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Graph showing that public-sector wages have fallen since the recession.
The loss of public-sector jobs is one of the stories behind continuing high unemployment. Private-sector growth hasn't been enough to make up for the loss of government jobs, and it's dragging the economy down. But it's not just the loss of jobs, Monique Morrissey explains. It's also the falling wages:
hile the decline in real public-sector wages started later, it was steeper and ultimately more damaging. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index, public-sector wages have fallen by about 1.3 percent in inflation-adjusted terms since 2007, where private-sector wages have been essentially flat (an increase of 0.3 percent).

Unlike in previous recoveries, state and local government austerity has been a major drag on job growth and the broader economy. The number of public-sector jobs fell by almost 3 percent in the three years following the recession, while the number of private-sector jobs grew (albeit anemically). The fact that public-sector wages have lagged behind those in the private-sector exacerbates government’s drag on the economy.

But Republicans continue pushing for more layoffs and pay freezes and general vilification of public workers.

Continue reading below the fold for more of the week's labor and education news.

A fair day's wage

Education

  • Newark teachers battle governor's school privatization agenda.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's schools chancellor, Carmen Farina, is already making significant changes:
    The chancellor, Carmen Fariña, in describing the Education Department’s $12.8 billion capital plan, said she would seek to redirect $210 million that had been reserved for classroom space for charter schools and other nonprofit groups. The money, spread out over five years, would instead be used to create thousands of new prekindergarten seats, helping fulfill Mr. de Blasio’s signature campaign promise.
    Not just pre-K, either:
    “We have a lot of priorities in education. One of the things I've talked about a lot over the last year is the over-crowded areas of the city. Central Queens, Lower Manhattan, obviously north shore of Staten Island,” [de Blasio] said. “We have a number of areas that are really problematic in terms of schools, overcrowded schools, we even have wait lists in some areas.”
  • New York, by the way, isn't the only place pre-school is gaining momentum.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 10:55 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I will be happy... (5+ / 0-)

    ...once the ridiculous idea that "a government job isn't really a job" is relegated to the dustbin of history.

    Cutting the public work force has slowed our recovery, and removed the most effective tool the government has of effectively raising wages that doesn't require legislative action -- making the government's lowest wage higher than the minimum wage and finding a job for anyone that needs it, as in the New Deal days.

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

    by The Technomancer on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:02:39 AM PST

    •  The government is very like a... (0+ / 0-)

      ...homeowner's association.

      People might live in homeowner's associations who are entirely employed by the association and do building maintenance, rent paperwork, accounting, etc.

      Those jobs are just as honorable as any jobs. But at the end of the day they are entirely dependent on people who work outside the association for their existence.

      Same with public employees. They exist as a scaffold to allow the private sector to do its thing and create wealth and jobs. The public sector isn't and can't be an end in itself.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:38:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um, no. (5+ / 0-)

        The idea that government exists only to support private business is absolutely anathema to any rational thought of what the elected government of a democracy should do.  It's government by the people, for the people.  Not government by private business, for private business.

        The idea that governments can't create wealth and make money for their country to be repaid in benefits and services is roundly refuted by nations that run sovereign wealth funds, and hold ownership stakes in public businesses on top of the taxation they levy to pay the price of civilization.

        A strong public employment sector benefits us in many ways.  Firstly, it sets the minimum standard a private company can pay when government work is plentiful.  For as much as private companies claim their enjoy competition and it makes them better, they sure do howl when the government steps in the ring to compete with them.  Wonder why that is...

        Secondly, government has a place to step in and do the things that the private sector won't because a profit isn't there to be made.  A private corporation can only advance society if it's in the interest of it's own bottom line.  A democratic government can advance society at the whim and will of a majority of its citizens.

        Finally, every single job in existence depends on people who work outside the employing organization, not just public ones.  There isn't a Ford if only Ford employees are buying Ford vehicles.  There isn't an Apple if the only people buying iDevices are Apple employees.  There's no Facebook if the only people on Facebook are Facebook employees.   There's no Daily Kos if Kos is the only one reading it.  I have never understood why someone could every consider this line of argument a logical reason as to why government employment should be limited -- it applies to every job out there.

        Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

        by The Technomancer on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:05:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Private business is ultimately... (0+ / 0-)

          ...the only thing that matters: the production of goods and services of real economic value that other people buy because they want or need them. All other activity exists to support this framework in one form or another, or as a charity framework to support those who cannot.

          The idea that government exists only to support private business is absolutely anathema to any rational thought of what the elected government of a democracy should do.  It's government by the people, for the people.  Not government by private business, for private business.
          The people need goods and services to survive and thrive. Only private business has been shown to effectively product (most) goods and services. The public sector provides a support infrastructure and then gets the hell out of the way.
          The idea that governments can't create wealth and make money for their country to be repaid in benefits and services is roundly refuted by nations that run sovereign wealth funds, and hold ownership stakes in public businesses on top of the taxation they levy to pay the price of civilization.
          There are very few examples of this type of thing. They do work, but in very particular circumstances. Most "public businesses" are either sovereign natural resource funds (public ownership of mineral rights) or gigantic enterprises like parts of Airbus, which still have to compete with Boeing. The government isn't going to produce most things. It just isn't.
          Secondly, government has a place to step in and do the things that the private sector won't because a profit isn't there to be made.  A private corporation can only advance society if it's in the interest of it's own bottom line.  A democratic government can advance society at the whim and will of a majority of its citizens.
          If a profit is there to be made, it's because there is a genuine market need for some item or collection of items and there are people freely willing and able to buy the product. A win/win for both the merchant and society as a whole. That activity is the very genesis and basis of all wealth generation.

          I don't know what you mean by "advance the interest". The government doesn't make anything itself for the most part. It can only take from one place and give to another.

          Finally, every single job in existence depends on people who work outside the employing organization, not just public ones.  There isn't a Ford if only Ford employees are buying Ford vehicles.  There isn't an Apple if the only people buying iDevices are Apple employees.  There's no Facebook if the only people on Facebook are Facebook employees.   There's no Daily Kos if Kos is the only one reading it.  I have never understood why someone could every consider this line of argument a logical reason as to why government employment should be limited -- it applies to every job out there.
          Apple and DKos are the product of people in a free market choosing those items as opposed to failed alternatives (Blackberry). Blackberry's demise and Apple's rise have resulted in a real living standard increase for people the world over because they said to themselves "I want this instead of that".

          If the government "doesn't have a profit motive" you lose all of this and you get whatever smartphone some government bureaucracy trying to protect Blackberry workers deems appropriate. After all, "jobs are at stake" if Blackberry goes under.

