Public Pay Study Seems Bogus

October 21, 2010 - By admin

OCT. 21, 2010

By STEVEN GREENHUT

The media have been providing serious reporting about a “UC Berkeley” study showing that public employees earn a total salary and benefit package that’s about the same as those in the private sector. This counter-intuitive study is being championed by government advocates as a rebuttal to the public upset over public pay and pension scandals in cities such as Bell and San Diego.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, “While public employees make about 7 percent less than their counterparts in private industry, the study found there is virtually no difference between the two sectors once you consider that state and local governments contribute nearly 6 percent more to benefits such as health insurance and retirement funds. But public employees also receive ‘considerably’ less supplemental pay and vacation time, the study found.”

Yet this “study” is far more about politics than research. For starters, this is not a Berkeley study, as has been widely reported. That gives it far too much credibility. It is a study by the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley. This is a left-wing, taxpayer funded group that specializes in pro-union advocacy and has been the source of much recent commentary.

“This is an institute created by the Legislature for the purposes of labor advocacy and training programs,” a University of California vice president argued, according to an August CalWatchdog report. “The unions benefit from by these programs and use them against the UC in their collective bargaining negotiations and advocacy efforts with the legislature. I’d find it ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ if we get stuck funding these Institutes in the future out of the UC budget at a time when the state is cutting our funding, but pressuring us to give more at the collective bargaining table.”

The Schwarzenegger administration vetoed state funding of these think tanks – one is at UC Berkeley, the other at UCLA – but the UC system came up with the cash to keep them going after intense pressure from labor unions and legislative Democrats. Typical studies:  Miguel Contreras: Legacy of a Labor Leader; Women’s Work: Los Angeles Homecare Workers Revitalize the Labor Movement; Sweatshop Slaves: Asian Americans in the Garment Industry; Voices for Justice: Asian Pacific American Organizers and the New Labor Movement; Voices from the Front Lines: Organizing Immigrant Workers in Los Angeles.

Beyond the group’s advocacy role, the study itself falls apart under close examination. The main problem is the overall technique that the researchers used. They did not compare job categories but instead aggregated private and public sector workers into separate groups, averaged it out and then adjusted based on education and other factors.

This is from the study: “An apples-to-apples comparison, or one that controls for education, experience and other factors that may influence pay, reveals no significant difference in the level of employee compensation costs on an annual or per hour basis between private and public sector workers.”

My colleague at the Pacific Research Institute, Jason Clemens, who is an economist who directs PRI’s studies, scoffs at this approach. The economists take a statist approach that measures inputs rather than outputs. In other words, the researchers assume that factors such as seniority and education levels are more important than job performance. In the free market, a car salesman will be valued based on his prowess selling cars, not on his age or number of degrees. I know someone with several degrees but with few marketable skills. In the researchers’ worldview – typical of the worldview found among unions and government officials – that over-credentialed person deserves a high salary.

The only serious way of evaluating salaries between the public and private sector is to compare job categories, Clemens explains. That’s just the beginning of the study’s problems. Marcia Fritz, a CPA and president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, details some substantial oversights in the study’s methodologies:

Here is the letter she sent to the researchers:

I read with interest your research regarding how wages in California’s public sector compare with wages in California’s private sector.  Comparing wages based on education is an excellent approach to get an “apples to apples” comparison and it handles the problems in comparing teachers’, safety workers’, and other public sector jobs that do not have counterparts in the private sector.

However I have several observations listed below that, if addressed carefully and thoroughly, may result in a conclusion that differs from your report:

1. The pension contribution cost for state and local public sector workers is much lower in your report than what is currently being paid.  The state, which provides the lowest formulas, generally, compared to local agencies paid an overall pension contribution last year of over 20% of gross wages.  This includes payment on unfunded liabilities, but payments for the 2008 market drop was not included.  Most of the unfunded liabilities being paid were caused by workers receiving higher-than-anticipated wage increases and earlier-than-anticipated retirements.  The higher employees’ wages and the earlier they can retire, the more valuable (and costly) their retirement benefits are.

2. It does not appear you included the value of retiree health benefits in your analysis.  The state and many local agencies, including schools, provide retiree health benefits, but very few private sector employers do.  This cost should be included the comparison.

