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In the divide-and-conquer assault on public employees which the powers-that-be have unleashed in their latest round of class warfare, we've been told repeatedly that government-paid workers make more than private-sector workers. The typical approach is to point to a bus driver or a professor or a garbage collector who made some seemingly outrageous sum. As states struggle with revenue shortfalls and the unemployment situation remains grim, there is more and more talk about "fixing" this situation. Typically, that includes going after the unions. It is, after all, they who are at fault for the supposedly unfair windfall their government-paid members have gained while workers in the private sector have suffered from economic downturn.

Just one problem with this theme. It's based on what Jeffrey H. Keefe at the Economic Policy Institute has labeled the myth of the overcompensated public employee.

On average, state and local employees earn $6,061 per year less than their private-sector counterparts. Add in health and insurance benefits and the average public worker earns $2,001 less per year than her peer in the private sector.

Here it is in chart form.


Click here for larger version.

[P]ublic employees, both state and local government, are not overpaid. Comparisons controlling for education, experience, hours of work, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity and disability, reveal no significant overpayment but a slight undercompensation of public employees when compared to private employee compensation costs on a per hour basis. On average, full-time state and local employees are undercompensated by 3.7%, in com- parison to otherwise similar private-sector workers. The public employee compensation penalty is smaller for local government employees (1.8%) than state government workers (7.6%). ...

A full-time worker on average employed by state and local government received an 11% lower annual earnings compared to the private-sector employees. However, when compared to total compensation, the public employment penalty declines to 2%. High school graduates with some college approached wage earnings equivalency between private and public sector. High school graduates earn $36,640 on average working for state and local government compared to $38,269 for workers employed by private employers, a public-employment wage penalty of 4%. However, when we examine total compensation, high school graduates received total compensation of $53,880 on average working for state and local government compared to $50,596 for workers employed by private employers, a public employment compensation premium of 6%.  

The compensation advantage reverses when we compare the college-educated labor force, with the private sector paying substantially higher wages. State and local workers with some college earn 32% lower wages and receive total compensation of 25% less than private-sector workers. The private-sector compensation premium jumps to 37% for a professional degree, 31% for a master’s degree, and 21% for a doctorate.

\

So, next time you hear that a mayor or governor or president has decided to freeze public workers' pay or cut back their benefits package, think twice before letting the words "it's about damn time" escape your lips. What's really going on, after years of mangling public budgets and busting unions throughout the private sector, is that right-wing narrative-setters have found yet another means of turning worker against worker, basing the attack on yet another lie. We all know who benefits from that. There's a word defining our push back against the lie: Solidarity.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:20 AM PST.

Also republished by I follow and I Quote Meteor Blades in my Diary Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  OTOH, women and people of color (18+ / 0-)

    see a smaller wage gap vis a vis white men in the public sector than in private.

    So public employees must still be Satan.

    It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

    by sayitaintso on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:23:34 AM PST

  •  Thank you (30+ / 0-)

    for busting yet another myth.

    We need to pay close attention to who benefits from our infighting and come together against the new landed gentry.

    •  ... 'cause otherwise people might see the TRUTH! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martyc35, Matt Z, DRo

      And we can't have that happening, now, can we?  The Repugs have always been such good "scape" artists, but WTF is up with the Dems now joining them in their persecution of the innocent.  Goodbye American Middle Class.

      [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

      by Vtdblue on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:33:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where are retirement savings in there? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betson08, Dr Linda Shelton

    Is that accounted for?  Because the public sector worker may get a pension while the private sector worked has to 401K out of those earnings.

    Unlike Elvis Costello, I used to be amused and now I'm disgusted.

    by nightsweat on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:25:26 AM PST

  •  I am shocked - (21+ / 0-)

    shocked I tell you - to discover that this is all based on a Republican lie.

    Who could have imagined that happening?

    God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon Oct. 9, 1940 - Dec. 8 1980

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:25:28 AM PST

  •  Yes! (28+ / 0-)
    Thanks for this. I'm so tired of all the bullshit about union employees being overpaid.

    And now Bloomberg and the right wing are trying to use the NYC snow response to dismantle the unions. It's truly disgusting.

    Guaranteed that this study won't be covered by the mainstream media, though.

    Interested in identifying and eating wild plants? Check out my foraging diaries.

    by wide eyed lib on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:25:33 AM PST

  •  Does that include (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Linda Shelton
    health benefits, vacations, leave of absences, pensions, parental leave, and ability to transfer easily to anywhere in the country?

    "I've taken up sculpting recently. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:26:30 AM PST

      •  ya, you can transfer, but it ain't easy NT (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        betson08
      •  I was nearly forced to retire in a county I could (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe

        not afford to live in because my Medicare supplemental health insurance was not transferable outside of the county I had worked in. Luckily, my former employer switched to a health coverage plan that allowed me to move to a less expensive location. I could not move out of the state, however, as that was not part of the plan, and I could not switch to Kaiser, because they had no facilities where I was moving to. Life gets complicated.

        "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

        by martyc35 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:55:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Muny & State Workers Have No Such Ability (15+ / 0-)

      As a state worker it wasn't possible for me to transfer easily anywhere in state either.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:36:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Includes most things. (11+ / 0-)

      Not sure about transfers. But if you'll follow the link, you'll see:

      Public employers contribute on average 34.1% of employee compensation expenses to benefits, whereas private employers devote between 26.1% and 33.1% of compensation to benefits, depending on the employer’s size. Public employers provide better health insurance and pension benefits. Health insurance accounts for 6.3% to 8.3% of private-sector compensation but 11.2% of state and local government employee compensation. Retirement benefits also account for a substantially greater share of public employee compensation, 8.1% compared with 2.8% to 4.8% in the private sector. Most public employees also continue to participate in defined benefit
      plans managed by the state, while most private sector employers have switched to defined-contribution plans, particularly 401(k) plans. On the other hand, public employees receive considerably less supplemental pay and vacation time, and public employers contribute significantly less to legally mandated benefits.

      •  Yes, but don't forget that about 60% of public (7+ / 0-)

        employment, as with private, is accounted for by temp and part-time employees who have no access to benefits or unemployment insurance benefits in most cases. This is a third world economy, folks, and it's now going to get worse, because the few who have job security are going to lose it if the Repubs have their way. Divide and conquer works.

        "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

        by martyc35 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:53:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True also for more and more PRIVATE employment (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          martyc35, trumpeter, tardis10

          these days, too: They've used the recession as an opportunity to make much larger portions of their payroll for temp and contract employees not eligible for benefits, and even after the recession is (cough!) "over," this trend will continue.

          The war toward dissolution of the middle class has many fronts, but they all include irreparable losses.  The capitalist social contract is dissolving, and as a social scientist (and a public union employee) I am fascinated and horrified to see how far they can go before -- if ever -- the working folks stand up for themselves.

          A certain famous sociologist foresaw much of this coming, even if one quibbles with his predicted timing and some of the specific dynamics and classical economic assumptions.

          [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

          by Vtdblue on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:48:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  are you asking for info extina? (6+ / 0-)

      Or are you challenging the information because you figure you already know the truth?

      Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

      by BMarshall on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:53:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  do you know the answer? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo

        i'm looking for an apples to apples comparison and information that is omitted from the story

        also not mentioned is the benefit of job security

        "I've taken up sculpting recently. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 03:21:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  an apples to apples comparison was given. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10

          Did you click on the link and read the entire research paper?........ I thought not. So you don't feel secure and you don't want anyone else to feel secure either? Write a diary of your own. I would be very much interested in your story. I am interested to know why someone wants to bring everyone else down to their own level of insecurity.

          Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

          by BMarshall on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:02:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Is this broken down by particular fields? (5+ / 0-)

    For instance, are there similar discrepancies between say bus drivers and attorneys or accountants.  

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:26:41 AM PST

    •  The study discusses this on page 3 (7+ / 0-)

      Ideally, we would compare workers performing similar
      work in the public sector with the private sector, but this
      is not always possible. There are too many critical occupations
      in the public sector, for example, police, fire, and
      corrections, without appropriate private-sector analogs.
      Even private and public teaching is significantly different.
      Public schools accept all students, while private schools
      are sometimes highly selective and may exclude or remove
      any poor performers, special needs, or disruptive students.
      Consequently, comparing workers of similar "human capital"
      or personal productive characteristics and labor market
      skills is considered the best alternative, and well accepted
      by labor economists. Analyses based on personal characteristics
      comparisons capture most of the important and
      salient attributes observed in the comparable work studies.

      Interested in identifying and eating wild plants? Check out my foraging diaries.

      by wide eyed lib on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:43:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They break it down pretty well by education level (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        martyc35, Matt Z, Vtdblue, wide eyed lib

        No high school diploma, high school education, some college, bachelors, professional (law/medicine) degree, masters, doctorate.

        There is an over-representation of master's level educated people in government, apparently. My though on that is it's probably from all the teachers with masters degrees (continuing ed. requirements and all that).

        Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything. -Harry S. Truman / -6.88, -5.38

        by Shadowmage36 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:19:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "What's really going on" (19+ / 0-)

    The race to the bottom.

    "when you do well, America does well." Obama to CEOs. Tell that to the unemployed and outsourced

    by Paleo on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:26:41 AM PST

    •  Not in so many words (5+ / 0-)

      ... because the GOP/Corporatists won't say that they want "competition" for public sector wages.  Instead, they're fomenting class envy, whether the allegations they're making are true or not.

      The idea is to first bust the public worker unions.  If the Government, by legislation, sets all pay, sets all work rules, sets all benefits, sets all bargaining rights (if any), sets all disciplinary procedures.... well, what's the benefit of having a union?  What can a union do under those circumstances, other than collect your dues?

      Once public sector unions are broken, who's left?  Public employees are more highly educated than non-public workers and are more likely to resist assaults on their rights.  But once public worker unions are gone, what's left of manufacturing won't be far behind.

      And THEN the race is over.

      "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

      by gsbadj on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:56:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Left unspoken by Repugs, of course, is the fact (6+ / 0-)

        that most public union workers vote Democratic, and therefore are a juicy political target to take down.

        What's left unANSWERED if why the fuck the Democrats are assisting in this take-down, which will clearly injure themselves politically in the end.  Stupid is as stupid does, I guess.  

        Time for working folks everywhere to find another party?  I'm beginning to believe the answer is obvious.

        [Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbrai

        by Vtdblue on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:53:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm good with them going back and (17+ / 0-)

    taking my benefits away as long as they go back and pay me the difference between what I'd have made hired privately and what I made as a public defender.  Many the day in the misdemeanor courtroom when I handled 50-60 cases.  I'll give a break and just charge a grand a case since they provided the staff.  This should work out well.  I'll even take 5% interest on the back pay instead of the customary 10% that the state charges when it leaves some money lsying around.

    "Play it LOUD Robbie, Play it fucking loud" Dylan

    by NearlyNormal on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:27:14 AM PST

  •  Where is the data for the full cost (3+ / 0-)

    of a public Vs private sector employee that includes pension benefits and healthcare benefits in retirement.

    On average, state and local employees earn $6,061 per year less than their private-sector counterparts. Add in health and insurance benefits and the average public worker earns $2,001 less per year than her peer in the private sector.

    Why not also include pension and healthcare benefits while in retirement?

    Also for a full economic comparison one needs to adjust the data for the average time spent unemployed in private Vs public sector to account for job security factors to get a full analysis that is credible.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:27:28 AM PST

    •  This is what irks me. (6+ / 0-)

      No one just provides straight up numbers.  Everyone shades the game in their direction.

      I really don't know who gets paid more when everything is taken into account, and I would like to.  I really hate it when I end up inadvertently providing bad information to friends and family because I've been duped.

      Unlike Elvis Costello, I used to be amused and now I'm disgusted.

      by nightsweat on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:31:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I studied with Jeff (6+ / 0-)

        and I've heard him describe the work he did to calculate these numbers.

        anyone who provides straight up numbers is lying.

        Becausewe have no rules  on health insurance, it's nearly impossible to calculate the value of plans.  

        What does a 25-year GM retiree get for health ins?
        A 15-year Texas prison guard?

        What is the value of their plans?  

        Did it change last year.

        Labor economics is messy work.

        It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

        by sayitaintso on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:52:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  How can you compare that? (10+ / 0-)

      You want to pound on a pension that someone worked 20+ years for and compare it to a 401K?
      Some 401K may have performed ... some may not. As we all know most people just throw money into it and hope for the best. That is impossible to compare.

      Also for a full economic comparison one needs to adjust the data for the average time spent unemployed in private Vs public sector to account for job security factors to get a full analysis that is credible.

      You want to adjust the weighting of that also? Perhaps hedonically adjusted for amount of satisfaction one gains while employed ... absurd.

      •  I think you are missing the point (22+ / 0-)

        Let me translate it for you: "I don't have a pension or job security so I don't see why anyone else should."

        "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

        by gjohnsit on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:38:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The analysis of this is well know to economists (0+ / 0-)

        One takes all the employer contributions into either a pension or 401 (k) and discounts the payments over time at the risk free rate.

        Here is an example of an honest analysis of pensions by Joe Nation, a former Democrat in the California State legislature (and co-author of AB-32 - the anti CO2 bill), who is now at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR).

        This is a matter of making an accurate economic analysis, so all employee compensation costs need to be factored, otherwise don't publish the report.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:50:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No (10+ / 0-)

          The Stanford Study is anything but accurate. You think you can paint it over by saying some Democrat is now part of it. He wasn't there when it was written by a bunch of Reaganite Union busters who's sole purpose was to attack CalPERS.

          The primary source of grinding misinformation and union bashing comes from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. This report was initiated by GAS and set out to prove an already predetermined outcome as evidenced by this statement.

          "Complying with Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement #25, public pension funds discount future pension liabilities at the same rate they expect to earn every year on invested assets.2 We believe this rule leads to understated publicly reported pension liabilities."

          What they have just admitted to is that CalPERS is following government accounting standards. They then go on to support this disagreement by creating their own set of data to support the GAS agenda.

          Outside of crunched numbers to fit a predetermined outcome lies this little fact.

          "Ironically, it's the states themselves, and not investment performance, that are primarily responsible for the growing deficit in pension funding. According to the Pew Center, only about one-third of states in fiscal year 2008 were consistently putting in 90% or more of what was required to get their plan to a fully funded status. That year, states and participating localities should have paid about $108 billion. Instead, they contributed just $72 billion.

          One takes all the employer contributions into either a pension or 401 (k) and discounts the payments over time at the risk free rate.

          Do you even know what is considered the risk free rate?

          According to the Stanford Study: As a proxy for the risk-free rate we use the yield-to-maturity (YTM) of 10-year US Treasury Bills in February 2010"

          Reviewing the yield of TNX for February 2010 runs roughly 3.5% to 3.6%. Roughly half the return of CalPERS target of 7.75%. So what have been CalPERS returns?

          By SIEPR own admission CalPERS has beat their own target for over two and a half decades.

          "using CalPERS as an example, as we can observe in Figure 6, the CalPERS portfolio has had returns averaging 7.91 percent over the last 25 years,"

          I'm surprised that this bunch of crap is still be peddled as factual even by people at the KOS.

          •  Don't confuse economics with accounting (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pozzo, hmi

            The reason economists at Stanford discounted at the risk free rate is that the benefits are strict obligations of the state as compensation.

            The state of CA is on the hook to pay the benefits, even if Calpers fails to perform.

            Do you believe enough in the performance of Calpers that you would advocate that the state's obligation to pay retirement benefits be changed to simply making annual payments for then current employees to Calpers based upon the target return of 7.75% by Calpers - and if this turns out to be insufficient to pay the benefits that there is no recourse back to the state of CA?

            If you really believe what you wrote you would say yes to the above, but I doubt you would advocate this change nor would the public employee unions.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:37:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  25 years of outperformance (6+ / 0-)

              Otherwise you are throwing a lot of "if" and GAS talking points into your stance. Pension paymentts come from CalPERS not the states general fund. The state makes payments into the fund similar to those employers who make payments to employee 401K's.

              You have based your entire faith in the biased "Stanford Study" .. and what did they do? They had a predetermined outcome and fixed data to suit the study.

              SIEPR has used figures from 2001-June 2009. Why did they choose these dates? Because 2001 was the peak of the Tech boom and June 2009 was the trough of the 08/09 crash. By taking these extreme highs and lows and compounding it with a return of one-half you can easily see how they arrived at these skewed numbers.

              They grabbed data points from 2000 the peak of the market and data from the 2008 the bottom of the crash and said "See, CalPERS is underfunded".

              SIEPR only considers a pension fully funded if it has 100% of the funds on deposit at all times. They do not bother to mention that only Arizona and New York are the only two states required by law to fully fund their pensions and neither consider 100% to be fully funded.

              And what happened since the release of that study?

              What has happened to the CalPERS trust fund since June 2009? A press release from CalPERS 1/20/2010 states:

              "The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) said today that it earned an 11.80 percent return on investments for the 2009 calendar year."

              "Since March 2009, when global financial markets plunged amid a historic worldwide economic recession, the CalPERS market value of assets has come back by more than $46 billion. Total fund assets closed 2009 at $203.3 billion. Today they stand at more than $206 billion, up more than $3 billion in just the first three weeks of the new year."

              •  You did not answer my question, please do (0+ / 0-)

                Here it is again:

                Would you support that the state's obligation to pay retirement benefits be changed to simply making annual payments for then current employees to Calpers based upon the target return of 7.75% by Calpers - and if this turns out to be insufficient to pay the benefits that there is no recourse back to the state of CA?

                The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                by nextstep on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 03:10:03 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  And I wont (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gjohnsit, tardis10

                  When you come to debate with disingenuous information based on phony data. Backed by suspect numbers that I have continually showed were cooked. You present a BS study, create a BS problem that isn't a problem, bring up BS numbers that mean nothing and then tell me here's my option? Get real

                  Take your question over to RedState.com you may find a friendlier crowd.

                  Im not buying what you're selling here.  

                  •  Sound's like you finally realized that (0+ / 0-)

                    the risk free rate of return is the right discount rate for benefits that a state is required to pay - but have a hard time admitting this.

                    Any reasonable person will find that I did not use any " phony data. Backed by suspect numbers, " or "bring up BS numbers that mean nothing" as the only number I used in this thread was 7.75% from "target return of 7.75% by Calpers" which actually came from what you wrote.

                    You don't have to reply and embarrass yourself any further.

                    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                    by nextstep on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 03:55:07 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  whatever you need to tell yourself (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gjohnsit, tardis10

                      Ask yourself why didn't Stanford just use the actual return from CalPERS for the last 25 years as their data set since it was available?

                      You dont have to answer that, its understood since you pushed the Stanford Study as being "real data" that you are not interested in anything but union bashing the middle class wage earner. Since, in your jaded opinion, they are the cause of the entire economy meltdown.

                      Meanwhile behind your back WS walks with ever higher bonuses.

                      Walk away now ... you got nothing here.

                      •  You appear to be confusing the discount rate (0+ / 0-)

                        for calculations on pension fund obligations, with the historic average returns of the fund's investments.

                        The payments that the state has to those on a pension are hard and fast obligation to pay - which therefore deserve a risk free rate of return when calculating present values.

                        The calculation of the historic average of a rate of return of a portfolio is another matter and it is unrelated to what the funds from the portfolio are to be used for.

                        I can understand how a person unfamiliar with these types of financial calculation can confuse these two rates and think that the same rate should be used for both.

                        Where did you get the following from, did you hear this from voices in your head  - because I never said any of this.

                        you are not interested in anything but union bashing the middle class wage earner. Since, in your jaded opinion, they are the cause of the entire economy meltdown.

                        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                        by nextstep on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:26:28 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

              •  Some points: (0+ / 0-)

                You wrote:

                Pension paymentts come from CalPERS not the states general fund.

                But you are ignoring the fact that the State of CA is obligated to pay if Calpers cannot.  Or do you think that if Calpers cannot pay that California is not required to?

                Because 2001 was the peak of the Tech boom and June 2009 was the trough of the 08/09 crash.

                The peak of the Tech boom was March 2000 not 2001 - the NASDAQ was 5132 in March 2000 and 2100 in June 2001 (a decline of 59% from the peak).  The bottom of the market was March 2009 not June with the S&P 500 40% higher.

                SIEPR only considers a pension fully funded if it has 100% of the funds on deposit at all times.

                What do you consider fully funded, if it is not having 100% of the funds?  

                The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                by nextstep on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 03:30:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The operative word "IF" (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gjohnsit, tardis10

                  and yet that IF has never come to pass.

                  The peak of the Tech boom was March 2000 not 2001 - the NASDAQ was 5132 in March 2000 and 2100 in June 2001 (a decline of 59% from the peak).  The bottom of the market was March 2009 not June with the S&P 500 40% higher.

                  And when was the study released? April 2010. Thanks for proving my point. Notice how they conveniently left out the bounce in the market from their calculations.

                  What do you consider fully funded, if it is not having 100% of the funds?

                  You should try reading the entire post before you launch into your FAUX news talking points.

                  SIEPR only considers a pension fully funded if it has 100% of the funds on deposit at all times. They do not bother to mention that only Arizona and New York are the only two states required by law to fully fund their pensions and neither consider 100% to be fully funded.

                  •  The SIEPR study focused on economics (0+ / 0-)

                    and finance, not law.

                    I don't recall the SIEPR study saying that any state was in violation of law.  Whether or not a pension fund is fully funded in an economic or finance sense is different than saying that a law was broken by underfunding.

                    Have you considered that maybe the regulations and funding on government pension funds are not sufficient to protect retirees, government and tax payers?

                    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                    by nextstep on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:05:39 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  What point are you trying to argue? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gjohnsit

                      Whether or not a pension fund is fully funded in an economic or finance sense is different than saying that a law was broken by underfunding.

                      You cant have it both ways.

                      Have you considered that maybe the regulations and funding on government pension funds are not sufficient to protect retirees, government and tax payers?

                      Have you ever considered just leaving this thread and heading back over to the Limbaugh Blog? Have you ever considered that your position is just plain wrong, that you do not fully comprehend the facts, and that one study is just not enough to support your made up problems?

                      Bye, bye now.

    •  one problem is (7+ / 0-)

      People should be able to retire and the private sector workers shouldn't have allowed them selves to be deunionized and accepted a 401 k. And I think healthcare costs are only so much because of the private for profit healthcare cartel. In short I am saying that such data would only show that we need progressive policies, they wouldn't support laying off public workers.

    •  You might try reading the study. (16+ / 0-)

      It addresses pension. As for health care while in retirement, bear in mind that not only do many public employees' pensions replace Social Security, but whatever health care benefits they get in retirement may replace Medicare.

    •  As someone pointed out above (9+ / 0-)

      pensions are like 401Ks in that the money is taken from the person's salary.

      All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. - Adam Smith

      by anonevent on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:46:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  WHAT healthcare benefit in retirement? (11+ / 0-)

      Are you kidding me?  Like all workers, I had to pay for my own healthcare when I retired until I reached Medicare?  

      Why are progressives not angry about what ALL WORKERS SHOULD and DO NOT?  Instead I read resentment because private workers did not form unions and/or played into the whole "we'd rather have 401ks we can control."

      Public workers chose public service knowing that in exchange for a ceiling we got security.  Yet private workers resent it now.

      •  Yep, they were fine with it when things (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vigilant meerkat, joeshwingding

        were booming and the companies were giving matching funds to IRA's and even janitors in some companies were retiring as millionaires (not many, but some).  Now that the bloom is off their rose they want to snivel because someone else worked for less and is now getting what they are contractually obligated to receive for PAST services.

        "Play it LOUD Robbie, Play it fucking loud" Dylan

        by NearlyNormal on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:14:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's in the original study report, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, martyc35

      which is linked in the second paragraph of the diary. It's a copyright violation to reproduce a work in full.

      I like to think I would have made it more clear in the diary text. But it's easy for me to complain when I don't write diaries anyway.

      The information you want is in Table 3.

      Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

      by susanala on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:45:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What I find significent about your graph (0+ / 0-)
    is the difference between salary and compensation. I have heard for years people take public sector jobs because of job security and the benefits. The graph you offer demonstrates the compensation decreases when you add in all the benefits
  •  I suspected this was the case (4+ / 0-)

    Demand Filibuster Reform call your Senators at (202) 224-3121 -AND KEEP CALLING

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:28:42 AM PST

  •  public employees make more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uncle Milty
    since they still have jobs and even 1 dollar is more than nothing.
  •  As a civil servant... (16+ / 0-)

    ...of some 14 years duration, I would heartily agree.  In fact, I believe a similar private industry worker of the same experience would earn perhaps 50% more.

    Oh, there you are, Perry. -Phineas -SLB-

    by boran2 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:29:41 AM PST

    •  I came into State service doing the exact (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pozzo, boran2, Tonedevil

      same job as when I was in the private sector.  Less pay, but group rates on health insurance, dental insurance, access to State vehicles or reimbursed travel cars (and gas), lower parking fees or free parking, and automatic deduction of income taxes (easier to file at tax time).  

      In the private sector, I made about 40%+ more cash, but had higher payouts for health, dental, and especially parking (downtown LA).  And at least I went to the same place every day, although now that's pretty boring LOL

      It's definitely a trade.  Now, if I had been smart like my friend who started with the State at age 18 and a baby on the way, and retired a couple years ago after 30 years, at age 48, I would consider it a great deal indeed!

      And yes, after a probationary period during which you can be fired for almost anything, it becomes more difficult and expensive to lose your job.  But that will probably change.

  •  The same folks who say public employees... (14+ / 0-)

    ...are overpaid are those who will defend their own salaries and profess their sacrifices by saying how much more they could make in the private sector.

    The mendacity is palpable.

  •  Boy oh Boy... (9+ / 0-)

    This info would've come in mighty handy over Christmas when my retired B-I-L (from a huge Co. with a great pension, from Ohio) ranted over the "gold-plated retirement benefits of public employees" that out-paced the benefits of the private sector and was a drag on state budgets. He sees no problem with cutting away benefits...Those damned public-worker-fat-cats! :(

    "Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they would be Republicans."--Will Rogers

    by DianeNYS on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:30:41 AM PST

    •  And lest anyone believe (5+ / 0-)

      I'm being snarky, and that I actually agree with aforementioned B-I-L, this was all in the context of my retired Police Officer husband's (his brother's!) retirement benefits. He begrudges an almost 30-year police career (marked by a paltry salary) culiminating with a 50% pension and decent health insurance. Believe me, if we could trade my husband's pension for my B-I-L's pension...{{{sigh}}}

      "Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they would be Republicans."--Will Rogers

      by DianeNYS on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:38:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  More union busting (18+ / 0-)

    There's a reason for the stridency of the Republicans' narrative on this: public service unions are a favorite target of conservatives. They are among the last bastion of U.S. workers to still enjoy collective bargaining agreements.

    You need to include schoolteachers in these numbers.  Public school teachers, especially elementary school teachers, are among the lowest-paid college graduates in the U.S.  But mention the teachers' unions near a Republican and all you'll hear is a string of expletives.

    It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Fish in Illinois on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:32:45 AM PST

    •  Unfortunately, it's not just the Repubs n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      Just spitting out emails from my sanctimonious purity-castle.

      by porchdog1961 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:04:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think teacher's unions take an extra beating (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, Matt Z, Dirtandiron

      because a lot of people who've never been in a union have had conflicts with an individual teacher or a public school and blame the union for it.
      I've known fairly liberal people around here who are pissed off because of their child's performance, but instead of shutting of the damn TV or sitting down and doing homework with them, they are convinced it's the union's fault for representing a "shitty" teacher.
      Plus, teachers get the whole summer off!

      Just spitting out emails from my sanctimonious purity-castle.

      by porchdog1961 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:15:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you are right. (6+ / 0-)

        Everyone believes they are an expert in education because they went to school.  And more than a few parents (but not all) want to blame someone other then their child or themselves.  
        Blaming unions is an easy scapegoat.

        I always loves the "whole summer off thing.   MOST teachers I know spent most summers either working or going to school.  I had taught over three decades before I had a free summer.   In nearly forty years of teaching, I believe I had about five summers where I did not work or got to school or both.  

        •  My brother-in-law has a (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, martyc35, Matt Z, jnhobbs

          BA in economics and a Master's in Public Policy. He teaches high school math in California. They're damn lucky to have him, but still people bitch because he gets a pension.
          The whole thing is crazy.

          Just spitting out emails from my sanctimonious purity-castle.

          by porchdog1961 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:55:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, like someone above said (8+ / 0-)

            when things were booming, those private sector employees were trashing teaching as a stupid, low paying, no change for millions, profession......
            and they relished the old "we can do our own private pensions...and make more money."  I know many who so bought into that crap and still do.  

            NOW of course, the plutocrats and corporatists scammed many who were sadly blinded by their own greed.  But instead of blaming their bosses, they are now resenting those of us who stayed in our jobs, and did not go for the big bucks.

  •  I Worked For Less and Paid No Social Security (21+ / 0-)

    so when our pensions health care are attacked as promised, I don't have the social security to fall back on.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:33:28 AM PST

  •  One thing this leaves out is pension (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    icemilkcoffee

    Public sector does provide for people to retire at much earlier ages with a decent pension, so that's a cost of public sector employment that is not factored in here.

    •  Pension is included (16+ / 0-)

      You can see for yourself since MB provided the link to the study.

      Interested in identifying and eating wild plants? Check out my foraging diaries.

      by wide eyed lib on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:38:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No it doesn't (9+ / 0-)

      Just read the article linked in the story.

      Public employers contribute on average 34.1% of
      employee compensation expenses to benefits, whereas
      private employers devote between 26.1% and 33.1% of
      compensation to benefits, depending on the employer’s
      size. Public employers provide better health insurance
      and pension benefits. Health insurance accounts for
      6.3% to 8.3% of private-sector compensation but 11.2%
      of state and local government employee compensation.

      It's true that they retire with better benefits, but they also pay more for those benefits while they're working.

      It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Fish in Illinois on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:43:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  false! (4+ / 0-)

      Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

      by BMarshall on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:08:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What the study leave out is the pension SHORTFALL (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pozzo, Uncle Milty

      There is a serious, critical shortcoming for this study. They only included the pension contribution in the total compensation calculation.

      However, anyone who has paid any attention in the last few years know that the real issue is that all the public pensions are seriously underfunded. The pension contributions did not come close to being enough to fund the defined benefits payouts. So for example, the state of CA has a pension fund shortfall somewhere in the >$100billion range. And guess what - the taxpayer has to make up for this shortfall out of the general funds. That is the crux of the pension crisis. For the left to completely ignore this issue and put out a position paper like this study here, is at best delusional, and at worst dishonest propaganda.

      An honest paper would count this general funds contribution as part of total compensation also.

      •  If you could go back to 1978 and (0+ / 0-)

        the passage of Prop 13, plus some other great moves to ruin education in CA by taxpayers who refused to support their tax-supported services, you might find an answer for what created a pension shortfall in later years. This is all very complicated, and there are no easy answers. If we believe in paying for services, we won't have shortfalls. If we don't, then we won't have services. Either way, to blame the employees for a faulty system isn't exactly accurate. We are just on the way down, and some of us feel it more than others.

        "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

        by martyc35 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 03:37:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Freezing public sector wages, or cutting it, (12+ / 0-)

    also acts to depress wages throughout the job market. Which may be the intent. Public workers have more incentive to leave for the private sector, which sees a glut of workers, and thus can lower real wages.

    The near-parity between the two is no accident: the two will naturally remain in homeostasis, with the $6000 wage/$2000 compensation differential being the premium workers place on the additional job security of public sector work.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:35:54 AM PST

  •  I can't prove that they do this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    but I think they take someone who works 120 hours of so, from Christmas to New Year's, for whatever reason, and extrapolates what they would earn over the course of an entire year if they worked at that rate.

  •  Fascinating - Thanks for Puttin This... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil
    ...together.

    It sort of makes me wonder though, how does Union Membership fit into the equation?  Are the percentage of Union employees roughly equal?

  •  dog in the manger syndrome (5+ / 0-)

    Have you ever noticed the people that complain about public employee benefits and such seem to suffer from this syndrome?

    New improved bipartisanship! Now comes in a convenient suppository!!! -unbozo

    by Unbozo on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:39:56 AM PST

  •  It's even worse than you think for some, MB. (18+ / 0-)

    I am retired from teaching in the public sector, and hardly anyone acknowledges that the market there turned sour in previous recessions, forcing public employers to fight the unions by first dividing and conquering through the types of positions they made available. To stretch their budgets, they hired part-time and temporary employees, denied them any benefits at all and fought to keep them from receiving unemployment benefits when they were laid off.

    Hardly any full-time, coninuing (i.e., "tenured") positions ever became available, and temporary faculty all over the country battled it out for the few that were offered. For example, just when equal employment for women and minorities supposedly became available, women and minorities were forced to duke it out over the few jobs that were being offered. I was one of those, a woman with excellent qualifications and top grades who fought for seventeen years to move up from temp positions to a tenure-line job in a community college. I finally did get one, but I was 52 by then, so I worked until I was 70 and retired on half the pension my fellow male employees, many of whom had been hired in the 1970s, earned when they retired.

    Now, Darrel Issa wants to take our pensions away. Pete Wilson tried when he was governor of CA, then he tried by getting Arnold elected, who failed again, and now that Pete Wilson, Meg Whitman's campaign manager, has failed to get Whitman elected, they will attack the pension funds through Copngress. This battle has been going on for many, many years, ever since we got collective bargaining rights, and they won't stop until they ruin us.

    I am going on 76 years old, and I'm going to die knowing that these bastards are going to rob my younger colleagues of any reason they should dedicate their lives to educating our young people. I think we are doomed.

    "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

    by martyc35 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:39:57 AM PST

    •  Yep and the local budget (6+ / 0-)

      fiasco often pits union against union...for example if a town or local gov't has a tight budget year and all parts are competing for the same local money...well police and fire pit against each other with teachers pitting against them dpw workers etc...all competing for the local tax dollar...divide and conquer yep.

      It will not matter how much money was in my bank account, but the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.

      by emal on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:06:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What about the 50/55 retirement age (6+ / 0-)

    With full pension? How does that figure into the comparisons? Here in CA, a lot of police/firemen get to retire at age 50; and depending on length of service, some teachers can retire at 55.

    Public employees are the only people are continue to get paid by their employers years after their retirement.

    •  What about it? (16+ / 0-)

      they actually get back the money they put into their pension fund?  We can't have that, can we?  Socialism!

      Candidate Obama was right: When both parties serve the same side in the class war, voters may as well cling to guns and religion. Bitter since 2010.

      by happymisanthropy on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:48:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hmi

        there is a cost for people being allowed to retire at a young age, relatively speaking.

        •  Yes. (10+ / 0-)

          Hiring people costs money.  People working for you have a cost.  If you read the article, that cost is less than similar jobs in the private sector even if you include pensions and other benefits.

          Why is it a big deal to you that somewhere there's a government employee who makes less money than you do, but who has a decent pension plan that means his annual compensation is only slightly worse than yours?  Why are you fixated on a small part of the package, instead of the entire package?

          Candidate Obama was right: When both parties serve the same side in the class war, voters may as well cling to guns and religion. Bitter since 2010.

          by happymisanthropy on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:02:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He/she's fixated on a small part of the package (6+ / 0-)

            because that's what the talking points they were given are.

            Where are all the jobs, Boenher?

            by Dirtandiron on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:05:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I am not fixated on anything (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hmi

            Why is it a big deal to you that somewhere there's a government employee who makes less money than you do, but who has a decent pension plan that means his annual compensation is only slightly worse than yours?  Why are you fixated on a small part of the package, instead of the entire package?

            I am not fixated on anything. but I am not buying into the "woe is the poor public servant" meme being pushed here, either. They are not exempt from having to suffer in bad times. Nor should they be.