          Similarly, those of us in the private sector just want government services for the lowest reasonable price we can get them. Government worker interests are like Blackberry worker interests to most people. No one considered the interests of Blackberry workers when they started to use iPhones. They just did it, and Blackberry workers lost their jobs.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 02:56:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Very few examples? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Darth Stateworker

            My ability to post this is dependent on a government owned electric utility (Los Angeles DWP)

            The TVA and the Bonneville Power Administration serve large parts of the US, along with many surviving municipal utilities.

            It's the same 60 Hz 120 v as that provided by for-profit utilities.

            •  Power is another thing (0+ / 0-)

              The problem is that it's difficult to have competing power providers. So you either have some kind of regulated for-profit monopoly or you have a government service doing it. Either way is roughly the same thing.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 04:44:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I appreciate the detailed response. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, Darth Stateworker

            We disagree, but the thought you've put into this is obvious and respected.

            Private business is ultimately the only thing that matters: the production of goods and services of real economic value that other people buy because they want or need them. All other activity exists to support this framework in one form or another, or as a charity framework to support those who cannot.
            This statement makes the unfounded and false assumption that public offices and programs cannot provide goods or services that offer real economic value.  Quite the opposite is true, in fact, and on multiple levels.

            First, you have the implicit argument made here, whether you've intended it or not, that that generation of economic value is the sole goal to be pursued.  That reduces the answer to all societal problems that we're faced with to whichever solution turns a profit, without regard to a human cost.

            Secondly, it elevates the will of capital above the will of the people.  While I'm a strong supporter of the capitalist system of choosing which goods should be produced and which services can be provided, the market has a habit of being late to the party when it comes to offering solutions for the problems caused by the very engine that drives capitalism to be so effective.

            Finally, we can see where the government stepping in and providing a service (or forcing private companies to follow strict rules) can provide economic benefit by reducing the risk of innovation.  I'll be starting my own business soon because my wife's liver cancer surgery and my back surgery no longer prevent us from buying insurance on the open market -- therefore, I can go out and try to start a business and drive the economy, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing I won't lose everything I've worked for if I get sick at an inopportune time or in a severe fashion is worth more than any tax cut or incentive you could give me.

            The people need goods and services to survive and thrive. Only private business has been shown to effectively product (most) goods and services. The public sector provides a support infrastructure and then gets the hell out of the way.
            Except that without a requirement for private industry to hold up their end of such a social contract and give back to the society supporting them with infrastructure and services, we end up with a situation where we socialize the risk and infrastructure while privatizing the profits.  That's a recipe for record corporate profits and massive public debt.
            There are very few examples of this type of thing. They do work, but in very particular circumstances. Most "public businesses" are either sovereign natural resource funds (public ownership of mineral rights) or gigantic enterprises like parts of Airbus, which still have to compete with Boeing. The government isn't going to produce most things. It just isn't.
            I don't think we have a disagreement over the fact that government has a limited role in the production of goods and services, simply due to its nature and its goals.  Where private business can do things better, the government shouldn't be there.

            But this is a very different viewpoint than one that holds that the government produces nothing of value because the majority to entirety of its revenue comes from taxation, or that the government is incapable of competing with private business.  I bring up the latter idea not because I've seen you espouse it (I haven't), but because it's unfortunately common among the expert, serious people class when there's no logical reason for that to be the case.

            If a profit is there to be made, it's because there is a genuine market need for some item or collection of items and there are people freely willing and able to buy the product. A win/win for both the merchant and society as a whole. That activity is the very genesis and basis of all wealth generation.

            I don't know what you mean by "advance the interest". The government doesn't make anything itself for the most part. It can only take from one place and give to another.

            We won World War II on the strength of a centrally planned mobilized economy, directed by the government.

            We went to the moon carried on the shoulders of government research and engineering, the side effects of which launched the Information Age we live in today and the for-profit space flight industry that did not come up with a competing product until nearly 40 years after public investment and research paved the way.

            We have eradicated diseases with public vaccination programs, which decidedly did not carry a profit margin and functions at a nearly break-even state to this day.

            Faced with these shining examples of what the public will can accomplish, I find them to be a sound rejection of your idea that a government can only move around shells and add no value of it's own.  It's patently false, and it puzzles me that an intelligent, thoughtful person that your argument labels you as can claim that when we can walk through not just the history of our nation, but the history of the world and view the wonders that public cooperation through government has created that provided far more value to society.  

            Apple and DKos are the product of people in a free market choosing those items as opposed to failed alternatives (Blackberry). Blackberry's demise and Apple's rise have resulted in a real living standard increase for people the world over because they said to themselves "I want this instead of that".

            If the government "doesn't have a profit motive" you lose all of this and you get whatever smartphone some government bureaucracy trying to protect Blackberry workers deems appropriate. After all, "jobs are at stake" if Blackberry goes under.

            While none of what you say here is incorrect, it still requires that one hold the notion that profit is the only end that should be used to justify the means.  In reply to DBoon, you've already conceded that there are situations where there is a net good that comes from either a government service/utility or a government regulated and sanctioned monopoly, which as you rightly point out, are functionally equivalent.

            I reject that notion.  Profit has a place, especially when it comes to luxury/"want" goods and services.  It doesn't always have a place in neccessary/"need" goods and services where market dynamics break down due to Maslow's hierarchy of needs overriding any possibility of making a logical cost/benefit analysis when acquiring certain goods and services.

            I'll close this portion of our discussion, which I have greatly enjoyed, by the way -- you've made me exercise the synapses and that's much appreciated -- by providing an example of a market which would benefit greatly by having a public option introduced -- the news media, in the model of the BBC or an expanded PBS service.

            The natural suspicion of government would keep that reporting agency honest, the continued existence of private media organizations that have a profit motive in being the outlet uncovering propaganda so they can become the source you trust acts as a natural watchdog against a state-run media outlet like the BBC turning into a state-run media outlet like one in China or North Korea.

            And by providing neutral, non-opinionated information for the public, it then becomes the de facto standard that a media organization has to beat for trustworthiness and accuracy in a fashion that's far more effective than a Fairness Doctrine or any sort of equal time broadcasting law because it's in direct competition with the private outlets and forcing them to beat that standard to survive.

            I look forward to your response, if any.  Thank you for the stimulating discussion!

            Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

            by The Technomancer on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:13:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  How to hit the GOP over the head (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom, JerryNA, Mostel26

       As we venture out from this safe space - the RW are claiming that the jobs data is President Obama's fault, of course.    This chart is an "in your face" - you wanted a smaller gov't - well this chart is what you wanted.  
        Sadly, those folks are delusional and somehow forget what they sad 10 minutes ago, let alone 6 years ago.

