Wisconsin governor goes bonkers

Yep. Collective action by workers is quite “uncivilized”.

Do a bit of googling, you’ll find plenty of recent studies showing that public employee total compensation (when comparing apples to apples) lags behind private, and has for a long time. The most recent I’ve seen was done by (IIRC) the Public Policy Institute, headed up by a prof at U-Maryland.

It is “THE BIG LIE” that the hard-core right-wingers are selling that all our budget problems can be laid at the doorstep of public employees. And that’s beside the fact that they negotiated those benefits anyway, and it takes two to sign those agreements.

All this is about to happen in Michigan too, btw. Our new right-wing governator in sheep’s clothing is about to unveil his budget-balancing plan, and it is almost certain to do so by destroying public sector compensation. I just hope folks get up in arms about it here too.

That’s not what would get the national guard called in. Come on now.

This is the opposite of what I’ve heard - for anything that’s not at the CEO style level. I worked for the city of milwaukee for several years after college (Drafting) and the pay was quite good. But the big deal is that they all get a free pension, and cheap as free health care.

Why do we care what you’ve heard? Or in other words. [Citation needed]

Enh, “do some googling” doesn’t support anything either. I was just vollying in kind. Because really, I don’t much care.

Article on WSJ online about this. A lot comes from USA today and the fact that public employees have an incredible amt of job security and ridiculous pensions. The recession has really shined a light on how silly the health/pensions for public employees is and how strapped states are in paying for them. Who gets a DB pension outside the government?

from WSJ:

The issue came to the fore this past summer when USA TODAY reported its study had found that “at a time when the pay and benefits of non-government workers have stagnated, federal employees’ average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn.”

Larger Pay Increases

The newspaper reported that for nine consecutive years federal workers received larger average pay and benefit increases than their private-sector counterparts. Although public employee unions challenged the USA TODAY numbers, the perception that federal workers are overpaid has become conventional wisdom.

Yes it does, it supports “your personal opinion doesn’t mean shit.” Look it up, figure it out for yourself, and report back. Otherwise you don’t get to have an opinion. But hey, you don’t care, so it doesn’t matter. I see a bright future for you in either the coffee service or custodial industries.


The wrestler is looking good again, huh? I heard one of Ventura’s interviews after he stepped down, and he sounded relatively sane… What did he actually do in office?

Depending on what sort of googling you do, I’m sure you could drum up reports to support either side, so that’s pointless. But thanks for getting right to the pointless personal attacks. I hate to have to wait for that kind of thing.

Does this: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecec.pdf
Give him the right to call BS on your statement?

Yes it does, it supports “your personal opinion doesn’t mean shit.” Look it up, figure it out for yourself, and report back. Otherwise you don’t get to have an opinion. But hey, you don’t care, so it doesn’t matter. I see a bright future for you in either the coffee service or custodial industries.

Here is the relevant data:

State and local government employers spent an average of $26.25 per hour worked for employee
wages and salaries in September 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and
salaries accounted for 65.5 percent of compensation costs while benefits averaged $13.85 per hour
worked and accounted for the remaining 34.5 percent. (See chart 1.) Wages and salaries for
management, professional, and related occupations, which represent approximately half of all state and
local government employment, averaged $33.17 per hour worked.
Employer Costs for Employee Compensation (ECEC), a product of the National Compensation Survey,
measures employer costs for wages, salaries, and employee benefits for nonfarm private and state and
local government workers.

Private industry employer compensation costs averaged $27.88 per hour worked. Private industry
employer wages and salaries averaged $19.68 per hour (70.6 percent of total compensation), while
benefits averaged $8.20 (29.4 percent). Employer costs for paid leave averaged $1.88 per hour worked
(6.7 percent), supplemental pay averaged 78 cents (2.8 percent), insurance benefits averaged $2.24
(8.0 percent), retirement and savings averaged 99 cents (3.6 percent), and legally required benefits
averaged $2.31 (8.3 percent) per hour worked. (See table 5.)

Ender: The problem with that is that it’s lumps all workers together. You need to control for human capital such as education etc.

