Saturday, November 5, 2011

Journal Sentinel Likes Walker's Package

More astute pronouncements from the Journal Sentinel editorial board, Compensation package works for Wisconsin. They want to assure readers, "The Walker administration's compensation plan takes a reasonable approach to pay and overtime."

"It reduces the chance for overtime abuses, give managers the tools they need to reward the best employees and saves taxpayers money."I'd like to see what percentage of the budget "overtime abuses" actually account for. Overtime pay is part of a contractual negotiation reflecting the total compensation of an employee; if we looked at overtime recipients years of service and hours worked, what do those numbers say? It's easy to throw out a big number and get taxpayers riled. A job of the media is to put things within a larger context and give a true representation. This is merely sensationalism without context...scapegoating.

The editorial conveniently glosses over the pay for political appointees issue. That can be handled at a later date; it's not a big deal. Nothing to see (or talk about) here, move along. Even though they then, later in the article, while discussing merit pay, note that, "There is legitimate concern that merit pay could turn into rewards for political or personal favorites, but thats seems unlikely." Yes, Scott Walker has only tried to reward every crony he knows in his first few months in office. But such favoritism seems unlikely? The articles says, "As the plan is explained on the state's website, the work of an employee would need to meet certain standards." Oh, "certain standards." That clears things up. Now I feel better.

They then repeat well-worn woe for the long-suffering private sector, "Such increased costs for benefits and cuts in pay have been routine in the private industry for several years." Um, where the hell has this editorial board been? Public workers in Wisconsin have seen increased health care costs over the past few years, they've also been furloughed and laid off. This is on top the recent wage freezes, lay offs, and increased pension and health care cost mandates. And, this punish-the-public-workers sentiment completely ignores recent studies showing that a public sector worker's total compensation is LESS that similarly educated and experienced private sector worker. The Journal wants public sector workers, whom already earn less, to be the ones to sacrifice more, while also pumping more lies into the debate - that public workers haven't yet sacrificed and that they earn more.

And, since it's an editorial board standard, they commend the private sector, yet again, "As many in the private sector understand, merit pay hikes can be useful tool for increasing efficiency and productivity, and the overtime changes are especially warranted." Geez, one would think with this omnipotent and sensible private sector we would have eradicated poverty and unemployment by now.

Making sure no public worker is paid at a higher rate for overtime work is very important to the editorial board. This abuse must be stopped. Again, no numbers are given to support such apoplexy. And, even more perplexing, I never see the board pontificating about excessive executive pay, the millions made by CEOs whom have lost their company money or presided over a decline in their stock's price, the tax avoidance schemes of the well-to-do, or any of these abuses of the system. Always punishing the peasants, but never questioning the kings.

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