Stockton California - the largest American city to ever go bankrupt

Im not trying to demonize govt workers, but since we're on the topic of suffering in the recession, why are govt employees getting auto raises when most people are taking huge pay cuts? And Stockton employees getting free healthcare for life is unheard of in the private sector. Public unions don't have the same checks and balances as private sector unions that know if they push too hard their company will go out of business or relocate. The public unions know they've got the public by the short hairs as there is little or no outside competition. It used to be that working as a public servant meant you sacrificed good pay for security and decent benefits. But in Stockton's case, police sergeants were earning nearly a quarter of a million dollars. http://www.news10.net/news/story.asp...

None of this largesse benefited the community or expanded services. It only benefited the workers who gamed the system, the union bosses, and the politicians who rely on the unions to stay in power.

jdzappa wrote:

Im not trying to demonize govt workers, but since we're on the topic of suffering in the recession, why are govt employees getting auto raises when most people are taking huge pay cuts?

+++++

May 11, 2011 12:00 AM

STOCKTON - The city's police union released details Tuesday of an offer it made to City Hall in labor negotiations this week, a package of concessions union leaders say will save the city more than $7 million and amount to a 21 percent pay cut for officers.

Stockton officials are knee-deep in talks with its labor groups as the city struggles with a projected $34 million budget deficit.

The Police Department's share is more than $13 million, and absent concessions, city leaders have proposed cutting 11 officer positions and about 100 civilian jobs and rolling back or eliminating several police programs.

The Stockton Police Officers' Association's offer includes areas City Hall has specifically targeted, including retirement and health care, some of the biggest drivers of the city's employment costs.

In exchange, the union has asked for back pay, a three-year contract extension without future raises and a guarantee the city won't file for bankruptcy.

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.d...

jdzappa wrote:

Im not trying to demonize govt workers, but since we're on the topic of suffering in the recession, why are govt employees getting auto raises when most people are taking huge pay cuts? And Stockton employees getting free healthcare for life is unheard of in the private sector. Public unions don't have the same checks and balances as private sector unions that know if they push too hard their company will go out of business or relocate. The public unions know they've got the public by the short hairs as there is little or no outside competition. It used to be that working as a public servant meant you sacrificed good pay for security and decent benefits. But in Stockton's case, police sergeants were earning nearly a quarter of a million dollars. http://www.news10.net/news/story.asp...

None of this largesse benefited the community or expanded services. It only benefited the workers who gamed the system, the union bosses, and the politicians who rely on the unions to stay in power.

I think the better question is why aren't private sector workers getting automatic raises when corporate profits are at an all time high and corporations are collectively sitting on more than $2 trillion in cash?

A great deal of the hubbaloo over public sector workers is that private sector workers are pissed they no longer get benefits that good. Instead of campaigning to make sure they get the same it's just easier (and oddly more satisfying for them) to bring public sector workers down to their level.

I think the better question is why aren't private sector workers getting automatic raises when corporate profits are at an all time high and corporations are collectively sitting on more than $2 trillion in cash?

A great deal of the hubbaloo over public sector workers is that private sector workers are pissed they no longer get benefits that good. Instead of campaigning to make sure they get the same it's just easier (and oddly more satisfying for them) to bring public sector workers down to their level.

Well, there's a middle ground here. Should private sector workers be pushing for better pay and benefits? Sure. But that doesn't change the fact that Stockton was paying obscenely high pay and offering insanely good benefits that had no basis in economic reality. If that police sergeant was John McClane from Die Hard and had spent Christmas eve single-handedly stopping a major terrorist plot, then maybe he would deserve a quarter million dollars a year.

jdzappa wrote:
I think the better question is why aren't private sector workers getting automatic raises when corporate profits are at an all time high and corporations are collectively sitting on more than $2 trillion in cash?

A great deal of the hubbaloo over public sector workers is that private sector workers are pissed they no longer get benefits that good. Instead of campaigning to make sure they get the same it's just easier (and oddly more satisfying for them) to bring public sector workers down to their level.

Well, there's a middle ground here. Should private sector workers be pushing for better pay and benefits? Sure. But that doesn't change the fact that Stockton was paying obscenely high pay and offering insanely good benefits that had no basis in economic reality. If that police sergeant was John McClane from Die Hard and had spent Christmas eve single-handedly stopping a major terrorist plot, then maybe he would deserve a quarter million dollars a year.