            •  There is no morality in making people suffer (9+ / 0-)

              No, they aren't sacred, but we shouldn't cut their benefits just because we think they deserve it.  Right now "shared sacrifice" is being shared all the way from public servants to... the recipients of public services.

              Candidate Obama was right: When both parties serve the same side in the class war, voters may as well cling to guns and religion. Bitter since 2010.

              by happymisanthropy on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:22:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Someone suffers either way (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                hmi

                Entire states are suffering because their budgets are too big. In an ideal world, no one would lose their job or see their bennies cut. But these times are far from ideal. Shared sacrifice should mean just that and that includes, unforuntaley, public sector employees.

            •  Why do you want public workers to suffer? (5+ / 0-)

              Do you want private sector workers to suffer?  I don't. I hate that upper management and their ilk are making more profits than ever. I BLAME THEM....not some firefighter or some teacher or some police officer who had nothing to do with the greed of the corporations.

              BLAME THEM, not those of us who chose the public sector over private sector. BLAME THEM, not those of us who succeeded in forming unions and making them stronger.  In the early days of my career in education, many districts had NO unions, low pay, weak benefits while our private sector peers were in strong unions with great benefits.  While I spent four years in college, and continued going to school, some friends from hs had gone into work at the then prosperous steel mills etc.  They were making twice my salary for many years.  

              I understand people are upset about losing their jobs.  But you are blaming the wrong people.   While public sector employees like myself realized we would have to join together (unionize)to improve our wages and benefits (same thing with police and firefighters at that time), some of my private sector friends were dissing unions, worshipping RR and his meme of privatizing retirements etc etc etc.   Why should I or any of my fellow public employees be scapegoated for the decisions of those in the private sector to go against unions.

              •  why do you insist (0+ / 0-)

                in attributing a false argument to me? I've never said none of them have suffered. Clearly a number have.

              •  I don't want anyone to suffer (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Uncle Milty

                But there's clearly going to be suffering  as this recovery takes hold. You seem to think that as a public sector worker, you should get a free pass. the private sector has suffered far worse than the public sector. Yes, the do make an easy target and sometimes this criticism is unfair. Sometimes it isn't. We do have a debt problem in this country at all levels and a major part of it had to do with public sector spending, including wages, benefits and pensions. This hurts us all. I am not anti government. If a huge flow of funds magically appeared into the coffers and wiped out our debts, I would say no cuts to anything, but that isn't reality. We can't swept the problems with public sector pensions under the rug and pretend that we can solve everthing with "tax the rich."

                •  Bullshit! (5+ / 0-)

                  the private sector has suffered far worse than the public sector.

                  All the years of public sector employees missing out on the boom was their sacrifice. There were no raises, no increased benefits or pensions ... now that the private sector has shed its excesses its bullshit propaganda being spread like this that accomplishes one thing.

                  A reason to attack the unions ... again.

                  The power brokers wont be happy until all organized labor is stomped out and we work for Chinese labor wages. Instead of attacking your fellow brothers, middle class wage slaves and feeling sorry for yourself get your facts straight and direct your dissatisfaction with those that gave you that misinformation.

                  •  No it's not (0+ / 0-)

                    There have been far more job losses in the private sector during the recession. Plus private sector workers are usually easier to terminate and often have no formal contract and no union to back them up.
                    Do you really mean to say there' been no public sector raises during this entire recession?

                    There were no raises, no increased benefits or pensions ... now that the private sector has shed its excesses its bullshit propaganda being spread like this that accomplishes one thing.

                    •  Sheer mathematics (5+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gjohnsit, Tonedevil, martyc35, Matt Z, tardis10

                      There have been far more job losses in the private sector during the recession.

                      Of course there were. There were/ are more to begin with.

                      Plus private sector workers are usually easier to terminate and often have no formal contract and no union to back them up.

                      Who's at fault here? Organize! Stop blaming the rank and file.

                      From where I sit ... there have been 2 COLA in the last 18 years.

                    •  Private sector workers are easier (4+ / 0-)

                      to terminate because you bought into the "you don't need unions, trust us" crap.  

                      And the recession has been the last two years.  Well buddy I have been working for the last fifty years.   I started working at 16, worked all through college and then worked forty years straight, no breaks. I now substitute and people like you want to punish me, want me to lose my pension because fools like you were too cowardly to unite and fight management.  

                      No thanks. I am sick of hearing about how poor you and your ilk are losing because of public employees. IT'S A LIE.  You are losing because of the greed of corporate American, not because of teachers, firefighters, police et al.  You are blaming the wrong people.

                      •  I never bought into that (0+ / 0-)

                        to terminate because you bought into the "you don't need unions, trust us" crap.  

                        This decision, or rather set of them, was made while I was a child. Of course, lots of private sector jobs would be impossible to unionize, even if there were support for it.

                        I started working at 16, worked all through college and then worked forty years straight, no breaks

                        .
                        What do you want, a medal? You think you are the only one who works hard?

                        I now substitute and people like you want to punish me, want me to lose my pension because fools like you were too cowardly to unite and fight management.  

                        I don't want to punish you. I want you to keep your pension. I don't even know who you are. But I do think most pension systems need serious reform and are going to cause states and municipalities very big problems if nothing is done. Nothing will get done if all people do is complain about being "punished>

                        •  Yea, I need a medal (0+ / 0-)

                          for even tolerating the selfish crap you are spewing here.   I made a choice, did my job for four decades and put up with more than a few private sector 'tudes that looked down their noses at many of us.  

                          You want to fix things.. go after Wall Street.   You give them a pass and want to punish public employees. What a piece of work....

                      •  being tired of hearing something (0+ / 0-)

                        doesn't make it incorrect.

                        No thanks. I am sick of hearing about how poor you and your ilk are losing because of public employees. IT'S A LIE.

                        I don't say I am "losing" but public sector employment and the benefits attached do it do cost money and are part of the reason that so many governmental units are in debt.

                        •  Again, (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Calamity Jean

                          OPEN your freaking mind to the facts, to reality.  Sheesh.  People making billions doing nothing get a pass and you're angry at people who pick up garbage.  Like I said, go to redstate and chat there.  Most of them will buy your silly myths.

                    •  Three things (3+ / 0-)

                      There have been far more job losses in the private sector during the recession.

                      First of all, the private sector is much larger than the public sector, so if you use bottom line numbers then of course the private sector job losses will be larger.
                       The only honest comparison is to use percentages.

                      Secondly, job losses in the private sector stopped almost a year ago. In the public sector they have increased, so make sure you are looking at recent data.

                      Finally, so the f*ck what? Do we really want school teachers and firemen to lose their jobs for no other reason than we lost our job? Why?

                      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

                      by gjohnsit on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:58:47 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Speaking of bull... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pozzo

                    See the link below for a graph of private vs public sector employment thought the recession.

                    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/...

                •  Opinion stated as fact, repeatedly (5+ / 0-)

                  We do have a debt problem in this country at all levels and a major part of it had to do with public sector spending, including wages, benefits and pensions.

                  Really?  I seem to recall a federal deficit calculator showing the effects of various cuts.  Military spending and tax cuts for the rich provided most of what's needed to get rid of debt.

                  What's your basis for claiming that most of our debt problem is due to public sector wages benefits and pensions?

                  We can't swept the problems with public sector pensions under the rug and pretend that we can solve everthing with "tax the rich."

                  Really?  Do you have any basis for this statement either?  How do properly funded public pensions affect debt to the extent that getting rid of them would "solve everything".  Please do keep in mind when you answer that everything public employees have paid into the system would have to be repaid with interest, and they'd all have to be made eligible somehow for SS and medicare.

                  Where are all these authoritatively made statements coming from?

                  •  Good grief (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Uncle Milty

                    Really?  I seem to recall a federal deficit calculator showing the effects of various cuts.  Military spending and tax cuts for the rich provided most of what's needed to get rid of debt.

                    Military spending cuts wont' do a damn thing for the budgets of towns, cities and states. I was not limiting this to the federal budget.

                    What's your basis for claiming that most of our debt problem is due to public sector wages benefits and pensions?

                    I made no such claim. Do you not know the difference between "major" and "Most?"

                    How do properly funded public pensions affect debt to the extent that getting rid of them would "solve everything".

                    Never claimed that they would. Just that they are a problem. Mabye you should make like your screenname and buy a clue.

                    •  Rapier wit (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      joeshwingding, tardis10

                      is not an excuse for lucid discussion, even if you had it, which you don't.

                      Your emphasis and repeated bashing of public employees says that you DO think that stealing their pensions would solve debt problems, and is, in fact, a reasonable thing to do.

                      The thing I don't understand is why you are participating on this site in the first place if these are the kinds of views you hold.  It's a big tent, but it's not that big.

                      •  wow (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Uncle Milty

                        I guess I touched a nerve. Not that a rapier is needed to pary your thrusts.

                        Your emphasis and repeated bashing of public employees says that you DO think that stealing their pensions would solve debt problems, and is, in fact, a reasonable thing to do.

                        I've never bashed public employees. Your sleazy habit of attributing false arguments and misstating my positions is getting tiresome. I've never said or suggested that "stealing" state pensions would solve the debt problem. I've said we've got one at all levels and we have to deal with it. Part of it will require public pension reform.  This isn't "stealing."

                        The thing I don't understand is why you are participating on this site in the first place if these are the kinds of views you hold.  It's a big tent, but it's not that big.

                        Fortunately, it's not up to you to decide who gets to participate. A wide variety of views are accepted here. Most of my views are fit well within Democratic party orthodoxy. If this bothers you, can ignore me, which I wish  you'd do.

                •  This is BS (0+ / 0-)

                  How can you prove that the private sector has suffered more?   Seriously, where the hell did I say I wanted a free pass.  

                  My suggestion is you put the blame where it belongs...on greedy CEO's and upper management who are making record profits and getting bonuses up the ying yang.  I never got a f*cking bonus ever. I did my job, and did it well.  Some days I worked my "required" seven hours but most days I put in longer days......and most summers I went to school to take required classes and/or worked to supplement my income.

                  Your "blame the public employees" is beyond selfish and beyond wrong headed. It's stupid.  You cannot be a progressive.  Progressives would see the real problem...greed-miesters convinced you and people like you that you too could get rich if you only betrayed the notion of solidarity.  Your bad, not mine.

                  •  Stop whining (0+ / 0-)

                    How can you prove that the private sector has suffered more?  

                    Far more job loses and in a much quicker fashion, for one.

                    My suggestion is you put the blame where it belongs...on greedy CEO's and upper management who are making record profits and getting bonuses up the ying yang

                    I do blame them. But they arent' to blame for every problem we have. You suggestion is cartoonish, at best. Even if we didnt' have the financial crisis, we'd have debt problems and undefunded public pensions.
                    <They are partially to blame for the</p>

                    Y

                    ou cannot be a progressive

                    You dont' get to decide this.

        •  yes the cost is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, happymisanthropy

          openings and job opportunities for younger teachers at a lower cost to the school district.

          Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

          by BMarshall on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:14:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  In reality, (5+ / 0-)

          seems to me it works out better when people retire early.   For some of us early meant after 35 years as we started at 21 and never stopped.  But our salaries were at the top.  When I retired from the district, NEW, i.e, first year teachers were hired at half my salary since most new teachers have neither the degrees nor the years of experience.  Then again, many here may want to join the right wing whine of "teachers don't need no more degrees and experience is not a positive..."  

          What a crazy world where experience is mocked instead of honored, where MORE education is resented.   But the right wing has been pushing that for a while and now they've got "progressives" from the private sector joining in the class war on their side.

      •  That would be wonderful if it were true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo, Uncle Milty

        "get back the money they put into their pension fund"

        The problem is the money they put in wasn't nearly enough to cover for their defined benefits plan, and at the worst possible time in our economic history, they have to raid our general funds in order to pay for the pension shortfalls.

        That, my friend, is the problem.

    •  And I know some professionals in private (9+ / 0-)

      sector...oil industry for that matter...that are also able to retire at that same age (and have)...so what is the point you're trying to make? That people who are eligible to do so based on their contracts with their employer shouldn't be allowed to or it's somehow unfair they do that? ????

