Government Spending

"They need to know that there isn't a protected class receiving better treatment"

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How green ARE your nukes?

Over at The Weekly Standard, American Enterprise Institute scholar Andrew Biggs and the Heritage Foundation's Jason Richwine make a solid contribution to the journalistic/economic literature on public vs. private sector pay, largely by surveying the many different sub-categories of study in this controversial and vitally important field. Give the whole thing a read or a bookmark if you're interested in the subject; I'll fast-forward here to their conclusion:

The question of whether federal workers are overpaid is often portrayed in the media as unanswerable, with each side of the debate citing its own numbers. In fact, the academic evidence is much more one-sided: Generally speaking, federal workers do receive higher salaries than similar private employees; individuals changing jobs receive bigger pay increases when their new job is with the federal government; federal employees quit less than private workers; and private workers line up to get federal jobs.

The authors also point to some benefits of lowering public sector personnel costs:

If ordinary Americans are to accept significant sacrifices in programs that are dear to them, they need to know that there isn't a protected class receiving better treatment.

A number of studies of fiscal consolidations in OECD countries over the past several decades have shown that reductions in the government wage bill—that is, the size and pay of the public sector work force—are an important part of larger efforts to balance the budget. A recent study published by the American Enterprise Institute showed that countries that succeeded in reducing their fiscal gaps placed a lot of weight on reducing public sector pay.

One reason is that reducing the public workforce shifts resources to the private sector, where they are almost certainly better utilized and so benefit the economy. A second, and probably more important, reason is basic credibility: When a government is willing to take on entrenched interests, it demonstrates to both citizens and financial markets that it is serious about reform. Individuals are more willing to invest when they feel confident their taxes will not rise in the future, and lenders are more willing to purchase government debt when they know it can be paid back.

A 1996 International Monetary Fund study concluded: "Fiscal consolidation that concentrates on the expenditure side, and especially on transfers and government wages, is more likely to succeed in reducing the public debt ratio than tax-based consolidation." Given the size of the fiscal gap the federal government must close, it seems foolish to leave the government wage bill out of the equation.

Whole thing here. Reason's rich archive on the subject begins here, and includes this horror-show in 3D:

NEXT: The Constitutional Liberty We Lost

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  1. the real scary shit in that clip was his DNA riddled jacket.

    1. Whatever you said was an embarrassment. Shut up already, dipshit.

      1. Warty, there’s no point in you incifing it if you’re going to respond to it anyway. Let go of your anger and let me handle it, as we discussed on the other thread.

        There has been too much violence. Too much pain. But I have an honorable compromise. Just walk away…just walk away and there will be an end to the horror.

        1. No no, you don’t understand. Insulting it is too much fun. Besides, who run Hitandruntown?

          1. Remember where you are, Warty. This is Hit & Run, and STEVE SMITH is listening; and will take the first man that screams. Or he could take rectal. Preferably rectal.

            1. STEVE SMITH NOT TOUCHING THAT

              1. HELLE, I WOULD FUCK STEVE SMITH OVER YOU ANY DAY OF THE WEEK AND IF YOU THINK ARRIANA HUFFINGTON CAN TURN A GAY MAN STRAIGHT WITH A BLOWJOB, WAIT TILL YOU SEE WHAT I CAN DO WITH A SASQUATCH AND A RECTAL MASSAGE.

                1. I think you missed the part where I don’t give a fuck about you.

            2. COULD I MAKE A BOULDER SO LARGE, EVEN I COULD NOT LIFE IT?

              1. THE GOOD NEWS IS: AFTERWARDS YOUR GRAMMAR WILL MAKE A LOT MORE SENSE, AND YOU’LL HAVE A VERY CLEANSING CRY.

        2. You know, Lord Humongous actually comments here. I don’t think I’d step on his turf.

          1. I am gravely disappointed, ProL. Again you have made me unleash my quotes of war.

            1. You’re wasting your time with me. My compound is run by a nuclear reactor–no oil here. Of course, we get the equivalent of 10 X-rays a day, but it’s a small price to pay for energy independence.

              1. Look at what remains of your gallant scouts, ProL. Why? Because you’re selfish! You hoard your energy. Now, my prisoners say you plan to take your V.A.T.S. system out of the Wasteland. You sent them out this morning to find a vehicle. A rig big enough to haul that fat mini-nuke. What a puny plan!