3. Many public sector employers pick-up the employees’ contribution toward their defined benefit plan.  Indeed, studies conducted last year in both Orange and San Diego counties found that over 70% of local agencies picked up all or most of the employees’ share.  This practice evolved when employers were contributing little or nothing to “over funded” pension plans in 1999, so they agreed to pick-up the employee’s pension contribution in lieu of granting them raises.  The employer “pick-up” is considered wages for pension purposes.  Your analysis should have taken this practice into consideration and grossed up wages accordingly.

4. Many agencies supplement the regular PERS pension benefits with defined contribution plans, and match the employee’s contribution.  It isn’t clear that these supplemental retirement benefits were considered.  The state pays 2% of prison guard’s gross wages into a deferred savings account, for example, and the City of San Diego matches employees’ 457 contributions up to 3% of gross wages.  This is a common benefit provided to management.

5. Few safety workers, no teachers, and about 30% of miscellaneous workers do not participate in social security.  Although it appears you addressed this in your analysis of employer costs, I don’t see that you adjusted private sector and public sector wages for differences employee contributions toward their retirement and other benefits, such as SDI.  Wages should have been reduced for SSI, SDI, 401(k), pension plan contributions, and health insurance contributions in order to get a true comparison.  By doing so, you may discover private sector employees pay more for their tax-deferred and tax-advantaged benefits than public sector workers, and, as you observed, the benefits they pay for are less generous than those provided at a lower cost to public sector workers.

6. Most of the public sector jobs that require masters degrees are teachers, who generally work less than a full year.  It appears you are treating teachers as full-year workers when comparing their compensation to those in the private sector who hold masters degrees.  I suggest for this category, you convert wages to hours of activity.  California has a 175 day school year.  Most teachers belong to a union, and their contracts strictly limit active teaching hours, extra duties outside the bell schedule, and mandate prep periods in order to minimize teachers’ after school and weekend activities.  I’m very confused how you determined that the average public employee with a masters degree works an average of 2,174 hours/year when so many included in this group are teachers in elementary, high school, and community colleges.

I would be happy to assist you in revisions to your analyses as I am a national expert in public sector pension and retirement benefits, and payroll issues in general.

Those are major problems.

James Sherk, a labor economist at the Heritage Foundation, notes that the study doesn’t include federal employees in the survey and federal workers are paid far more than others. He also noted that “This study only looks at part of the benefits paid to state and local employees. It ignores the retiree pension and health care benefits they get but which the government has not set aside enough money to cover. If the study included the more than $500 billion in unfunded government pension costs in California then state and local employees would not appear remotely under-compensated.”

Other experts I talked to and my own reading of the study revealed these flaws:

The study only looked at full-time workers and therefore conveniently left out small business owners and agricultural workers, private sector workers who work long hours and often receive low pay.

The study didn’t appear to consider the pension-spiking games and other gimmicks used by public sector employees to pump up their benefits.

The study compared an equal number of hours, thereby conveniently avoiding dealing with public employees who abuse the overtime system to turn modestly paid jobs into massively paid ones. Police and firefighters routinely earn average salaries in the 70s, but then have abused the overtime system in a way that allows them to earn double and even triple those amounts.

Finally, the study reads like a political argument rather than true research. Here’s a good example: “All the workers who have lost their jobs or took cuts in pay or benefits were made to do so not because of their work performance, or because their services were no longer needed, nor because they were overpaid. They were simply casualties among a list of millions of hard working innocent victims of a financial system run amuck. Public sector workers help our communities to thrive and provide services that make it worthwhile to live in them – it is wrong to blame them for the fallout from the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

I have no problem with unions funding such research and entering the debate about public-sector compensation. But this comes from a taxpayer-funded think tank. The unions should fund these things on their own dime, and the media should do a better job explaining where the information comes from and examining whether the researchers used traditional research methods or skewed the report to achieve a desired result.

Comments(37)
  1. Tylerle13 says:

    Thank you! The attempt to compare public sector jobs to the private sector is a fools errand. The private sector does not have comperable jobs, so the public sector cannot be accurately compared to the private sector. The public unions try to create false comparisons such as these so they can try to refute the taxpayer outrage created by unneccesary & overpaid public workers.

