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Letter to the Editor – Living Wages For New Yorkers

By Charles C. Schoenau
November 21, 2010

Assuming that labor and the legislature should be entitled to  always legislate a fair or living wage is a prescription for low or no job creation. At least in private sector management can fire people or choose to shut done their business due to losses, no return,  or low return on investment.

However, in the public sector, the obscenity of mandating wage levels and mandating benefits has been recently revealed to all in NYS and Call etc. The result is a tragedy and growing widespread recognition that promises and benefits will be reduced ,limited, or discontinued altogether or NYS and Cal will become officially bankrupt.

No one in the private sector with all the risks of being an employee gets anywhere near the benefits lavished to Fed, state, Local, teacher union, Fire Union, etc. In the  private sector,  most people never get the benefits because they are fired or turned over long before any vesting takes place. I recently told a teacher that I had been fired 6 times in my life and have absolutely no pension or retirement plan and I am 62. She did not believe it, as she was never been fired. How many government workers are in that position that private sector workers are? During the 2008-2009 period we lost over 3,3. million private sector jobs whereas Fed jobs grew and some government jobs barely decreased or suffered the dramatic decrease in wages and benefits which occurred  routinely in private sector downturns. Many teachers and public employees have no sense of a punishing economic recession because there are barely any layoffs due to Fed bailouts and under Obama huge new bureaucracies created Fed jobs which involve many more government jobs, not fewer jobs and lower pay, and benefits as in the real world private sector.

In short, especially government workers have to suffer with job loss and reduced salaries and benefits as all private sector workers do, e.g. construction workers many of whom have not worked for 2 years!!! And they have absolutely no pension, tax free disability plans, and low cost health insurance for life. They are in dire straits and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Those in the private sector who pay the taxes to support government workers see the absurdity of government workers facing almost no risk of job loss, deep pay cuts (our firm cut salaries 50% for a period of time), and no loss of benefits.

November 23, 2010

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