                1. Very good–you integrated the obvious fact that I’m deep in the bowels of Fallout: New Vegas. You do your best work from hotel rooms with your laptop sitting on the backs of hookers.

                  Really, how is there not a TV series about Lord Humongous and his merry band of raiders? Preferably on HBO for more violence. And no getting into his psychology or finding that he’s really not so bad, either. I hate that kind of nonsense.

                  1. If the post-apocalyptic setting is too expensive to maintain for TV, then I recommend a Lord Humongous talk show. Same character and support staff, same setting (though mostly off camera), but with his Lordship broadcasting a show to his fans in the wastelands who can still spare enough juice to power up their sets for his weekly broadcast.

                    1. ProL, two days ago, I saw a script that could be fashioned around the Humongous. You want to get him on TV? You talk to me.

                    2. What a puny plan.

                    3. Epi the porn director! What is it they say? Those who can’t teach
                      direct porn.

                2. Problem solved. I invented fusion reactor that runs on fat chicks. Head down to DMV, pick one up, toss it in, (incandescent) lightbulb glows for eons on just one! Even got tax-credits because my accountant told there’s biomass-angle on tax exemptions.

        3. Did you know rectal actually responds to YouTube videos posted here? It’s honestly too horrible to look away.

          Aside from the creepy-as-hell blog with the closet shrines, s/he probably has plastics bags with a lock of hair and a vial of spit from several H&R commenters in a drawer somewhere.

          1. That is surprising and yet not. I’d ask for an example link, but I don’t want to be exposed to any more of its idiocy.

          2. lol-but I collect penis pictures not hair

            1. I wonder if I can google her…I can’t quit her-why can’t I quit her…I want a rectal massage but my GF thinks my ass is dirty and won’t go near my dick…maybe Epi and I can play look for the rodent?

          3. You bother to take the time to build free software to block people like rectal and then…go to her blog? You people who give away software for free are strange. Very strange.

            1. Nah, I went once ages ago.

              Also, programming is a hobby. I’m not good enough at it for it to be a profession, and I have a job in finance that pays just fine (and incidentally, some examples in my portfolio of some programming helped me get it). No FOSS manifesto.

              1. mommy, I only touched my pipi once and I’ll never do it again…I promise

    2. Stupid article; there IS a protected class, or 2 for that matter. 2 upper castes, and 2 lower castes. I am part of one of the upper castes. Someday I will make a “run” for the top caste.

      http://youareproperty.blogspot…..ystem.html

  2. Something the report doesn’t mention [and something that always drives me nuts] is the lack of data on how many public sector employees get fired or laid off in a given year–say in a state with “at-will” employment laws–compared to the private sector.

    While pensions are certainly troublesome, I think the real crime is the seeming impossibility of getting rid of crap public employees.

  3. As fiscal collapse triggers a war of all against all, I predict the most brutal engagements will occur on the pubsec front.

    1. That’s where I’m pointing my plasma rifle, let me tell you.

    2. In the Orwellian future, the working class will be the proles, and the public sector unions will be the pubes.

      1. I believe this is correct. And the small class of capitalists allowed to survive with be called the lubes.

        1. Replace “with be” with “will be.”

  4. Let them enjoy their short hours, extra holidays, iron-clad job security, high pay and cushy benefits at the end of a rope.

  5. Somehow I’m not overwhelmed by this. The peg for this story is a monster, monster study coming out soon that will show that federal workers get about 8 percent more than others. If that includes everything–with adjustments for type of job, fringe benefits, early retirement, cost of living (living in urban areas like DC instead of rural Kansas), etc.–8 percent ain’t that much. The authors also cite 25-year-old studies that happen to fit their argument, which lowers my confidence in their objectivity. The real problem with federal workers is that there are too many of them–about 25%, by my estimation.

    1. IF we reduce the federal workforce by 10% and cut overall pay by 4%, that would still be pretty significant. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if the overall premium were 8%, but I’m sure that there are some sub categories that make considerably more than that.

      1. You’re also forgetting intangible benefits like job security and a known retirement plan as opposed to an unknown plan.

        If the government stopped creating excess demand for overpaid workers, private sector salaries would probably dip in the areas that the government creates the most artificial competition for labor.

    2. I estimate that there are about 60% federal employees too many. Almost three million civilian federal employees. How many federal employees does it take to turn a light bulb?

      However, with respect to their overall pay, I do not think that the bulk of them are overpaid. Their pensions are too generous, and their salaries should be according to performance. Those are the main problems there.

