What about federal pay caps?

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What about federal pay caps?

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:13 pm

What if we cap pay for federal employees to something like three or four times the average middle class salary? Then use a simple bell curve around the median income.

Would that not reduce our budget across the board, and do it fairly? If a person is making a great deal more than that in a federal job, then clearly they ought to be so qualified to get an equivalent paying job in the private sector if they don't want to remain. And if they cannot possibly find such a job, then the cap might be more than justified.

Then use the bell curve to raise the very lowest paying jobs up towards the middle class.


It would work easily since federal workers already get assigned to civilian ranks in most cases. All we need to do is establish core income rates for each rank, then select qualification and difficulty modifiers, and finally leave some percentage for incentive pay. But as long as you map the workforce to a normal distribution, would that not at least guarantee that we can accurately project labor costs going forward?
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby e_room_matt » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:01 pm

Gotta try something. I read the other day that at the start of the recession only one person at the Federal Department of Transportation made over $170,000 per year. Today over 1700 employees make over $170k.

Thanks for weathering that recession with us assholes.
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:43 pm

What made me ask the question was learning the fact that the annual salary for a postal carrier is over 50k. The median personal income in the US is about 30k. Many of those people possess college education and/or advanced technical skills. But the requirements for a postal worker are a high school diploma, the ability to walk (in most cases), and affirmative action points.

We are facing a budget crisis. I agree we ought to raise taxes before anything else. But it might not be enough. And I find it difficult to justify salaries like that while the average American is struggling so badly.
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby e_room_matt » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:51 pm

e_room_matt wrote:Gotta try something. I read the other day that at the start of the recession only one person at the Federal Department of Transportation made over $170,000 per year. Today over 1700 employees make over $170k.

Thanks for weathering that recession with us assholes.

Good lord, that was 3 years ago! I can't imagine how big that number is now.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-12-10-federal-pay-salaries_N.htm
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:12 am

I agree that salaries like that are beyond ridiculous without exceptional and proven reasons to justify it. But I was originally thinking of the much more common salaries which are slightly higher than they ought to be. I don't mean this as an attack on these people. I realize they are hard workers. I respect what they do. But consider these numbers:

Median annual wage for postal worker: $53,090
Median annual wage for all Americans: $33,840
Median annual wage for private sector postal workers: $27,590

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-admin ... .htm#tab-5


That's an income almost twice what is paid by their private sector counterparts. It's well over the median wage for all Americans, and there literally exists no meaningful job requirements. All it requires is a high school diploma, the ability to lift 50lbs parcels, and passing a criminal background check. That's it. Most people who have college educations make less than that, and they are actually well-qualified to do important work, that few Americans can perform.

The much maligned secondary school teacher's median income is $53,230. That is a job which requires at least a college education, and it pays about the same as a postal worker.

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-traini ... achers.htm


Does that make sense? Is that just?

How do we justify these types of salaries when the majority of Americans, who are equally and many times far more qualified, are essentially bleeding to death on the streets?

Something has to give there. It also might do the American worker some good by fully breaking into the middle class, and forcing ALL workers to realize they need to get organized and fight to regain all the rights and prosperity they allowed to be robbed from them by every president and Congress since the 1980s. I submit that one of the chief reasons we can't get enough traction on many of these labor rights issues is because enough middle class households are kept in cozy positions that the critical mass of people is never achieved that will result in an Athens-style social uprising.
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby samadams » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:10 am

Dr. Strangelove wrote:Median annual wage for postal worker: $53,090
Median annual wage for all Americans: $33,840
Median annual wage for private sector postal workers: $27,590
In theory this is all good, but in practice this kind of thinking would be a nightmare. Can you get the information for the median age of all workers and the median age of postal employees? As well as the career length of both sectors? Once you do that, I think you'll begin to discover why there's such a difference.

The other factor is that people, such as yourself, are quick to put restrictions on federal employees but not on corporate employees, because that restricts corporate interests (i-ro-ny). You're basically enacting [communism] on the government because somehow the government is exempt.

