From RICHARD SHOEMAKER
Recently, the Press Democrat seems to be covering public employment topics with more fervor that anything it has covered since the Obama campaign. That coverage has included some serious individual pay and benefits abuses in the public sector. Most readers agree these need to end. Not covered by those stories are the vast majority of dedicated and hardworking public employees and retirees who aren’t abusing the system.
With the editorial “Issues of Pay” back in November, the editorial board of the Press Democrat has made a decision to promote the ongoing war and latest battle between working Americans. This is a class war propagated by the influence peddlers who control a huge percentage of America’s wealth. The trumped up, public vs. private battles that pit neighbor vs. neighbor keep the attention of too many Americans distracted from the financial draining of America’s public and private wealth.
The PD has not made the effort to compare public and private job descriptions and wages in any meaningful way. Generally, the statistics and numbers thrown out are presented without context making them deceitful. Their readers and public employees are dishonored by this. Real analysis, presenting an accurate picture rather than simply stirring public discontent would be more responsible.
Little or nothing has been written about massive private salaries, pensions or the robberies of rate payer money that permeates oil companies, private utility companies and other public trust companies such as newspapers. These private companies serve us in a manner that allows us little control on how the dollars we pay to them are expended. Show us those salaries and perks.
It would also be interesting to show us the incomes of the private sector folks you quote as regular sources for comment on the public sector. Explain to us why their pay packages are at justifiable levels. Give us something to compare. If we are to understand the public vs. private “debate” you need to show us salaries of the private enterprises that each of us encounters in our daily lives.
To help your effort in investigative reporting on public and private wages comparisons, I offer a recent study on wages. With other material it would be a start at understanding the issues. http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/cwed/wp/2010-03.pdf
To be really transparent, show the salaries and benefits of the PD staff with pay packages over $100,000. After all, we readers pay your salaries either by direct subscription or by frequenting your advertisers. Come on guys, show us all the money, private or public. Taxes or consumer dollars, it’s our money and you owe it to us to do a honest job in presenting where it all goes.
In the end none of this addresses the reasons we are in this mess (Please reread 2nd paragraph).