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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Public vs Private

NJPP is on this case:
  • A basic comparison of wages indicates that private sector employees are on average paid more than public sector employees.
  • These comparisons vary markedly when education is considered. Workers with only a high school education are compensated better in the public sector than in the private sector because most public sector jobs are not paid at minimum wage and include health insurance and pension benefits. 
Heads up for teachers: if you have a masters degree (pretty much the terminal degree in teaching), you'll average $69,171 in the private sector, but $107,328 in the private sector. That $38,157 difference could buy a lot of "gold-plated" health care.

NJPP points out another important fact in this debate: workers without a college degree do better in the public sector than in the private sector, mostly because the public workers get benefits and more than the minimum wage. (I seem to remember a time when society had reached a consensus that if you worked hard and played by the rules, you could make a decent living, even if you weren't highly educated. Oh, well...)

Couple this with the fact that public employees are more likely to have at least a college degree than private (57% vs 44%), and you've got a perfect set-up for demagoguery. Christie, good Republican that he is, can exploit class-envy in his bashing of public workers ("There are two kinds of workers in NJ - those with rich benefits, and those without!") while decrying a millionaires tax as hating on the wealthy.

Neat little rhetorical trick.  But I think there is a way to call him on it:

What, exactly, Governor, do you think a teacher should make?

1 comment:

thinker said...

What exactly do we, as New Jersians, think teachers should make? I keep hearing how overpaid they are, so what is fair? And for goodness sake, why isn't anyone actually asking this question to the "powers that be"?

All I keep hearing is that the taxpayers should decide and frankly, I find that a frightening concept. Why? Because I do remember the 1970s, when teachers were paid a ridiculously low salary and yet, taxpayers in NJ were screaming about their taxes and demanding cuts be made to public workers. No one else remembers this? Just me? Why then did we actually need to codify a minimum teacher salary in this state in the 80s? Sorry taxpayers, you'll have to forgive me if I don't trust you to make rational decisions about public worker salaries. How sad.