Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Speaking of Google

Not to reignite old posts, but I had the pleasure today of reading two articles about Employee compensation.

The first is that old saw from USA (on a mission obviously since they love publishing these) about how Federal workers are getting fat and happy on huge salaries and how the Republicans are going to try and crush Obama's proposed 1.4% raise for all us spoiled workers. Well, I for one am willing to give up the 1.4% if it helps the country recover (although I doubt it will). I also hope that these Congresspeople are willing to sacrifice as well. They live pretty well and bring up the average for all of us. The salary for the rank and file House Rep. and Senator is $174K a year. The Speaker earns a cool $224K. They get the same benefits as everyone else in government. And their wages affect those for all judges and the like.

For a pretty well balanced look at this debate see The Federal Salary War . It is pretty much a lot of smoke and mirrors.

My favorite part of these articles is when the Cato Institute says, "BLS data shows that a federal employee is more than 8 times less likely to quit than a private sector employee. We’ve argued that this indicates that federal employees recognize that the generous combination of wages, benefits and job security is hard to match in the private sector, so they stay put." Of course, you idiot. So we should raise job insecurity and the struggle to hang on the middle class status as some sort of higher value? Why such disdain for the American worker? The ultimate value of any job, or any product really, is what someone else is willing to pay for it. Why is it fair for a Wall Street banker to sew up sweet pay deals and compensation packages, but unfair for a middle class American to have some job security and a decent salary? The bankers say they have to pay a lot to get the best and brighest. This leads me to the second, happier article.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is offering its people 10% raises to retain them. Yeah for Google and it's "do no evil" mantra.

The irony is striking. Google has obviously highly skilled employees that it values. The government does too. It employs an awful lot of IT specials, Cyber security specialists, doctors, lawyers, technicians etc. And these people have to be paid adequately to keep and retain them. And we won't mention how many private sector jobs the government subsidizes through tax incentives and the granting of contracts. The American people deserve the best and they aren't getting it. The American people suffer when the federal government, ah-hem, can't entice the best and the brightest. Those guys move over to Google.


Raised By Republicans said...

I agree that federal employees should get more respect than they do. That includes their compensation.

I'd also point out that many member of the House of Representatives in particular need the relatively high salaries to do their jobs. I know that sounds silly but consider that they need to maintain two residences, their primary residence in their home districts and a residence in their de facto second home, in Washington.

My own representative was a college professor at a small (and relatively poor) private college before he was elected. He could not afford to be a Congressman if he wasn't getting paid a lot more as a Congressman than he was as a professor.

If you do not own your home free and clear and/or have an fairly high net worth, $170k is just about what you would need to maintain two homes and maybe support a family. Actually, given the high cost of housing in Washington, it could be pretty tight. In 2006, there was a story about a freshman congressman who was living on a cot in his office because he couldn't afford better.

I, for one, do not begrudge these salaries for our representatives.

USWest said...

I posted this yesterday, but it didn't seem to turn up.

Many congresspeople bunk together like college roommates as well. But then again, it wasn't foreseen that people would like lifetime careers out of being elected representatives either. Of course, almost from the beginning that was the case.

Also, people need to understand that civil servants (i.e. those in the civil service under the GS pay system) are capped at $150K a year. Civil servants make up the lion's share of government employees. Then there are Presidential appointments and elected officials, who are government employees but NOT considered civil service and therefore do not have salary cap. So when USATODAY comes out claiming that the number of government employees receiving over $150K a year has doubled, they are failing to make this important distinction.

USWest said...

Well all of this us mute. THe president is asking for a Salary freeze on civilian pay for 2 years. The savings come on the backs of future retirees. Your retirement is based on your high three. So with freezes, the high three will be affected. Now what may happen is that they will do a "catch" up in the future by doling out larger raises at some point. But by that time, inflation will have eroded the effect.

What they really need to do is like France, enforce a mandatory retirement age on some of these people. That will allow the government to bring in younger, cheaper people. As it is now, you can work until your are dead and collect big.