Sunday, March 28, 2010

A threat to our nation: The growing gap between public and private sector pay

With news such as this from the the Wall Street Journal (via LaborPains), it's no surprise that some of the richest counties in the United States are clustered around Washington DC.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 1998 to 2008 public employee compensation grew by 28.6%, compared with 19.3% for private workers. In the recession year of 2009, with almost no inflation and record budget deficits, more than half the states awarded pay raises to their employees. [...]

By the way, nearly this entire benefits gap is accounted for by unionized public employees. Nonunion public employees are paid roughly what private workers receive. What if government workers earned the average of what private workers earn? States and localities would save $339 billion a year from their more than $2.1 trillion budgets. These savings are larger than the combined estimated deficits for 2010 and 2011 of every state in America. [...]

So if your state is broke, this is a major reason. Eventually, governors, state legislators and city council members are going to have to decide whether protecting America's privileged class of government workers is a higher priority than funding such core functions of government as public safety. Something has to give. It's time to close the biggest pay gap in America.

Last year the number of unionized public sector workers exceeded those who work in the private sector. The results are catastrophic for our nation--Democrats are increasingly beholden to bosses from government unions such as SEIU and AFSCME to keep their coffers filled--and to keep them in office. Fortunately for the nearly 90 percent of those workers who aren't members of a union, there's an election this fall.

Of course at least for now, a majority of American's don't work for the government.

But they pay the bills.

Related post:

More unions becoming "government unions"

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