      It's not unique to unions or public employees.

      It will not matter how much money was in my bank account, but the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.

      by emal on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:59:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The point is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        icemilkcoffee, hmi

        These people don't go onto a ([n]underfunded) public pension system. If you've earned the means to retire at 48 in the public sector, you are not adding to any already problemed public pension system, the problems with which effect all state residents, not just those on the system. I don't know what the solution is. For some jobs, it does some ridiculous to be allowed to retire so young. On the other hand, we probably don't want 67 year old engaging in high speed chases or responding to fires and industrial accidents.

        That people who are eligible to do so based on their contracts with their employer shouldn't be allowed to or it's somehow unfair they do that? ????

        It is unfair in some circumstances if its a public contract, for which taxpayers are paying the wages. I know these sentiments don't sit well on here, because public workers are akin to angels, but we do have to realize that there are costs to society for this.

        •  Oh so the only reason it's bad is because (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, martyc35, schnecke21

          the public taxpayer paid for some if...but you forget that the employee  also has to contribute to it to be eligible for it and in doing so also sacrifices eligibility for social security benefits to get it.

          So you feel it's okay in the private sector but not in the public sector. Yet a private sector employee can also take his pension and also receive and be eligible for social security.

          Sorry that's a bit of a double standard in my book.

          It will not matter how much money was in my bank account, but the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.

          by emal on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:56:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You don't get it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pozzo

            When a private sector worker has a pension shortfall, he doesn't get to make it up by raiding the general funds. That is the crucial difference. (actually he does- because almost all the private industries that pay out pensions - rail, airlines, steel, auto, etc, have all gone bankrupt because of pension costs, and have offloaded that obligation to some federal corporation. But that's a separate discussion. In short defined benefits pension is insane and suicidal)

            •  If that private sector worker (0+ / 0-)

              has a pension at all. Those are disappearing faster than the Aral Sea, for private sector workers. They tend to be much better protected in the public sector. Often to the point that no progress can be made in making any changes to them to ensure (1)their continuted viability and (2) that the general public finances aren't hurt by the shortfall.

            •  No you don't get it (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clues, schnecke21

              You're complaining yet private sector employee you will still get and be eligible for social security at some point should you as a private sector employee lose your pension...the public employee will get nothing should their benefits be raided because contracts get broken.

              You don't get it. They contribute to their pension funds too...not all private employees do....they just get one.

              You don't get it, they are paid less over the lifetime of their public service years and employment (it all adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime) and you apparently have your knickers in a wad because you're pissed the one thing they might still have in their lifetime after giving up a better salary, is a pension, a pension without social security eligibility.

              You do realize that their pension (the one they have to pay into)also would be less (compared to how much they'd get if they were eligible for social security with a much higher lifetime private sector salary)  because their lifetime salary was also less.

              I disagree with you and please...I do get it.

              It will not matter how much money was in my bank account, but the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.

              by emal on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 02:36:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No I get it (0+ / 0-)

                It's you who clearly doesn't grasp it.

                You don't get it. They contribute to their pension funds too...not all private employees do....they just get one.

                Yes, the contribute throught their taxpayer provided jobs. And private employees don't just "get one". IF they get one, and that's a big if, it's part of a bargained for exchange as term of their employment,same as a private pension is. The point, which you can't graps is that private pensions are not hurting the general fund of states,cities and towns. Public ones are and no one wants to do anything about it.

                you apparently have your knickers in a wad because you're pissed the one thing they might still have in their lifetime after giving up a better salary, is a pension, a pension without social security eligibility

                Maybe they gave up a better salary. Maybe not. In mah cases, likely. In many, not. And again, there are other things they probably gained, including health and dental benefits, vacations, sick days, regular hours, no weekend work, that lots of private sector workers don't get. There's a trade off.  You seem to think working for the government is like wearing a hairshirt. It can actually be quite good.

                I disagree with you and please...I do get it.

                I disagree with you (and am being much more civil about it) and no, you don't.

                •  You're right (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pozzo

                  I apologize for letting your tone and "you don't get it" get to me. I was wrong for that...I am sorry.

                  That said. There are tradeoffs and benefits to any job, public or private sector and even within each sector. There are choices and factors that everyone takes into account when they consider taking any job, regardless of sector.

                  Agreed upon benefits and contracts should be honored no matter what the sector or place of employment.

                  It should not matter to anyone when a person retires as long as it was negotiated in good faith and follows their contract.  

                  Public Sector employees are not as well paid as private sector employees-even when benefits are factored in-see diary link and others cited in this thread for proof.

                  Most likely those retiring younger also most likely will not receive the full percentage of their retirement benefit (for example next year my public servant friend will retire with 40%... My spouse in private sector can retire now too but with only 55% benefit, but won't because we cannot afford it-and that not working weekend thing-all those military, cops, firefighters,and teachers would love to talk to you about their work on weekends-but I digress, sorry). Those factors are inherent in any job, private and public sector.

                  Lastly, if you don't like the benefits being negotiated or offered to public servants/employees, then stop voting for your local leaders who negotiate many of these public service contracts.

                  But please don't blame public employees for their contracts that were negotiated for in good faith. That's what republicans and corporatists want you to do.

                  I will agree to disagree. Enjoy your evening.

                  It will not matter how much money was in my bank account, but the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.

                  by emal on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:15:18 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Why aren't public employees on social security? (0+ / 0-)

                I would be very, very happy if public employees were to give up their pensions, and rely on social security like everyone else.

                Also- who are we kidding here? we pay 12.5% into social security. And social security is fully funded and solvent. How much does the state worker pay into their pensions? Until the last 1 or two years when public anger turned on them, most of them pay 0% into their pensions. And every pension fund is underfunded and require continual taxpayer bailout.

                Also- do you even know what the social security retirement age is? It's 65 to 67. A lot of public employees retire at 50-55. You already get an additional 10-15 year worth of benefit pay out.

                •  Where to begin with this paragraph of BS (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gjohnsit, martyc35, tardis10

                  Also- who are we kidding here? we pay 12.5% into social security. And social security is fully funded and solvent. How much does the state worker pay into their pensions? Until the last 1 or two years when public anger turned on them, most of them pay 0% into their pensions. And every pension fund is underfunded and require continual taxpayer bailout.

                  There is so much crap in this statement I dont know where to begin. ... Oh shit... never mind.

                  Watch Glen Beck much?

                •  also (0+ / 0-)

                  Many state workers are in fact eligilble for social security.

                  •  In fact, if you get a pension (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    joeshwingding

                    you get 1/3 of what you paid into SS.  I know this. My SS, accrued from working in my teens, all through college and teaching classes at night and on weekends while still teaching, was cut 2/3 because of my pension.

                •  Oh, dear. Study up a bit. please. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  emal, tardis10

                  Until the last 1 or two years when public anger turned on them, most of them pay 0% into their pensions. And every pension fund is underfunded and require continual taxpayer bailout.

                  This is patently false. I retired in 2005 and had paid into CALSTRS every single month that I was fully employed. I only earned retirement benefits based on full employment starting in 1989. I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on some of your comments, but this is an outrageous lie, and I am still being mannerly and not HRing you for it. Not every pension fund is underfunded, either. CALSTRS (I don't know the details on CALPERS) is funded and making a good profit on the investments it makes. I receive regular statements from them and I have access to their annual statements. Do a little research, please.

                  "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

                  by martyc35 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:09:13 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Will you stop lying. (0+ / 0-)

                  I paid into my pension every damn year I worked and for a while I paid both SS and my pension.  When I was teaching classes in the evening at a college and on weekends, I paid SS.  I also paid SS all my teen years, my years in college, working my way through.  And for all that, because I have a state pension, my SS was cut by 2/3.  

                  You really are some right wing troll.  For a while, I thought you were just an immature dullard, but clearly you are a wingnut.

    •  police, fire, and correctional officers usually (6+ / 0-)

      have better retirement benefits than other public employees.  There are different contracts negotiated by the union and the employer for different types of employees.

      That's a whole other ball of wax, trying to balance that out.

    •  Early retirement has been encouraged in the past (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, martyc35

      This was done to have the more expensive experienced teachers out so much less expensive new teachers could be retired.  This is changing though.  Here in Illinios you could retire as a teacher at 55 as long as you had 20 years in - now you  must have 35 years in to retire at 55.  Some changes like this are reasonable though.

    •  Full pension (5+ / 0-)

      Does not translate to full salary at retirement.

      •  I understand that. The whole point is the taxpaye (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dburn, Pozzo

        have to support the retirees for another 30+ years after they retire. This is not counted in the stuudies cited.

        •  Where did you get that lame talking point? (7+ / 0-)

          Public employees contribute to their own pensions. States contribute to these funds, but it is no different than an employer contributing to an employee 401K.

          Those funds are invested and a return is made on that investment.

          Where do you get off with that "living off the taxpayer crap"?

        •  The whole point is that you (4+ / 0-)

          would rather drag public employees down and play the right wing blame game, than maybe acknowledge that the greed of the private sector did not work out for all of you but just your bosses at the top.  Instead of blaming them, you seem to want to blame those of us who did not aspire to riches, but rather were more content with security and a future pension.
          NOW you want to punish us because of the failure of private sector workers?  No thanks.  You go out and fight for what you want like many of us did for many years.  

          Instead of a race to see who can be punished more, public vs private, how about you focus on the thieves at the top.

          •  Don't blame the Wall St thieves for this one (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pozzo

            You can blame the Wall St thieves for the economic crash. That much is true. However, the pension crisis has been brewing for a long time. I have already posted links for you to read before, showing how the CA government increased the pension payouts between 1999 and 2003 as a sweet heart deal for the public unions.
            Wall St tycoons are not the only greedy people here. The unions are plenty greedy themselves.  "but, but, but they are worse" is a tired excuse.

            •  Meanwhile (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gjohnsit, Tonedevil, martyc35

              A government increased the pension payouts between 1999 and 2003 as a sweet heart deal for the public unions.

              And then in turn gave the State if CA a nice 6 year holiday from contributing.

              A study by the Pew Center for the States revealed that while the states' plans are more than 80% funded, the state has failed to consistently make the required contribution

              "but, but, but they are worse" is a tired excuse.

              And those "greedy union employees" meme coming from the right for the last 30 years just keeps sucking in the ignorant and uninformed.

              •  That's the reason why the unions need to control (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pozzo

                the pensions. Just like it is in all the remaining private sector industries that still have pensions. There is no constituency to push for fully funding the pensions. The government workers don't care because they know the taxpayer will pick up the tab if there is a shortfall. The conservatives don't care because they don't want to contribute any money to the pensions anyways. There is no political pressure to keep the pensions funded. Meanwhile there is all this political pressure to increase the pay out benefits. Hence you have this situation.

                By the way, this is not just a CA mismanagement problem. This is a problem in basically every populous state.

                •  Rrrriiigghhttt (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gjohnsit

                  Maybe you're not old enough to remember that great big wet kiss Ronny Reagan gave to WS and ended pensions for many people after working their entire lives.

                  The government workers don't care because they know the taxpayer will pick up the tab if there is a shortfall.

                  This lie passed around as if it has some basis in reality. Its never happened ...

                  There is no political pressure to keep the pensions funded.

                  And yet they still remain funded. Amazing isnt it.

                  There are only two states with a law that requires their pensions to be fully funded and even they do not consider fully funded to be 100%.

                  Stop helping spread the misinformation.

                  Here spread this one ... you know what will happen when WS finally gets everyone into a 401K plan? Engineered takedowns, pension theft at regular intervals ... instead of helping them push the whole thing to the brink try pushing back.

                  •  "and yet they still remain funded" (0+ / 0-)

                    Say WHAT??? Are you dreaming? Wake up Joe! It's 2011! It's not 1999 anymore.

                    In CA, it's underfunded by over $100 billion. YOu guys are the ones who bought the Wall St sweet music. CA pensions have been investing in every Wall St cute inventions like derivatives, Hedge funds (UC for example), CDO's and whatever else. You guys are the ones who swallowed the Wall St gospel hook line and sinker. Too bad the rest of us have to bail you out now that the market has tanked.

