John Bellamy FosterBack to OpinionJohn Bellamy Foster

Public sector workers are a ‘privileged new class,’ says billionaire

In the ideological assault being directed today at public sector workers no one has outdone Mortimer Zuckerman — billionaire real estate and publishing mogul, owner of the New York Daily News and chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News and World Report — who declared in September that public sector workers are a “privileged new class” dominating U.S. society. Populists, Zuckerman (the 182nd wealthiest American in 2010) pronounced, have long gotten away with their insidious “class warfare speeches” emphasizing “the gulf between the rich and the poor.” The aim has been to divert attention from society’s real ruling class: public sector workers. Forget the corporate rich, forget Wall Street, forget the bank bailouts, corporate bonuses and high-income tax breaks, forget the private jets and mansions. It is the millions of “public servants” with their outrageous five-digit salaries and their galling health insurance and retirement pensions, Zuckerman insisted, who have now become “the public’s masters,” seizing a disproportionate share of society’s rewards and bringing on the failures of the U.S. economy.

Dianne Brown, executive vice-president of CWA local 1033, leads a protest in front of the Mary G. Roebling Building in Trenton, N.J. on March 18, 2010. Photo: AP/ Rich Schultz

Such views might be grimly amusing, if it weren’t for the fact that similar opinions are now widely disseminated in the corporate media and voiced daily by politicians. What we are witnessing is a concerted attack on government at all levels, extending to public sector workers and their unions. It is out of control government spending, we are told, that is at the root of all our economic woes. Public sector workers, it is claimed, enjoy higher salaries, greater job security, and more ample benefits than their private sector counterparts, while continually demanding and getting more. It is time that they shared in the crisis of the rest of the society.

It doesn’t seem to matter to those making such charges that all of this is false — as long as they have the power to spread such misinformation and people are sufficiently gullible.

But what about government spending? Isn’t it true that it is becoming a bigger and bigger burden on the overall economy? The answer is no. Total civilian government spending (which excludes transfer payments) as a percentage of U.S. GDP has been flat for almost four decades. In the first three quarters of 2010, civilian government spending (federal, state and local) as a percentage of GDP was 14.9 percent, well below the 15.5 percent peak that it reached in 1975 when Gerald Ford was president and in line with the annual average since that time, which has stayed within the 14 percent range. Moreover, this is the case despite the fact that a big government stimulus is now desperately needed to boost the economy in the face of weak investment and consumption. Although the Obama administration provided a small economic stimulus in response to the economic crisis, it did not appreciably increase the share of civilian government spending in GDP due to the drastic drop in state and local spending, which neutralized the overall effect of the federal stimulus.

But isn’t it the case that government workers enjoy higher salaries and benefits? Again the answer is no. A study of the compensation of state and local workers by Rutgers University professor Jeffrey Keefe in 2010 for the Economic Policy Institute (Debunking the Myth of the Overcompensated Public Employee) showed that private sector workers earned average annual wages of $55,132, more than 10 percent higher than the average for public sector workers ($49,072). When total compensation, including employer-provided benefits, was looked at, private sector workers still earned $2,000 per year more on average than public sector workers. When it came to those with higher levels of education, the penalty in total compensation experienced by public sector workers was far greater, with public sector workers with bachelor degrees earning 25 percent less than their private sector counterparts, those with professional degrees, 37 percent less, those with master’s degrees 31 percent less, and those with doctorates 21 percent less.

