February 13, 2009

The Public/Private Disconnect

Marc Comtois

What takes up 10% of my weekly paycheck? Family health care, that's what. And that's just my share. My employer kicks in some, too.

Like so many other employees of small businesses, my company had to health-plan shop again this year to find a way of keeping costs down. In our case, the health care costs went up, just not as much as they would have if we hadn't switched plans. So now, like so many others, I take home a little less than I used to. That's just the way it is.

I'm not alone. You see, in the private sector, yearly reassessment of benefits is the norm. There's no locking in with contracts, no long term "promises." Be flexible or be out of business. Right now, tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders who work in the private sector are taking the hits, sucking it up and living with a little less. In many cases, it is necessary that employees recognize that they can either make a little sacrifice or say goodbye to their job or that of some of their co-workers and friends. I know of a few cases where people have taken pay cuts to stay employed. Or companies that have instituted mandatory furloughs to keep their doors open and avoid further layoffs. Imagine that? That's the simple reality in today's economy.

This is why the compassion meter is just about pegged at "0" when we hear public employees complaining about deals "made in good faith" being broken because they may have to endure reductions in their generous benefit packages or increases in their relatively minuscule co-pays and co-shares. There is no money. And politicians, wisely, are reticent to go to taxpayers asking for more. Everyone else is making sacrifices, now it's their turn.

Small-business owners and their employees are used to cinching their belts and spreading the hardship amongst themselves. That way, hopefully, we can help keep more people employed. Making a little less is better than none at all. The question we keep asking is, how come the public sector isn't willing to do the same for their "brothers and sisters" or the communities they serve?

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

[And that will be all from David. --- JK]

Posted by: David at February 13, 2009 8:58 PM

David, You're pretty brave in your anonymity. And your blather is so rife with ill-informed assumptions that I'm done wasting pixels on you.

Posted by: Marc at February 13, 2009 11:27 PM

Justin aka JK

The new policy at Anchor Rising is apparently to stifle comments that rankle a contributer and at the same time elevate the moronic offerings of another commentor on a post of this morning by you. It would appear as though comments that demean others as "pigs", "poverty pimps", "anchor babies" are all just fine with management but don't turn comments against one of the group that prides itself on open discussion. Your authoritarian tendencies are now well out of the closet. You may as well cut off my comments now because I intend to not let up on reminding you of your amazing hypocrisy.

I think the comments made to you on this post by David before they were removed by JK were on target. You brought your personal life into your post and should be man enough to take comments like the one made to you. If Anchor Rising were a family it would be something like one Connie and a bunch of Fredos.

Posted by: Phil at February 14, 2009 9:18 AM


Point one is that its hard to take seriously anyone who challenges me to be "man enough" who doesn't fully disclose their own name.

Point two is that I don't agree at all that "David" was on target. I think the point of the piece is obvious: juxtaposing a personal experience in the private sector with the expectations of those in the public sector. David didn't really even address the post and instead chose to personally attack me. I've brought my "personal life" into my blogging before, but it's done in good faith. David's response wasn't. I'm a big boy and have been subjected to much worse face-to-face. I believe that I did "take" his comments, I just chose not to respond because it seemed obvious David wasn't interested in a debate, just in lobbing bombs. Right out of Alinsky: personalize, etc.

Point three is that we all have different sensibilities regarding comments. For the most part, I'm happy with letting people hoist themselves on their own petards. I didn't ask Justin to remove "David's" comment, but he did so based on his judgment as site administrator.

Finally, hope this doesn't mean you'll stop coming around. Even if we're all authoritarian and all.

Posted by: Marc at February 14, 2009 11:19 AM

Well Marc
I certainly will stick around but I don't get the luxury of slipping up with my language. In the day to day exchange we can all comment in a way we wish we had'nt. I'm not big on the insults but you have got to be kidding given the comments on this blog. I don't care (I was going to say I don't give a F, S , or RA or CSDBMF) about those comments and try to say what I wish in a way that I'm proud of. It's also amusing that you make a big deal out of David's anonymity and not those of many that comment here. New rules for new times. Make them up as you go along.

Posted by: Phil at February 14, 2009 12:00 PM

If you would pay attention to what the various union leaderships are saying, you would understand that their complaint is with high handed public officials, pipsqueaks like Carcieri (the School Committee chair) and Mayor Menard, who abrogate the collective bargaining process that they are legally obligated to engage in. But during the last 8 years supporting lawlessness became de rigeur with all the GOP types.

I contrast the recriminstions fest going on here with the conduct of the very classy Mayor of New Bedford. He negotiated, and found their was no agreement. So he, quite obviously with regret, started the process of laying off 200 city employees. He managed to do this without verbally abusing city employees.

The only thing I like about Governor Carcieri is his manifest ineptitude.

Posted by: Ken at February 15, 2009 6:38 PM
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