Without knowing _why_, it is sort of baseless to say "rumblerumblerumble, they paid too much for police!"

Apparently, as a society, we have decided that CEOs and financial-secor people can pull in 6 figures, but $DIETY help us all if someone who: Hasn't recently blown up an economy, and: Whose job actually does have the real risk of getting shot in the ass daily, can't make that much. Why? What value assessment do you base that on?

jdzappa wrote:

If that police sergeant was John McClane from Die Hard and had spent Christmas eve single-handedly stopping a major terrorist plot, then maybe he would deserve a quarter million dollars a year.

Sgt. Jan Goodnight's base salary was actually less than $100,000, but after earning overtime of more than $100,000 , her total gross income was higher than $222,000.

"That's certainly a lot of money. I'm more surprised at the time she'd need to accumulate that. The amount of time she put in is pretty amazing," said Stockton police spokesman Pete Smith.

Smith said Goodnight's overtime compensation came from state grants for various traffic enforcement operations. He also said Goodnight took assignments that other police sergeants turned down.

It wasn't her salary, and it was coming from the state, not Stockton.

jdzappa wrote:

But that doesn't change the fact that Stockton was paying obscenely high pay and offering insanely good benefits that had no basis in economic reality. If that police sergeant was John McClane from Die Hard and had spent Christmas eve single-handedly stopping a major terrorist plot, then maybe he would deserve a quarter million dollars a year.

Except Stockton wasn't paying obscenely high salaries. The cop in your example was a 27-year veteran who made $92,000 a year in salary and racked up the rest in a sh*tload of overtime. You can likely thank taxpayers for allowing her to rack up that amount of overtime because the city budget didn't allow another (cheaper) headcount to be added.

So how much should a cop with nearly three decades of experience make for it to be OK in your mind? $75,000? $50,000? I think it would be safe to say that the average taxpayer's idea of what makes for an overpaid public employee is anyone who makes more than they do.

This is my biggest problem with conservatives when it comes to compensation for public sector employees. It's like they feel that two different sets of economic rules should apply. When compensation involves the private sector the unshakable logic is that high pay attracts the best talent and, naturally, the maximum level of that compensation should never be limited or restricted in any way as that pay is what incentivizes people to work harder.

But when it comes to public sector compensation, those ironclad economic rules go out the window. Public sector workers should be paid as little as humanly possible and they should work hard (for free) out of a sense of duty or because they get some satisfaction out of the job they do. (And, perversely, taxpayers want those workers to deliver outstanding services for those sub-standard wages.)

For example, there are economic studies that show that good teachers are worth something like $400,000 in net present economic value based on the higher earnings and economic activity their student will generate. According to the private sector compensation rules, those teachers should be pulling down several hundred thousand dollars a year, at least. Likely much more because schools will have to compete for them. Except they don't. That's because a lot of people get pissy when they see teachers driving a new car or, gasp, an SUV and wail when a tiny bond levy comes up for their local school district.

Why does one rule apply to private sector workers and another to public sector workers? It can't be because of where the money comes from to pay public sector workers because everyone also pays for the seven figure bonus checks of Wall Street bankers and the insane salaries for every CEO. So, again, if the money all comes from the same place--our wallets--why is there this continual hammering on public sector unions and public sector compensation?

As I said before, public sector unions serve a purpose. Taxpayers would be perfectly happy to only pay minimum wage to every public sector employee because it would save them a couple of bucks a year. Public sector unions prevent that, for the most part (just ask a California state employee who spent a couple of months living off of minimum wage because lawmakers couldn't pass a budget). Lawmakers would love for there to be no public sector union because no one would be able to call them on the financial tricks they do to create a balanced budget. Hell, even with public sector unions lawmakers still under-fund pensions to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

Yeah, $92K in Stockton, for that kind of experience, in a dangerous job, is perfectly fair. And if an extra $110K is coming from the state, well, blame the state, not Stockton.

But that doesn't change the fact that Stockton was paying obscenely high pay and offering insanely good benefits that had no basis in economic reality.

Well, A) they really weren't, from what I've seen, and B) they got caught by the same property bubble that's killing off whole countries. So I'm not inclined to hold them up as exemplars of stupidity, because goddamn near everyone got caught by that bubble. A few of us Austrian-school-types didn't, but nobody listens to us, and I can't really blame Stockton for failing to determine that the highly-paid experts at the Federal Reserve and the world banking systems were all wrong, and a bunch of apparent Internet cranks were actually correct. That's not a bet that sane people would take very often.