But what about employment? Don’t public sector workers enjoy secure employment? Isn’t high federal government spending, increasing civilian employment at the federal level, even while the rest of the economy is suffering high unemployment. Again, the answers are no and no. Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers are now unemployed, and their numbers are increasing rapidly. Government jobs are being slashed right and left particularly at the state and local levels, given the fiscal crises of state and local governments brought on by tax shortfalls during the economic crisis. Although allegations have been made that there is runaway employment growth at the federal level, reality is much more prosaic. As Paul Krugman explained in his blog post, “Federal Employment in 2008,” between January 2008 and January 2009 total federal employment outside the postal service rose by 82,000 workers nationally. But most of this was military related. Defense, veteran’s affairs and homeland security accounted for three-quarters of the total increase. This left an increase in non-military federal employment of about 20,000 workers for the entire country, about 400 new federal employees, per state — a miniscule number in a time of economic crisis when the federal government should be stimulating employment growth. To be sure, in late 2009 and early 2010, there was an upward blip in government employment due to the temporary hiring of census workers, to carry out the census established by the Constitution. But that disappeared as fast as it came.

What then are we to make of the ridiculous claims by Zuckerman and his whole class of billionaires and cento-millionaires (and their hangers-on), incessantly disseminated in the media, that public sector workers constitute a “privileged new class,” the “public’s masters”? This is nothing but the age-old strategy of divide and conquer adopted by ruling classes throughout history, particularly in times of crisis when their own position is most shaky. The answer is to turn worker against worker, under the mantra that “the people divided will always be defeated.” What the moneyed interests fear most is the united political struggle of the vast majority (private and public sector workers alike) in the interest of a more democratic, more egalitarian society — a world of common humanity. But is there any goal more worthy?

 

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1411076396 Jeff Vandenberg

    I have had a few jobs withing the public sector. I never felt like a “privileged new class”. I did feel privileged to serve my fellow man, but never got rich or found it to be a job I would or could take to retirement. As I have said before, I served the greater good, just never my greater good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1411076396 Jeff Vandenberg

    I have had a few jobs withing the public sector. I never felt like a “privileged new class”. I did feel privileged to serve my fellow man, but never got rich or found it to be a job I would or could take to retirement. As I have said before, I served the greater good, just never my greater good.

  • Freedog70

    Here! Here! John bellamy Foster – never forget that most of the public workers with their vast 5 figure paying jobs, have been working for more than 10 years with the government. The corporate media and politiicians want the country to be run like a business – they forget that government is NOT in the business of making profit and is NOT beholding to share holders – Governmenrt is here to benefit the people! The untra conservatives that spew this mantra want everything privatized and the middle and poor could work for slave wages.

  • Muslim

    About the only jobs left are in the public sector as part of government bureaucracy.
    -Industry has been moved abroad and hardly a thing is made in America.
    America does not produce much of anything anymore except possibly Hollywood movies, that must be the chief export?

  • Lindalouky

    As a public defender with 10 years experience, and as a lawyer with an additional 3 years of employment, having graduated from a first-tier law school, I make $52K. Yeah, I’m just bleeding them dry… I love my job–I didn’t go to law school to get rich, but to serve those less fortunate than me. I don’t whine about not driving a BMW, and would never want to measure my life by the ability to do such. But to suggest that I don’t earn every bit of my salary and am overpaid is to suggest that the moon is made of cheese. Mr. Zuckerman, kiss my grits.

  • Onegal4vt

    Strangely enough, Jeff, I have never felt like “priveliged new class” either. I’ll never make anywhere near what my husband makes in the private sector–and where he REALLY made money was working for government contractors–Northup Grumman and Boeing. He eventually left because he was essentially being paid $$$$ to sit and do nothing and couldn’t take it anymore. I don’t know if this counts as a “public sector” employee—kind of doubt it. How much gets sucked but by contractors?

  • Muslim

    For many years the center of American economic activity has been Wall Street, the game of trading pieces of paper.
    Some days days those pieces of paper were in such demand that lust for them developed, particularly if they were for companies like Microsoft in the late 1990s and early 21st century.

    The basic fact is that in a Capitalist model, the impetus upon employers is to find labor and raw materials where they are cheap and plentiful.
    This fundamental fact of the design of Capitalism resulted in the exodus of employers to lands abroad, like India, Indonesia, China, Malaysia; basically the “third world.”

