Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Laborious Budget Excuses

Bruce Murphy introduces some sanity and reason into Scott Walker's manufactured budget battle:

"In the last 10 or 15 years, the state has also passed spending caps for municipalities and counties, which have created a downward pressure on public worker compensation. A Wisconsin Taxpayer's Alliance study showed that local government employees earned 2.9 percent less in total compensation than local public employees nationally.

In truth, the givebacks he is getting from employees, while a heavy sacrifice for individuals, who will lose an average of some $4,500 per year, are only saving the state $150 million a year on a $15 billion budget. To put this in perspective, the state could raise its beer tax to the national average of 19 cents per gallon - up from the current 6 cents - and generate $217 million more per year. In short, it doesn't require a revolution in labor/management to accomplish the savings Walker desires.

It is no coincidence that the wage gap between average workers and CEO pay has exploded while private sector unions have declined. The average pay of America's top CEO was $479,000 in 1979, according to Business Week, but had jumped to $9.5 million by 2009. CEOs who once earned 40 times the pay of the average worker now make at least 400 times more.

The wealth gap in America is the greatest it has been since the Roaring Twenties. In 1928, the top one-hundredth of 1 percent of American families earned 892 times more income than the bottom 90 percent of Americans. That gap declined for decades before it began climbing in the late 1970s. Today the top one-hundredth of one percent of American families earns 976 times more than the bottom 90 percent of Americans.

As public worker unions and public employee wages decline, we're likely to see this gap increase."

No comments: