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Thread: The NEVERENDING Political Discussion Thread

  1. #551
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    As for federal employees, sure, the top echelon should be making $100K or whatever is appropriate depending on how much work they do or responsibility they have, but people are routinely making ridiculous amounts in lower-level jobs. And don't give me the cost-of-living line. I've seen regular planning jobs in the DC area at the local level for only $30K or $40K, so the equivalents that work for Uncle Sam should be paid the same.

    "
    When data comparing job requirements and educational/experience requirements are factored in, federal workers on average make less than their private sector counterparts. All of the data which says otherwise compares ALL private sector workers (burger flippers, custodians, etc) with ALL federal workers. An apples and oranges comparison.

    Yet the heart of your post, seems to be that wages in general are too high. You would prefer that federal wages be cut - bringing ALL middle class salaries down, rather than to prefer that private sector middle class wages be increased.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  2. #552
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    Cut what programs? Cut what agencies? The Park Service, which is always a favorite conservative. Cut the EPA, another favorite target of the conservatives? The DEA, the FBI, FEMA, DHS, where does the knife go? Keep in mind that we've had 2 disasters recently that resulted from little regulation or enforcement. Conservative/TEA Partiers like to talk about cutting the Federal Government for two reasons. One, they don't have to provide details. Second, it weakens enforcement of regulations they find onerous, but protect the people. Heavens, it might cut into their profit margin.

    As for pay federal government employees, again a nice buzz concept that requires little details. But darn if it doesn't sound good and fans the fear/loathing of people who don't understand how government works. I've interviewed in places where I couldn't afford to live-Naperville, Birmingham, MI. COLA is a very real problem in certian areas. DC is an incredibly expensive place to live. I interviewed in the DC/Virginia area before. The people who work there, live in Pennsylvania.
    Well, first of all, any new or additional spending for any agency has to stop. Second of all, you are right that we have existing worthy programs that are necessary, but if all those agencies tighten their budgets a little bit, it would help things a lot. When almost every private sector employer and local government is having to make cuts here and there and stretch things, along with almost every American, it's only fair that the federal government does the same. But a lot of the spending comes from entitlement programs and defense spending, which need serious reform. As for specifics, I'm sorry, I don't have the answers for you on what needs to be cut, but if we want to reduce the deficit while succeeding at getting out of a recession, something has to be cut. I'm not a congressman, but hopefully they will come up with some solutions and proposals. Whatever the case, there are going to be unhappy people no matter what they do.

    As for cost-of-living, yes, there are more expensive areas to live in than others. But there are usually more affordable areas within these metros that are close by, but you just have to look. For example, you mentioned Naperville. Well did you ever consider living in a more affordable home in nearby Montgomery or Aurora? Same goes for the other metros...there are more affordable parts of metro Washington and metro Detroit that are still nice areas.

    Quote Originally posted by imaplanner View post
    When data comparing job requirements and educational/experience requirements are factored in, federal workers on average make less than their private sector counterparts. All of the data which says otherwise compares ALL private sector workers (burger flippers, custodians, etc) with ALL federal workers. An apples and oranges comparison.

    Yet the heart of your post, seems to be that wages in general are too high. You would prefer that federal wages be cut - bringing ALL middle class salaries down, rather than to prefer that private sector middle class wages be increased.
    I just think that federal wages should be on par with their private sector counterparts. Or maybe with their local/state government counterparts.

    I think it would be great if all middle class wages were higher, but I just think that when you're dealing with taxpayer money, federal employees need to be paid fair market value for their work.
    Last edited by Gedunker; 17 Nov 2010 at 4:38 PM. Reason: seq. posts
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  3. #553
    Cyburbian kalimotxo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    ... But a lot of the spending comes from entitlement programs and defense spending, which need serious reform...
    Finally, there's something we can really agree on. The military-industrial complex is, in my opinion, uniquely culpable in our current debt crisis. Unfortunately defense spending is one of those third rails that no one wants to seriously consider for fear of being labeled "weak." If anything good comes out of the Tea Party contingent of the incoming Congress it will be a serious look at the unnecessarily bloated defense budget.