    If the American worker is not willing to work for a $1.00/day like the Indonesian, then do not expect many jobs or job growth.
    The American worker is at a particular disadvantage because they expect things like Health Care coverage, time off, overtime, sick leave; the perks of employment.

    These are the plagues upon the Capitalists who indulge in the games of usury, like those of Wall Street.

  • Genoa

    As a public employee for 17 of my working years (I am 62) I can say that I have put great effort into my job and have felt privileged to work for the people of my community. I have always been very grateful for my benenfits, but have many friends who work iin the private sector who have as good or better benefits than me and make a lot more money. As a matter of fact, I have had many people suggest that if I had a similar job in the private sector, I would be making triple the money I make now. I have been bewildered by all the negative remarks and the blaming of the public sector employees for the fall of the ecomonmy — I thought is was the corporations and big banks? So apparently shifting blame to public employees takes the heat off of them? Hmmmm Talk about spin! Thanks for the article, John!

  • Gif

    I took a $25,000 pay cut to leave private, for-profit healthcare and enter public health. I have degrees in nursing, psychology, and business (at the Master’s level); I manage 8 healthcare clinics and a budget of appx. $2M. Because I haven’t gotten a raise in 4 years despite the amount I pay for my benefits skyrocketing (a 50% increase in 2 years), I now work a 2nd job to make ends meet. I’d hardly consider myself priveleged.

  • Nance

    I work for a large public university (staff, not faculty) and haven’t had a raise in several years. In fact, we all took a pay cut or furlough last year. In previous years my position was cut to 75% so we could meet the cuts we were told to make. On the flip side I do have good benefits, even with the steady rise in health insurance premiums. But we should ALL have good “benefits”!

  • kevin

    All I can say is the date is wrong. If you look at the USA today studies Federal employees make more than private.

    Heres a link

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-03-04-federal-pay_N.htm

  • George Ferdinand

    Hello the top 3% of American own 70% of the wealth in this country. Mortimer is just pitting the American taxpayers (that aren’t public service workers) against the Americans that are public service workers. When the 97% recieve lower wages and benefits, the top 3% more wealth!

  • George Ferdinand

    Hello the top 3% of American own 70% of the wealth in this country. Mortimer is just pitting the American taxpayers (that aren’t public service workers) against the Americans that are public service workers. When the 97% recieve lower wages and benefits, the top 3% gain more wealth!

  • TJM

    I’m doing essentially the same work in the public sector with a master’s degree now that I was 10 years ago in the private sector without a master’s degree – except my annual income was double then what it is now.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OOP47RRYJ7D56XOTAVRHFDPY5A George

    Hello the top 3% of American own 70% of the wealth in this country. Mortimer is just pitting the American taxpayers (that aren’t public service workers) against the Americans that are public service workers. When the 97% recieve lower wages and benefits, the top 3% gain more wealth!

  • JBcolo

    It is not a “study” it is an anecdote cobbled together with factoids. It does not cite what data was used, how it was manipulated, or how it is compared. It mentions “bureau of labor statistics, USA today analysis, but does nothing to explain the analysis.

  • Boothby171

    Yeah, except that if one assumes a steady 7%/year growth (a bit optimistic these days), you WOULD see a doubling of your salary in 10 years. ADD to that fact that you now have a masters degree (maybe you’re worth a little more, except when you’re trying to do exponential math, apparently) to cover up what is probably LESS than a true 7%/year growth, and your point falls flat.

  • Boothby171

    Wait…wait, I got that backwards.

    Never mind me!!!!

  • JBcolo

    Perhaps you should appologize for your snide comments.

  • Leah Thronson MD

    Public SERVICE workers are in my experience dedicated, long hour, hard working underpaid underinsured ….They are invaluable to our society – Leah Thronson MD

  • JBcolo

    A very important thing to remember is that the level of public corruption in this country is much lower than it is in many other countries. The reason for this in large part has to do with the competitive (but still lower) wages, job security, and good benefits that public sector employees have. This makes them far less succeptable to bribery and corruption.

