15 March 2010

Public/Private Costs

Sometimes it amazes Me how people will see the trees and not the forest. Here's two statements I've heard to the point of nausea:

"It's a government job, but the benefits are really good."

"Firing government workers is wrong."

Both of these statements encompass a series of "unspoken ideas." For example, that government jobs aren't all that good what with the politicking and unfairness in promotion and the reaching into your pocket for "voluntary" support and the image problem and so on. For most people, government jobs are dreck. But oh, the benefits! That's what makes a government job worth tolerating.

Now  take the other statement, enclosing in its folds the notion that government has always hired people so why fire them now and that I'm/We're entitled to a government job and "they" are firing "My" people and who else is going to hire when the government fires and isn't it all useless anyway. No effort at any thought except "They are trying to screw Us." (They are, but not 100% of the time...)

With a little effort that even a politician can make, the two statements merge quite nicely into a whole picture, like two tree groves make a forest: The cost of government job benefits means that eventually--as in right now--We have to fire government workers.

Now that wasn't so hard, was it? You and I did it in seconds, and yet there's some 78.6% of Our Brethren here who simply cannot or simply refuse to see this basic truth. And yes, that 78.6% is scientifically accurate if by "scientifically" you mean "Texas Board of Education worthy."

Take a look at this graph comparing private sector salaries plus benefits with public sector salaries plus benefits. Go ahead. Okay, seeing as how you didn't, guess which sector is 44.5% higher?

Uh-huh. "It's a government job, but the benefits are really good."


"Firing government workers is wrong." No, not firing them is wrong. When an economy tanks and revenue decreases across the board, firing government workers is the best thing to do because government jobs are pure cost. There is no "productivity" in government jobs, only costs. And what do you do when costs exceed revenue? You cut costs, not revenue.

Sure you can blame "that party" or "those idiots" for the firings, but the bottom line is--at least here in Puerto Rico--that both parties created the problem and they will rightly blame each other for it even as they have to face the reality of solving it...by firing government workers.

Now how they go about it is a matter for a separate set of accusations, criticisms, insults, threats and just plain snark. Have at it and don't forget I'll be firing My own shots. But stop doing the "I see the trees clearly, but what do you mean there's a forest there?" lazybrain mambo because it isn't getting Us anywhere.

Unless you're actually trying to avoid Us getting anywhere, in which case drop dead. On private land, please, where it will be 44.5% cheaper to dispose of your carcass.

The Jenius Has Spoken. 


Prometeo said...

There seems to be a problem Jenius. I don't see the private sector willing to take the carcass. Looks like the vultures are full.

Gil C. Schmidt said...

Prometeo, you are right: the private sector is too weak to take in much of anything dumped from the government payrolls. That's what happens when the government decides that true economic growth is best eschewed in favor of lining party pockets at taxpayer expense and draining the private sector to feed corruption. Tack on a welfare system that makes it easier to be a parasite than a producer and you have the Puerto Rico experience in a nutshell.