  •  Feature, not a bug. (4+ / 0-)

    "Drag on the economy" is a feature, not a bug.

    It's the GOP's best talking point. "Look, we've had Obama in for this long a time, and the economy is still in the tank."

  •  When the GOP took control of OH, they (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA, Mostel26, rhauenstein, Egalitare

    drastically cut state funding to local governments and school districts to be used to fund tax cuts for the rich and handouts to corporations.  The result, layoffs and years of wage freezes for most public employees.

    “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

    by ahumbleopinion on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:15:38 AM PST

  •  the two fixes (0+ / 0-)

    the repubs want to cut taxes and privatize everything.

    the demos want to throw money at any problem.

    neither approach works long term.

    empires have never been able to make the needed paradigm shift to save the decline of their empire.

    America is failing on all fronts from education to infrastructure.

    the is the way of  empires own self destruction.

    •  So.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA, Mostel26, Bronx59

      ...how do you propose we fix our crumbling education system and infrastructure without spending money?  I'd love to eat my cake and have it, too!

      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

      by The Technomancer on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:29:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good question (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Technomancer

        I'm not sure what it will say in response to your question.

        •  To be fair to lifesajourney... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shawn87

          I was born at the ass end of '81.  I've never lived in an America where the government wasn't vilified and every single failed program the government has tried wasn't roundly excoriated as a waste of resources.  Sometimes it's extremely hard not to just give up and think that government as we know it is and will always be 100% Grade A pure bullshit.

          But then I look at the private sector, where such failure is viewed as a positive!   How many social networks were tried and failed or flamed out before Facebook took hold?  How many attempts at indexing the World Wide Web were made before Google got it right?  Why do we, as a society, worship at the altar of entrepreneurship when the vast majority of new businesses fail within 2 years?

          I'm not arguing that we shouldn't be holding up entrepreneurs, especially at the small business level, as a good example of what America should be like.  What I am arguing is that we ought to be giving the government the same fucking benefit of the doubt that we give the private sector entrepreneurs who try new ideas.

          Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

          by The Technomancer on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:21:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  leadership models (0+ / 0-)

            The  leadership models taught at our universities is a failed model.

            Capitalism ( profits over society needs) left unchecked will create a society of 1%ers.

            The MBA pay for performance as a leadership model is a model of self destruction and profits over people and now being used in our educational system. ie test scores for teacher pay bonuses. pure ignorance.

            Americans being individualistic do not understand systemic thinking. systems account for 90% of problems in gov and private sector.

            •  Systems account for nothing on their own. (0+ / 0-)

              More specifically, viewing a system as a problem when it's really nothing more than a set of protocols that define an ad-hoc or planned set of actions, no matter if those actions are in the computing realm, or social interactions, or anything else.

              While it's absolutely true that focusing solely on individuals and individual actions is the problem solving equivalent of missing the forest because of the trees, focusing on the system alone and shooting for an overall goal of reducing variance within it has a serious downside of suppressing emergent behavior within a system that may be beneficial.

              Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

              by The Technomancer on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 03:36:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  systems rule behaviors (0+ / 0-)

                "overall goal of reducing variance within it has a serious downside of suppressing emergent behavior within a system that may be beneficial."

                My experience as a process improvement consultant is opposite of what you have stated. the more chaos taken out of the system the more opportunity to see opportunities for improvement.

                Systems need to be created to identify and create opportunities for "emergent" behaviors.

                95% of the time individuals are blamed for systemic failures.

                Teachers are blamed in America for its educational decline when in fact it is a systemic and cultural and university failure.

      •  good question (0+ / 0-)

        Education must have a paradigm shift in the educational process from student and teacher individualism and administrator centered to group student centered.

        The massive amounts of money spent on the military and intelligence complex to fixing the infrastructure.

        It will not occur Americans love their super power status too much and paradigm shifts are rare.

        Visit the schools to view the chaos and behavior problems in the classrooms and teachers overwhelmed by the classrooms being teacher centered.

        American educational system is still an industrial model. ie boredom by 4th grade for 90% of the students.

        •  I'd argue the opposite when it comes to education. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bronx59

          I agree with you 100% on diverting spending away from the MIC -- at least as far as weapons manufacturing is concerned.  Research into new weapons and technologies that make the military more flexible does have a recognizable spillover into other areas -- shit, we're having this conversation on an internetwork of computers that was originally conceived as a way to maintain government and military communication if the unthinkable happened and we got nuked.  Much of the advances we're seeing in cars with computer-assisted driving/parking, as well as self-driving vehicles, stems from discoveries made during competitions funded by DARPA to get the land equivalent of drones working for tasks like carrying supplies, disarming bombs, etc.

          But we do funnel way too much money into that sector of the economy without enough return to justify it...no question.

          Getting back to education, though...we have the technology available to tailor education to an individual student's abilities more than ever now.  I was part of the GATE program when I was in school -- and I loved school because of it until it ended after grade 6 and I was bored again because standardized testing meant I had to wait for the normals to get a topic so that the teacher wouldn't get fired because not enough people passed the standardized tests.

          We need to leverage technology to provide a minimum standard of education that society decides that a citizen needs to be active in their self-government via democracy, while allowing those who can move at a faster pace to do so and assisting those who require more assistance through personalized education plans, study programs, etc.

          Passing the standardized test should be the minimum requirement, not the end goal of education.

          And as far as teachers go?  There are a great many of them out there doing their life's calling, and getting paid fuck-all for it. But, there's not enough of those people out there to fill all the teaching jobs.

          What do you expect will happen when you need more teachers than what's available from the that pool of skilled saints, the pay for such work is far below other work than one can do with the amount of education required to teach, and it's a position under such close scrutiny that one slip up in speech, or an outburst during a bad day that would be tolerated in any other line of work doesn't just make you lose a job, but makes you lose the whole fucking career?

          I don't know about you, but to me, that looks like a job position that's going to get more than it's fair share of shitbags who seek to leave it as soon as something better comes along.

          And that pretty aptly describes our public education system -- a sharp dichotomy between excellent teachers who live as paupers relative to their peers with similar education, who love their work and spend part of that meager pay helping the students they are called to educate as a sacred societal duty they honor with every graded paper, every homework assignment, and every lecture, and the rest who can't get a better job so they phone it in and fuck up an entire generation of kids.

          Since we know there's not enough of those saints to fill all the teaching positions out there, and we know we want to increase the quality of teaching as a whole, then we need to accept the reality that if we want skilled people to make a career out of it who may not be called to do it out of service, the pay needs to be competitive with the work they could otherwise get.