  • Laura

    I work for a public university for about $22, 000 a year. I am blessed to have health insurance, retirement and tuition remission, among other benefits. Consider the fact that if public sector and union employees loose these jobs, we will have to fall back on medicaid, pell grants, and unemployment. The wealthy in charge are already trying to do away with govt. social programs. Can you imagine where our country will be? My union job is a living wage job. I say, the more the better. Zuckerman and the like are praying on the ignorant.

  • Muslim

    For many years the center of American economic activity has been Wall Street, the game of trading pieces of paper.
    Some days days those pieces of paper were in such demand that lust for them developed, particularly if they were for companies like Microsoft in the late 1990s and early 21st century.

    The basic fact is that in a Capitalist model, the impetus upon employers is to find labor and raw materials where they are cheap and plentiful.
    This fundamental fact of the design of Capitalism resulted in the exodus of employers to lands abroad, like India, Indonesia, China, Malaysia; basically the “third world.”

    If the American worker is not willing to work for a $1.00/day like the Indonesian, then do not expect many jobs or job growth.
    The American worker is at a particular disadvantage because they expect things like Health Care coverage, time off, overtime, sick leave; the perks of employment.

    These are the plagues upon the Capitalists who indulge in the games of usury, like those of Wall Street.

  • Muslim

    For many years the center of American economic activity has been Wall Street, the game of trading pieces of paper.
    Some days days those pieces of paper were in such demand that lust for them developed, particularly if they were for companies like Microsoft in the late 1990s and early 21st century.

    The basic fact is that in a Capitalist model, the impetus upon employers is to find labor and raw materials where they are cheap and plentiful.
    This fundamental fact of the design of Capitalism resulted in the exodus of employers to lands abroad, like India, Indonesia, China, Malaysia; basically the “third world.”

    If the American worker is not willing to work for a $1.00/day like the Indonesian, then do not expect many jobs or job growth.
    The American worker is at a particular disadvantage because they expect things like Health Care coverage, time off, overtime, sick leave; the perks of employment.

    These are the plagues upon the Capitalists who indulge in the games of usury, like those of Wall Street.

  • Mustafo

    A billionaire named Mortimer is claiming someone else is privileged? Wow I think that is a first.

  • Yestony9

    Talk about greed, why is it that the rich keep complaining about public sector workers? It’s because they do not way to pay their fair share to this country I have a few well to do friends who give me the same rhetoric. I ask them in the business they performed did they ever not pay taxes on all of their earnings? Want your floor done, pay cash and get a break, want your roof done, pay cash and see the price drop.
    They invest their money and make more while we scrape just to get by. Then they complain about taxes being too high. I haven’t seen any change in the job market but Wall Street is as high as it’s been since 2008. The banking industy and big business are sitting on trillions of dollars just waiting to invest. The rich want to shift the blame on us, I say go blank yourself!

  • Mestizowarrior210

    What the corporate owned media fails to say is that in many states (including Texas) public workers are prohibited from collective bargaining and striking. Thus low wages, mediocre benefits and absolutely no balance between the worker and the boss. I call this modern day slavery, perhaps this is what Zuckerman and the fanatic right are really striving for??

  • Golden Boy

    I work for a state-owned hospital in Ohio, and we have been under pay freezes practically since I hired in 7 years ago. We’re under one now. In addition, because of budget problems, I’ve had forced-furlough days and a cut in benefits that lowered my income by almost $8K over the last 2 years. I don’t feel so privileged.

  • Golden Boy

    Additionally, our new multi-millionaire governor, Kasich, has declared war on public employee unions, planning to end binding arbitration along with right-to-strike. He will outlaw public employee unions all together if he can.

  • Antonio

    I will make sure I never purchase any of Mortimer’s publications since he has such hostility for my employment. Putting out the word to my co-workers too.

  • EME runner girl

    Me neither–used to respect the guy, though I didn’t always agree with him. What the heck???