    Most of these workers should be considered overpayed just because the “work” they are hired to do is completely unneccessary and adds no value to the quality of life of the California Taxpayers, they simply leech off of bloated Bureaucratic agencies created by overzealous & misguided politicians. If a company ran as inefficiently as the public sector of California, they could never survive long enough for any of its employees to reach their retirement age.

  2. John Seiler says:

    It’s a bogus study from a “think tank” fighting to prevent its elimination in the next budget. So they flatter the public-employees, whose unions run the state government.

  3. stevefromsacto says:

    “The public sector cannot be accurately compared to the private sector. ”

    Then how the hell can you claim that public employees make more than private sector employees? That’s been the right-wing mantra for years. But when someone comes along an refutes that argument, you squeal like stuck pigs.

    And of course the Pacific Research Institute is the paragon of balance and objectivity. What a joke!

  4. John Gardner says:

    Thank you for your analysis. While many jobs are not comparable between public and private sectors, many are in fact directly comparable. The last survey I conducted showed a clear differential between the two in significant favor of public jobs. This is to be expected when political “management” has no incentive to resist unreasonable public union demands and many, many disincentive to say “no” when they should (not the least of which is drying up of public union political contributions).

  5. An academic says:

    Well, the unions may give a lip service to compensating “degreed” employees at higher rates than those with no advanced degrees, but when it comes to a unionized university (CSU), the faculty union there pushes towards “equal pay for equal work” scenario. And quite a lot of effort is spent to raise salaries of lower-ranked faculty while those who are at top ranks have virtually no chance of pay increase.

    I happened to believe that university faculty is underpaid in CA; a police officer or a firefighter or a nurse in penitentiary will earn substantially more than an accomplished full professor. But whatever your opinion is how much university faculty should make, the union there is clearly in favor of not differentiating based on academic degrees.

    So, I clearly see a hypocrisy here.

  6. Tylerle13 says:

    Academic, those unions dont really care about the general wellbeing or fair pay for their top members, they care more about spreading that money toward the bottom of the ranks to lure in as many people as possible so they can collect as much “Union Dues” money as possible. The unions in the private sector do the same thing and its getting to the point that the upper teir talent in many of those unions are getting tired of breaking their backs to pay the way for people that are horrible at their jobs. The unions have gotten away from providing quality training & proper representation for their members and have started to focus more on quantity over quality. The benefit of hiring a union person used to be that you were getting a highly trained, highly skilled worker that would do a great job, but now you just get whatever person they have at the top of their list, often with little to no training. Its sad.

    And Steve, public employees are OVER paid for the work they do. That is not comparing their pay to anyone in the private sector because the actual work that is done by someone in a Management or Supervisory role in the public sector is only doing the work of an entry level worker or secretary in the private sector. Public employees can go to work and provide sub-par service, yet they are “entitled” to a raise & promotion based on their “seniority”, so you can basically acheive a higher Management or Supervisory position by simply showing up. There is no need for a majority of the public workers and in order to give the illusion that they are doing something, they divide up the bs work that could be done by 1 intern, and assign it to 5 public workers. Anyone that believes that California needs all of the public workers that we currently have is out of their mind and has no concept of productivity.

  7. Jim says:

    …a left-wing, taxpayer funded group….?
    Well, let’s shut ‘er down, it’s already got two strikes and now it has made someone who read the study angry. I suppose Mr. Greenhut thinks that schools that teach children how to read are left-wing, taxpayer funded and pro-union. He should run out to the nearest public elementary school and thank a teacher that people can even read the study. UC Berkley is a fine institution of higher learning. Perhaps Mr. Greenhut is a disgruntled alum?

  8. Fake OCO says:

    I happened to believe that university faculty is underpaid in CA; a police officer or a firefighter or a nurse in penitentiary will earn substantially more than an accomplished full professor.
    =============================

    #1) University professors at both CSU and UC have some of the most laid back jobs ever given out in gov. They teach only 10-12 hours PER WEEK, for 14 weeks (x2=28 total), have all major hloidays and vacations, have a “sabatical” (free half year vacation) for an entire semester every 5-7 years. I had professors at my CSU who only showed up to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but were making over $100K in salary alone, and this was over 20 years ago.

