Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Sweetheart Government Jobs

Isn’t it astounding how little most people learn from history? Or, perhaps, it is not so surprising considering the political correctness and downright slander found in many historical treatments used in our underperforming schools. Someone said that those who ignore history are bound to repeat it, much to their chagrin. For example, what can we learn from the Chinese?

In medieval times the Chinese empire dominated the Eastern world and led the whole world in culture and innovation. By 1300 the Chinese had invented gunpowder, canal locks, movable type, the compass and rockets, among many other notable achievements. Then it stopped. While the Ming dynasty astonished outsiders with their wealth, knowledge and power through the fourteenth century, eventually Chinese technology and innovation withered and the empire waned. What happened to this great culture? What does history tell us? I’ll return to those questions later, after talking a bit about a modern parallel.

According to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical federal worker is paid 20% more than a private-sector worker in the same occupation.
For example, broadcast technicians earn on average $90,000 working for the Federal government vs. only $49,000 in private industry. Some other comparisons (federal/private): graphic designer ($70,800/$46,600), landscape architect ($80,800/$58,400), public relations manager ($132,000/$88,000) and clergy ($70,500/$39,200). Overall federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector while the average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046.

Furthermore 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. Adding it up you get a grand total of $111,476 per year for government work vs. $69,928 for the same work in the private sector. The difference is $41,548 or 59% in favor of government work!

Mama, you must send your clile to work for the gubment. Those who labor in the private sector have become an underclass.

So what does this analysis have to do with the downfall of the Chinese empire? There are several reasons why technology, innovation and progress waned in China. One was Confusion ideology wherein the universe simply is and always was and there is no reason to suppose that it functions according to rational laws. Thus the scientific revolution that awoke the West did not seem possible to Chinese minds. Another reason is the massiveness of the Chinese bureaucracy and its sweetheart government jobs. Eventually the “best and the brightest” in Chinese society entered government service where the pay and benefits far surpassed the “private” sector. History provides a valuable lesson.

And while we labor to reverse the profligacy and malfeasance in Washington, we must not overlook the problems here in California. As the State government goes bankrupt, and brings down the local entities by their egregious spending, it is past time to demand changes. Surely the size of government needs to be reduced by insisting that government does what it must do and no more. At the same time efficiency can be dramatically improved by balancing incomes.

In the 3/29 Daily Breeze, the editorial summarized the “political pay gap,” meaning the discrepancy between state government workers and those who labor in the private economy. The magnitude of the problem created by this overspending is understood through a simple fact. States and local governments would save $339 billion a year if they paid their workers the same as private workers. That is enough to more than cover the estimated 2010-2011 deficits of every state in the nation.

In California, about half of government expenditures go to support government employees and the State alone has a $20+ billion yearly deficit. The government employee unions control the Democrat party and are rewarded with sweetheart deals in contract negotiations. Somehow we need to find a way to break the cycle of public union - elected official back scratching.

A good first step will be to elect Meg Whitman as governor (and John Eastman as attorney general). Then we need to replace as many of the Sacramento Democrats as possible and put the fear of the people into the rest of them.

At the local level it is time to demand that city officials, school boards, library trustees and other government entities look at their employees’ total compensation and make appropriate adjustments. It is no longer valid to benchmark government employees’ compensation against other government employees, ie city vs. city, school district vs. school district, library vs. library. The only legitimate comparison is with the private sector, and the ensuing action should lead to fiscal solvency. To do otherwise is an abrogation of our citizen-patriot duties.


Blogger M. Rigmaiden said...

Glad to see you are still blogging every now and again Bill.

3:16 AM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

Dear Mahndisa,
Thanks for the comment. It is good to hear from you.

Since meeting my darling Linda, life has been filled with happiness ... and my escape to blogging is infrequent. Three weeks ago we were married. My next post gives some of the details.
Best wishes,

3:42 PM  
Blogger 許百美 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

3:38 AM  

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