  • Monbx

    Pundits blame our economic meltdown on poor Blacks who bought more house than they could afford and public-sector unions that have pensions and health plans. That’s the narrative–and Republicans as well as Obama and the Democrats don’t really object to this slander. The facts are that fraudulent and criminal Wall Street firms caused our economy to collapse during the housing bubble. Why fraudulent and criminal? Simply stated, Wall St. sold worthless crap as gold–that’s to say they bundled mortgages of dubious value and sold them, with the connivance of the rating agencies, as AAA-rated securities. These they sold the world over to deceived investors. When this ponzi scheme ended, the housing market collapsed and folks ended up in the poorhouse–except the Wall street folks who made fortunes with taxpayers footing the bill!

  • Drwu

    What you forgot to mention Mon. Bx. is that our rich friends refuse to pay taxes in an effort to ‘starve the beast,” i.e. the government. When this happens state governments, which cannot run in the red, lower wages, cut back on services and generally create mayhem.

  • Sandra

    I’ve been a public sector employee for 5.5 years and haven’t gotten a raise in 2 yrs, got a pay cut last year and another one coming up this year, my health insurance costs went up this year. I recently got a part time job, so I’m working 6 days a week. And my raises in the past have been either 1 or 2 percent. But now I can take heart, I’m part of the “privileged class” Yah! That makes everything better!

  • Made in America

    Even “Hollywood movies” aren’t entirely made in America anymore.

  • Smithnhannen

    As a public sector worker ($31,000) who spends each day protecting our water (you know, the basis for life) I also spend each day wondering if we will receive the needed funding to continue this important work. Job security…I can’t even imagine what that means.

  • harrypollitt

    It”s time we took up that mantra of divide and conquer and realise that we , as workers, public or private, have nothing in common with the capitalist class. We as workers need to unite, divide ourselves from the ruling class and begin the process of conquering. The capitalists have bought two political parties. The first step in our emancipation as workers is to organize our own independent political organization.

  • The Commish

    A socialist and as the Iron Maiden once said its great to be a socialist until you run out of others money to spend….It did not work in europe and it shall never work in the USA. Thdifference between the mafia and a Union is the Mafia dont care who you vote for….

  • Pension Trustee

    At leaset you got a job..Ever think about that!

  • Pension Trustee

    When was the last time you saw a silly service worker retire at less than his present salary. It costs the average tax payer to pay for 2 workers to get the job done of 1 an then its wait a week for the answer. Most building and fire depts look first fore reasons not to issue Building Permits

  • Pension Trustee

    Excuse me but your facts are a bit warped. The useless morgages were forced on the Banks by the Community Reinvestment Act known as the CRA. Under that law that POTUS GW Bush wanted regulations closed on it and Dodd and Frank said it was not necessary. So blame the right people. By the way notice the names of the 2 most overtaxed staes in the union are now and have been in the hands of the democrat party for the past 30 years they gave out sweetheart contracts to the 3 unions in every city they ran…Notice most of the South does not have thia problem

  • Pension Trustee

    Dear Golden: An exactly where does the money come from to keep you employed? The government takes our money and wastes it on sloppy give away programs. By the way in closing what you have is a lot better than the 12+ million un-employed workers have…So you expect us unemployed to pay taxes to give you a raise when we have zero jobs?

  • A. Greenspan

    The dollar is overvalued. Get ready for your overinflated dollar to take a dump. Maybe public sector employees should start being paid in yen, or Euros, or, hell- pesos. Your dollars won’t be worht the paper they’re printed on, especially after China unpegs their currency from the dollar.

  • A. Greenspan

    The dollar is overvalued. Get ready for your overinflated dollar to take a dump. Maybe public sector employees should start being paid in yen, or Euros, or, hell- pesos. Your dollars won’t be worht the paper they’re printed on, especially after China unpegs their currency from the dollar.

  • publicworker

    Ever think that maybe she EARNED it?

  • public worker

    Maybe you should qualify yourself for a job and get over your attitude. I wouldn’t hire you with that grumpy sticking out all over you!