      If anything, workers in the private sector are underpaid. Working 40-50 hours per week should make enough money for one individual adult to cover their basic costs of living.

      1. “If anything, workers in the private sector are underpaid. Working 40-50 hours per week should make enough money for one individual adult to cover their basic costs of living.”

        Yes, and I think a car should cost $20K, food $200/week, and a house can’t possibly cost more than, oh, $100K.
        And the market says “up yours”.
        Sorry, rrabbit, any claim of “should” is bullshit.

        1. $200/week

          What are you eating that this is more than it costs to eat for a week? I’ve spent entire weeks eating out and not spending that much.

          1. “What are you eating that this is more than it costs to eat for a week? I’ve spent entire weeks eating out and not spending that much.”

            At one time in the past, I got PB&J’s down t $0.06/copy. Sorry, don’t need to do that anymore.
            $200/week means $4.75/meal for the two of us; in SF, that’s gotta mean a lot of chicken and really cheap dinner wine.

      2. I estimate there are about 100% federal employees too many. If I get all pragmatic about the short to midterm continuation of nation states and the need for some permanent institution to handle the constitutional functions of the US government it probably drops to 90-95% too many.

    3. “. If that includes everything–with adjustments for type of job, fringe benefits, early retirement, cost of living (living in urban areas like DC instead of rural Kansas), etc.–8 percent ain’t that much.”

      How much is “you can’t be fired no matter how little you do” worth?

  6. Should the cuts to the federal work force be across the board, i.e. cut every agency by X%, or should we cut some agencies and leave others alone?

    In the past, almost all reductions have come from defense. That seems backward to me as defense is one area that the federal government SHOULD be engaged in.

    1. Should the cuts to the federal work force be across the board, i.e. cut every agency by X%, or should we cut some agencies and leave others alone?

      You say we either cut everyone across the board or cut some agencies completely. I say we both cut everyone across the board and cut some agencies completely.

  7. What nick and everyone else is not reporting is the fact that the reason Public Sector Jobs are now better than Private Sector Jobs is because of salary stagnation in the private sector and the loss of jobs due to globalization.

    I believe that libertarians feel that it’ll be much better to increase unemployment by firing public workers. Will more unemployed Americans help our economy?

    1. Are you employed, Alice? Or did you get canned?

      1. I’ve been pretty fortunate. Luckily 4 me, i’m pretty high up and make over $300k. However, I know that one day I’ll be retired: that is, I’ll be laid off and won’t be able to find another gig paying like the current one. But like i said, I’ve worked for over 25 years, own a few properties in cash, and have a buck-or-two in the bank. I LIVED DURING THE BEST TIMES in this COUNTRY to BE AN AMERICAN IT DEVELOPER/MANAGER. Those days are GONE 4-ever.

        1. I LIVED DURING THE BEST TIMES in this COUNTRY to BE AN AMERICAN IT DEVELOPER/MANAGER. Those days are GONE 4-ever.

          You’re dreaming. Why are you such a Chicken Little?

          1. Because I’ve been fortunate enough to have outsourced well over 100 or so jobs in the last six years and not get outsourced (yet).

            But hey Episiarch, from your mouth…to gods ear. I’d LOVE To be wrong on this one…at least for another 10years, or so.

        2. Alice Bowie|2.9.11 @ 10:11PM|#
          “I’ve been pretty fortunate….”

          I’ll say! Hardly anywhere in the world could you get that sort of pay and be that ignorant!
          You’re right; it was luck.

        3. Luckily 4 me, i’m pretty high up and make over $300k.

          If this is true, any chance it is working for the government? You simply don’t appear intelligent enough to handle the drive-thru at McDonalds, much less make 300k a year.

    2. Alice Bowie|2.9.11 @ 8:53PM|#
      “What nick and everyone else is not reporting is the fact that the reason Public Sector Jobs are now better than Private Sector Jobs is because of salary stagnation in the private sector and the loss of jobs due to globalization.”
      Bull…………
      shit.

      “I believe that libertarians feel that it’ll be much better to increase unemployment by firing public workers. Will more unemployed Americans help our economy?”
      If the unemployed are government parasites, the answer is *YES*!

      1. Yes sevo, it’s a bunch of bullshit that salaries haven’t stagnated or that jobs haven’t been lost.

        1. “Yes sevo, it’s a bunch of bullshit that salaries haven’t stagnated or that jobs haven’t been lost.”