Now, perhaps if you limited elected officials' salaries and outlawed any form of campaign contributions within a specified period before and after public office, or better yet forever. Maybe then you'd be getting a small dent into the system.
Last edited by samadams on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby Dr. Strangelove » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:27 am

People like myself?

I am all for establishing a living wage tied to a basket of commodities whose composition cannot be altered by the federal government when it suits them. If I want for every American to earn a living wage, and I want public employees to not make more than a multiple (greater than one) of the median salary paid for that same occupation in the private sector (which is already at least a living wage), then what type of person am I?

This goes back to your ideologue problem.
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby samadams » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:43 am

Dr. Strangelove wrote:If I want for every American to earn a living wage, and I want public employees to not make more than a multiple (greater than one) of the median salary paid for that same occupation in the private sector (which is already at least a living wage), then what type of person am I?
Basically it makes you a lesser form of Communist. :lol: I never thought I would have the opportunity to say that, but here it is...

And I'll take that as a no, you don't want to get those numbers to compare.
...in my humble opinion, as all my statements should be considered.
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby Harry K » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:56 am

I would suggest eliminating the locality wage adjustments first before any true slash and burning of wages.

Also wouldn't you have to do the opposite for physicians, because they are vastly underpaid compared to the private sector? The same would probably apply to lawyers and accountants.
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby samadams » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:05 am

Harry K wrote:I would suggest eliminating the locality wage adjustments first before any true slash and burning of wages.

Also wouldn't you have to do the opposite for physicians, because they are vastly underpaid compared to the private sector? The same would probably apply to lawyers and accountants.
Every profession is that way. And why do you think that is, physicians making less at a hospital than in their own offices? Then they're just an employee rather than a professional...
...in my humble opinion, as all my statements should be considered.
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"What should a free man do?" --Spartan Queen (300)
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." --Gandhi (kind of)
"What man is a man who does not make the world better?"--Balien of Ibelin (Kingdom of Heaven)
"Our lives begin to end the moment we become silent about things that matter."--MLKJ
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby samsmart » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:15 am

Dr. Strangelove wrote:What if we cap pay for federal employees to something like three or four times the average middle class salary? Then use a simple bell curve around the median income.

Would that not reduce our budget across the board, and do it fairly? If a person is making a great deal more than that in a federal job, then clearly they ought to be so qualified to get an equivalent paying job in the private sector if they don't want to remain. And if they cannot possibly find such a job, then the cap might be more than justified.

Then use the bell curve to raise the very lowest paying jobs up towards the middle class.


It would work easily since federal workers already get assigned to civilian ranks in most cases. All we need to do is establish core income rates for each rank, then select qualification and difficulty modifiers, and finally leave some percentage for incentive pay. But as long as you map the workforce to a normal distribution, would that not at least guarantee that we can accurately project labor costs going forward?


Well, the problem you face with a federal pay cap is the same problem you face with a private sector pay cap:

Caps on pay reduces the ability for a company or agency to hire the most competent people.

I was listening to NPR about this in regards to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or AIG - I don't fully remember. I don't remember the full details of the story, but one of those was put into conservatorship - the government would take it over and have it be run by a regulator. The length of time for this was supposed to be quite short, but it's been 4 years already and doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon.

So the government brought in a regulator to sort out the mortgage mess. The problem is that they are having a tough time getting enough competent and experienced people to continue working for them.

One reason why is because all the negative comments on the program hurts morale for the employees. People talk to them about their job and those people try to blame them for what happened, which isn't fair because they weren't executives in charge running things and, for some, they weren't there during the scandal.

Another reason is because the government is cutting the budget, especially for salaries. The director was testifying before Congress and one Representative said that the director's salary was (I think) something in the range of $3 million a year while the President's salary was $400,000 a year, and whether it was fair for him to make so much more money than the President.

So with all this animosity towards the program they are having a tough time retaining experienced and skilled employees. This flight of employees makes it more difficult for the program to do what it set out to do.

