The Strange Libertarian/Tea Party War on Gov’t Jobs, Higher Wages

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Did you know that less than 4% of federal workers make $150,000 a year?

We have a consumer based society.  The more people who are working, the more they spend.  Contrary to what the more conservative minds might think, spending is what keeps our country humming.  When Americans are not spending, we have a major financial crises.

During the early days of the Great Depression, my father’s family was having a hard time of it.  His parents lost just about everything.  His father had a stroke over the stress, and was never the same. My grandmother Reidhead’s family was not well off, not since her father died during the Depression of 1890.  His death left his wife with 8 children ranging from the age of 10 to 19.

In 1932, the youngest of those children, my uncle, Fay Perkins, was out of work.  His family was suffering, terribly, living with my great-grandmother Perkins.  The day he landed a job as a postal clerk, the entire family celebrated.  There was at least one regular paycheck!

Uncle Fay retired through the post office.  He went on to purchase a very nice house in the suburbs of Minneapolis.  At the time it was maybe $5,000 at the most.  Today it would be at least $250,000.  He and Aunt Alice had a great retirement.  They were patriotic Republicans, who raised two heroic sons, one of whom gave his all for this country.

I think about his story when I hear all of the libertarian-Ron Paul – Tea Party “patriots” start to complain about federal jobs and workers.  Uncle Fay earned his pension.  He was far from a drain on society, the way  public employees are presented.

It’s a libertarian thing.

“...It’s time to put a stop to this. Federal wages should be frozen for a period of years, at least until the private-sector economy has recovered and average workers start seeing some wage gains of their own. At the same time, gold-plated federal benefit packages should be scaled back as unaffordable given today’s massive budget deficits. There are many qualitative benefits of government work—such as extremely high job security—so taxpayers should not have to pay for such lavish government pay packages….”

From what I gather, the FOX news mime is that people just don’t need to be making a large salary unless they are a CEO.  The Pink Flamingo would make a snark about it, but this seems to be a very unattractive trend for the libertarian types.  One gets the opinion they are against anyone making a decent amount of money except for their billionaire handlers.

There is one very uncomfortable and diabolical fact that must be faced.  Some jobs, some careers, some enterprises are best done by government, be it local, state, or federal.  While there are libertarian types who are trying to spin things their way, to eliminate anything of the sort, it just doesn’t work too well.

The current assault on unions is equally unattractive.  The Pink Flamingo does not like unions, but they are a necessary evil.   There are times when companies do not pay their employees a living wage.  If, years ago, when I was working in a department store, I knew then what I knew now, I would be the first person demanding union wages.

Johnathan Turley

Tom Coburn had commissioned a study about government salaries.  Something like 77,000 government workers across the country make more than some governors of some states. The blond bimbo FOX anchor and one of the FOX business losertarian anchors thought that was terrible.

Evidently it is okay for doctors to make more money, but not air traffic controllers.

Umm…..

Rand Paul made this pontificating statement that Federal workers are paid more than those in the private sector  What he DID NOT factor into his libertarian pontificating was the fact that the Feds hire more “professional” workers, compared to “blue collar” workers who do not make as much money.

“…The first is that there’s an imbalance in the types of jobs that make up the federal workforce compared to the private-sector workforce. The federal workforce is disproportionately composed of employees with higher educational attainment. Think of all the low-wage burger-flippers, gas station attendants and domestic workers in the private-sector economy. The federal government has some of these types of employees but proportionately far fewer — especially after nearly two decades of aggressive contracting-out of duties that need not be handled by salaried federal employees. This has further expanded the federal government’s disproportionately large numbers of lawyers, scientists and other highly skilled professionals.

If the federal sector today is hiring a lot of people with specialized expertise and the private sector is hiring a lot of people with skills that don’t require a college, or even a high school, degree, then it’s no surprise that the average salary levels in each sector are going to be at odds….”

Pay Scale

If you are honest about any of this, you will admit that the higher paid federal workers are lawyers.  You could make an entire post up on a commentary there, but it would turn into a lawyer joke.