That said, most studies I’ve seen show that public employees enjoy a compensation advantage with incredible job security. You also have a huge problem where municipal unions capture some towns/states (see various CA cities, NYC etc). There’s going to be some huge problems paying for these massive bills.

In fact, there was a hearing on this issue last week. House Republicans are laying the groundwork to not allow the fed govt to bailout bankrupt states.

RE: high speed rail…I believe the Return on those projects is usually negative. I’d be curious if anyone has done one for the Wisconsin high speed rail. I love Ed Glaeser’s breakdown in the NYT on rail: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/running-the-numbers-on-high-speed-trains/

From the same PDF:

Compensation cost levels in state and local government should not be directly compared with levels in private industry. Differences between these sectors stem from factors such as variation in work activities and occupational structures. Manufacturing and sales, for example, make up a large part of private industry work activities but are rare in state and local government. Management, professional, and administrative support occupations (including teachers) account for two-thirds of the state and local government workforce, compared with two-fifths of private industry.

Of course, what it shows is that within professional/management occupations, government workers get slightly less compensation than their professional industry peers, while those counting for sales, office, service and service-providing get significantly more than their private industry peers, though I would say that sales/office/service means something significantly different for government services than for private services.

I find it an interesting dynamic that what is perceived as a difference in compensation between government employees and the private sector leads to calls for less for the public sector instead of more for the private sector. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have a labour movement.

Oh no, the whole private vs. public sector compensation thing. Here we go again. sigh

There are numerous studies that anyone can drag out to support their assertions. When you factor in length of service and education, studies generally find public sector employees are “under-compensated”. If they don’t, studies find that private employees make less. But most reputable studies find that the difference either way is fairly insignificant (most often less than 10%).

News such as this are also enlightening:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, 48, a Republican who took office in January, withheld $3.1 billion of payments in his first budget to cope with a record $10.7 billion deficit. Since 2004, the state has made only $2.7 billion of the $11.9 billion in scheduled contributions, according to bond-sale documents.
With such prospects, U.S. governors and lawmakers are proposing lower benefits. Colorado, Minnesota and Michigan are in court defending cuts, including a reduction in annual cost- of-living increases imposed on retirees during the last year.

In Connecticut, where benefit payments rose to $2.7 billion this year from $2.1 billion in 2007 as assets lost almost $5 billion in value, outgoing governor Jodi Rell wants to eliminate guaranteed pension payments for future employees. New Jersey’s Christie plans to revoke a 9 percent increase in benefits awarded in 2001.

Advocates for pensioners say such strategies illegally renege on promises to workers. Politicians themselves caused the problem by failing to make required payments, they say.

Because they’re not paying the scheduled amounts, the pension funds become underfunded for future benefits? Durrrrrrr?
Of course, part of it is also that we’re in the middle of a recession, so pension funds have lost a lot of value.

God dammit guys. Stop letting facts get in the way of my view that public employees are fat lazy bums.

Most of the state pension funds also rely on a ROR that entails a high risk premium. When the market goes down, the pension fund liabilities soar.

I know some states are banking on earning 8% + year for their pension funds(I think Calpers still has 7.75% annual growth but hasn’t hit 5% annually in the last decade. That’s a problem).

This is what I was trying to point to. Unfortunately I’m at work at present and don’t have time to do the citation searching I’d have to do. But as noted, if you compare education levels across comparable job descriptions and functions, and subtract out jobs that don’t have any comparable niches between private and public sector, most of the data I’ve seen supports the contention that public sector employees have better than average benefits, but pay for it with lower-than-their-private-peer salaries. And certainly not the whopping “ZOMG they are eating at the public trough” levels that the right-wingers are crying to the heavens.

Are you aware that your own block quote disproves the argument that you’re trying to make via your use of bold text? Or do you really think it’s fair to compare the salaries of only “management, professional, and related” governemnt workers to the average private sector worker across all sectors?

Dumb question - are non-management, non-professional, non-related government workers relevant to this discussion? Serious question. That sounds like temps and contract workers to me, and they wouldn’t be covered by a collective bargaining agreement in most cases.