    #2) CA police officers, firefighters and nurses are paid in the 3rd to 7th percentile in the nation, when including all compensation. They make more than state lawyers, judges, state assemblymen and senators, even the gov and all major city mayors. They comp more than private sector doctors, so you claiming they make more when they are in the top 3% is sort of a joke. And when you factor out the minimum work schedule of a CSU/UC professor, the professor makes much more comp per hour of work.

  9. Fake OCO says:

    Thank you for your analysis. While many jobs are not comparable between public and private sectors, many are in fact directly comparable.
    ==============
    ALL jobs in the public sector have jobs that compare in the skill and education levels to do the job. All.

    Cop and FF claim there is nothing comparable, I have repeatedly stated these are semi skilled blue collar jobs that are at most equal to, but in many cases less than, the work of skilled tradesmen, like plumbers, electricians, and so forth. Except that in the trades you don’t get the benefits nor the steady work of the gov., nor the job safety-the trades are 10 times as dangerous as either cop or FF. FF’s today only spend 2%-5% of their time fighting fires, that is it. It is a kush job, that is vastly over compensated for the skills required and work they do. Cop is much harder IMO.

  10. Steven Greenhut says:

    Jim,
    This is not a Berkeley study. That’s a fine school obviously. UC officials have fought these institutes, which are on the campus by direction of the Legislature. They use the Berkeley name but do not subscribe to normal research standards. They are political advocacy groups, not research centers.
    Steven

  11. John Gardner says:

    “ALL jobs in the public sector have jobs that compare in the skill and education levels to do the job. All.”
    True in a “philosophical” sense if you use some evaluative tool such as a point-factor system to evaluate skill, effort and responsibility Compensation analysts don’t, to my knowledge and in my professional experience, do this in inter-organization comparisons, instead relying primarily on job duties to establish matches. Not that such an approach wouldn’t be technically feasible. It certainly would. However, it would be very difficult (impossible?) to explain to the various “stake holders”, involving as it does a bundle of evaluations which in the end are often quite subjective.

  12. art says:

    Anyone in academics knows that a masters in an academic subject(ex. math) is much more difficult to obtain than a masters in teaching. Under 50% of people who start masters in science/math complete it due to the difficulty and i believe 98% of people who start an education masters complete it(it is also self funding as it generates higher income). I know many coaches that are math teachers but have had only one or two calculus courses. To somehow say that they could seamless take these skills to Silicon Valley or Aeronautics is ludicrous any more than a weekend doubles tennis player could play in Wimbledon. Discount for hours AND ease of attainment

  13. Reality Check says:

    SteveFromSacto – you write: “…how the hell can you claim that public employees make more than private sector employees? That’s been the right-wing mantra for years. But when someone comes along an refutes that argument, you squeal like stuck pigs…”

    You have made no attempt to discuss the merits of the arguments made in the study, nor in the rebuttal. Instead you just engage in emotional banter, which is typical of you “left wing” folks. The only solace those of us who live in the real world can find in the rants of people like you is that YOU ARE THE STUCK PIG, AND YOU ARE SQUEALING, AND IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME.

  14. stevefromsacto says:

    “YOU ARE THE STUCK PIG, AND YOU ARE SQUEALING, AND IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME.”

    And that’s your version of “discussing the merits of the arguments made in the study”? What a joke.

    For the 86th time, I am NOT a public employee. I am just damn sick and tired of seeing them insulted and demeaned constantly by the Bernie Madoff lovers on the right.

  15. stevefromsacto says:

    CalWatchdog Definition of “normal research standards” : Those standards that cause the research to adhere to the conservative point-of-view.

    That’s why the Pacific Research Institute and Millken Institute meet normal research standards. Yeah, sure.

  16. Tylerle13 says:

    OR… he could be talking about researchers who conduct a study with no predetermined outcome and give an honest analysis of the results with a margin of error in the 1%-5% range, rather than the Government Scientists method(i.e. CARB) of targeting something you dont like, running an experiment with manipulated data and “worst case scenario” data in order to get the predetermined results that they wanted, then parade the warped results as if they were a result of honest analysis, which, come to find out, only requires a margin of error that exceeds 300%. Now thats reliable science! We should act on those results right away!