“…So it’s cut and dry, right? No … you know what they say about statistics and lies. What the stats here are hiding is the sorts of jobs there are. Very few federal workers are lower-level employees; administrative assistants may work for the government, but the cafeteria and cleaning services and other low-wage jobs are contracted with private companies. Most government employees are lawyers, engineers, finance experts, scientists and managers — the sort of people who would be paid far more than $100,000 a year in the private sector.

What’s more, the cities in which government employees typically live — take Washington, D.C. and New York as examples — give even higher salaries for private sector folks. If you’ve had friends in law firms there, as I have, you know that starting salaries at most firms are in the mid-$100s ($160,000 in Washington, D.C.) compared to the 2009 average federal government pay for attorneys of $127,500….”

Well….  You do realize that even these people are paid by the feds, etc. they are paying federal, state, and local income taxes.

The 2010 U.S. Census reported 308,745,538 residents.

I love the way the far right always jumps on these things and never bothers looking at the facts.  Then again fact and accuracy don’t matter much, just “truth”.  Do you want to fly if an air traffic controller is not accredited and professional?  Haven’t we been going through this lately?

“…Air traffic controllers earn relatively high pay and have good benefits. Median annual wages of air traffic controllers in May 2008 were $111,870. The middle 50 percent earned between $71,050 and $143,780. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $45,020, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $161,010. The average annual salary, excluding overtime earnings, for air traffic controllers in the Federal Government—which employs 90 percent of all controllers—was $109,218 in March 2009.

The Air Traffic Control pay system classifies each air traffic facility into one of eight levels with corresponding pay bands. Under this pay system, controllers’ salaries are determined by the rating of the facility. Higher ratings usually mean higher controller salaries and greater demands on the controller’s judgment, skill, and decision-making ability.

Depending on length of service, air traffic controllers receive 13 to 26 days of paid vacation and 13 days of paid sick leave each year, in addition to life insurance and health benefits. Controllers also can retire at an earlier age and with fewer years of service than other Federal employees. Air traffic controllers are eligible to retire at age 50 with 20 years of service as an active air traffic controller or after 25 years of active service at any age. There is a mandatory retirement age of 56 for controllers who manage air traffic. However, Federal law provides for exemptions to the mandatory age of 56, up to age 61 in certain cases, but controllers must have exceptional skills and experience. Earnings and benefits for controllers working in contract towers or flight service stations may vary. Many air traffic controllers hold union membership, primarily with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association….”

Coburn was asking honest questions.  The way the right is acting is pathetic.

Moonie Times

If a person has a certain education level and a certain profession, even if they are in government service, should they not be paid according to their worth? Do we want only the dregs working for the feds, like the dregs who work for the TSA? They are poorly paid. I don’t know about you, but I want a well paid professional in that air traffic control tower. They save more lives per day than all the doctors in the country combined. Should they not be paid accordingly?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States
Wiki Demographics US

USA TODAY 2004 table

USA Today

“...USA TODAY used Bureau of Labor Statistics data to compare salaries in every federal job that had a private-sector equivalent. For example, the federal government’s 57,000 registered nurses — working for the Veterans Administration and elsewhere — were paid an average of $74,460 a year, $10,680 more than the average for private-sector nurses.

The BLS reports that 216 occupations covering 1.1 million federal workers exist in both the federal government and the private sector. An additional 124 federal occupations covering 750,000 employees — air-traffic controllers, tax collectors and others — did not have direct equivalents, according to the BLS.

Federal jobs have more limited salary ranges than private-sector jobs, some of which have million-dollar payouts.

Key findings:

• Federal. The federal pay premium cut across all job categories — white-collar, blue-collar, management, professional, technical and low-skill. In all, 180 jobs paid better average salaries in the federal government; 36 paid better in the private sector.

•Private. The private sector paid more on average in a select group of high-skill occupations, including lawyers, veterinarians and airline pilots. The government’s 5,200 computer research scientists made an average of $95,190, about $10,000 less than the average in the corporate world.