    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    ...Same goes for the other metros...there are more affordable parts of metro Washington and metro Detroit that are still nice areas.
    Please point me to these affordable areas in metro DC. My parents live on a farm on a dirt road an hour out of the city. Going rent for a crappy 2-bedroom/1 ba country cottage in that area is in excess of 1000 dollars/month, which is not exactly what I would consider "affordable". There's a reason people commute from places like Martinsburg VA and it ain't the pretty drive.

    Metro Detroit is an entirely different story...
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  4. #554
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    I guess we all need to decide what's more important here right now...creating jobs or reducing the deficit. To create jobs, you have to give businesses some incentive to do so. And I don't think that incentive will be raising taxes. To reduce the deficit, you either have to raise taxes or cut spending. So, as a result, the only option to do both appears to be to cut taxes or at the very least not let the tax cuts expire in order to create an investment for businesses to create jobs, while cutting spending to work at reducing the deficit.
    Well, we could also cut spending AND raise taxes!

    I think this is a very fair assessment of the dilemma with regards to taxes, job growth and the deficit. Well said.

    In general, I feel the government's job is to manage the budget and perform its functions within that. Its the private sector's role to create jobs. However, as I mentioned in another post, market fluctuations can create situations that even the most uncompromising Free Marketer might agree requires government intervention. I also feel there are some areas where the market is not well-equipped to provide services because the profit motive undermines the need to provide a service that supports the health, safety and welfare of the public (could we privatize traffic lights, for example? What would be the incentive for business to provide that service? Probably best to leave that one up to the government...)

    Overall, my personal opinion is that people want to make money. And the rich especially want to make money as the devaluation of just keeping it under the mattress (where it enjoys no interest) is very unattractive. So, tapping into that creative, entrepreneurial spirit, I would imagine that even with paying more in taxes, the rich will continue to spend and invest in business growth to both enjoy the perks of wealth and generate more of it in the future.

    It makes me think about my kids when they ask for something like candy and I won't let them. They scream and cry and pitch a fit, but after a while, they find a way to move on and, amazingly, have a fun productive time without it.


    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    The main thing that costs so much money is entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, and thanks to the aging population, so the amount of money that needs to be paid out is only going to continue to increase year after year unless something is done to reform these systems. I think it's unfair to punish the younger generations to pay for the mistakes of the older generations that created this flawed system in the 60s.
    And what is especially galling is that Social Security SHOULD be the money that generation already paid in that just comes back to them later as if it were sitting in a piggy bank. But the reality, it would seem (though nobody seems to be able to give a straight answer on the logic of all of this) is that they already spent this money. So now, the younger generations beginning to pay into it may have to foot a good deal of the bill with no guarantee that it will be there for them either.

    Its like the parents telling little Johnny that they raided his piggy bank, never refilled it, and now they're out of money. But that's ok, Jimmy can just get his kids to put money in their piggy banks and he can raid them to cover the shortfall. And on and on it goes...

    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    One thing that's interesting to point out is that Bush took 8 years to increase the U.S. annual budget by a trillion dollars (and that included a recession, 9/11, two wars, Katrina, a market collapse, etc.), while Obama is on track to increase it another trillion in only 3 years. That's unacceptable, and we need to hold the line of federal government growth unless they have a way to pay for it.
    Well, I have been trying to move myself away from the blame game on topics like this. In my opinion, we are comparing apples and oranges. The situation today requires a different set of actions and government response than the realities that Bush faced. Plus, given the pace at which economic response rolls out in reaction to policies and changing circumstances would suggest that much of the foundation for the current mess was laid prior to Obama's taking office. Some would say prior to Bush as well. But again, playing the blame game is not very constructive in addressing our current woes.

    The current situation is dire and has/will require some dramatic actions. I'm not entirely comfortable with it either, but I fear the alternative.
    Last edited by wahday; 17 Nov 2010 at 3:15 PM.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  5. #555
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Another day... another plan to save us money...

    http://bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/de...0SUMMARY_0.pdf

    Although this one looks to save $6trillion by 2020 ($84 trillion by 2040). My favorite part...

    Policymakers cannot solve the debt crisis simply by eliminating congressional earmarks (less than one percent of the discretionary budget) or foreign aid, which is less than one percent of the total budget.

    Nor can policymakers significantly reduce the debt by eliminating “waste, fraud, and abuse,” although they surely should undertake efforts to eliminate as much waste, fraud, and abuse as possible.