    And im sure all of those public employees your sticking up for have just logged on to facebook and twitter to update their profile to say how great of a guy you are! Its ok though, its not like they had any real work to do today.

  17. stevefromsacto says:

    Oh, yeah, Tylerle13, you are the one on here all the time insulting those who have a different point of view. Perhaps you are independently wealthy and can spend all day blogging.

    And you know that IRLE used the CARB method how? Because the results aren’t to your liking? Funny how Pacific Research Institute, Millken, Rose, and the other right-wing “think tanks” all do studies “with no predetermined outcome” and their “honest analysis” always supports the conservative point of you. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

    By the way, I AM a great guy. and I’ve got the courage to fight for what I think is right, even on a right-wing blog full of government haters.

  18. Tough Love says:

    Steven, Is any effort being made to point out the grossly flawed “research” to the researcher’s supervisors…. and to legitimate scholars in general.

    Sounds like they do not belong in the positions they currently hold.

  19. Greg Sebourn says:

    This is not a LEFT vs RIGHT issue. First, if a study is flawed, it’s useless. Second SUSTAINABLE GOVERNANCE must become a way of life, much like recycling. Instead, we hand our perks only to find out we ran out of money to fund government programs. So then the clear answer must be to raise taxes, right?!?!? WRONG! It is time for all levels of government to learn how to live within their means.

    Lastly, the UC & CSU system love to “retire” professors which take them off of the school’s books. The problem is that the retired professor’s pension is still being funded by the taxpayer. It also forces the university to hire another professor. That means we have one in the classroom earning at least $55 per hour and one at home (retired) earning $75+!

  20. Fake OCO says:

    14. stevefromsacto says:

    For the 86th time, I am NOT a public employee.
    =====
    Steve, your nose is growing again!

  21. Bruce Ross says:

    I exchanged e-mails with one of the authors, who pointed to BLS data as the source of the underlying figures. But as I told her (and as Fritz writes), calling pensions 8-ish percent of total compensation doesn’t seem to jibe with reality. That translates to a pension cost of roughly 12 percent of salary, according to the study’s numbers, and pretty well every public agency’s costs have risen higher — sometimes much higher — than that. If CalPERS had a 12 percent employer contribution, you’d hear a lot less about pensions.

  22. Steven Greenhut says:

    It will take more than increased contributions to fix the problem because of increased longevity: http://www.plansponsor.com/Raising_Contributions_not_the_Solution_to_CAs_Pension_Funding_Crisis.aspx

  23. SkippingDog says:

    But you have no trouble posting and relying on studies by groups like the Milken Institute or the Manhatten Institute, which both have their own anti-government, anti-union agendas.

    At least try to act like the journalists you once claimed to be and weigh the competing relevant facts. Otherwise, you might as well be advertising consultants for the Republican party.

  24. Steven Greenhut says:

    Skipping Dog: Your point is far too simplistic. Groups with various perspectives, left and right, produce research designed to advance their overall perspective of the world, for sure. But the serious groups follow serious academic standards including peer review, etc. Some organizations of the left and right are basically advocacy groups that are trying to gain attention by slanting research to achieve a desired outcome. The flaws in the research here are so very obvious I would be embarrassed if some free-market think tanks operated in the same way. You’ve got to look at the specific research, and this group’s work is a joke.

  25. stevefromsacto says:

    Fake OCO

    Prove I’m a public employee or shut the hell up. I’m sick of your lies.

  26. Fake OCO says:

    Fake OCO

    Prove I’m a public employee or shut the hell up. I’m sick of your lies.

    ===============

    Steve, your very own posts prove you’re a public employee, b/c no one puts forth the talking points you do, on a regular and consistant basis, except public employees.

    And they ALL say they are not public employees when posting these talking points.

    Come on buddy, fess up, it will be good for your soul.

  27. Reality Check says:

    SteveFromSacto & Skipping Dog – you are the partisans. This has nothing to do with Republican vs. Democrat. This has to do with the fact that union thugs have taken control of our government and they are all grossly overpaid. They are bankrupting our state and local governments and their answer is to raise taxes instead of cutting pay. How the fact escape you that for the last 20 years wages have been flat in the private sector (and yes WE pay the taxes to support the public sector) while every year public employees get cost-of-living increases and enhanced benefits. You can get onto your socialist soap box and claim the private sector workers simply need to stand up to the “bosses,” or you can shut up and agree that we are being taxed to death so traffic cops can make (including benefits) $150K per year, and professors who work 1.5 days a week can make (including benefits) $180K per year, etc., etc., etc. Get real. The republicans have been as guilty as the democrats. This isn’t about right vs. left, it’s about taxpayers vs. fascist union thugs. Whose side are you on?