          And that brings us back to needing to spend money to improve the educational system, both on the technology needed to allow each student to reach their full potential rather than meeting a minimum standard and that's it, and to ensure the best and the brightest can make teaching a reasonable decision to make as compared to making 3x the cash with that Masters on the private market.

          Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

          by The Technomancer on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:16:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, you clearly don't have a fucking clue... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mostel26

            come back after doing a little research. Start with Linda darling Hammond, Diane Ravitch, and David Berliner. You have an extremely patronizing and offensive attitude toward teachers. if you want to contribute something meaningful, you need to shitcan terms like shitbags....or risk being seen as one yourself.

            •  I am very interested... (0+ / 0-)

              ....in hearing why advocating for higher teacher pay and a curriculum in public education that provides a variety of educational opportunities rather than a one size fits all policy that ends up treating a student receiving the least possible education to make them a functioning member of society, if that, equates to holding a patronizing and offensive attitude towards teachers.

              If that makes a shitbag, guilty as charged.

              Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

              by The Technomancer on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:23:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You trash existing educators (0+ / 0-)

                and that wholly inappropriate.

                •  Are you denying the fact that... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...alongside the majority of teachers that rock there are crappy teachers?  I didn't realize that making an observation that applies to every profession known to humankind was g oing to b e particularly controversial, given its truth.

                  This a reality-based community.  I'm not in the habit of denying reality, and you shouldn't be either.

                  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

                  by The Technomancer on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:09:26 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  % (0+ / 0-)

                    There are some, for sure, but not even close to the extent you mention and certainly not in any greater percentage than any other place of employment. To use it in the manner you did implies there is some type of problem specific to teaching when there is not.

                    •  Because teaching as a profession... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...like a few others in our society, has a disproportionate impact on our society as compared to other lines of work.  Take a look at my response to you in the other branch of our conversation.  I cover it in detail there.

                      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

                      by The Technomancer on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:58:08 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Really? (0+ / 0-)
            I don't know about you, but to me, that looks like a job position that's going to get more than it's fair share of shitbags who seek to leave it as soon as something better comes along.

            And that pretty aptly describes our public education system -- a sharp dichotomy between excellent teachers who live as paupers relative to their peers with similar education, who love their work and spend part of that meager pay helping the students they are called to educate as a sacred societal duty they honor with every graded paper, every homework assignment, and every lecture, and the rest who can't get a better job so they phone it in and fuck up an entire generation of kids.

            Stop repeating right wing lies about educators and the educational system.
            •  Stop calling true statements lies. (0+ / 0-)

              This isn't Fox.  You're better than that.

              I experienced in my education.  The majority of teachers were awesome.  Some were hanging around until retirement.  Some didn't want to be there at all.  This also describes every work place I've been employed at, and given that there's 3 teachers in the stitch-and-bitch my wife hosts (her name, not mine) and these are the complaints I hear from them -- teachers who, by the way, are all progressives.

              So either those teachers work with some crappy teachers, or they're lying about the actions of their coworkers to make themselves look better, which would make them untrustworthy teachers.  Pick your poison -- either proves my point that yes, shitty teachers exists.

              A right-wing lie/bad idea would be to say that we can correct this problem by removing tenure, or tying compensation/job availability to the test scores, or charter more schools.  You'll notice I advocated exactly zero of those ideas, because those are stupid ideas.

              Stop calling truth false.  Another blog already exists for that, go there to do it.

              Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

              by The Technomancer on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:19:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Anecdote? (0+ / 0-)

                Why are you using anecdote to underscore a point that you already agree is commonplace at every place of work? Why are you highlighting it as a problem with education when you clearly state it is a society-wide worker issue? There are not a disproportionate number of bad employees working in education relative to other professions, so it does no good for a discussion on education policy to discuss the minority of teachers. Why do you feel a need to bring it up?

                Also, you're drifting into nonsense with your Red State / Fox News scold. Stay on topic.

                •  Because we have some professions... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...where a member of them has the ability to cause a disproportionate impact on society.  Police work is one.  Teaching is another.  We see every day how a small percentage of shitty politicians gum up an entire society's worth of business on a regular basis, or how a stand from a courageous few can change society.

                  And while I wouldn't call Mr. Snowden's actions shitty, I will use his situation to further strengthen my point that certain professions have enough of an impact on everyday life that one member can make a large difference.

                  A crappy teacher can derail educational (and professional) careers if encountered during the wrong point in a child's educational process.  An amazing teacher can impart a love of learning upon a child that they previously didn't have before, and these teachers are worth, societally, more than just about anyone else when it comes to the importance of society, myself and my profession of computer engineering included.

                  Look, if it sounds like I'm bashing teachers as a profession, I'm not.  I have great respect for them.  They do something I cannot do, and don't have the patience for, which is teach the next generation.  People like me make shitty teachers outside of university level.  There's a lot of people like me working as teachers below university level.

                  But given that there is a recognizable impact, and the fastest known way to bring talent into any sector of the economy is to raise the prevailing wage for it so that more people consider it as an option, this is why I originally asked the question of how the person I originally responded to could pillory Democrats for wanting to spend more money and make a false equivalence between that and GOP efforts to tear down the public institution of education and replace it with the best schools private money can buy.

                  Finally, if you do not appreciate false statements being called out as false statements, or described as nonsense, stop making false statements and speaking nonsense.

                  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

                  by The Technomancer on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:56:27 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  a few points / questions (0+ / 0-)
                    People like me make shitty teachers outside of university level.  There's a lot of people like me working as teachers below university level.
                    - how many are "a lot" ?
                    the fastest known way to bring talent into any sector of the economy is to raise the prevailing wage for it so that more people consider it as an option,
                    - are you contending there isn't talent in the classroom teaching currently?

                    I appreciate your recognition of additional money being a necessary part of the equation for education, but the talented work pool already exists when one is talking entry level teachers. The problem is that a talented new teacher is inherently inferior to a well-trained veteran. The additional money needed for the school system would be best put to use for hiring more staff to reduce class size / assigned sections, freeing up schedules for increased in-day mentoring / training, and salaries that allow those already talented people to stay in their teaching placements rather than leaving the profession or applying for work in a school with better salary / conditions.

                    I flat out resent your false premise that there is some level of talent missing from the current crop of applicants for teaching positions.

                    On a final note, you completely and totally lack any level of experience or expertise with the school system beyond that of any other lay person who simply attended school as a student. Your attempt to lecture me on what is a lie or nonsense when talking the school system if beyond rude, based in ignorance, and not furthered by using the "bold" function for your post.

                    •  Answers and points/ideas of my own. (0+ / 0-)
                      - how many are "a lot"?
                      Enough so that nearly half of teachers, when asked in 2008, thought that there were teachers that needed removal.