  • Johnancy08

    you missed the point of the article and proved the authors point that you are all sheeple to be deceived by this farse and lie

  • Johnancy08

    you are an idiot…define socialism

  • Johnancy08

    yeah so bring those who do work, have a union to protect their pay and benefits down to your level and most with their fricken walmart wages…what a pathetic society we have and you all miss the point of the article…the boogeyman is NOT public employees…it is your politicians, wall street, bankstas and teaparty aholes who were bought and sold by Koch brothers and corporate america…wake up sheeple

  • Johnancy08

    check your facts idiot…CRA comprised 3% of bad mortgages…wall street and greedy bankstas enabled by their whores in DC were to blame…get your facts straight instead of regurgitating the right wing myths

  • Parker51

    How about we whom keep society functioning simply stop. How long will the rich last when their is no one to protect them, help them, and what if we reject their claims that they legally converted the work of others to their personal wealth?

  • Parker51

    How about we whom keep society functioning simply stop. How long will the rich last when their is no one to protect them, help them, and what if we reject their claims that they legally converted the work of others to their personal wealth?

  • DD Fickling

    I challenge anyone who thinks that public-sector workers have it easy to change places with me for one day. I feel privileged to be able to help people every day and get paid for it, but I bet none of these high-priced pundits and people like Mr. Zuckerman would not last a day in my job. And the worst part of it is, I know there are people who work in the same state department as I do who are not only helping others to get needed benefits like food stamps and heating assistance while having to apply for those same benefits because they aren’t paid enough to feed their families and keep them warm.

  • DD Fickling

    I challenge anyone who thinks that public-sector workers have it easy to change places with me for one day. I feel privileged to be able to help people every day and get paid for it, but I bet none of these high-priced pundits and people like Mr. Zuckerman would not last a day in my job. And the worst part of it is, I know there are people who work in the same state department as I do who are not only helping others to get needed benefits like food stamps and heating assistance while having to apply for those same benefits because they aren’t paid enough to feed their families and keep them warm.

  • James

    The sad fact is while many comments on this thread indicate the authors understand what’s going on with a rich, privileged and obviously self absorbed elitist attacking public workers, there are many many people, of very modest means, who will agree with him because some over worked public employee didn’t fall at their feet when they appeared at the DMV.
    This is a tactic to pit the working and middle classes against each other so the rich can continue to suck all the wealth out of the country, leaving most people with nothing.

  • Eclark

    Only slave are thankful for the crumbs they fight over that fall from the master’s table. Did you ever wonder how it came to pass that you resent your neighbor for having a job rather than wondering why you don’t?

  • Bbhannahb

    most of the sourh, however, has the highest poverty rates in the country.

  • Bbhannahb

    you’re saying you’re unemployed but the gov’t is taking your money?

    lol.

    those public workers are currently paying your unemployment benefits.

    yeah, you’ll be much better off when they’re all out of a job & join you on the unemployment rolls, & everyone else is working for walmart wages, no benefits.

  • hb

    yeah, if pigs could fly they’d be birds.

    the writer made *more* in the private sector 10 years ago w/o a Masters than s/he does now in the public sector.

    apparently corporate apologists can’t read properly, let alone do math.

  • hb

    all i have to say is:

    1) “study” done by the libertarian/propaganda outlet Cato Institute

    2) “study” cherry-picked data, did not compare all job classifications, nor all workers, but picked the ones that suited the propaganda point the Cato propagandists wanted to make.

  • X337225

    Why do you folks keep throwing up the “socialist”- this & “socialist”-that smoke screen instead of dealing with the situations we face? This society has reverted back to 1905 in terms of monetary disparity… One needs to study social history to see the whole picture.. the past and the current.
    It ain’t “Socialism” you are facing… but Anarcho-Syndicalism…
    Visit and study the site at: http:// http://www.iww.org
    Thanks,
    X337225

  • Katemcg

    A few years ago I worked as a Case Manager for the Welfare Department. I was single with two school age kids. I was working full time and STILL qualified for assistance. Sad but true.