•State and local. State government employees had an average salary of $47,231 in 2008, about 5% less than comparable jobs in the private sector. City and county workers earned an average of $43,589, about 2% more than private workers in similar jobs. State and local workers have higher total compensation than private workers when the value of benefits is included….”

SSA Fact Sheet
AFL-CIO Executive Pay Watch

There is a reason people want government jobs.  The Pink Flamingo understands, completely, the bottom line for a private business.  Conservatives are not to question what business CEOs make.  It is not conservative.  Maybe we should.

“...Ten of the top 20 financial bailout firms have revealed the details of stock options pocketed in early 2009. Based on rising stock prices, the top five executives at each of these banks have enjoyed a combined increase in the value of their stock options of nearly $90 million, according to the report, the 16th in a series of annual “Executive Excess” reports.

“America’s executive pay bubble remains un-popped,” says Sarah Anderson, lead author on the Institute study. “And these outrageous rewards give executives an incentive to behave outrageously, putting the rest of us at risk.”

Key Findings
The Bounty for Bailout Barons: From 2006 through 2008, the top five executives at the 20 banks that have accepted the most federal bailout dollars since the meltdown averaged $32 million each in personal compensation. One hundred average U.S. workers would have to labor over 1,000 years to make as much as these 100 executives made in three.

Layoff Leaders: Since January 1, 2008, the top 20 financial industry recipients of bailout aid have together laid off more than 160,000 employees. In 2008, the 20 CEOs at these firms each averaged $13.8 million, for a collective total of over a quarter-billion dollars in compensation.

Wall Street Pay Dwarfs Regulator Pay: These 20 CEOs averaged 85 times more pay than the regulators who direct the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. These two agencies, many analysts agree, have largely lacked the experienced and committed staff they need to protect average Americans from financial industry recklessness.

“The lure of lucrative private sector jobs doesn’t just siphon off talent from public service,” says Sam Pizzigati, an IPS Associate Fellow and report co-author. “It also breeds corrosive and ever-present conflicts of interest: Why ‘get tough,’ as a regulator, on a firm that could be your future employer?”…”

The Pink Flamingo has no use for libertarian and tea party lies and mis-representations.  This is what is happening when government salaries are mentioned.  This is one of the most disgusting ones I’ve seen.  Evidently idiot libertarians don’t comprehend that the people they were damning for such high salaries were the public defenders and DAs who are the ones who go after criminals.  (I’m sorry, but libertarians like this are dangerous).

Fact Real

Who the hell does this libertarian, tea party loser thinks goes after the criminal element?  It is obvious that libertarian and tea party types are so ignorant, they don’t even comprehend what these people can make in the public sector.  They also don’t have the brains to comprehend the private sector does not go after criminal activitity.

The far right adores Wal-Mart.  Have you ever known anyone who worked for them, or who was trying to survive as a full time employee.  It is not pretty.

“…Forbes magazine, polling business executives (not employees) has ranked Wal-Mart among the best 100 corporations to work for. Yet the employees on average take home pay of under $250 a week. The salary for full-time employees (called “associates”) is $6 to $7.50 an hour for 28-40 hours a week, which is typical in the discount retail industry. This pay scale places employees with families below the poverty line, with the majority of employees’ children qualifying for free lunch at school. When closely examined, this amounts to a form of corporate welfare, as the taxpayer subsidizes the low salaries. One-third are part-time employees – limited to less than 28 hours of work per week – and are not eligible for benefits….Full-time employees are eligible for benefits, but the health insurance package is so expensive (employees pay 35 percent – almost double the national average) that less than half opt to buy it. Another benefit for employees is the option to buy company stock at a discount. Wal-Mart matches 15 percent of the first $1800 in stocks purchased. Yet most workers can’t afford to buy the stock. In fact, not one in 50 workers has amassed as much as $50,000 through the stock-ownership pension plan. Voting power for these stocks remains with Wal-Mart management….”

 

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