September 28, 2009

The Public Sector Can't Have It All

Justin Katz

Comment-section conversation to the previous post, and to the prior post on the same op-ed, brings to mind the basic philosophical problem with public-sector labor, these days. It was once cliché to think of government jobs as akin to government bonds. The work (or the investment) isn't going to make one rich, but it is characterized by reliability.

Over the past few decades, especially in Rhode Island, the reliability of raises and other remunerative increases has made the public sector lucrative as well as secure. That's simply not a sustainable model, and it can't do otherwise than spark backlashes.

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Public Sector= national guard/ public health administration/ CIA/ local police and fire/ FBI/ armed forces/ Coast Guard
Unfortunately, their work is reliable.

Posted by: David at September 28, 2009 9:34 PM

Come to Boston, David, where half of the fire department is under federal investigation for disability fraud and teams of redundant policemen make 160k a year drinking Dunkin Donuts coffee and watching construction workers pave sidewalks.

They're reliable alright.

Posted by: Dan at September 28, 2009 10:07 PM

We have plenty of disability fraud right here in little Rhody. Thanks to our politicians many, if not all, cities and towns have contract provisions / ordinances which provide that once a firefighter or police officer is found to be totally disabled, that finding is conclusive and can never be reconsidered regardless of the overwhelming medical evidence showing that the fire fighter/officer has recovered. Thanks to this provision, all that a fire fighter or cop has to do is to fool the disability board once (not hard to do), and he's set for life and can do openly anything he wants without fear of losing his "disability" pension. The so-called reasoning behind the provision is that it prevents our "disabled" heroes from the "burden" of having to medically justify their disability. Oh goodness me, we don't want to do that! Oh sure, we require people on workers compensation to periodically go under review to make sure they are still disabled, and sure social security disability also periodically reviews the "totally disabled" to make sure that they remain in fact totally disabled, but for our emotionally fragile heroes such periodic reviews would cause them mental breakdowns and cause them to go to pieces. Hell, how can they travel back and forth between RI and Florida with any peace of mind if they have periodic disability reviews hanging over their heads?

Keep in mind that to be a fire fighter or a cop in RI requires political pull. Thus, these "heroes" are generally political animals out to game the system at the earliest opportunity. Indeed, for most cops and fire fighters gaming the system has been their family business for decades. Their aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers etc have been doing it for years. They laugh about it at family functions and compare notes on how to best work the system. Given that culture of sucking on the public tit, no wonder fire fighters and cops think its all right to game the system because "everyone does it." For their families, that's true.

Posted by: SickofRhodeIslandCulture at September 29, 2009 8:17 AM
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