  28. Tough Love says:

    Stevefromsacto may not be a “public servant”, but either he or a close friend or relative) certainly is or participates in one of the Publicly funded retirement plans as a Board member, Freeholder, etc., and doesn’t want his gravy train derailed.

  29. Fake OCO says:

    Reality Check says:
    October 23, 2010 at 10:22 am
    SteveFromSacto & Skipping Dog –
    How the fact escape you that for the last 20 years wages have been flat in the private sector (and yes WE pay the taxes to support the public sector) while every year public employees get cost-of-living increases and enhanced benefits
    =======================
    I cannot vouch for the last 20 years, but the wages in the private sector had remained 100% FLAT from 98-08 time period, and I am sure that they have gone down in the last 2 years. That are just wages if you’re still employed in the private sector-the job loss has been devestating in the real world.

    Public employee compensation has grown exponentially during the 00-10 period. Especially “public safety”. The San Jose PD has seen their comp go up 97% in that 00-10 period, basically doubled in a 10 year time span-while the private sector remained 100% flat.

    The DWP in LA (and MANY water/utilities districts) received 7% pay increases for a total of 5 years in the last contract they signed 18 months ago-that is a whopping 35% increase in just 5 years. Now that they gor that-the rest of the muni employees wanted the same deal-that is another reason why you never give out raises that large even in the good times.

    The SFPD gave their cops 8% raises last year-in the middle of this depression. Vallejo gave their PD and FD 7% raises and have indemnified those unions for legal costs in any future lawsuits! Who does that in the real world with their employees???? No one. It is insane.

    That kind of comp increase at ANY TIME is ridiculous, but in a depression it is criminal.

  30. stevefromsacto says:

    Well you haven’t proved squat, fake OCO. What part of I AM NOT A PUBLIC EMPLOYEE don’t you understand? Time to shut up.

    To the rest of you public employee haters, check out conservative columnist Dan Walters piece in today’s Sacramento Bee:

    “….The ratio of “full-time equivalent” (FTE) state workers is 11.1 per 1,000 residents, fourth lowest in the nation.”

    “….California’s payroll cost per resident that month was $61, one of the nation’s lower per capita costs.”

    “….Bottom line: The data indicate that Whitman’s vow to solve the budget deficits by cutting jobs may sound good to voters but doesn’t hold statistical water.”

    Sorry to confuse you with the facts (again). But (as usual) you will ignore them.

  31. Tylerle13 says:

    Steve, your picking a bad spot to make a stand in regards to the validity of these reports that get paraded around as if they were the new bible. The study in question here is complete crap because it relies on BS data & biased analysis, not because I personally like or dislike what the study concludes. If you really believe all of these studies without analyzing the information, then I pity your inability to analyze information & sift through the crap. There are no studies that should be taken at face value, especially when most of them are taylor made for the group(s) that fund the reasearch. You have to look at what data was input into the models, how the data was gathered, how they formulated their statistical model & why thing were weighted the way they were, etc. These studies get churned out, paraded around in the press like they are some new revelation and public policy should be changed because of the results, then 2 months down the road when it is revealed that the study was completely false and manipulated, they just pick up a different study and try to deflect the attention away from the truth. If you just read the summary, then pound your fist on the table and demand that people act on that information “Before Its Too Late!”(Which seems to be the rallying cry of people who know they are pushing a BS study, and if they wait any longer, the study will be exposed as a fraud) then you are either one of the most unethical people I have ever had the misfortune of coming across, or you are more ignorant than I ever could have imagined.

    And I’m sure you are a great guy, but if you were really that great of a guy, you would be going out and making a difference with you own time & money instead of shouting for the forced government taking of everyone elses money in order to fund causes that you deem as “worthy”. You should realize that the California government is the worst “Charitible Organization” that we could be funding because they are one of the few organizations that can take a $1 “Donation” and turn it into $0.10 worth of services.