  • everforward

    As the American dollar is already indebited to the federal reserve (do your homework people), We continue as a society to spend what we do not have. I can say I applaud anyone who manages to make a dollar, even if it is in the millions. I however do NOT make millions of dollars and work as a “public servant”. My dear mother who should be retired, is currently working for the state and seeing her be forced to take furlough days, mandatory paycuts and such, due to “governement cutbacks”, is just appaling.

    I personally make just under $40 K annually, which a s a single mother, is enough to pay the bills, and have a few extra things to do with the kids, but even in that, I am incredibly fortunate. Unless by some strike of chance I happen to rise to an unrealistic and also unncessary income bracket, I am content with the life I have. I am blessed in knowing that my mere wages far exceed others. I look around daily and see the struggles that people are going through. So many people cannot find jobs, suitable living, or keep their families fed or sheltered. If us “working class” “blue collar” “public service” “mere” people stop working, then please explain how in the hell these global elitists are to survive without ‘forcing’ us to be their slaves??? Think on it, No minority classes to work at luxury resorts, to staff their fine dining restaurants, to press and launder their thousands of dollar suits and dresses (which are mostly made by underpaid employees), to valet their import cars, hell to even make their import cars, to make the foods that they purchase, and pretty much everything else that they purchase with their millions of dollars. So as far as I can tell, they can’t afford to live without us. I’d like to see these fininacially elite, function for one week, totally independent on jobs and employees that make only high dollar. thney wouldn’t know what to do with themselves, cause heaven forbid…they have to lift a finger.

  • Rspencerantiques

    What don’t you get. The person is working for half what they were making and even at that you just cannot contain your need to demonize the fact that they work for the public sector. Your math is pure crap and an expression of profound prejudice just because someone is working for the public sector and making a REDUCED wage. The key here is that anyone working for the public sector is automatically greedy and coddled, which is good solid tea party ignorance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Pettengill/100000010189459 Michael Pettengill

    Zuckerman wants the low paid free market government workers found in most of the world, those known more often as corrupt government workers and politicians.

    When a politician works for the low wage Zuckerman does (how much does he pay himself an hour, and pay FICA and income tax on?) and then earns fees and capital gains based on his political capital just as Zuckerman makes money on his capital, we have a great leader like Mubarak of Egypt, estimated by some to be worth billions, and as much as $80 billion. Zuckerman and Mubarak used their capital to get very rich, but the world considers Mubarak to be a corrupt dictator. But what is the real difference between the two?

    In Mexico and Afghanistan and Iraq, and thousands of other nation, police and government workers are paid low wages with one benefit: the power to sell their services to those willing to pay the price the market will bear. Just like Zuckerman does with his power as owner-editor of his publishing empire. If you want to move illegal goods, well the right price paid to the police will get you free passage. You want your drivers license or business license quickly, then you tip the government agent to work faster, just like you can pay Zuckerman to get faster delivery of the hot news. Of course, those low paid free market government workers charging what the market will bear are corrupt.

    Compared to many other nations, we do not need to pay extra fees and bribes and deal with politicians using their official power to enrich themselves greatly.

    Although, we have seen a great rise in the view that government should be sold to the highest bidder, based on the logic that money is the same as political speech, and so ruled by the Supreme Court.

    Zuckerman is arguing for the government employee of Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico, and many others: low paid and corrupt.

  • Livetsoing1

    And we all thank you Alan for this prophetic comment. I have for years felt that we were sold a bill of good fromt he Fed. Alls fair in free markets and war. Well, we all see now that even wars don’t sustain the wealthy. I hope all the Wall Street crooks and their cronies end up in prison and let’s all cheer Eliott Spitzer for his new spot on CNN. The guy was trying to circumvent the obvious and made too many CEOs mad. Prez. Obama is to be commended for his actions to halt the nonsense, but I still want to see the thiefs put in prison who created the phone mortage market and don’t give a rats but if hard-working Americans lost their homes, jobs and sense of worth. Our country has lost its charm.

