Public Sector Pay: Pucker Up Monica and Bring Your Scalpel

I’m sure Ms. Monica Potts, is a delightful person and in polite company never wets on the carpet as some of us are want to do. And history teaches when a lady speaks ill of me, I surely have earned it.

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So I find myself a bit out of sorts after pouring over her latest screed, at the American Prospect, because no matter how I turn this around in my little mind I reach the conclusion: Monica owes me (gasp) an apology.

Here are a few minor gaffes Monica makes:

  • I called for 20% cuts in federal, state, and local employees salaries. She misread and uses only federal numbers to impugn either my math skills or Google’s Calculator.

  • I said we should cut public employee compensation by 20% and future increases should be tied to private wage growth. Again, Monica appears to have misread. I didn’t say each worker should receive 20% less, precisely because there is so much obvious inequity in the salary, pension, and overtime public employees receive. She makes my point by explaining a government cashier earns sixteen thousand dollars more per year than a cashier in the private sector. NJ’s governor just pointed to a 49 year old pensioner who is to receive $3.3 Milion on a $124,000 contribution. Please know this Monica: I don’t want to use a hatchet, I want to use a scalpel to remove 20% from public employee compensation. This doesn’t mean job reductions (that’s for another post), but if for instance a cashier quits in a huff, his eager replacement will still earn less. And this doesn’t mean furloughs, workers will be expected to earn less and (horrors!) show up for work.


  • Monica doesn’t know of any work force that would tolerate a 20% cut in pay. Let me help her here with the aid of the interweb. Frankly, I’m a bit stunned by her assertion, because most all Americans in the private sector have experienced this kind of wage volatility at different points in their careers… including the UAW.

It has been noted, that Monica’s type of people get a tad miffed when they investigate the minds of my type of people, so quite naturally she’d read imaginary sentences and invent sub-par ideas to attribute to my spectacular failings.

As to restitution, in my own household, when I am so deeply in error, I’m lucky to get away with an hour long foot massage as penance. Though based on Monica’s notions of real world work, I’ll happily settle for a kiss on my ass.

And Monica, if your lips are pledged to the bottom of another, how about we work through your errors, and my insufferable attitude, with a podcast debate? Seriously, I’ll set it up, and we’ll both get copies….


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