Month: December 2011

Tony on TownHall – Government Pays Big, Because You Deserve It

Here is my latest article on TownHall.com. In it, I expose a USA Today article that highlights the growing pay scale for government workers from lawyers to mechanics. The government says they are getting paid more because they deserve more. As I state, no one ‘deserves’ more pay solely because they work for the feds:

Government Pays Big, Because You Deserve It

As reported by USA Today, via The Transom, all types of federal employees – from scientists to custodial staff – have had huge increases in pay over the past five years. As expected, this has made working for the government the “right” decision for recent college graduates:

A 20- to 24-year-old auto mechanic started at an average of $46,427 this year, up from $36,750 five years ago. The government hires about 400 full-time auto mechanics a year….A 30- to 34-year-old lawyer started at an average of $101,045 this year, up from $79,177 five years ago. The government hires about 2,500 lawyers a year. And a mechanical engineer, age 25 to 29, started at $63,675, up from $51,746 in 2006. The government hires about 600 mechanical engineers a year.

On a percentage basis, the average starting wage for a government lawyer is up 27% over five years. A government mechanic? Up 26%. Mechanical engineer? Up 23%. USA Today gives a very interesting rational for the massive increases in government pay; it’s how the job is now classified: (emphasis mine)

The government is classifying more new hires — secretaries, mail clerks, chaplains, laundry workers, electrical engineers and wildlife biologists — as taking more demanding versions of their jobs and deserving more pay.

It is illogical and immoral to assume that a laundry worker or a mail clerk has taken a more “demanding version” of a job in the public sector than those in the private sector. It is illogical because if one believes in equal work for equal pay, then an open market should create a prevailing wage for that job. Certainly, there may be outliers, but the mid-line should have consistency. It is immoral to think that because someone works for the government, that their job will be more demanding. It is immoral to say that because of this lie, that the worker deserves more pay. No one deserves more pay; they eitherearn more, or they create more value…value that someone will pay for.

Situations like this remind me of my father, who for the majority of my years on planet Earth has been asking a very simple question that focuses on the inevitableness of the big government thesis. He asks the following:

A society has 100 people in it. 50 people work at the hospital, and 50 people are patients in the hospital. Who pays the electric bill in the second week?

My father has asked this question at family gatherings, at talks over coffee and cake, at wedding receptions and at all manner of business meetings where the conversation wandered. People of the political “right” are stunned by its simplicity, and understand near immediately his point. People of the political “left” are simply stunned. They stare at my father as if he was missing his nose; a sense of incredulity and sheer hatred. Then they dismiss him, telling him he is ridiculous.

They never have an answer for the question; that if a society is either being paid by government or taking of government services, and no one is creating the wealth that is required to run those services, then that society is doomed (they can’t pay the electric bill in the second week!)

What is truly ridiculous is the federal government engaging the conversation that their employees are more deserving than private sector employees. What is ridiculous is the leftist mind-set that government can satisfy the needs of man by giving man all of their needs, and the willful ignorance of those who believe in government supremacy; that through government all is possible, and that government jobs create value.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal government employs over 2 million people, and is the largest employer in the US. Though mass retirement was expected before the economic downturn, the majority of government workers are holding on to their jobs, with the quit rate falling 29% since 2007. As reported, “Workers are 13 times more likely to die of natural causes than get laid off from the federal government.” The amount of people making over $100,000 per year has advanced from 12% in 2006 to 22% in 2011.

Margaret Thatcher famously quipped that Socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money. Said another way, it works until you have to pay the electric bill. Which is, to say, it doesn’t.

Tony on TownHall – 30 Tons of Occupied Social Justice

Here is my latest article on TownHall.com.  In it, I reference an article that reports that 30 tons of trash was removed from the Occupy LA encampment.  What the article does, unintentionally, is show a microcosm of the waste that will come in the world of “social justice:”

30 Tons of Occupied Social Justice

As reported by the LA Times, the remains of Occupy LA were hauled off to the city dump, by the city, at the taxpayers’ expense. The amount of trash? Approximately 30 tons:

Sanitation officials said Wednesday that they expect to haul away 30 tons of debris from the Occupy L.A. encampment…Andrea Alarcon, president of the city Public Works board, said workers already have removed 25 tons of belongings from the City Hall park, all of it heading straight to a landfill

Sanitation crews also have vacuumed up about 3,000 gallons of water that had washed into a catch basin in recent days and are testing it for hazardous materials, she said.

As a headline, it’s enough to make one shake their head in disgust. For the intellectually honest, it’s enough to make one say—out loud!—”How in the world could anyone compare the Occupy movement to the Tea Party? The Tea Party would never leave a location looking like this!” But move past the headline, and a new, more accurate story (if, indeed, unintentional by the author) emerges:

The sheer volume of personal belongings left behind after the early morning Los Angeles Police Department raid has astonished city workers: books and CDs, luggage and boom boxes, mattresses and dining chairs, cellphones, electric razors, a small red guitar with its neck snapped –- all surrounded by dozens of collapsed and empty tents

First, it requires a deep understanding of how rich the United States is as a nation, and how incredibly wonderful that is. Yes, a wealthy nation is a blessing, and a tribute to our people, our culture and our values. The Occupiers call themselves part of the 99 percent, and portray themselves as the downtrodden, the left out, the left behind, the jobless, the poor. Yet, they left behind a treasure trove of CDs and cell phones and electric razors. ELECTRIC RAZORS! While one could (if being intellectually dishonest) rationalize the having of cell phones as a needed utility, and one could (again with the dishonesty) rationalize someone having a CD as a human need for music while discounting that it requires another piece of materialism to play said CD—both things, like the cell phone, being made by evil corporations—there is no way for even the intellectually dishonest to reason away an electric razor as anything but a “first world luxury.”

But bigger than the realization of the falsehood of the Occupy meme (that they are poor people with electric razors!) is that they left all of this behind. Why? Because they do not value things… because they did not work for them.

(Read the rest of the article on TownHall.com)