Recently in the Los Angeles news, there has been an ongoing investigation of the small city of Bell, California--a city of less than 40,000, most who are in lower income families. The city manager of Bell, one of L.A.county's poorest cities, is being paid nearly $800,000 per year--far greater that city managers in surrounding cities that are far larger than Bell. The sheriff of Bell is paid in excess of $400,000 and city council members, who work only part-time, receive over $100,000 per year--an amount which the city council itself established for its members. Do I smell something rotten here?
Before I continue, I want to get a couple of points out of the way. My topic today is not in reference to pay in the private sector. I think there are some real ethical issues about the disparity of wages, but I don't want to address these issues today. Likewise, let's forget the argument that government workers can make more in the private sector. Let them go there if they can do better. The point is: Where does the money come from to pay government employees? And the obvious answer to that is taxes and other government imposed fees.
Another point I would like to clear up so as not to offend any of my beloved readers who are government employees, what I will be proposing would be unlikely to affect any of you. If it does, or if you can help me understand where I am wrong, then I'll leave it to you to honorably defend your position and set me straight.
Here is my proposal in debate question format:
Should we limit the pay of all government-paid employees to $150,000?
I would not be proposing any decrease in benefits as far as health insurance or any other allowances that seem appropriate. Some of the perks might need to be addressed and taken away from some. Over all though, I'm suggesting that the governments--city, county, state, and federal--continue to operate business as usual, but with some adjustments made for what I see as overpaid government workers. I don't think anyone who reads this makes anywhere near $150,000, so would a salary cap at this figure affect you adversely? If you do make more than this, or know someone who does, please tell us why you, or they do.
According to some of the figures that I found, in the United States the median personal income is somewhere around $25,000. Granted, this includes low wage teens and part-timers. However, the median househould income--that is the combined incomes of everyone living under one roof--is around $50,000. Anyone who is making over $100,000 is in the top 6% of workers in the U.S. says a Census Bureau report. I'm really not sure why elected officials need to fit into this category when you consider that many of them have to be somewhat financially well off in the first place.
Taking the extreme, the president of the United States receives $400,000 per year not to mention expense accounts and other residual benefits. How many recent presidents have gone into office as poor men? What is the earning potential of a president once out of office? Then to a lesser degree you have the other government officials with high pay when compared to most of us and far more potential perks and benefits. The American people have been paying our government good money to frequently screw us over.
This is not a rant on our government and the job they are or are not doing, I am merely questioning pay. Please enlighten me if I am way off base here. Or toss out what you know to support my arguments. I could go on at greater length with additional points and arguments, but I'm trying to shorten my posts. So I leave it up to you.