                    •  I'll show you mine if you show me yours (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gjohnsit, tardis10

                      In CA, it's underfunded by over $100 billion

                      Since you insist on spreading this bullshit around like you know what your talking about. PROVE IT! Show me your source.

                      Once again CalPERS has outperformed even their own targets.

                      Fiscal year to date ended 10/31/2010   10.28%
                      Total Fund  $218.8

                      And this line of crap

                      CA pensions have been investing in every Wall St cute inventions...

                      Where else are they suppose to put their money? Under the mattress maybe? Give it a rest .. you have spittle on your chin.

                      •  Oh I am so sorry- I was wrong (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Pozzo

                        My bad I remembered the number wrong. CA pensions were underfunded by $500 BILLION!!!!!

                        http://www.stanford.edu/...

                        It's wonderful that CalPers gained 10.28% on its $218 billion. Too bad it LOST $57 billion in FY 09.

                        •  Oh brother (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gjohnsit, tardis10

                          another one of you economic illiterates citing that BS Stanford crap. Try something a little less politicized.

                          Here let me cut and paste what I had to tell one of you other math challenged people [edited for content]

                          The Stanford Study is anything but accurate. It was written by a bunch of Reaganite Union busters who's sole purpose was to attack CalPERS.

                          The primary source of grinding misinformation and union bashing comes from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. This report was initiated by GAS and set out to prove an already predetermined outcome as evidenced by this statement.

                             "Complying with Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement #25, public pension funds discount future pension liabilities at the same rate they expect to earn every year on invested assets.2 We believe this rule leads to understated publicly reported pension liabilities."

                          What they have just admitted to is that CalPERS is following government accounting standards. They then go on to support this disagreement by creating their own set of data to support the GAS agenda.

                          Outside of crunched numbers to fit a predetermined outcome lies this little fact.

                           

                           "Ironically, it's the states themselves, and not investment performance, that are primarily responsible for the growing deficit in pension funding. According to the Pew Center, only about one-third of states in fiscal year 2008 were consistently putting in 90% or more of what was required to get their plan to a fully funded status. That year, states and participating localities should have paid about $108 billion. Instead, they contributed just $72 billion.

                             One takes all the employer contributions into either a pension or 401 (k) and discounts the payments over time at the risk free rate.

                          By SIEPR own admission CalPERS has beat their own target for over two and a half decades.

                          I'm surprised that this bunch of crap is still be peddled as factual even by people at the KOS.

                          The $500 billion is projected based on faulty numbers fixed to show a predetermined outcome.

                          •  CA is not the only state. You can look at every (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Pozzo

                            large state and local government and find the exact same situation. Don't try to blame it on "a bunch of reaganite union busters".

                            Now I do agree with you that the state & local govt's have been underfunding these pension funds. That much I agree with.

                            But where were the unions? Why didn't the unions step up to fill the hole back in 2008? Why did the unions wait till the whole thing reach crisis mode now to give up their concessions? If they'd wised up back in the last decade and started watching those pension funds like they should have been, they would not be in this situation they are in now.

                          •  CA pensions (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            gjohnsit, tardis10

                            are not controlled by the unions or the union members. Where did you get this idea they were in control of such things?

                            And who didn't lose money in 2008? By in large CalPERS did much better than the overall market even under those circumstances.

                            If they'd wised up back in the last decade and started watching those pension funds like they should have been, they would not be in this situation they are in now.

                            What situation is that? The one Stanford made up to get all the headless chickens running around clucking the sky is falling, the sky is falling,

                          •  We all lost money in 2008 alright (0+ / 0-)

                            But only the public employee get to be made whole by tax payer money. Who is filling the hole in my 401k? Do you want to do that?

                          •  Wrong (0+ / 0-)

                            But only the public employee get to be made whole by tax payer money.

                            First of all the public employee is covered by the ROI that CalPERS provides and is not in jeopardy of taking some imaginary tax dollars from imaginary data suited to create imaginary problems.

                            Secondly your hostility should be directed at those that ACTUALLY did take tax payer dollars in order to be made whole. Think about it.

                            You want to argue "if's" while there is a bank robbery going on right in front of your nose.

                          •  Why blame the corporates when (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            joeshwingding

                            you can blame some kindergarten teacher, or a custodian, or a cop.  All this joker wants to do is blame someone but he can't blame his corporate buddies since he probably hopes to be hanging out with them again real soon.  So he's carrying their water now, blaming public employees cuz his buds stole from him.

                          •  Yeah, like AIG and Goldman Sachs! (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            joeshwingding, JeffW

                            Secondly your hostility should be directed at those that ACTUALLY did take tax payer dollars in order to be made whole. Think about it.

                            Renewable energy brings national security.

                            by Calamity Jean on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:40:54 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                •  You've said this before and it's still wrong (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gjohnsit, joeshwingding, tardis10

                  Private sector employees who have pensions don't control their own pensions.  The company they work for controls them or has contracted it to a financial services company.

                  I don't know where you get this idea that employee groups or unions are out there deciding funding levels, making investment decisions, etc.  Funding levels are controlled by the federal government, and have actually been loosened way too much over the past 15 years.

                  Some unions may support employee funds for various reasons, but pensions are provided by and managed by the employer.

          •  When did Public sector unions fight? (0+ / 0-)

            and how did that work out for the air traffic controller that Reagan fired enmasse? It seems that the public sector organized around the private sector's example and then were enablers as gov. workers were used to break them up , thinking of course of Law enforcement to the FBI with the help of congress and their trade policies plus no duties charged on inbound outsourced labor. .

            The short of it is , I haven't seen the public sector helping the private sector employees as companies became more oppressive but I have seen more than enough of public sector employees helping companies from the judicial branch, to congress and finally the executive branch and all the lower level employees that aided and abetted.

            Seems to me the Public Sector unions might had some help from the private sector unions and then said "fuck off". So who should we organize against first? You? Every time I see a  group of public sector employees here and in Europe beating the crap out of peaceful protesters and helping employers keep unions out, I just have to wonder , how much help did the private sector have from the public sector in cutting the private sector down. We were organized, or did you dumb-asses forget that.

            I just can't find anytime where public sector unions stood up to thugs and beatings and 8 month strikes before a strike fund was anything more than a meal a week.

            Save the sound a fury . No one is going to help you now. So as you piss on the only possible people who would stand up with you, I wish you the best of luck in showing us how it's done. I ain't taking a beating for you or from you.

        •  does your locality (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, tardis10

          show budget items listed for the pensions of everyone who has retired and is still alive?

          For example, does your yearly local budget show a line item for paying 8,000 to Joe Publicworker, aged 72, who retired 10 years ago?

  •  Right-Wing Propaganda & Lies (11+ / 0-)

    to destroy labor unions, good paying jobs, the middle class, our standard of living, the tax base, etc.

    Those damn GREEDY workers -- never any empathy for the super rich and the monumental burden of being given obscene tax cuts they don't need and won't use.

  •  The "powers-that-be" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal, BMarshall, happymisanthropy

    that, of course, would include Obama, correct?  Seeing as he has taken up the mantle for the elite to promote the idea of 'fatcat' public employees by freezing federal employee pay.

    The lesser of two evils is still evil.

    by MacJimi on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:45:22 AM PST

  •  When (10+ / 0-)

    we (FDA employees/Denver, CO) decided to go union, one of the many reasons was the never ending story of how we were so overpaid. Generally accompanied by laying about, and huge pensions. All bullshit. But, not many of our accusers were interested in the truth. And, for that matter, still aren't.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 11:45:29 AM PST

  •  File this under... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, SoCaliana
    Preaching to the Choir...
  •  Thanks MB. (6+ / 0-)

    Greatly appreciated.

  •  What are we willing to pay for government service (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCaliana, hmi

    I'm sorry, I don't care who is responsible for the cost of government.  How much are we willing to pay for it? 10 cents, 20 cents, 30 cents, 40 cents, 50 cents, or 60 cents on the dollar?  Government's duty, in my humble opinion, is to promote domestic tranquility; you know, the stuff that allows people to be tolerated by others (at the very least), and allows people to make their way in the world (food, shelter, etc).  What are we willing to pay?  If we offer to pay too much, will this have an effect on the cost of goods produced?  If other countries offer to pay less for government, do they get an advantage in cost of goods produced?  If so, how do we equalize this?  Tariffs?  Is there a point at which the cost of government exceeds its' benefit?  Have we approached, or passed that point?  If not, where is that point?  If so, how do we go back?

    Show me a politician that doesn't want to gain, and/or hold onto power, and I'll show you one who can't get elected.

    by HarryParatestis on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:09:21 PM PST

  •  Democrats should focus on abuses (4+ / 0-)

    It's unfair to single out public employees, but that doesn't mean there isn't serious waste and unfairness that needs to be addressed.

    Double dipping - in Ohio, you have public employees who retire, get their pension, and then get rehired and collect BOTH their salary and the pension benefits. That's ridiculous.

    Overtime abuse - this happens everywhere.

    3-year average - pensions in Ohio are based on the three highest years of salary, leaving plenty of room for abuse with and of career gravy jobs and overtime abuse.

    These things cost money.

    Democrats believe that govt is necessary to help our citizens, so we should be even more diligent in making sure the money is spent well.

    Gerardo - www.northcoastblog.com

    by orlandoreport on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:17:08 PM PST

    •  Damn Excellent Point n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Show me a politician that doesn't want to gain, and/or hold onto power, and I'll show you one who can't get elected.

      by HarryParatestis on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:33:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  overtime abuse? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ssgbryan, Tonedevil

      do you mean people are paid for overtime they didn't work?
      because that's not abuse, it's fraud,  and the laws are there and should be used.

      I don't know of a single department in a single public agency that isn't short staffed in terms of the front-line workers who are OT eligible  -- the cops, the EMT's,  the caseworkers.  

      So I agree, most agencies would be better off hiring new workers and reducing OT.

      It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

      by sayitaintso on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:37:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not exactly. (0+ / 0-)

        There was a recent report of transit workers in NY making over $200,000 per year by racking up double time. Schedulers play games and then reward friends with excessive overtime.

        Pension benefits are then calculated based upon total salary, so several years of crazy overtime leads to enormous pensions. There are public employees in Ohio retiring in their 50's with pensions in the 6 figures.

        Overtime is fine, but basing pensions on only 3 years off of inflated overtime salaries is a recipe for disaster.

        A public job should not be a lottery ticket.

        We should be looking at these irregularities which are all to common before slashing public jobs and pensions for everyone.

        Oh, and by the way, new GOP governor Kasich in Ohio promises to slash wages and pensions for govt employees, but he just gave his own staff huge salaries that dwarf what Strickland was paying.

        If Dems show they can be diligent and fair in addressing these issues, they will have more ammunition when facing idiots like Kasich.

        Gerardo - www.northcoastblog.com

        by orlandoreport on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 01:08:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Indeed. The only OT abuse I've seen (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tonedevil

        as a university employee is the other kind. That would be forcing non-exempt employees to work OT without compensation or forcing them to chose comp over OT pay.

        Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

        by susanala on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 01:19:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, How Many People in Ohio (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil

      Are double-dipping?

      Five?

      Fifty thousand?

      "It's always been a class war, Frodo."

      by bink on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:48:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  good question (0+ / 0-)

        I wish I knew the answer. Several years ago there was an uproar over Judges doing this and it was banned for Judges. But there are plenty of stories here on other public employees doing it as well.

        Gerardo - www.northcoastblog.com

        by orlandoreport on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 01:02:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Stories..." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil

          In other words, you have no facts to back up your claims.

          •  How about this? (0+ / 0-)

            http://www.nbcnewyork.com/...

            Further, "the overtime was often not necessary," the audit finds. For example, track maintenance workers often had to wait to perform their duties during overtime, as their shifts overlapped with the busiest times of the train schedules. In other cases, employees received overtime while covering for absent coworkers.

            Fifty-six million dollars could have been saved through more prudent overtime budgeting, according to the audit.  One hundred forty-four employees earned more from overtime than from their annual salaries, and more than 3,200 employees received overtime pay equal to half their annual salary

            .