Economics and central banking in general are both giant frauds, but they clothe themselves like other experts. They're the cuckoo birds of scientific endeavor, hiding in the same nest, and looking like the real thing, but actually being parasites. But how the hell is a town government supposed to figure that out? How the hell are they supposed to know that us yelling "property bubble, money printing, emergency!" is any different from Jenny McCarthy yelling about autism from vaccines?

So I'm really not too down on Stockton for blowing it. But they do have to live within their means now, whether they like it or not.

Malor wrote:

Yeah, $92K in Stockton, for that kind of experience, in a dangerous job, is perfectly fair. And if an extra $110K is coming from the state, well, blame the state, not Stockton.

But that doesn't change the fact that Stockton was paying obscenely high pay and offering insanely good benefits that had no basis in economic reality.

Well, A) they really weren't, from what I've seen, and B) they got caught by the same property bubble that's killing off whole countries. So I'm not inclined to hold them up as exemplars of stupidity, because goddamn near everyone got caught by that bubble. A few of us Austrian-school-types didn't, but nobody listens to us, and I can't really blame Stockton for failing to determine that the highly-paid experts at the Federal Reserve and the world banking systems were all wrong, and a bunch of apparent Internet cranks were actually correct. That's not a bet that sane people would take very often.

Economics and central banking in general are both giant frauds, but they clothe themselves like other experts. They're the cuckoo birds of scientific endeavor, hiding in the same nest, and looking like the real thing, but actually being parasites. But how the hell is a town government supposed to figure that out? How the hell are they supposed to know that us yelling "property bubble, money printing, emergency!" is any different from Jenny McCarthy yelling about autism from vaccines?

So I'm really not too down on Stockton for blowing it. But they do have to live within their means now, whether they like it or not.

HAHAHA... only Austrian-types saw it coming..... see Steve Keen... Post-Keynesian Cirtuitists like him saw it too. He even did the math too. Something Austrians don't do.

I didn't say only, just that the Austrians saw the collapse coming, years before it happened.

The math doesn't matter if your underlying givens are wrong. It's like doing a derivative of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. No matter how complex and intimidating your formulas are, it's still based on fantasy.

Malor wrote:

I didn't say only, just that the Austrians saw the collapse coming, years before it happened.

The math doesn't matter if your underlying givens are wrong. It's like doing a derivative of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. No matter how complex and intimidating your formulas are, it's still based on fantasy.

But as I said they saw it coming and did the math.... so the givens were correct.

OG_slinger wrote:

Why does one rule apply to private sector workers and another to public sector workers?

It makes perfect sense when you understand that they want every job to be private sector. If you don't pay for public sector workers, you don't have a need for taxes, so no one has to subsidize anyone else. If you want your street paved, you and your neighbors hire a private paving company to do it; the people who live a street over don't have to have their tax dollars going to your street. If you want to send your kid to school, just find a private school that fits your needs; childless people or people whose kids are past school-age can save thousands of dollars that they don't get any benefit from.

Of course, you would want laws saying that children have to be educated, for the long term health of the country. If someone doesn't send their kid to school, you could avoid paying for a police officer's pension and insurance if you hired a private bounty service to track the kid down; saving money when the truancy bounty hunter isn't needed. Obviously, that small amount of money (when it is needed) needs to come from somewhere, so you can't totally eliminate taxes, but you can cut them down to pretty low levels.

I...

Was that meant to be a hyperbolic parody made to illustrate the flaws in the idea, or was it meant to be a serious explanation of how things ought to work? I can't tell.

Hypatian wrote:

I...

Was that meant to be a hyperbolic parody made to illustrate the flaws in the idea, or was it meant to be a serious explanation of how things ought to work? I can't tell.

I was trying to point out the "logic" of denigrating public work while extolling the virtues of private sector work, and following the ideal of that situation. It seems pretty obvious that it would never work, but it hasn't stopped people from saying how much better things would be with everything private.

Okay. Phew. That's what I thought at first, but then I was like "Wait... maybe?"

Hypatian wrote:

I...

IMAGE(http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/181/688/6obe.jpg)

FTFY.

Edit: Bah, too slow.