                      I actually really dislike linking that article, because they take that data and use it to reinforce the argument that tenure is the problem and that ineffective, experienced teachers should be outright removed rather than given an opportunity to improve teaching outside the classroom in training, advisory, or other important roles.

                      Data, however, is data.  I'm a geek.  Data and logic drive me.  They're not always convenient, but they are the only way to determine truth.

                      I think we both agree that trying to punish teachers for outcomes that are largely out of their control is stupid, and that removing the burned out ones or those that are ineffective in the classroom but otherwise have knowledge and experience in the class would amount to a tragic waste of a wealth of experience and knowledge.

                      But if you'd like to get some updated information, I'll split the cost of a survey with you.

                      - are you contending there isn't talent in the classroom teaching currently?
                      Could you please connect the dots that led you equate a statement that I made about raising wages to attract talent to me stating that there isn't talent currently teaching?  I'm completely unable to figure out what would lead you to make that misunderstanding, and I'm asking this of you seriously and with good intentions -- not to be derisive, but to understand how I can explain my stances better.  Because I consider it my fault that that's the conclusion you came to, and that wasn't my intent in the slightest.
                      I appreciate your recognition of additional money being a necessary part of the equation for education, but the talented work pool already exists when one is talking entry level teachers. The problem is that a talented new teacher is inherently inferior to a well-trained veteran.
                      No arguments from me here.  That rings true across any profession, and it's one of the things I hate about my own line of work in technology -- the disrespect and under-valuation of skills of workers over a certain age.

                      The question I'd ask is if someone with that much experience and knowledge no longer has the passion for teaching, wouldn't the right move be to move them out of the classroom, and into a mentorship role, or a training role, or find some project that betters out schools and harnesses that talent and experience to improve education?

                      This is another point where I differ from a lot of the traditional arguments that teachers should be removed more often.  If it's not a passion and exciting for them anymore, they should be out of the classroom.  But I don't agree with the idea that removing them from the classroom means removing them from the school.  That's a terrible waste of knowledge and experience.  I propose moving them to a job that they're excited about, like mentorship, or training, or curriculum advisement and research is a far better solution, rather than saying "You suck, go home."

                      Also notice that my qualifier is the teacher's passion, not any results-based test.  If an experienced teacher still enjoys teaching, they shouldn't be shuttled off to one of these positions I'm proposing just to clear the way for new blood.

                      And if my in-eloquence has lead you to the conclusion that I'm a "fire the crappy teachers" type, then I truly do apologize, and it certainly puts into perspective much of the tone I've been receiving from you if that's the belief you've been having this conversation under.

                      I can also be an asshole when debating and I'm used to such tone either way, so don't sweat it.  Communicate as you feel you need to to make your points -- I do the same.

                      I flat out resent your false premise that there is some level of talent missing from the current crop of applicants for teaching positions.
                      And here we go again with calling truth false.  Please, back up your statement that there is no problem with the talent level in teaching, at all.

                      Wait.  You can't.

                      Why is that?

                      Well, you stated above that teaching shares the same problems with any profession, which indicates your agreement that there is some level of talent missing.  Beyond that, your profession loses 30% of its new talent pool in 3 years.

                      The NEA's own studies show you lose half of new teachers within 5 years, with the most named reasons being poor pay and poor working conditions.

                      So if you'd like to make this point your Waterloo, be my guest.  But you are absolutely 100% incorrect if you're going to state that there is no level of talent missing from teaching in the slightest.  The data is not there to back that statement.  In fact, the data directly refutes it.

                      And rather than face this point and attempt to do something about it, you offer a defense based on an argument that the truth is not true.

                      I have no reason to believe that you lack the intelligence to see why that is not and never will be a winning argument in a reality-based community.  I appreciate the desire to want to do so, given how the media and the right seem to take any admission of an issue within the teaching profession as a reason to dismantle the public education system, but that's not my goal.

                      On a final note, you completely and totally lack any level of experience or expertise with the school system beyond that of any other lay person who simply attended school as a student. Your attempt to lecture me on what is a lie or nonsense when talking the school system if beyond rude, based in ignorance, and not furthered by using the "bold" function for your post.
                      I counter with the proposal that since the data is backing every single one of my arguments and not a single one of the points you've chosen to challenge me on, that you're too close to the issue and either unable or unwilling to face its flaws.  Given the Right's continued attacks on your profession, I don't find that to be an unreasonable position for someone in your shoes to take, either.

                      Finally, I'd like to close this post by thanking you for discussing (and hopefully continuing to discuss) this issue with me.  While I think it's safe to say we have a lot of disagreements on this issue and that I can be an ass while debating those points because I believe in the use of strong language to make strong points, I want to make very clear how much I appreciate your willingness to take time out of your weekend to debate me.

                      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

                      by The Technomancer on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:07:16 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

    •  Do tell on failure (0+ / 0-)

      I'm curious as to what you'd call a failures.

  •  Laura, Diary missed key item in linked article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk

    Employee compensation is wages plus benefits with benefits generally being untaxed or taxed deferred income.  Looking at total compensation tells a different story than just wages, as the article points out.

    The recent divergence between public- and private-sector wage growth cannot easily be dismissed as a corrective to rapid public-sector wage growth, since the two series grew in tandem from 2001—the start of the series—to 2007 (not shown). It can, however, be attributed to rising benefit costs, as the costs of wages and benefits together has grown slightly faster in the public sector than in the private sector since 2007 (1.4 percent versus 1.0 percent in real terms). Some of this can be attributed to increasing employer contributions to public-sector pensions in the wake of the 2007-08 stock market downturn, which also battered 401(k) account balances but did not result in increasing employer contributions to these accounts.

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

    by nextstep on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:19:44 AM PST

    •  How is that key? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      Wages on both end of things haven't been keeping up with either historical norms or gains in productivity.

      You're bitching about how smoky the room is when THE FUCKING BUILDING IS ON FIRE.

      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

      by The Technomancer on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:27:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  nextstep, you're falling for a right-wing talking (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Technomancer, Mostel26

      point. Of course the public sector total compensation looks better than the private sector when the private sector has been slashing benefits. It's a divide-and-conquer approach.
      Step 1: Slash private sector benefits, then salaries.
      Step 2: GOP villifies "greedy public sector employees have it better than you".
      Step 3: Slash public sector employee compensation (in progress).
      Step 4: Privatize public sector work to private sector for ~2x original cost.
      Step 6: Repeat.

      •  At it's simplest... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bronx59, JerryNA

        ...it's just the private sector, those great worshippers of competition, removing the public sector from competition with them.