    Nor can policymakers realistically solve the problem simply by cutting domestic discretionary spending. Stabilizing the debt by 2020 through domestic discretionary cuts alone would require eliminating nearly all such spending – everything from law enforcement and border security to education and food and drug inspection.

    Nor can policymakers rely on hopes of a strong economy to “grow our way out of the deficit.” Just to stabilize the debt at 60 percent of GDP, the economy would have to grow at a sustained rate of more than 6 percent per year for at least the next ten years. The economy has never grown by more than 4.4 percent in any decade since World War II.

    Nor can policymakers solve the problem simply by raising taxes on wealthy Americans. Reducing deficits to manageable levels by the end of the decade though tax increases on the most well-to-do Americans would require raising the top two bracket rates to 86 percent and 91 percent (from the current 33- and 35-percent rates).

    There are no easy answers, no quick fixes. Following is a bipartisan, fair and reasonable plan that calls for reforms to every part of the budget and the participation of all Americans to restore America’s future for our children and grandchildren.
    *note: the meat of it starts on page 17 of the pdf...
    Last edited by Hink; 17 Nov 2010 at 3:20 PM.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  6. #556
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    If by "awhile ago" you mean early 20th century, yes, you're correct The Air Force and Army were actually one entity a while ago too...
    Indeed, the Department of Labor was under the Commerce Department for a total of ten years - 1903 to 1913. I imagine there was a reason for splitting the two, but I really don't know what that was.

    Totally OT:
    My father was in the Air Force in 1957 during the birth of the space program. There was no NASA at the time so it was all parked under the AF. Anyway, my father, having recently graduated form veterinary school, was sent to then French Cameroon to bring back the 24 chimps from whom they chose Ham who became the first primate in space.

    Probably a good thing that they split NASA off into its own entity. Space exploration and military prowess should not share the same priorities IMO.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  7. #557
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    I just think that federal wages should be on par with their private sector counterparts. Or maybe with their local/state government counterparts.
    .

    Do that and I (and several other public sector planners) will be getting a raise. COOL!

    I've worked in the public and private sectors (which also had several federal contracts and looking at their data, I also know what the federal planners were making). Private sector is making more than feds or local govt planners.

    All of us need to do a little more independent research from several sources. Do not base facts on what Fox and MSNBC tells us. Also as my 'nut loving friend hink pointed out, there is not a magic bullet or two out there that will fix today's issue. Just like most thinkgs in the world, it will take a multi-point approach WHICH MEANS our elected masterminds neec to quit postering, pointing fingers and playing partisan games. They need to get to a long term solution. You will never please everybody, we are too diverse. Unfortunatley they all look for quick fixes so they can be re-elected.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  8. #558
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    The logic still doesn't work out for me - how does seizing wealth from the job creators through higher taxation create more private-sector jobs? With less wealth on hand after the IRS is done, that's less available to hire and pay employees.



    Mike

  9. #559
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    The logic still doesn't work out for me - how does seizing wealth from the job creators through higher taxation create more private-sector jobs? With less wealth on hand after the IRS is done, that's less available to hire and pay employees.



    Mike
    Like I said before- an argument can be made that higher taxes increases job growth and business investment. Wealth on hand that is used for hiring and paying employees is tax deductible. Meaning that the wealth that is taxed is NOT used for business investment and job creation. So the argument that taxing the wealthy hurts job creation is just plain false.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  10. #560
    Cyburbian Plus Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Is the Tea Party unduly influencing the voting on Dancing with the Stars?

    (Tall slender elegant graceful Brandy was voted off tonight. Chub-face Bristol Palin, still on.)
    Coming up shortly on All Things Considered:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=129541964

    [Jennifer] Grey's professional partner, Derek Hough, didn't hide his surprise at Brandy's dismissal: His jaw dropped.

    The Internet has been abuzz in recent days about how Palin, who has consistently landed at the bottom of the judges' leaderboard, has been able to remain on the show. Some have suggested that voters — particularly supporters of Sarah Palin — have been voting in blocs and manipulating the system.

  11. #561
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Coming up shortly on All Things Considered:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=129541964

    [Jennifer] Grey's professional partner, Derek Hough, didn't hide his surprise at Brandy's dismissal: His jaw dropped.

