population that is consumed by more fears and phobias that even I can imagine. Just because I am paranoid does not mean they are not out to get me.

Public employees are just one of the targets, and a frighteningly large segment of public employees support a movement determined to put them out of work and deny them basic government services. BOHICA.

And Oh yes, have a nice Day?


1 comment:

Chuck Olson said...

I really enjoy your blog! Keep up the good work.
Chuck O
VP IAFF Local 368