        And I say this as a guy who actually has a pretty deep respect for effective the capitalist system can be as a means to determine what goods and services are provided with an economy, so long as it is tempered with a strong safety net to ensure that the citizenry is taken care of when the market makes a major shift away from an industry or sector.

        But if we're going to resign ourselves to having a low revenue set of public institutions going forward, and resign ourselves to stagnating wages, slashed benefits, and more work, the absolute very least we should do as a people is make sure we're getting the best deal.  When private industry can do something more efficiently and effectively, let's harness that.  When public programs are more effective and efficient, let's let them do it.

        Right now, the mere mention of the government trying to touch something that the private sector currently monopolizes sets off a burning rage not unlike the the heat off of a thousand fiery suns, when in reality, a public actor is just another competitor in the marketplace.

        So long as that public actor isn't trying to squeeze it's private competition out through legislation to ensure it's always the best choice because the deck is stacked, much like the private sector is doing to the public sector now via ALEC and lobbying, public options to common services and benefits are an absolute net good addition to a competitive economy.

        Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

        by The Technomancer on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:15:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Diary's topic discussed public vs private (0+ / 0-)

        wages, I just highlighted that the linked article raised the point the results are the opposite when total compensation is addressed.

        The real income problem for 80% of the  US comes from having the worst recovery from a recession since the Great Depression.  It even violated the history of the steeper the recession the more rapid the recovery.  If we had an average recovery we would be seeing much lower unemployment, much lower long term unemployment, rising real incomes and less inequality.  We currently run the risk of having for the first time a recession before employment fully recovered from the previous recession.

        For there to be real wage growth, GDP needs to rise faster than population growth plus productivity growth.  Since 2000, low income workers had the additional burden of a significant immigration of low income workers while the demand for low skill workers declined.

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

        by nextstep on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:20:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd argue... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nextstep, JerryNA

          ...that low-income/skill work is being far more impacted by everyday automation than increased competition for those jobs by any form of population growth.

          The Jack in the Box near me now has a computer kiosk to order from.  Being the tech geek that I am, I find it to actually a really neat implementation of the kiosk model, and I'm waiting for them to implement online ordering through it so that my custom order is ready when I arrive rather than 4 and a half minutes after I arrive.

          But I also know the dude that owns that franchise of it.  And it allowed him to reduce his workforce by 1 person at peak.  So if every Jack in the Box implements one of those, and each one can reduce payroll by one person...that's what...8-12k or so less jobs out there?

          Detroit's manufacturing industry may have gotten executed by NAFTA, but that just sped up the inevitable that was already happening where 5 good assembly line jobs were being replaced by one dude monitoring a few robots.  NAFTA just made it so that for a decade or so, it was cheaper to buy human time overseas than it was to buy more robots.

          Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Clarke's Third Law

          by The Technomancer on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:29:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I wouldn't count on those pensions (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bronx59

      Benefit costs would include employer contributions to health insurance premiums. As health insurance premiums rise, total compensation may rise as a result based on an employer contributing a percentage of the premium. Depends on the employer. I've experienced it as a full pickup of the employee premium and 50% of dependent premium. As premiums rose each year, employee total compensation rose in tandem. It's arguable just how much of that compensation benefits the employee rather than the extorting insurer.

      Some municipalities have self-funded insurance. Even if they don't have to be concerned with an outside insurer raising premiums, they still have to deal with rising health care costs for services.

      It will be interesting to see how the Affordable Care Act effects total compensation calculations. If premiums and healthcare costs don't rise as steeply as they have in the past, will the 'savings' be passed along in the form of wages or other benefits?

      The pension issue is sticky, and I am by no means an experienced pension administrator. The local government that I worked for funded pension plans via employer contributions and employee contributions. Union negotiations had reached an agreement that the employee contribution would be shared on a percentage basis between the employee and the employer. The term we used was "pick up".

      Management employees had their entire pension contributions "picked up" (i.e. I was classified as a management employee and made zero contribution out of my salary to my pension. The entire "employee" contribution was covered by the employer).

      Pick-ups were reduced or eliminated in contract negotiations occurring after the 2008 crash. Union represented employees needed to contribute a greater percentage of their pension contribution and for the first time in years, Management had to contribute out of their salary. No more total pick up.

      I'm not sure what type of contributions the article is referencing. I read through it, but may have missed an elaboration. It may mean contributions that the employer needs to make to the pension fund subsequent to the devaluation of the asset pool resulting from the real estate and market crash.

      I'm leaning toward this interpretation, as the article compares pension contributions to a lack of 401(k) contributions.

      Because pensions are a defined benefit plan, when the market tanked those big fat balances declined and all of a sudden what had been a funded plan (with assets on balance) may have become unfunded (payments paid from current contributions, not an existing asset pool). Pension plans were faced with having to continue paying retired employees out of a much smaller or nonexistent pool. That would result in an employer having to contribute more money (above and beyond their budgeted contributions) to the plan in order to continue making pension payments.

      Compare this to a 401(k) plan loosing value in the crash. It is not a defined benefit plan; the employee is not guaranteed a specific payment every month. The employer is not obligated to make up any investment loss.

      Depending on how pension funds were invested the plan may have taken a moderate to large loss in the crash. I think BofA advised Detroit to invest heavily in credit default swaps, and we can see how well that worked out.

      In some cases, pension employers ceased making their contributions to the funds at all! Prior the the crash, pensions may have been funded at over 100% of their liabilities so politicians used funds that would have typically been invested in the pension to offset tax cuts or pay for other things. New Jersey is an example of this. Over $3 billion in contributions were skipped over eight years.

      If the loss was large enough, and the employer can't fulfill the payment obligations, they've been filing bankruptcy and reducing or eliminating the payments. Think Detroit or Hostess.

      I admit I'm cynical. In the current climate, including a pension as part of total compensation seems a bit disingenuous when the odds of an employee actually receiving the promised payout is declining.

      "Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth." Dh. v. 204

      by kilesa on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:39:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, kilesa; may I add the Illinois TRS debacle (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kilesa

        a pet cause of mine, due to many retired educators who made there contributions over a 30 to 40 year career in public education, and are now being told by Springfield, "Hey, when we said we would match the contributions and make sure you had health benefits and COLA increases, we we're just kidding."  This ex post facto rewrite that the state of Illinois is attempting goes beyond dishonest and disrespectful.

        I tire of people telling me how "easy" it is to be a teacher.  Yet they somehow never have a response when it's pointed out to them that the deficit is a 30 year projected deficit.  Or when you ask them, "So, what would happen in the private sector if the company you worked for didn't pass on your FICA deduction, failed to make the employer matching contribution to your pension, or - worse yet - not only failed to pony up their share, but were caught dipping into the money that you put into the fund?"

