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Author: MarkMarcellus Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Global Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 20807  
Subject: Re: And USAToday weighs in Date: 3/9/2010 10:49 AM
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Because they're paid less than they could get elsewhere, they stay in positions longer? If I was paid less than I could get somewhere else, I change jobs...

And, presumably, you don't work for the government. First of all, job security vs. salary is always a tradeoff. I haven't worked for the government for several lifetimes, but that's still a tradeoff that I take into account. Second, there are other incentives. For example, if I'm the parent (single or otherwise) primarily responsible for child care, and I have to work around kids' illnesses, school events, school vacations, etc., I will strongly prefer a job with decent vacation benefits, and an environment where I can take time off with little notice. If I have that type of job, I will hang on to it at least until the kids are in college, and I will settle for a lot less money. Then there's the fact that I can retire at 55 with health benefits, but let's not go there again.

Look, the public employment system is broken, there is no question about it. However, it won't get fixed if the debate degenerates, as it so often does, into castigation of fat, lazy, overpaid government workers. It's not that simple, and it only makes both sides more entrenched.

A point I keep trying to make, with little success, is that while the business processes in our governments need to be improved, we also need to understand that the dynamics are different, and what works in private business does not always translate exactly to the public sphere. Anyone that really wants to change government needs to recognize that. And, hitting one of my biggest pet peeves, I wish we could stop with the "if this [insert ridiculous, indefensible, government action] happened in the private sphere, we would [get fired | go out of business] meme. Fact is, stupid things happen in private business all the time, it's just that they usually aren't ... public. And the Darwinian fantasy that private companies who do stupid things are immediately punished and put out of business is just that: a fantasy. Look at how long it took Edgar Bronfman to kill Seagrams. He basically wasn't able to do it until he actually sold the liquor business.

Sorry for the rant, I'll try to keep quiet now.
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