Balancing Public Sector Pay From the Town to the Nation
I’ve already been arguing, at the town level on up, that the economic downturn needn’t tax the future, through debt, nor decrease programs that local folks want. Glenn Reynolds offers a bit of evidence that I’m right:
What if government workers earned the average of what private workers earn? States and localities would save $339 billion a year from their more than $2.1 trillion budgets. These savings are larger than the combined estimated deficits for 2010 and 2011 of every state in America. In a separate survey, the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis compares the compensation of public versus private workers in each of the 50 states. Perhaps not coincidentally, the pay gap is widest in states that have the biggest budget deficits, such as New Jersey, Nevada and Hawaii. Of the 40 states that have a budget deficit so far this year, 28 would have a balanced budget were it not for the windfall to government workers.
Rhode Island has been giving away the store, on this count, and many of the paying customers have been leaving, making matters worse. It’s well past time to turn that all around. Perhaps folks who’ve just gone along to get along are starting to understand what’s been happening as the decades have rolled on by.