Americans wake up every day to a deep recession — that is unless you’re a public sector worker:
It turns out there really is growing inequality in America. It’s the 45% premium in pay and benefits that government workers receive over the poor saps who create wealth in the private economy.
And the gap is growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 1998 to 2008 public employee compensation grew by 28.6%, compared with 19.3% for private workers. In the recession year of 2009, with almost no inflation and record budget deficits, more than half the states awarded pay raises to their employees. Even as deficits in state capitals widen and are forcing cuts in services, few politicians are willing to eliminate these pay inequities that enrich the few who wield political power.
Yet the first order of business for President Obama upon entering office was to “take the wind out of golden parachutes” by determining what was and was not reasonable for private sector CEOs of companies receiving bailout money.
Last year’s “shameful” handout of $18 billion in Wall Street bonuses “is exactly the kind of disregard for the costs and consequences of their actions that brought about this crisis: a culture of narrow self-interest and short-term gain at the expense of everything else,” Obama said to reporters at the White House.
If this is the kind of oversight the president is willing to give to companies who take taxpayer dollars, why not apply this kind of reasoning to public sector employees, a far graver threat than any individual CEO might be?