  32. PN Peterson says:

    Great piece, Steve…this also from AEI’s American on this subject:

    http://www.american.com/archive/2010/october/government-employees-still-overpaid

  33. stevefromsacto says:

    Tylerle13′s definition of a B.S. study: Any study whose results do not conform to your views.

    As to the FACT that the ratio of state workers to citizens in California is the fourth lowest in the nation…and the FACT that California’s payroll cost per resident is $61, one of the nation’s lower per capita costs, no comments from the peanut gallery.

    I am making a difference with my own time and money. I’m using both to oppose the Tea Baggers, the plutocrats and the right-wing elitists.

  34. Fake OCO says:

    I am making a difference with my own time and money. I’m using both to oppose the Tea Baggers, the plutocrats and the right-wing elitists.

    ====================
    Steve, fess up, you’re a public employee paid to post these bogus talking points.

    You know it, I know it, we all know it!

  35. Richard Rider says:

    Not only are public employees posting day and night on these comments sections — it’s apparent that they are too often doing it from work. And I suspect they do so with the blessing of their career bureaucrat supervisors. More likely, they ARE the supervisors!

    Well, that’s not entirely fair. Some are labor union officials — only some of which are on the public payroll. TECHNICALLY some of these skilled spinmeisters are not being paid by the taxpayers while they blog.

  36. Milan Moravec says:

    UC Berkeley public employee salary is $500,000. When UC Berkeley announced its elimination of baseball, men’s and women’s gymnastics, and women’s lacrosse teams and its defunding of the national-champion men’s rugby team, the chancellor sighed, “Sorry, but this was necessary!”
    But was it? Yes, the university is in dire financial straits. Yet $3 million was somehow found to pay the Bain consulting firm to uncover waste and inefficiencies in UC Berkeley, despite the fact that a prominent East Coast university was doing the same thing without consultants.
    Essentially, the process requires collecting and analyzing information from faculty and staff. Apparently, senior administrators at UC Berkeley believe that the faculty and staff of their world-class university lack the cognitive ability, integrity, and motivation to identify millions in savings. If consultants are necessary, the reason is clear: the chancellor, provost, and president have lost credibility with the people who provided the information to the consultants. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau has reigned for eight years, during which time the inefficiencies proliferated. Even as Bain’s recommendations are implemented (“They told me to do it”, Birgeneau), credibility and trust problems remain.
    Bain is interviewing faculty, staff, senior management and the academic senate leaders for $150 million in inefficiencies, most of which could have been found internally. One easy-to-identify problem, for example, was wasteful procurement practices such as failing to secure bulk discounts on printers. But Birgeneau apparently has no concept of savings: even in procuring a consulting firm, he failed to receive proposals from other firms.

    Students, staff, faculty, and California legislators are the victims of his incompetence. Now that sports teams are feeling the pinch, perhaps the California Alumni Association, benefactors and donators, and the UC Board of Regents will demand to know why Birgeneau is raking in $500,000 a year despite the abdication of his responsibilities.

    The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way the senior management operates.

  37. Tylerle13 says:

    Steveo, I think your a little confused, which is understandable since your are addressing an issue that isnt included in your PEU talking point flash cards, but Tylerle13′s definition of a BS study= a study with garbage data that has been manipulated & mined in order to create results that push an agenda rather than using ethical & scientific standards while conducting a statistical analysis. But dont worry, im sure no one is counting on you to be right on this issue, or any other issue for that matter.

    Regarding your little talking point statistics, is that $61 figure calculated by diving the TOTAL cost(Benefits, Pension, Funding the Pension again after CalPERS loses Billions on bad investments & finders fees) and dividing it by every person in the state?

    Or did they subtract out all of the children & retired people who dont work?

    Did they include all of the unemployed people who are not paying taxes because they are not making any money?

    Did they include the nearly half of the population who PAY NO TAXES?

    Because that is a very important tid bit of information in determining the validity of your cute little numbers. If the people who pay no taxes were included in that calculation, then, once again, your spewing BS all over the place. Now I know you you probably dont know how that number was formulated, and even if some miracle happened & you did know, I doubt you would admit that you knew it was a misleading statistic because you seem to be allergic to the truth.

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