Posted by: Rational Voice | August 10, 2010

Draining the Private Sector

Things are getting ridiculous in this country. We’ve known for years government workers have been making more than their private sector counterparts in terms of wages and benefits. A piece out today by USA Today shows just how wide the gap has become. Federal employees are now earning an average $50,000 more in wages and benefits than the private sector jobs which fund those wages and benefits. Again, this type of spending is unsustainable. Public employee union officials say the amount of wages and benefits they get reflects their skills and education required for their jobs. Does it though? I doubt it. I know enough government workers to know that what they do doesn’t require any more education or special type of skills than a corresponding private sector job.

Another thing that really gets me is many public sector employees consider themselves “public servant” or “civil servants.” In many cases this is true, especially with firefighters and the police. I hardly consider someone making twice as much as a private sector employee doing a similar job to be a “servant.” What kind of servant makes more than the people they serve? The way I see this is that the private sector employee really is the “servant” as they are the ones providing everything to the public employee, all while getting bad, inefficient service in return. When is the last time you went to the DMV and walking away thinking, “Wow, that was just a great experience”?

While I know the biggest descrepency noted in this article is the pay between private sector and Federal employees, there is also a significant gap between state and local government works and private sector ones. Again, just like I noted above, most of these jobs don’t require anything that a similar private job doesn’t. To illustrate this point, I will point to the state of Indiana. To cut costs, they have been starting to privatize many jobs that used to be public sector jobs and have been saving huge amounts of money as a result. Some jobs cannot be privatized and I understand that but is there any reason to pay them huge amounts of money?

Yes, I know contracting out these jobs in many instances will still cost the taxpayers money but it will cost them less than leaving in public hands. The business have an incentive to keep those costs low and come in under budget because doing so will help them keep the contract. If, let’s say, a city government was paying $1 million a year for some service and decided to privatize it, paying a contractor $700,000 a year to do, I’m sure any contractor would do whatever they could to get the job done for that, if not less because if they do it cheaper, the remaining money is nothing but profit for them, profit which they can use to hire more workers and become even more efficient. Here, the private sector wins as does the public sector because they’re getting the same job done but this time for less. If the private sector can do a job better, more efficiently, and ultimately cheaper, why the hell are we pissing away all this extra money? If overall government costs are lower it means taxes can be lower. If taxes are lower the people have more money to spend elsewhere in the economy, helping it to grow.

For more commentary on this subject, check out what Rush Limbaugh all had to say on this topic today.

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