    •  Well just reading the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, Matt Z, tardis10

      word "overtime" makes me, a retired public educator laugh.   No teacher makes OVERTIME ever.  Yet every teacher I know or have ever known takes home work every night;  many many of them spend Saturdays in the school doing stuff.  And oh yea, some even use their huge lunch time (30 minutes) to spend time with their students.  Occasionally they even get to take a bathroom break during their planning period.

      •  Boo hoo (0+ / 0-)

        So they have to take work home? You think this doesn't happen in the private sector? Teachers get way more vacation and holidays than private sector workers do.  Let me look for that tiny violin....

    •  Why is that a problem? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil

      I retired at 45, I damned sure can't live on the princely sum that is my military pension.  So I go out & get another job.  Stick with it long enough (& buy back enough years, at the cost of most of my military pension) & I can get a second one.

      High 3 isn't that great of a deal, we have it in Federal service also, it equates out to about a 5% total reduction in pension payments.

      Just because you made a number of bad financial decisions doesn't mean I should have to pay for your stupidity.

  •  Now, let's compare the private sector (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, HarryParatestis

    with elected officials--who are public employees, with all the perks, and those extra donation dollars. Right?  Remember to factor in the tax code and regulations for keeping and using donated money.

    Don't forget they're doing better than all the rest of us, except maybe the giant corporations who own our world.

  •  Military pensions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, icemilkcoffee

    Not hearing too much about career military personnel who retire quite early and then move onto another career while collecting their pension.

  •  Don't mourn. Organize! (8+ / 0-)

    This is what I tell everyone who complains about how well unionized workers have it in comparison to non-union labor.
    Instead of whining about what you ain't got, organize and go get it!

    "I like your Christ. But I do not like your Christians. They are so much unlike your Christ." - Ghandi

    by TC MITS on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:40:09 PM PST

  •  My dad worked for Atlantic Richfield. (18+ / 0-)

    He did, I think, 33 years. He was in the Oilfield Atomic and Chemical Workers Union for most of that time, until he got promoted to a management job.
    He and the guys he worked with all started out digging ditches for pipelines with picks and shovels. The reason they wound up with medical insurance and pensions was collective bargaining.
    All those jobs that my dad did are now mostly farmed out to subcontractors who don't pay well and offer no benefits. The only reason ARCO didn't do that in the 50's was that, if they had tried to, the union would have shut them down.
    If a working-class person is upset with their retirement options or benefits, it's a lot more productive to organize their own situation than to try to drag other working people down.
    My daughter is a respiratory therapist who works at a state hospital. Her husband works in the water department for a city government. They're not getting rich, but they're buying a house, raising kids, and have a shot at a comfortable life if everything goes well. Isn't that what we should all aspire to?
    It's not the rich schoolteachers holding us back, folks.

    Just spitting out emails from my sanctimonious purity-castle.

    by porchdog1961 on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:41:16 PM PST

  •  No surprise at all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    A lot of this has actually been improved in the past 30 years because of Reaganites wanting to work in government but unwilling to take significant pay cuts.  This was actually a major plank of national GOP platforms for the past few decades, claiming to give parity to those willing to work for 'evil government' instead of out in the pristine private sector.

    I was a court clerk for 13+ years, an finally got a private sector job at a law firm doing similar work .... at 75% more in pay.  The average file clerk was getting little more than minimum wage working for the courts, though the benefits package was livable ... and is now under attack from all sectors because it was livable.

    Courtroom clerks made better, but still about 2/3 what a paralegal at a private firm would make, at best, and far less with some firms.

    the same was true of all sectors, save for judges, where there is no parallel in the private sector.  DA's get way less than private attorneys, and work much harder with fewer resources.

    And guess what - this is proper.  When you work for the public good, you are working, at least in part for your ideals.  At least I and my co-workers did.  We would put up with the bad money, bad environment (asbestos and worse), and bad conditions because we were doing something good and necessary.  If money is your sole goal, go out and start your own firm.

    My life is an open book, and I want a rewrite!

    by trumpeter on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:47:08 PM PST

  •  Fighting to Lower Public Sector Wages (9+ / 0-)

    Is not going to increase your wages.

    It's just going to weaken the bargaining position for working people as a whole.

    "It's always been a class war, Frodo."

    by bink on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:48:51 PM PST

  •  What it boils down to: (5+ / 0-)

    Conservatives get upset at what our fellow citizens have.  Liberals get upset at what our fellow citizens lack.

  •  "Truth? You can't handle the truth!" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dburn

    Waste is not always inefficiency, sometimes it is outright theft.   Twisting ambiguous rules to capitalize at the cost of the tax payer is a shell game that even the lowliest custodian learns in the public employ.

    Situation: Overtime and swapping schedules is common

    I work an extra day for 8 hours OT and you take a 3 day weekend.   Next week we switch.   The extra day off?   You can take vacation, sick, or a comp day at no pay (however, you actually make up for half of a lost day because OT is 1.5 times straight pay which nets as much as 8 hours extra pay each month).

    •  Good, then you get to do some budget cutting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, tardis10

      If this is happening in your locality, then you have an opportunity to push for some rules which will help cut your local budget without having to fire anyone or reduce salaries or benefits.

      This diary is discussing national average pay scales and benefits for public vs. private sector employees.  Your comment, on the other hand, is discussing some local scheduling policy that you happen to know about.

      You can't possibly believe that there is someone setting up scheduling rules for all public employees nationwide can you?  

  •  Big problem with this study. Ave income =$55k??? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pozzo, Uncle Milty

    I have serious questions about this study's numbers.

    They list the average annual salary of a private sector worker as $55k, and a public worker as $49k. Now first of all- using the average is not a good meaningful comparison, since the Bill Gates types completely skew the average number in the private sector. Secondly these numbers do not match the BLS numbers.

    BLS:
    http://www.bls.gov/...

    Median hourly: $15.95; ie. annual $33k
    Mean (=average)  hourly $20.90 ; ie. annual $43k

    So even if we go by the mean (average), this study is still far off of the BLS numbers. Something is not right here.

    They should redo the study, using median salaries and not mean salaries.

  •  Lies (4+ / 0-)

    The analysis only looks at health and other insurance costs - this article says so in the opening paragraphs. When you include retirement compensation - npv it to current earnings, the gap grows much larger. Now that is no reason to 'hate' public sector workers and I agree the drum beat from the right is over the top. But I would think that progressives would focus their anger in the right direction; at those who deceived all of us about the true cost of these retirement benefits at the time they were awarded. Turns out there were liars on both sides of the aisle and in the unions. In fact, I think that some state and municipal bondholders are initiating suits against some states for materially misrepresenting their financial condition by understating their pension liabilities.

    The answer? No more pensions. Defined contribution is the only way that is sustainable - govt pays it out each year into a fund managed by the state or the individual, and then that's that. No long tail of obligations that politicians, bureaucrats and union thugs can lie about. Why is it that progressives can't get behind that idea?

    Glenn Individual Sovereignity is the right of every human being.

    by ScribblerG on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 01:45:58 PM PST

    •  very good. Net Present Value (0+ / 0-)

      is not well understood by most people, so when they mention "contributed only $3,000 in 1982" they have no idea what the value of that money is thirty years later. Insurance companies know this, and anyone understanding compound interest knows this, but most people can't even do straight percentages, let alone NPV. It isn't rocket science (or as we say hereabouts, "rocket surgery", and yes, I used tp be a rocket surgeon) but it's pointless to talk with people about financial matters who can't do basic math. Or worse, knows the math and purposely obfuscates the argument to leave the wrong impression.

      For instance, it's a common argument about Social Security to claim that "life expectancy" has increased from 52 years or whatever to 77 in the last 70 years and that's the problem but that ignores that the "52 years" was heavily skewed by infant mortality. For the purposes of SS we only care about the longevity of those who reach 65. All the rest who die early actually make SS MORE solvent by their contributions but not cashing in.

      So, y'know, figures don't lie but liars sure can figure....

      Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

      by blindcynic on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:15:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joeshwingding

      with your statement is here:

      The answer? No more pensions.

      No. The answer is pension for all!
       We shouldn't be looking to tear down our fellow worker. We should be looking to lift up everyone.

      ...and union thugs can lie about.

       And then you go and use the exact same language of a right-wing Republican. What a surprise.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:47:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pensions for all? We already have that (0+ / 0-)

        It is called Social Security. That is the wagon the rest of us are pulling.
        But then some people apparently decided they are too special to be pulling this common wagon. They want to have their own fancy Lexus wagon. Well- guess what- their Lexus has run into the ditch, now the rest of us have to pull their Lexus out of the ditch too.

    •  Amen. Defined benefits is surefire way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uncle Milty

      to bankrupt the public coffers. The elected officials cannot resist using that pensions as payola to buy the endorsements of the various unions.

  •  14 signs of creeping fascism: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, Matt Z, Calamity Jean
    1. Labor Power is Suppressed

    Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

    via

  •  Federal Workers not included? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uncle Milty

    It seems kind of strange to see an all encompassing research conclusion stating that public sector employers are not paid more than private when one is excluding the entire Federal Workforce. That's a pretty substantial chunk.

    A good example is  the military when food and housing supplements are there for all  ranks in addition to what appears to be a paltry extra for combat zone pay.

    It is paltry for the most part for the NCOs and enlisted men. But here is the part that Col Hackworth railed about. Officers who spend 1 Day in a combat zone receive $250 + and it's a big plus, no taxes paid on the entire month's salary. Not an insubstantial amount when considering the upper ranks like admirals and generals who make around 20G a month in wages and are well known for flying into a designated hot zone for a day that isn't really hot on expensive jets that are there for their use.

    Lower ranked Officers who are not official infantry officers have other ways, but I'm sure it's a huge surprise to those there on long tours for the first time,   as the ongoing traffic of brass flies in and out. This of course is just a sample but I can see why they wouldn't want to put federal wages in there with no apparent explanation as this type of abuse is rampant through federal ranks, mainly in the upper management areas but there is a definite trickle down effect.

    Here is where the study falls down , unless I'm mistaken.  Apparently the researcher included the infamous upper classes in coming up with an average wage for all private classes. Keeping in minds the dramatic tilt that the upper 1% and then 10% would have on a average,  if they were excluded from the analysis as federal workers were excluded  , it would have been a more honest study.

    Example:  for the private sector, think of the CEO and his executive team who rack up 300-400 million in combined pay including stock based compensation and average it against 10,000 workers in the same company making an average of 50K a year.

    That's 500 Million for the 10000 worker and 350 Million for 6 in the C-Suite . So for 10,000+ 6 people we get an average of $84,030. That immediately props up the private sector wages. By leaving this in and leaving out the Federal Public Sector Employees including the military there is no way anyone can look at this with a straight face and say it was a honest study, unless I missed something as I admittedly skimmed it looking for those two crucial elements.

    We complain so much about the wealth being concentrated in the hands of a few and then we average the wealthy in when comparing the public and private sector work forces while leaving out the millions of federal workers in the study which would have been crucial and make it more interesting to compare state and local to federal levels. This was relatively easy data to get at, if it in fact went missing, regardless of explanation,  the entire study is completely invalidated.

    The final kneecap to this was the author didn't compare the 50% of the private sector who has no way of getting the benefits of a large group plan for health insurance.

    Other material comparisons omitted:
    Pensions

    In terms of state pensions, I'll use one example given here as I'm sure each state is different. The worker pays 5% and the taxpayer pays in 10% which the state worker  can access in as little as 20 Years for the rest of their lives. The 10% paid by the taxpayers is not counted in as a benefit.

    The private sector in the small company demo which includes 29 Million small companies as defined by employers with less than <500 employees have a significant percentage that have no benefits at all , especially temp workers. Then there are the self employed who pay 15% for social security they can't access until many decades after the public sector employee. The rest pay half the 15% but the reality is that 7.5% paid by the employer is part of their pay and should be included.</p>

    There are 401Ks but the match portion of it has been pretty much discarded. We typically don't see those in small companies. Previously people's entire pension was tied up in the value of their real-estate and their 401k and personal investments (if any). Those were first decimated by the crash in both bubbles and then further decimated when no jobs appeared and people had to use money from retirement plans to survive if they were unemployed and unlikely to contribute to a new one for fear of another loss of job while those who hung on saw the value of of it at best as static if they didn't sell at the bottom since the match portion has been cut to smithereens as have their contributions.