        Being the spouse of a teacher gives one a whole new perspective on the effort they put in and the level of positive impact the teacher can have on so many lives ... you know, our future.

      •  For public employee pensions that are defined (0+ / 0-)

        benefit, the government bears the risk of pension fund performance not current or future pensioners as the pension benefits due do not change based upon portfolio performance.  So pensioner risk is limited to the risk that the government goes bankrupt.

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

        by nextstep on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 05:10:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes that is correct (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nextstep

          and more than one jurisdiction has declared bankruptcy since 2008.

          Eight cities and towns have filed for bankruptcy since 2010:
          Detroit
          San Bernardino, CA
          Mammoth Lakes, CA (dismissed)
          Stockton, CA
          Jefferson County, AL
          Harrisburg, PA (dismissed)
          Central Falls, RI
          Boise County, ID (dismissed)

          an additional 28 utilities, water districts, hospital authorities, and other municipal units have also gone bankrupt post 2008.

          Vallejo, CA didn't touch pensions in its bankruptcy plan, but as of Oct 2013 it was experiencing budget issues related to pension obligations and pressure is mounting to "reform" public pensions in Vallejo and California as a whole.

          Pension reform got a lot of press when I was working for a local government entity. It was easy for people to demonize rank and file union employees for pension dollars received - yet the largest payouts went to Sheriff and Fire Dept management positions. Even moreso - because pensions were calculated based on wages and overtime was considered part of that. And both fire and sheriff had guaranteed overtime negotiated in their contracts.

          It's a complex issue. And we are only looking at how it affects the US. European pensions were also affected by the crash. Pensions are being cut there as well.

          Bankrupt cities in US map

          Vallejo mired in pension debt

          Police salaries and pensions affect on California governments

          "Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth." Dh. v. 204

          by kilesa on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 05:33:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This... (0+ / 0-)
            It was easy for people to demonize rank and file union employees for pension dollars received - yet the largest payouts went to Sheriff and Fire Dept
            ...is pretty much dead-on in many areas.

            Pensions for public safety officials like cops and firemen typically cost much more than pensions for civilian employees, because pensions for public safety workers often allow for retirement after 20 years of service instead of the 30 or more a civilian employee would need to work.

            Additionally, due to the 24/7/365 nature of public safety jobs, pension padding comes much more into play than it would for a civilian 9-5er.  Because of that 24/7/365 nature of the job, there is usually plenty of opportunities to work overtime - and the most senior guys/gals generally get the offer to work it first.  This allows them to work massive amounts of O/T near the end of their careers, significantly altering their final salary average during the block of years used to calculate pension benefits.

            Due to both of these items, public safety pensions generally cost far more than civilian pensions.  That is why when you hear the stories about civil servants retiring with huge pensions or pensions more than their annual salary while working, it's usually a cop or a fireman.

            On the first part - the "20 and out" nature of their pensions - I agree with the practice.  No one wants an out-of-shape 60 year old fireman trying to drag their unconscious ass out of a burning building.  So allowing them to get out while still young is advantageous.

            On the second part - I'm not a huge fan of purposeful pension padding at the end of a career.  If they have to work mandatory overtime, fine - give them credit for it when it comes to pension calculations.  But if they volunteer for it - no.  The chances for abuse are just too great.

            I did an analysis of the NYS pension system in regards to this a while back while arguing with a right winger over padding and such.  He could not see the difference between a public safety pension and a civilian pension, and thought both were "abused" - to use his term - equally.  The results were illustrative of the issue:

            7.7% of all public safety pensions in the statewide system had an annual payout of $80k or more.  Civilian pensions, on the other hand, reflected that less than 1% (specifically, 0.6%) had an annual payout of $80k or more.  Considering the base salary for a cop or fireman and the base salary of an average civilian civil servant are near the same amount, this reflects that padding is problematic.

            I'm all for pensions - I'm a huge defender of them, because when properly funded and managed, they're the best bang-for-the-buck retirement system out there for both employers and employees.  However, when abused - either by those in charge - like pols- underfund or mismanage them; or when the pensioners play games with final average salaries, they become expensive and unwieldy.

            I respect what the public safety folks do immensely - and I'm happy to provide for an earlier retirement due to the physical nature of the job - but pension padding via optional overtime work as a practice should be legislated out.  If there is that much of a need for O/T, it's likely cheaper to simply hire more guys.  Bottom line - O/T shouldn't be a free-for-all in the public safety ranks.

            "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

            by Darth Stateworker on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:45:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  This a lie to the point where I want to HR it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darth Stateworker

      I am a Federal employee and our 1% raise after a 3-year pay freeze in January when you factor in increase in cost of living and health costs leaves us with less pay than 5 years ago. It's really quite maddening how every says we get a free ride on retirement when we are essentially required to kick in 12% for our retirement (soc security, + pension, + 401K). Fed employee hires in 2012 and 2013 have to kick in even more -- way to encourage people to serve the public, Congress!

      •  The quote in my comment is from the article (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        robbinsdale radical

        that Laura used as the basis of her Diary.  You disagreement is not with me but the article's author.

        The article was written by Monique Morrissey (who formerly worked at the AFL-CIO) and published on the Economic Policy Institutes's website -- generally regarded as a policy group for Democrats.  See http://www.epi.org/...

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

        by nextstep on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 05:00:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's not so much a lie (0+ / 0-)

        as it is the same kind of distortion he seems to be accusing Laura of doing.

        The additional benefit figures he refers too note an increase in cost of 1.4% annually for the public sector and 1.0% annually for the private sector.

        As costs are a fraction of the cost of an employees salary, if public sector employees are "gaining" 0.4% in benefits but losing on the salary front to the private by a spread of 1.6%, they're still losing ground.

        So what Laura was inferring was still accurate, and Nextstep is working hard to distort.

        You have to take Nextstep with a grain of salt on public sector matters - in my experience, he isn't much of a fan - and that's putting it nicely.  Note the totally random "this woman who wrote it was an AFL-CIO person before taking this job at this liberal think tank" quip in his response.  It's almost, no, exactly the kind of response you'd get from a rightwinger as well - attempting to impeach the credibility of the reports author for political reasons.

        "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

        by Darth Stateworker on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:55:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  So we conclude... what? (0+ / 0-)
      Employee compensation is wages plus benefits with benefits generally being untaxed or taxed deferred income.  Looking at total compensation tells a different story than just wages, as the article points out.
      _
      As Laura points out, public sector wages are falling 1.3%/year, and private sector wages are rising 0.3%/year.  The additional information in the article - in regards to benefits costs - reflects public sector costs rising 1.4%/year and private sector costs rising 1.0%/year.

