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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 28, 2010 / 13 Shevat 5770

Public-sector pay, private-sector backlash

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last month, the US economy shed another 85,000 jobs. It marked a miserable end to a calamitous year in which an estimated 4.2 million American jobs were liquidated, and the unemployment rate rose to 10 percent. In addition, more than 920,000 "discouraged workers" left the labor force entirely, having given up on finding work and therefore not included in official unemployment data.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans who do have jobs have been compelled to work part-time or at reduced wages; many others have not seen a raise in years.

But not everyone is having a rotten recession.

Since December 2007, when the current downturn began, the ranks of federal employees earning $100,000 and up has skyrocketed. According to a recent analysis by USA Today, federal workers making six-figure salaries - not including overtime and bonuses — "jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months." The surge has been especially pronounced among the highest-paid employees. At the Defense Department, for example, the number of civilian workers making $150,000 or more quintupled from 1,868 to 10,100. At the recession's start, the Transportation Department was paying only one person a salary of $170,000. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees were drawing paychecks of that size.

All the while, the federal government has been adding jobs at a 10,000-a-month clip. Between December 2007 and June 2009, federal payrolls exploded by nearly 10 percent. "Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time in pay and hiring," USA Today observes, "during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector." And to add public-sector insult to the private-sector injury, data from the Office of Personnel Management show the average federal salary is now roughly $71,000 — about 76 percent higher than the average private employee earns. (If benefits are included, the disparity is even greater.)

Needless to say, it isn't only at the federal level that government pay and perks increasingly outstrip those in the private sector. In states and municipalities across the country, public-employee pension costs are going through the roof.


Letter from JWR publisher


In Ohio, a joint reporting effort by the state's eight largest newspapers found that even in a time of severe budget cuts, "one expense government leaders have not cut is pensions for their workers." The annual public pension tab in Ohio, currently $4.1 billion, is growing by around $700 million per year. "Retirement incomes for the most experienced government employees top out at 88 percent of their active-duty pay," writes James Nash of the Columbus Dispatch. "Unlike most private-sector workers, whose retirement is driven by the strength of the stock market and 401(k) plans, government employees' pensions are guaranteed."

Moreover, government retirees in Ohio enjoy taxpayer-provided health care, and in many cases can retire at age 48. Especially egregious are the "double-dippers" — public employees who "retire" on a full pension while returning to work and collecting a paycheck. In 2009, double-dippers were paid nearly a billion dollars by Buckeye State public-pension systems.

Ohio is hardly unique. A public-pension tsunami is beginning to inundate government budgets at every level. As more and more of taxpayers' earnings are confiscated to fund outsize public-sector benefits, the backlash from the private sector will only grow angrier and more intense.

"We are about to get run over by a locomotive," warned California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in his State of the State address this month. Over the past decade, he told lawmakers, pension costs for state employees swelled 2000 percent — but revenues only increased 24 percent. The state has had to come up with funds to close that gap — funds diverted from "our universities, our parks, and other government functions."

Public-employee unions fiercely defend their members' pay and pensions, of course, but even labor-friendly Democrats are starting to acknowledge the inevitable. "The deal used to be that civil servants were paid less than private sector workers in exchange for an understanding that they had job security for life," former San Francisco mayor and California Assembly speaker Willie Brown recently wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle. "But we politicians, pushed by our friends in labor, gradually expanded pay and benefits . . . while keeping the job protections and layering on incredibly generous retirement packages. . . . Talking about this is politically unpopular and potentially even career suicide for most officeholders. But at some point, someone is going to have to get honest about the fact."

A showdown is coming, and more likely sooner than later. Taxpayers will put up with a lot, but their patience has its limits.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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