    The Internet has been abuzz in recent days about how Palin, who has consistently landed at the bottom of the judges' leaderboard, has been able to remain on the show. Some have suggested that voters — particularly supporters of Sarah Palin — have been voting in blocs and manipulating the system.
    I still think it should be called Dancing with Random D-listers that no one cares about now... I hope that this ends the horrible show.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  12. #562
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    Private sector is making more than feds or local govt planners.
    Not across the board (at least for feds vs. private sector in the environmental planning realm)...but the private sector generally does make more than local govt folks.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

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  14. #564
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Speaking of Palin and 2012...

    I was watching Hannity last night, where Sean had Newt Gingrich on as a guest. Newt was appearing live from Ames, IA, where he was doing a book signing at Iowa State. I have a friend attending grad school out there who met him earlier in the evening. During the interview, Hannity made mention of how Newt appeared to coincidentally be making the rounds in Iowa, as he was headed to Cedar Rapids the next day. Hannity asked him if he was heading to New Hampshire and South Carolina next. Gingrich said something along the lines of he'll get to those places eventually. He definitely was beating around the bush, but I think he'll run. He has been very critical of Obama, and he maintains a very active schedule, so I think he will definitely be running. Now, at the moment, I'm torn between him and Palin. While we still have 2 more years yet, the primaries begin in only a little over a year from now.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  15. #565
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Social Darwinism.....

    "Republicans are still spouting nutty Social Darwinism. Cutting taxes on the rich is better than helping the unemployed, they say, because the rich will create jobs with their extra money while giving money to the unemployed reduces their desire to look for work.

    Rubbish. The Bush tax cuts on the top never trickled down. Between 2002 and 2007 the median wage dropped, adjusted for inflation. And job growth was pathetic.

    Jobless benefits don’t deter the unemployed from finding work. In most states, unemployment benefits are a fraction of former wages. And as long as unemployment remains sky-high, there are no jobs to be had anyway." Robert Reich

    http://robertreich.org/post/1601480347
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  16. #566
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by Bubba View post
    Not across the board (at least for feds vs. private sector in the environmental planning realm)...but the private sector generally does make more than local govt folks.
    The flip side being that (at least in Canada) the medical, dental, sick leave and retirement benefits in the private sector are much less.

  17. #567
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I don't understand why she is trying to play coy about this. We all know that she wants to run. We all know that she wants to be a superstar *does the hand movement*.

    I think most rational republicans (which is my new hope for the party), aren't even going to waste their time with Palin or Gingrich. They actually want to win the election.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  18. #568
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post
    The flip side being that (at least in Canada) the medical, dental, sick leave and retirement benefits in the private sector are much less.
    I thought you guys had universal healthcare? How would medical/dental be any less private vs. public?
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  19. #569
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    .....

    I just think that federal wages should be on par with their private sector counterparts. Or maybe with their local/state government counterparts.
    .........
    And there you have a problem. Most government jobs earn LESS than their private side counterparts.

    Except for those positions that have no private side counterparts or equivalent position.

    The "Government workers are EVIL and make to much money" is a straw man argument. Again, the wrong targets are being identified. It would be more useful to allow unused money by a department to be kept by the department and rolled over year to year. At that point, budgets can be reduced over time to much greater effect.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  20. #570
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    And there you have a problem. Most government jobs earn LESS than their private side counterparts.

    Except for those positions that have no private side counterparts or equivalent position.

    The "Government workers are EVIL and make to much money" is a straw man argument. Again, the wrong targets are being identified. It would be more useful to allow unused money by a department to be kept by the department and rolled over year to year. At that point, budgets can be reduced over time to much greater effect.
    Actually, private sector job salaries have a huge range from the very low end to a high end that has no end. Local government job salaries are generally on the low-middle end depending on the locale. Federal government job salaries usually seem to be consistently in the mid-high range. The problem with the federal government is that the salaries are usually higher, but do all of those people actually do more work then the local or lower-end private sector folks to justify it? That's the problem I have. With private sector, I would imagine the amount of money that's made is dependent on how well the people do their jobs and how much money the company as a whole rakes in, which I think is fair. With federal government jobs, it seems like they are going to be on the high side no matter what. If someone in a fed job making $100K really earns it, that's great. But it's not a good system if you have people in those jobs that are going to be safe in those jobs for political reasons that are making the same amount as a hard-working fed employee but only doing 10% of the work that others making that amount are doing.

