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« New York Times: Bush’s $700 billion TARP bet cost no more than $50 billion | Main | Philadelphia Airport: Why the crappy International Arrivals Hall? »

October 04, 2010



"Federal unions should be given 401k plans instead of pensions."

Ok, he never said that. But boy, he should have.

George DeMarse

FDR was wrong.

Public sector pay and pensions are not "double" the private sector levels--they run a scale from low to high pay for skills and responsibility levels determined by compensation specialists, not politicians--which is the way it should be. Most public sector positions today are professional positions such as law, medicine, accountancy, etc. They rate a high level of compensation; as they do in the for-profit sector. There is no pay reason the public sector positions should be "lower" than the for-profit sector, except for a political reason. In fact, some should be higher.

For your information, federal retirement plans "are 401K" style plans now, so keep up.

When we look to the history of unionization, giving employees the right to organize and bargain collectively, the right to strike was part and parcel of that right. As it should be. The right to strike is a countervailing power that is needed in society as a counter to corporate greed and legal power, as we should have against unscrupulous politicians and Wall Street. More money to the masses through unionization is better spent than for the 1%.

Don't want to negotiate higher pay or better benefits for the public sector? Then get better management negotiators. Make your case. That's what bargaining is all about.

The military members can be kept separate. They already are. Separate statutes apply to military members.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management (Ret.)


"Compensation specialists"?! Heh. Funny term for cronies who argue that government workers are entitled to higher pay and outrageously higher pensions.

Unionization doesn't help the "masses" when it kills the golden goose.

I'd like to see these professionals in government get jobs in the private sector. They would be in for a rude surprise whether they are professionals or not. The near zero turnover rate of government employees says it all. When you're sucking on the big teat of the taxpayer, you never get off.

Federal workers were found to have earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available.

These salary figures do not include the value of health, pension and other benefits, which averaged $40,785 per federal employee in 2008 vs. $9,882 per private worker, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Federal pay ahead of private industry


"For most Americans, the Great Recession has been an occasion to hold on for dear life. For public employees, it's been an occasion to let the good times roll.

"The percentage of federal civil servants making more than $100,000 a year jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent during the first year and a half of the recession, according to USA Today. At the beginning of the downturn, the Transportation Department had one person making $170,000 or more a year; now it has 1,690 making that.

"The New York Times reports that state and local governments have added a net 110,000 jobs since the beginning of the recession, while the private sector has lost 6.9 million. The gap between total compensation of public and private workers has only widened during the downturn, according to USA Today. In 2008, benefits for public employees grew at a rate three times that of private employees."

For Government, Let the Good Times Roll

Frank Warner

It's time for the private parity tax, taxing public workers until they are paid, on average, at least 1 percent less than private sector workers.


That would be a difficult goal. My plan, if elected, would start with an across-the-board cut. Then, I would require all salaries above $75,000 to undergo extra scrutiny including being published publicly such that the taxpayers can see what "their employees" are being paid.

I would do the same with pensions. All pensions above $50,000 per year must be published publicly such that they can be scrutinized by any and all taxpayers.

Out of line salaries and pensions will quickly get the attention they need once the taxpayers can see them.

George DeMarse

You people can believe anything you want about public employment, but it does not make it so. Pay is based on the duties and responsibilities of the job, not political rhetoric.
Your comment about public employees would have a hard time getting "private sector employment" malarkey.
Public and private sector employees share a "revolving door" and jump from one sector to another all the time. Try going outdoors for a change. There is nothing special about private sector employees.

Sianara Joe.


Joe (or George or whatever your name is):
Don't let the facts get in your way. Turnover in the public sector is far less than the private sector. The private sector can't keep employees as well as the public sector with its cornucopia of pay and benefits. See:
Bureau of Labor Statistics Quits levels and rates by industry and region, seasonally adjusted

Pay based on "duties and responsibilities"? Heh, you make me laugh. Public sector unions have nothing to do with pay, do they?

You say, "There is nothing special about private sector employees." Well, except they work harder and get paid less than their public sector counterparts.

Let me guess. You work in the public sector, right? When was the last time you worked in the private sector? Why haven't you used that "revolving door" that they use "all the time"?

George DeMarse

I see you got all worked up stammering all over yourself by quoting quit levels by industry from a "government publication" (that's a rich one).
You are finally catching on. Ten years ago it was all about comparable "low" salaries for experienced government employees vis a vis similar private sector jobs in areas like Washington and New York. Private sector employees said "that's ok, I've got mine."

Today government salaries look half way decent to these same people compared to current lousy private sector jobs and their loss of benefits.
Looks like sour grapes to me!
Get a job as a "unionized" NFL official at 173K, that's decent compensation in either sector.


George DeMarse, you have no argument. When government salaries and benefits are 50% greater than those of the private sector, we have government leeches with an entitlement attitude sucking the blood of hard working Americans. The government should work for the people; not enjoy a disproportionate share of the fruits of their labor. Abraham Lincoln agreed when he said, "And, inasmuch [as] most good things are produced by labour, it follows that [all] such things of right belong to those whose labour has produced them. But it has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have laboured, and others have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To [secure] to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government."

It is time to put an end to the entitlement attitudes. Government salaries need to be in line with private sector salaries.

George DeMarse, you are a parasite. You are the one saying, "I've got mine." Up yours. Your time will come. The pendulum is swinging the other way.

George DeMarse

What 50% malarky are you talking about? What studies are you citing, Rush Limbaugh?

The pay in the federal public sector is actually too low compared to the private sector--as federal employees have more degrees and average work experience than private sector dorks. You are comparing apples and oranges---

Ta Ta!

George DeMarse
An American

Frank Warner

Pay and benefits to federal workers aren't 50 percent higher than the private sector's. They're 100 percent higher.

Yes, part but not all of that is linked to college degrees. But most of those college degrees aren't necessary to what government workers do.

Real-world experience, and a financial link to the real-world economy, would better teach them the math and economics they need to come up with policies that balance budgets and create national wealth.

Government workers should be paid, on average, at least 1 percent less in wages and benefits than workers in the private sector.

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