          Yes, bozo, the reason for that is not what you claim.
          Bull………..
          shit.

        2. Stagnating as a result of policies that sustain and expand the public sector at the expense of the private. Get rid of the dead wait of the federal government on our economy and wage rates will once again grow faster than they are growing in China.

          1. “cause I’m the king of wishful thinking.”

            Police officers salaries and pensions didn’t lower private sector wages, the private sector lowered private sector wages…in a pretty much free market economy.

            1. “Police officers salaries and pensions didn’t lower private sector wages,”

              Of course! That money was harvested off the trees out back! How could we be so forgetful?

            2. “.in a pretty much free market economy.”

              Oh, yes! That’s what we have! Except that every other brain-dead tells us there never has been a free market.
              So, which lie do you prefer?

            3. Alice Bowie|2.9.11 @ 10:42PM|#

              “cause I’m the king of wishful thinking.”

              Police officers salaries and pensions didn’t lower private sector wages, the private sector lowered private sector wages…in a pretty much free market economy.

              You are as every bit as naive as I thought. See below.

            4. As long as there is such a thing as a public sector salary, paid for by people who have no say in the matter, there can be no free market. To say otherwise is to misunderstand the word ‘free’.

        3. Of course, you only include wage as a factor in measuring the worth of per unit of worker. When regulatory and tax burden is added to the cost (a concept you lefties never get right), that stagnation you report disappears entirely. You are seriously deluded if you don’t think regulatory and taxation burdens don’t come out of the ass of workers and consumers.

          1. They perhaps u can run for office and abolish all regulatory and taxation burdens as they have destroyed America.

            Think of how much better it would be without any regulations and taxes.

            1. And get caught up in that mugs game, I don’t think so.

              Regulations, taxes, public employees hurt those who most care about the system, those mostly likely to believe in it the most.

              I chose a better path. I don’t know why I bother to try to get it through some like you. It is a bad habit.

            2. Alice Bowie|2.9.11 @ 10:49PM|#
              “They perhaps u can run for office and abolish all regulatory and taxation burdens as they have destroyed America.”

              Gee, Alice, it’s always reassuring when a brain-dead ignoramus falls back on the ‘well, that’s the way it is’ canard.
              Who pays your salary? That company could hire ‘way more intelligent help for ‘way less.

              1. They sure can. And, I’m exactly who ayn rand was talk’n about.

                But, luckily 4 me i’m still here. And, even if they let me go 2morrow, u guys can pay 4 my unemployment and my bankruptcy.

                1. Alice Bowie|2.9.11 @ 11:17PM|#
                  “They sure can. And, I’m exactly who ayn rand was talk’n about.”

                  You’re a walking advertisement for getting the government out of the market.
                  Sleazy asshsole.

                  1. I actually work for ‘THE DEVIL’ in downtown NYC…if u know what that means.

                    I don’t work for the government.

                    I believe in the American free enterprise system. I believe in Free Markets. However, I’m not a puritan fundamentalist libertarian. I’m glad we have regulation and taxation. The fact is people can’t be trusted. That’s why we have locks on our doors, casinos and banks are heavily guarded, AND WHY WE NEED REGULATIONS and LAWS.

                    1. I actually work for ‘THE DEVIL’ in downtown NYC…if u know what that means.

                      Thanks, put it was pretty god-damned obvious. 25 years of employment and writes posts like a 13-year old.

                2. even if they let me go 2morrow, u guys can pay 4 my unemployment and my bankruptcy.

                  You claim to make 300k but then claim you couldn’t support yourself without unemployment and bankruptcy?!! Could you be a more pathetic and sorry human being? It is hard to imagine how.

                  Kill yourself you piece of shit cunt. Seriously, do the human race a favor and jump off the Empire State building, slash your wrists, anything. Just remove the blight on the human race that calls itself Alice Bowie.

                  1. I think you read it wrong Marshall Gill.

                    What Alice means is that if she looses her job, she’ll collect unemployment regardless of how much money she has stashed. And, once somebody is UNEMPLOYED, they make less than the state median income. That means that they can successfully declare Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and default on unsecured debt (that she’s probably already ran up) easily.

                    Hey, I’ve declare bankruptcy many many times…It’s the AMERICAN WAY.