    IMO, what I should have said is federal employees should generally be making the same amount of money that local government employees are making.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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  21. #571
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    Actually, private sector job salaries have a huge range from the very low end to a high end that has no end. Local government job salaries are generally on the low-middle end depending on the locale. Federal government job salaries usually seem to be consistently in the mid-high range.
    An interesting point is that well-paid government positions usually demand a high level of educational attainment when compared to their private sector counterparts. For example, many planning positions are requiring master's degrees for entry level planner I positions. An entry level planning position on the private side may only require a bachelors. Also, the private side may offer bonuses and other perks such as company paid office parties, dinners, and other tokens of gratitude. Government tends to not provide bonuses, dinners, paid-for parties or other perks to avoid the perception of lavish or inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars.

    What this all boils down to is that the taxpayer demands a highly educated and competent workforce who will generally work for less than the private sector.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  22. #572
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    What this all boils down to is that the taxpayer demands a highly educated and competent workforce who will generally work for less than the private sector.
    As well as the right to b!tch about the cost of it all and how it is continually growing out of hand.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  23. #573
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    I thought you guys had universal healthcare? How would medical/dental be any less private vs. public?
    Dental, prescription drugs and visioncare* are not covered by public health care.

    In the public sector I got 100% employer-paid coverage for those expenses (with some drugs, visioncare and dental procdedures capped/exempted from coverage).

    In the private sector, I get 80% employer-paid coverage but I have to pay to receive the coverage (only something like $20/month) and the caps and exemptions are more rigorous (e.g. no vision coverage at all).

    I can't believe I'm posting in this thread. Um, uh - American democracy sucks. The only thing worse is all other forms of government

    * other than one eye exam every two years

  24. #574
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    ......Federal government job salaries usually seem to be consistently in the mid-high range. The problem with the federal government is that the salaries are usually higher, but do all of those people actually do more work then the local or lower-end private sector folks to justify it? .......
    Define "do more work".

    You are commenting on something you know absolutely nothing about. You are conflating an ideology that all government is bad and higher rates of pay equal waste fraud and abuse. Its a generalization with not a single specific.

    So in your example. An MPO run by one person (yes they exist) is a waste of money and the federal employees who ensure rules and regulation requirements on multiple MPO's must therefore be way over paid and massively under worked?

    What would be the private side equivalent? How would it be cheaper? If the government positions didn't exist, wouldn't they be the ones to operate the private side insultants? We are talking about high education and skill requirement positions. So how do you come to the conclusion that they have a high educational and skill set they refuse to perform? Whats your proof?
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  25. #575
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    Define "do more work".

    You are commenting on something you know absolutely nothing about. You are conflating an ideology that all government is bad and higher rates of pay equal waste fraud and abuse. Its a generalization with not a single specific.

    So in your example. An MPO run by one person (yes they exist) is a waste of money and the federal employees who ensure rules and regulation requirements on multiple MPO's must therefore be way over paid and massively under worked?

    What would be the private side equivalent? How would it be cheaper? If the government positions didn't exist, wouldn't they be the ones to operate the private side insultants? We are talking about high education and skill requirement positions. So how do you come to the conclusion that they have a high educational and skill set they refuse to perform? Whats your proof?
    You are getting things all confused and twisting my words around. I am talking about the federal government salaries being high here, not local governments. And in no way did I ever say that all government is bad.

    I think it is hard to compare government jobs to private sector jobs, since private sector job salaries generally rely on how well that company does, which usually results from the amount of work put in. With government jobs, the salaries are set at certain levels based on how much tax revenue is received. Local government generally does a better job of living within their means and then cutting when things get bad, while the federal government keeps spending and keeps up the high salaries regardless of the tax situation, which is fiscally irresponsible. I have been searching for jobs for about a year, and federal jobs are definitely higher overall then their local government equivalents, which boggles my mind. If it's the same skill level and the same amount of work expected, I don't know why the huge disparity between federal and local.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
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    Last post: 17 Sep 2004, 2:17 PM