      So I don't think looking at both data points combined reflects anything different.  The public sector makes up slightly in benefits the amount their losing ground on salary.  Operative word: slightly.

      Translated into English, the public sector is seeing a spread on wages of 1.6% in the favor of the private sector, and a spread on benefits of .4% in favor of themselves.

      Any way you slice it, the public sector is still losing ground overall.  That is indisputable.

      "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

      by Darth Stateworker on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:08:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I heard this on the radio. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Technomancer, Mostel26

    The so called Great Recession was no such thing.  It was the "Great Theft".    Why do we always accept their language, which we know is a total lie, and then use it in every story we tell.  

    It is the Great Theft!

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:43:03 AM PST

  •  I know that in the past in our (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Technomancer, Bronx59

    Small to medium town the jobs that supported families came from education, the post office, the parks service,  the forest service, etc.

    All have been decimated.  Cut-backs, hiring freezes. Mostly all that is left is retail and food service. A few of those places pay enough to take care of a family but not many.

  •  Newark (0+ / 0-)

    What a double ended level of abuse the Newark school system took from both Booker and Christie. I really hope we keep Booker away from any education policy in the Senate and New Jersey can undo Christie's destruction of the schools once he's gone from office.

  •  Since many of the Republicans I know . . . (0+ / 0-)

    . . .work for the local government and espouse small government policies (except for their valuable territory), there is a certain perverse justice in some of this.

    Just sorry for the innocent victims.

    •  There is nothing more ironic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mostel26

      than a teabagger rank-and-file government worker.

      I've worked with more than a few.  They will howl like madmen on every teabagger talking point - up to and including any other civil servant.

      But when you point out what they do for a living, and how the same talking points apply to them, suddenly - they "earned it."  It's amazing how their own self-interest is the only thing that can break through the echo chamber.  

      However, I needle them anyway by pointing out that when other teabaggers are spewing their anti-civil servant vitriol, the other baggers aren't talking about everyone but them.  The blank stares and head explosions that occur afterwords are priceless.

      "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

      by Darth Stateworker on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:13:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  self-destructive dolts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Darth Stateworker

        The sheer number of elections that could be won if all public servants would stop voting Republican is staggering. I work with a few myself, they're maddening.

        •  It's true we could (0+ / 0-)

          single-handedly turn the tide of more than a few contests if we all voted as a cohesive block, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

          Firstly, too many of them don't even bother voting in the first place.  They're simply too lazy to go to the polls.  These are generally the same ones that when they get shit on, they're screaming "Why doesn't the union do something?!?!" while they've never gotten off their ass to do anything the union has asked them to do either - like even show up for a half-hour long rally.  They simply don't realize that the unions power resides in the members themselves and requires the members actually getting off their asses.

          Of those that do vote and vote Republican (usually the ones grumbling about "forced union dues" and generally grumpy narcissists 24/7), they're largely what you'd expect a Republican voter to be:  a doltish, slow-thinking middle aged white guy scared because they believe there is a black socialist usurper in the Oval Office, and they are trying desperately to hold on to the Mad Men-esque 1950s/1960s era version of suburban utopia, subservient women, and white privilege the Republican party tends to sell.

          "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

          by Darth Stateworker on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:40:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Federal workers got a 1% raise this year (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob

    after a pay freeze since 2009.  I'll try not to spend my extra $40 a month take home all in one place.....

  •  Federal workers got a 1% raise this year (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Darth Stateworker

    after a federal pay freeze since 2009.  I will try not to spend my extra $40 a month take home all in one place.

    •  Me too. It's like tipping a dime (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darth Stateworker

      on a $40 dinner ticket. Even our slow rate of inflation ate any benefit of that pay raise probably in early 2009.

      And of course health care, tuition, and health insurance have all been going up all this time too. Ugh.

      Remember these are the people that keep our food supply safe, collect data that allows engineers to build bridges the right size, and fight terrorism. Just the people we want to discourage in perilous times.

  •  The statistics reflect reality. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26

    However, some people have a difficult time grasping reality when it comes to the public sector. And it isn't just wingnut conservatives that have that problem - just read a few of the comments on this diary.

    The right has successfully painted the public sector as some sort of leech on the private sector.  They've demonized the taxes that pay the payroll for the public sector.  They've demonized pensions.  They've demonized health insurance.  All of this - demonizing individual pieces of public policy or benefits for public workers is for one reason:  to distract people enough from the reality that the size of the public sector workforce is shrinking and public sector pay keeps getting shittier.  I can add that it is becoming harder and harder to find quality people for professional positions - kids out of college see the shitty payscales and compare them to what they'd make elsewhere, see that pensions are being stolen retroactively,  see that job stability is no longer a sure thing, and because of all of that, realize that the huge discrepancy in pay no longer has the upside it once was.

    No one becomes a civil servant to become rich.  But if you listen to the rightwingnuts, some supposedly "liberal" politicians, and even people here who are supposedly "liberal", we're apparently all millionaires.

    That nonsense has been repeated over and over again for years, and until there is a proper counter to it - people in general - at best - will let out a collective yawn about the plight of public sector workers.  It's simply too easy to point to outliers - such as some retired cop pulling in a $100k/year pension after pension padding in the last years of their career, or some state that horribly mismanaged its pension funds having the plan tank - than it is to look at what the norm is.  The norm isn't as sensational as the outliers.  It doesn't generate the outrage the rightwingers and others are looking for.  But in a workforce the size of our nations public sector, you're sure to find plenty of stories that will generate outrage, even if those stories represent 1/100th of 1% of the overall workforce.  With hundreds of pension plans nationwide, you're sure to fund enough that are failing due to mismanagement to paint them all as "unsustainable."

    The public has the collective attention span of gnats.  They're going to ignore the boring, yawn-inducing realities and simply change their attention on the sensationalistic stuff for all of 3 seconds before returning to reading about what Justin Bieber got arrested for last night or who one of the Kardashian sisters was fucking last night.   Wonkish stuff that reflects reality is simply too boring to grab their attention, much less change their minds.

    "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

    by Darth Stateworker on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:54:20 PM PST

  •  borrow (0+ / 0-)

    The Obama administration's deficit reduction program, if approved, will allow debt collectors to call cell phones of debtors with delinquent federally-backed loans. These debts contain back taxes, most mortgages and government school loans. Currently, debt collectors are only permitted to call land line home telephones. You may consider having payday loans to pay your bills. Borrowing over the next few years is likely to be higher. And the growth forecasts a bit lower. But there will be no big change of direction. Though, behind the scenes at least, I have been struck by a significant change of tone.

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