      2. That’s if u believe in:

        http://www.advisorone.com/arti…..ee-decades

        1. Did you read your link? Didn’t think so.

    3. Your math equation (same as the Pres and Paul Krugs, and every other Dem) doesn’t work. Those public empolyees are being paid by the rest of us through taxes or borrowing, thereby reducing available capital for other productive uses. Otherwise, why wouldn’t we all just work for the government?

      The public sector jobs have better pay than private sector jobs is because politicians have no problem increasing public workers pay because it garners them votes from that sector and the incremental cost to the rest of the public is small enough that we don’t notice. Until you add it all together into a critical mass and then have a recession and are left with a giant budget defecit. There’s no free lunch, nothing lasts forever, insert cliche here…

      Please learn this lesson. The government cannot be the employer of first result.

      1. not that the $11billion/month war had nothing to do with the recession.

        But hey, thank god for the Bush Tax cuts…I would have been much much worst…right?

        1. Alice Bowie|2.9.11 @ 10:55PM|#
          “not that the $11billion/month war had nothing to do with the recession.”

          Strawman: “Oh, Oh, don’t hit me so hard!”

          1. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

            i luv it when u guys bust out the strawman…that’s when i know i really won.

            ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

            1. Alice Bowie|2.9.11 @ 11:18PM|#
              “ha ha ha ha ha ha ha”

              How much are you paid? Do I pay any of that? You’re fired.

            2. Except it IS using a strawman when you try to blame the gross national debt on two wars that everyone here is against.

              1. Fair enough. Definitely a Strawman

        2. Which is only about 10% of the yearly deficit. Try again, dipshit.

          1. Yea, but the impact of these two pricey UNFUNDED ITEMS goes further than 10%

  8. Over at The Weekly Standard, American Enterprise Institute scholar Andrew Biggs and the Heritage Foundation’s Jason Richwine make a …

    …Liberal die vomiting uncontrollably??

    …weapon designed to seek out and destroy Naomi Klein’s exposure of their nefarious schemes to dupe the masses into promotion of the capitalistic… something?

    …clone from one of William F Buckley’s fingernails, raising it lovingly in an incubator?

    Seriously though, that opener is probably the most impressive non-starter for partisan lefties I’ve ever seen. As helen hunt might have said, “You lost me at “Weekly…””

  9. I haven’t reviewed the literature, but when I left the federal government for the private sector, my pay went up over 50 percent.

    1. ‘u r just an anti-business, poor-negro-people sympathizing, freedom-hating pinco.’

    2. adam|2.9.11 @ 11:11PM|#
      “I haven’t reviewed the literature, but when I left the federal government for the private sector, my pay went up over 50 percent.”

      And you worked for the fed for how long?
      And your benes did what?
      And did you go into, say, lobbying?
      Sorry, either lies or anomaly.

      1. ‘…either or anomaly.’

        Not true. There are still many jobs in the private sector jobs (primarily in finance) that pay WAY MORE THAN the Government and have very similar benefits. They are slowly disappearing but still here.

      2. I worked for the feds for four years. My new job has comparable health and 401k benefits, but no pension. I did not go into lobbying- I have no such influence.

        I do have skills that are marketable, unlike many federal workers. A lot of federal workers are overpaid, but there are a lot of skilled positions in the government that they have a really hard time filling because they don’t pay enough, especially in IT, medicine, law and in some engineering/science fields. Who wants to be a GS 13 at NSA when you can work at Google. Or be a staff lawyer at the SEC when you can work at Cravath.

  10. 1) The TWS article cited says the wage gap is around 12-22%, yet the graphic in the video shows it at around 100%.

    Also, It’s worth noting that the article cited refers only to federal workers, while the Reason intro to the piece reinterprets it into “[all] public sector employees.”
    Those phrases are not interchangeable. I don’t mind so much since the video offers more specific state comparisons.

  11. 2) Michelle Obama + Fat
    Nancy Pelosi + Eyebrows
    Joe Biden + Lips

    That stuff is tasteless and simply unnecessary.

    It’s fine for us down here in the peanut gallery, but not in any piece where you’re trying to be taken seriously.

    Also, the only people worthy of juvenile jibes are Democrats? GO RED TEAM!

  12. The worst part about this article is that the bulk of Fed employees make less than most urban state and local employees.

  13. In Chicago:

    “One significant issue highlighted in the Civic Federation report is a 75 percent decrease in the ratio of active-to-retired city and county workers since 2000, meaning there are now fewer workers paying into a system that requires ever more resources.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/…..8498.story

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