  • Wawaashkeshi

    How about “everyone” gets a government job – or at least a free ride on the backs the few who still work in the private sector? Now that’s America!

    I find it hard to believe that even the most Marxist, so-called progressives, want a Maoist Red Book government blob to usurp capitalism.

  • Wawaashkeshi

    My God George – 1% of the people on the planet own 90% of the wealth.

    Even meddling off-shore billionaire George Soros feels a twinge of guilt…well, maybe not.

  • jan

    I considered working for the government for a while because of the insurance and the retirement benefits. However, my salary would have been a couple of dollars less per hour than what I can get in non-government jobs. Take away the insurance and retirement benefits as is being done now and there is no reason at all to work in government.

    As far as the “private sector is more efficient/better run than government”? It is to laugh. They sold the driver’s license bureaus to republican political cronies around here. I went into the driver’s license bureau to get a license, sat there for 45 minutes watching two clerks process a grand total of three customers with five of us waiting for our chance, before I got up and walked out. The clerks didn’t know what they were doing and kept asking each other questions about what buttons they pushed next on the computers and one of the two computers crashed.

    I wonder what you’re going to do next time you need to use government services if you succeed in your goal of destroying government jobs.

  • Wawaashkeshi

    Yes I would destroy some government jobs; DEA – gone, IRS – gone replaced by a fair tax based on consumption, and so on. If you like a bloated unresponsive racially bigoted (hiring) neo Marxist bureaucracy then sit back and enjoy.

    But don’t expect common sense Americans to put up with idiots (in congress and in the bureaucracies) gushing out our tax dollars like a lotto winner in Vegas.

  • Rancid

    You certainly piss and moan like one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.jenson Mary Jenson

    In SD the state employees have not had a raise in 3 years. there have been layoffs and as in most states they pay a large portion of their pensions and health care benefits. MOST private sector full time employees have benefits that equal or exceed the typical state employee. The janitor in my building makes 10 an hour, he too is involved in the wage freeze and pays 300.00 a month for his health insurance and is REQUIRED to save a portion of his salary to go towards his pension. Is this one of those jobs you want???

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.jenson Mary Jenson

    Union don’t pay their benefits they negotiate for the group. And the employees in Wisc. already do pay a about 6 to 8 % of the costs of their benefits. By the way in the last contract they agreed to a lower salary and were willing to take yet another cut. And technically they pay 100% of the benefits, the union neg. a package deal, so the total compensation dollar amt., and then how it will be divided up across salary and benefits. The Governor and Fox news are simply lying to the public.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.jenson Mary Jenson

    so it is the workers who are to blame for the misuse of funds by the state representatives? He is lazy because he has a job? She is to blame because he has taken pay cuts while the government pays out billions of dollars to oil companies and large corporate farms? Each year our state and federal representatives receive millions of dollars in farm subsidies for their “family” farms. In Wisc. alone it is a few $100.000 each year to the these members of congress and the senate alone. Maybe you should look to the data instead of finding a scapegoat for your anger. SD Senator K, Noem’s farm receives between $100,000 to 300,000 every year in farm subsidies from the federal government. these are the people you should be angry with.

  • JRC

    He’s a janitor making $10.00 an hour? That sounds about right for a position that requires no formal education other than how to sweep, vacuum, and empty trashcans.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SR2N2FEGWG7QX6VJXZQ673ZRGM Rookie

    The problem was the banks went from the dealer to the better while leveraging to the hilt. Pension has no idea what he is writing. The “poor black people” were used as gasoline to keep the fire going. If it was zero leverage and no derivites, all of them would be bankrupt and the republicans would be praising the strength of accountability of the free market system. They also accusing the Democrats of tramping on the constituion, personal responsbility, and fraud for bailing them out.