Beltway Spin Podcasts

Friday, November 12, 2010

Is The American Worker Their Own Worse Enemy?

I was watching C-SPAN's Washington Journal this morning and the subject was the salaries of federal employees. The host referenced an article stating that the average federal salary was $129, 000 annually. Having been an individual myself who has searched the federal jobs website a few times, that figure did not match up to what I had seen as salaries listed for federal jobs.

Remember how Parade Magazine lists national salaries every year for certain occupations? I'm pretty sure, like me, most Americans would skim the article looking for their profession's average salary only to wound up looking in disgust as you make no where near what the magazine is listing as the average pay. For example the magazine will say " The average US teacher salary is $59,000", but when you actually look at teacher salaries by state, you will see that the majority of states in America does not pay a teacher salary even approaching that figure. Even in my home state of Virginia the average salary is $43, 823. That is quite a difference. I sometimes wonder if when organizations are computing average salaries for specific companies or professions, if they don't actually include everyone in the company or profession, from managers on down to arrive at the numbers they get?

But, what I immediately noticed from one call to the next, from republican, democratic, and independent callers alike was the same response. The callers stated outrage at theses exorbitant salaries while their private sector jobs did not pay anywhere near that amount. My thought was regardless of some article the host had quoted written in a corporate media newspaper, do these callers really think all or the majority of federal employees make $129,000? They couldn't be that gullible could they?

In my search through federal job listings, the only federal occupations that paid those types of salaries were chemists, dentists, doctors, and advanced engineering. But nonetheless this article brought out the anti government sentiments that the right wing have so aptly played upon for the last thirty years.

The real question should be why have the wages for the private sector stayed flat the last thirty years? Why have private sector wages even declined in real dollars while corporate profits have skyrocketed? If you've been recently unemployed, how many times have you applied for a job that had a long laundry lists of skill sets and education requirements, only to find out during the interview the salary was $9 or $10 per hour?

As long as corporate elites can get average Americans to aim their "fire" at other places instead of them, they've got it made. They will continue to pay CEO's millions of dollars, outsource jobs overseas, replace full time jobs with part time jobs, cut wages and benefits, and hire non citizens because they know Americans will never understand who the real culprits are in this economy.

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