I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fuel to the Fire

Via Capital Quickies, I hope we're going to be hearing about this as the debate goes forward:
Key findings include:

Jobs in the public sector typically require more education than private sector positions. State and local employees are twice as likely to hold a college degree or higher as compared to private sector employees. Only 23 percent of private sector employees have completed college, as compared to about 48 percent in the public sector.
Wages and salaries of state and local employees are lower than those for private sector employees with comparable earnings determinants, such as education and work experience.  State workers typically earn 11 percent less and local workers 12 percent less.
During the last 15 years, the pay gap has grown:earnings for state and local workers have generally declined relative to comparable private sector employees.
The pattern of declining relative earnings remains true in most of the large states examined in the study,although there does exist some state level variation.
Benefits make up a slightly larger share of compensation for the state and local sector.  But even after accounting for the value of retirement, healthcare, and other benefits, state and local employees earn less than private sector counterparts. On average, total compensation is 6.8 percent lower for state employees and 7.4 percent lower for local employees than for comparable private sector employees.
Bruce Baker at Rutgers has been on top of this for a while, but there is a ton of resistance to letting this point sink into the debate. "Teachers make up for it because they get better benefits! And summers off!"

Baker points out that it's roughly 5/6 of the time for 2/3 of the pay. And the health care and pension are good, but it's not enough to make up the low pay. Those facts, however, pale in comparison to the fear that this downturn has generated - fear that has turned to envy of those who make less put have greater perceived stability.

I recommend looking at the Powerpoint that SLGE put out with the report - although NJ isn't one of the states specifically studied. Two highlights:
State and local sector employees are disproportionately:
More educated
Emphasis mine - gee, this couldn't have anything to do with the perception that state/local workers are working easy jobs, could it?
Why We Did This Study
Reporting often is misleading
Ya think?

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