    Health Care

    It would be helpful to evaluate and compare the out of pocket money paid by all public sector employees to out-of-pocket money paid by private sector employees. Not acknowledging the massive discounts plus tax payer subsidies to health care plans in the public sector that aren't available to most of the private sector would also shine a light on another substantive compensation disparity especially since Health Care costs are now 17% of GDP .

    While similar plans may be found in very large companies, the fact is a they are increasing employees share of the expenses  as they are shrinking the employee pool. As far as jobs, we hear they added 1 Million but we don't know if this is gross or net. If it's gross number it doesn't include those laid off.

    Shrinking Tax Base from Layoffs

    While tight state budgets are certainly a consideration, compare the total lay offs in
    the entire public sector workforce with the layoffs in the private sector . This should lead to a more honest assessment of what the real average wages are over a period of 5 years or so. Then either get rid of the top 10% who have 90% of the income/wealth  or add back in the federal workforce.

    I'm sure I'm missing a few things, but I'm not writing a research piece that was presumably peer reviewed. I wouldn't use that research to further the case of public sector employees. You can count on someone much better than I am dissecting the crap out of it.  

    It's pretty flimsy stuff as it stands.

    •  There's a good reason for it (0+ / 0-)

      The reason is: the debate happening now and in the future is going to be about state and local government workers, not federal workers.
        If you lump in federal workers then you distort the issue and the numbers.

       That's just simple fact. Not spin.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:42:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then why include the upper 10% (0+ / 0-)

        in the income average for the private sector and omit the federal workforce  for the public sector if they were trying to avoid "distortion"? Also if the debate is going to be about state and local then the report should be clear about that and not hide the omission of the Federal Worker or the inclusion of the very rich which distorts the numbers on the private side.

        That's why the research is a candy coated turd. Once it inferred all Public workers in it's summary title the lie started there and the credibility falls off one paragraph after another. No one should be comforted by the report. The only thing they should ask is what is the agenda?

        The report is so full of fundamental deficiencies calling it research that proves a point makes it sound like people only read the headline or  worse it's a desperate hail Mary.

        The biggest problem public sector workers have are the people on pension or going on pension now with an inflated three year average and decades of additional payments. They are screwing each other while blaming it on the rich and the right because they all want to make as much  as their working salary while retiring relatively young.It makes it hard for an actuary to project funding when they have to come up with a plug number for corruption.

         Anyone who says their isn't corruption in the public sector pension system is lying.

        It's also hard for the public to see why they are deserving because most interactions between private citizens with local and state employees isn't pleasant.   This is a problem the public sector created for themselves. Blaming it on others at the very last minute is incredibly lame. They seem to want to accept the benefits of organizing but none of the responsibilities that go with it.

        In Indiana the BMV used to be the worst place on earth to go. One could plan to spend a day there just to renew a license. Then around 2000 when Indiana.Gov went online and a bit later when a plates vending machine went in that works at all hours, the BMV workers suddenly became very customer service oriented. It appears now performance and throughput count. Before it was like a monopoly. Where else are they going to get their plates? Hahaha. Make em wait.

        I saw one worker go on break for 90 minutes after waiting for 4 hours  I sat down at her station and she just pushed her break sign in and back to the end of the line I went. It took all day for a simple plate renewal ie. to get a sticker. When I tried the online system in 2000 and got the stickers in the next day mail, it felt terrific compared to the  28 years of torture at the BMV.

        It still is around though and some in much more unpleasant surroundings. The attitude public sectors workers towards the people that pay their salary needs a major adjustment. That's why they won't find any help in this battle nor will they stick together like the writers and actors do. That's the part of organization that requires responsibility and sacrifice.

        The craziest argument I've heard is people from the public sector yelling at private sector workers saying they opted for lower pay and security and we shouldn't complain when we get laid off. If the private sector doesn't exist, neither do they. That's why they are in a shit pile of trouble now.  

        This argument was coming regardless of who was in political power. The abuses don't stop there, they also exist in taxpayer subsidized  institutions of higher learning . It's a wonder this hasn't happened earlier. It was coming, the depression just pushed it along faster.

  •  Thanks for this post, MB! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, Matt Z, Mol

    We public servants need this stuff to defend ourselves from the sort of attacks that now seem to be pouring in.

  •  Include all benefits, not just healthcare (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Huginn and Muninn, Uncle Milty

    This study seems only to include a portion of government benefits (health care). Consider:

    Most government workers have more paid holidays than private sector workers.

    Most have as much or more vacation / paid personal leave time than private workers.

    Most government employees have a 30yr/age 55 or similar retirement package that allows them to work fewer years than private sector employees.

    Government pensions are typically higher than social security and include health care at least until age 65.

    Government workers typically encounter fewer lost pay days from being out of work looking for a job.

    If you consider the $/hour worked and the present value of the retirement benefits, then I expect the equivalent government salaries are much higher than reported.

    All this and almost guaranteed job security.

  •  Really tough to know who is right on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Uncle Milty

    See this link, which also analyzes BLS data, which comes to exactly the opposite conclusion...

    http://www.usatoday.com/...

  •  Enough anecdotes of corruption (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10

    These are not a sufficient excuse to steal pensions from working people.  If you think they are, then you're mistaken.

    Everyone has an uncle who knows a guy whose cousin got extra overtime.

    Based on a statement like that, you want to impoverish millions of public employees?

    If you have a system that's corrupt or stupid, then fix the system.  If some people spent as much energy trying to do that as they do trying to beat up working people, there wouldn't be a problem to fight over in the first place.

  •  My take is that so many private sector (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, tardis10

    jobs are DISAPPEARING...either by out-sourcing, downsizing or firing people then rehiring at lower wages...that the "private sector" wingnuts are taking aim at public employees because of their inherent job stability - union or not.  

    Bringing everyone down WITH them into their gutter rather than raising people up...and valueing them for their work.

    I'm a public employee - in a NON-union state.  I just moved up to a salaried/appointed position - but my wages are shit.  I'm at-will as an appointee. There really is no private sector equivalent job.  But for someone who has been at this job for 10 years - my wages are incredibly low.

    I HOPE to retire in 9 years.... but with all this hoopla about targeting public employees - you never know.

    People who target us simply do not know what we do and why.

    •  Why stay? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pozzo

      If you job is so crappy, why not get a different one?  My experience has been that the private sector turns over more often as bad performers are fired and a search is done for the best new employee at the lowest possible wage.  

      Many more public employees have jobs for life and are never subjected to market adjustments.  That is why turnover is so low in the public sector.

      Why do you think outsourcing is so effective?  It's because the private sector can do it cheaper.  We may not like it, or think it is fair, but that to me is evidence of a wage disparity in favor of the public sector.

      •  Why stay? (0+ / 0-)

        Because there are ten times the number of people looking for work than there are jobs.  

        I am not an idiot.

        And my husband is unemployed.  He gets paltry parttime work during the Christmas runup and then spends the rest of the year trying for sales jobs everyone else wants.  

        I am the breadwinner here.

        •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo

          While I wish your circumstances were better, it does illustrate my point.  If you can't find a better job elsewhere, than you're probably overpaid.  The private sector has dealt with that reality for a few years now.  If a private sector employer can find someone else to do your job for cheaper, they generally do.  And if they can't, and you aren't increasing in productivity, you don't get raises.

          In the public sector, you generally get raises just for getting older and managing not to get fired.  The fed/state/city governments are out of money and it is unfair for the private sector to feel the harsh economic reality while also being forced to subsidize an overpaid and overbenefited public sector.

  •  Size Matters. More Education Pays Off (0+ / 0-)

    The study points out two very important elements that go a long way to explaining the cocked up figures used by Republicans.

    1.  Larger Companies generally pay higher wages.
    1.  Increased education generally increases your compensation.

    If you are comparing wages in two companies it makes a difference if one is General Mills and the other is Pop's Diner on mainstreet in Wobegotten MN. (In general, the multinational will have higher pay ranges and better benefits.)

    Public Employers, even in the State and Local arena, are almost uniformly over 100 employees or more and any wage survey worth paying for would break down its data so you could compare companies of like size.  Even though "Big Government" is part of the chorus of every song they sing, GOP statements comparing wages invariably don't factor that "biggness" into their numbers.

    It also matters if one company has over 1/2 of its employees with 4-year college degrees (or better) and the other has just over 1/3.

    For full-time employees, Public Employers have 54% of their employees with Bachelor's degrees or better.  Private Employers have only 35%.  (And the public sector employee group with Masters is over twice the size (%) of the Private sector Masters group.)

    Both of those apsects go a long way to debunking the GOP numbers.

    When you factor in those basic, fundamental, essentially undebatable elements to make sure you're at least comparing fruit and not apples-to-hamburgers, the real truth pops out.

    To the extent any education level of employee gets a better deal in public employement (a whopping 6% above private counterparts), it is not the over-educated, it is the High School Diploma holder who benefits from the negotiated salary floors (lifting them above the inadequate minimum wage under state or federal law) and from the provision of health insurance and other benefits that are much less frequently attached to jobs at that level in the private sector.  

    It is also interesting to note that the private sector rewards education levels much more generously than the state and local governments.  They start within 6% of each other at the level of High School diploma holder, but diverge rapidly and radically thereafter.

    The increase from High School to Bachelor's in the Private Sector is $40,660 (80% increase), while in the Public Sector, the increase is only $14,410 (27% increase).  

    From here on up, the private sector rewards education even  more generously than does the public sector.  The following are the increases for each successive educational threshold compared to each sector's High School base level:

    $/Percentage Above HS Base          Private Employers                Public Employers

    Bachelor's                                        $40,660 (80%)                        $14,410 (27%)  

    Master's                                            $68,322 (135%)                      $28,417 (53%)

    Doctorate                                        $101,279 (200%)                    $66,762  (124%)

    Professional                                    $142,381 (281%)                     $67,312  (125%)

    I believe these correctly reflect the data in the study, but best to check before use.  
    http://epi.3cdn.net/...

    It is not Class Warfare. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy.

    by Into The Woods on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 05:24:22 PM PST

    •  Clarification? (0+ / 0-)

      The table shows the total increase in comp for higher education levels, comparing the amount of increase to the high school base salary.  

      Not sure if this should be correctly labeled as the percentage above the HS base.  Suggestions are welcome to clarify.  

      (Eg.  The $192,977 average private sector is $142,381 more than the private sector high school base of $50,596.  $142,381 divided by $50,596 is 2.81 or 281%.)

      It is not Class Warfare. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy.

      by Into The Woods on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 05:32:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Solidarity Forever (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    I am glad someone is leading the charge on this. Sometimes it seems that half the people here either don't know much about labor unions or don't care, though I hope I'm wrong about that.

    My city's newspaper hates unions, and never wastes an opportunity to badmouth one. They ran an editorial a few months back complaining that bus drivers were paid something like $28 an hour, which the editorial board felt was too much. It's true that $28 an hour seems like a lot, until you work out that that bus driver makes, before taxes, $58,240 a year working full time. He might make more or less, depending on how many hours he worked, but even if he were an absolute workaholic who took no vacations and every opportunity for overtime that came his way, he wouldn't make more than $80,000 a year. Bear in mind this is in a city where houses (in the "good neighborhoods" at least) run between a quarter and half a million dollars on a regular basis. Also, while my city is not particularly violent, bus drivers do have to put up with a lot of trouble: wretched, miles-long traffic jams, angry, impatient, or otherwise troublesome riders, narrow and pothole-riddled streets, steep hills, and the reckless people they have to share the roads with.

    For my money, I think $28 an hour is a good starting wage for a bus driver, at least in my own city, considering how hard of a job it is. I know for a fact that I could not do it as I am now, and I doubt I would ever be able to do it.

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