So when you talk about a federal pay cap, you have to remember that the federal government is providing goods and services just as much as private corporations do too, and so the same arguments that can be applied against private pay caps can be applied against government pay caps as well.
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby Harry K » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:47 am

samadams wrote:
Harry K wrote:I would suggest eliminating the locality wage adjustments first before any true slash and burning of wages.

Also wouldn't you have to do the opposite for physicians, because they are vastly underpaid compared to the private sector? The same would probably apply to lawyers and accountants.
Every profession is that way. And why do you think that is, physicians making less at a hospital than in their own offices? Then they're just an employee rather than a professional...


Do a little research and you will find that on the federal level, those jobs that don't require a college degree are above the private sector rate. As you review those employess with a bachelor's or above most professions take a pay cut compared to the private sector.

But keep in mind in the private sector, wages have stagnated for thirty years now.
Merlin: Looking at the cake is like looking at the future, until you've tasted it what do you really know? And then, of course, it's too late.

[Arthur takes a bite]

Merlin: Too late.


"Quiet desperation is the drtech way,
The time is gone, the gun is handed over,
Thought you'd had something more to say."
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby Harry K » Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:07 pm

Merlin: Looking at the cake is like looking at the future, until you've tasted it what do you really know? And then, of course, it's too late.

[Arthur takes a bite]

Merlin: Too late.


"Quiet desperation is the drtech way,
The time is gone, the gun is handed over,
Thought you'd had something more to say."
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby raistian77 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:48 pm

samadams wrote:Now, perhaps if you limited elected officials' salaries and outlawed any form of campaign contributions within a specified period before and after public office, or better yet forever. Maybe then you'd be getting a small dent into the system.




Right there.

All through this recession their salaries have gone up.

And we have this :SilentRage:

Spinners and Winners
You could call it welfare for former Presidents.
It's a little-noticed part of the federal budget: Each year U.S. taxpayers pick up the tab for the expenses of our former Presidents. For the likes of Carter, Clinton and Bush that means free rent, postage, phone and office staff — all courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.
In 2010, taxpayer-financed expenses included $15,000 for Jimmy Carter's postage, $579,000 for Bill Clinton's rent and a whopping $80,000 for George W. Bush's phone bills. It adds up: All told, U.S. taxpayers were on the hook for more than $3 million of expenses for the four surviving former U.S. presidents.
They certainly don't seem to need the money. These days being a former U.S. President is a lucrative business. After all, Bill Clinton raked in more than $10 million just in speaking fees last year. George W. Bush made even more: $15 million just for giving speeches.
This entitlement for the very rich was put in place when at least one former president wasn't rich. Congress created this presidential entitlement in 1958 because Harry Truman couldn't afford to pay his bills.
Now that former presidents have plenty of cash, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is leading a bipartisan effort to end the gravy train, cutting off taxpayer-paid expenses for any ex-president making more than $400,000 a year. His bill recommends limiting presidents to a $200,000 annual pension and $200,000 in annual expenses, unless their personal income surpasses that.
"Presidents should get a compensation package. They should get a retirement, and they should get some expenses," says Chaffetz. "But if they're going to go out on the trail, and they're going to give speeches, write books and make money, then there comes a point where you say, okay, the tax payer shouldn't be responsible for also footing the bill for the office expenses, and the telephone paper, and the personnel, and those offices."
Check out this week's Spinners and Winners to see why ex-presidents are so costly, and what other efforts are being considered to try to reign in those costs.


WTF????????????
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Re: What about federal pay caps?

Postby datchiso » Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:08 pm

e_room_matt wrote:Gotta try something. I read the other day that at the start of the recession only one person at the Federal Department of Transportation made over $170,000 per year. Today over 1700 employees make over $170k.

Thanks for weathering that recession with us assholes.


The GS pay scale topped out at $129,517 two years ago. And there has been a freeze on pay raised for a couple of years...... maybe that's the pay of appointed officials?
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