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Go West Young Man, To The "New Normal" Dream Job: California State Workers Earning $822,000

Tyler Durden's picture


There was a time when working on Wall Street, either on the sell or buy side,  was the dream of every able-bodied worker who could do simple addition in their head and wasn't afraid to cut the occasional corner in exchange for a bottle of Bollinger and a sizable year end bonus. That, however, was so 2006 and with the long overdue conversion of the banking sector into a utility the stratospheric compensation payments from the peak of the credit bubble are long gone. So what is the New Normal dream job? Become a California state worker, preferably one who deals with neurotic and/or crazy people (i.e., a psychiatrist), and rake it in. The following chart from Bloomberg shows just how generous the otherwise insolvent state of California is when it comes to paying its public servants, and the 100%+ increase in California employee state pay since 2005. Needless to say, this is a rate of increase in compensation that 99% of workers in the private sector would die for.

Some other stunning observations from Bloomberg on the best job taxpayer money can buy. The best paid job: psychiatrist. At this pace, they will have lots and lots of patients.

Psychiatrists were among the highest-paid employees in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey, with total compensation $270,000 to $327,000 for top earners. State police officers in Pennsylvania collected checks as big as $190,000 for unused vacation and personal leave as they retired young enough to start second careers, while Virginia paid active officers as much as $109,000 in overtime alone, the data show.


The numbers are even larger in California, where a state psychiatrist was paid $822,000, a highway patrol officer collected $484,000 in pay and pension benefits and 17 employees got checks of more than $200,000 for unused vacation and leave. The best-paid staff in other states earned far less for the same work, according to the data.


Mohammad Safi, graduate of a medical school in Afghanistan, collected $822,302 last year, up from $90,682 when he started in 2006, the data show. Safi was placed on administrative leave in July and is under investigation by the Department of State Hospitals, formerly the Department of Mental Health.

Another perk of public workers in Cali? $200,000 in accrued vacation pay:

The disparity with other states is also evident in payments for accumulated vacation time when employees leave public service. No other state covered by the data compiled by Bloomberg paid a worker more than $200,000 for accrued leave last year, while 17 people got such payments in California. There were 240 employees who received at least $100,000 in California, compared with 42 in the other 11 states, the data show. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calls such payments “boat checks” because they can be large enough to buy a yacht.


Topping the list was $608,821 paid to psychiatrist Gertrudis Agcaoili, 79, who retired last year from the Napa state mental hospital after a 30-year career. Agcaoili said in a telephone interview that it was her right to take the payment.

Can California afford to pay those wages? Of course not:

Across the U.S., such compensation policies have contributed to state budget shortfalls of $500 billion in the past four years and prompted some governors, including Republican Scott Walker of Wisconsin, to strip most government employees of collective-bargaining rights and take other steps to limit payroll spending.


In California, Governor Jerry Brown hasn’t curbed overtime expenses that lead the 12 largest states or limited payments for accumulated vacation time that allowed one employee to collect $609,000 at retirement in 2011. The 74-year-old Democrat has continued requiring workers to take an unpaid day off each month, which could burden the state with new costs in the future.


Last year, Brown waived a cap on accrued leave for prison guards while granting them additional paid days off. California’s liability for the unused leave of its state workers has more than doubled in eight years, to $3.9 billion in 2011, from $1.4 billion in 2003, according to the state’s annual financial reports.

Some are furious. What is shocking is that nobody else is:

“It’s outrageous what public employees in California receive in compensation and benefits,” said Lanny Ebenstein, who heads the California Center for Public Policy, a Santa Barbara-based research institution critical of public payrolls.


“Until public employee compensation and benefits are brought in line, there will be no answer to the fiscal shortfalls that California governments at every level face,” he said.


Among the largest states, almost every category of worker has participated in the pay bonanza. Britt Harris, chief investment officer at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, last year collected $1 million -- including his $480,000 salary and two years of bonuses -- more than four times what Republican Governor Rick Perry received. Pension managers in Ohio and Virginia made up to $678,000 and $660,000, respectively, according to the data, which Bloomberg obtained using public- record requests. In an interview, Harris said public pension pay must be competitive with the private sector to attract top investment talent.

It seems magic money trees don't grow even in Cali, because more money paid out here, means less money availabl there. There being investing in the all important future via education

The result isn’t only a heavier burden on California taxpayers. As higher expenses competed for fewer dollars, per- pupil funding of the state’s public schools dropped to 35th nationally in 2009-2010 from 22nd in 2001-2002. Californians have endured recurring budget deficits throughout the past decade and now face the country’s highest debt and Standard & Poor’s lowest credit rating for a U.S. state.

And so on.

Is this ridiculous compensation arrangement sustainable? Of course not. But just like everything else in the New Normal economy, by the time it crushes, it will be someone else's problem. And it is not like anyone expects that the 120% debt/GDP which the US will so proudly be boasting in 2016 will ever be repaid: one can at best hope it will continue to be rolled, until one day, it can't when future generations, saddled with the benefits of current and prior greed, realize they have had enough.


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Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:31 | 3051852 pleseus
pleseus's picture

And California voters voted for a tax increase.  Suckers!

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:41 | 3051888 Stackers
Stackers's picture

Check out the Texas vs New York stats for the real story. Same number of employees and vastly different payout numbers

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:46 | 3051905 quintago
quintago's picture

A guy goes in for a job interview.

The interviewer asks him, 'Are you allergic to anything?'

He says 'Yes - just caffeine.' '

Have you ever been in the service?' 'Yes,' he says. 'I was in Iraq for two years.'

The interviewer says, 'That will give you 5 extra points toward employment,' and then asks, 'Are you disabled in any way?'

The guy says, 'Yes IED exploded near me and blew my testicles off.'

The interviewer tells the guy, 'O.K. In that case, I can hire you right now. Normal hours are from 8 AM to 4 PM. You can start tomorrow at 11:00 AM.'

The guy is puzzled and says, 'If the hours are from 8 AM to 4 PM, why don't you want me to be here before 11 AM?'

'This is a government job,' the interviewer says. 'For the first three hours we just stand around drinking coffee and scratching our balls. No point in you coming in for that.'

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:59 | 3051947 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

I'm gonna' get me a flock of baby mommas, have them get all the welfare they can scoop up, hire their moms as caretakers and split the state payment with them, get a 10 to 3 government job with health benefits and a great pension making 90k to 180k annually, retire at the age of 48 with a 2 million dollar pension, and then get another government job, and stack the health/life/401(k) benefits, along with another flock of baby mommas, and do it all again, and then retire with another pension and lifetime benefits at 68.

Fuck work.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:02 | 3051971 redpill
redpill's picture

The silver lining is that in actuality many of these employees will never be able to collect their pensions because the associated fund is going to have a perpetual shortfall.  When that finally dawns on them the whining will be epic.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:06 | 3051987 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Or they'll receive a pile of these, monthly and thusly:

Freedom Bux

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:24 | 3052062 Big Slick
Big Slick's picture

LOL!!... Dodge banner at top of my screen "BIG FINISH 2012!"

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:26 | 3052075 Aziz
Aziz's picture



Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:52 | 3052167 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

When the commander in chief sucks off the system, is anyone below him expected to be 'noble'?  The entire governmental system, with it's racket of sucking employees, is the problem and needs to be dissolved.


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:28 | 3052275 markmotive
markmotive's picture

You already report to the government. You just don't know it yet.

As the sheep remain glued to American Idol, the crony system rages on.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:54 | 3052371 YBNguy
YBNguy's picture

The diaspora of Californians continues, hide yo' kids - hide yo' wife!

Census reports Cali losing many to bordering [red] states:

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:21 | 3052404 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Forward, march! (off the mountain side)

Video: Peter Schiff interviews "college grads" on the street

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:00 | 3052619 new game
new game's picture

we all know the end of new times of old normal with no caps of reason will end abruptly...

feel sorry for the ones paying in; or on second though maybe i don't.

Wed, 12/12/2012 - 00:36 | 3054731 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

The sad part is that the Californians relocating NOW are the relatively smart ones. 


Wed, 12/12/2012 - 00:40 | 3054740 akak
akak's picture

And yet they still go on trying to recreate California everywhere else they move to, almost universally to the chagrin and dismay of the longtime residents of those states.

Thu, 12/13/2012 - 16:51 | 3060779 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

Well I admit I said relatively.  

They're still idiots compared to the people who never lived there and choose not to live or create socialist shitholes. 

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:58 | 3052194 smlbizman
smlbizman's picture

i feel the day is coming when we mark all govt. employees doors with a red "x"....

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:11 | 3052650 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Burn, Baby, Burn.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 16:05 | 3052847 Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

Lighters for Liberty!

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:22 | 3052052 augustusgloop
augustusgloop's picture

or will receive them as a wheelbarrow full of greenbacks only to find that said wheelbarrow full won't even pay for a handjob from the crack whore for whom prescribed xanax as a 800k psychiatrist.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:27 | 3052079 Big Slick
Big Slick's picture

"compensation that 99% of workers in the private sector would die for."

The coming war will see to that. 

Look back.  It always ends in war.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:47 | 3052583 caconhma
caconhma's picture

"And California voters voted for a tax increase. Suckers!"  God no, the majority of Californians do not pay any taxes; so, they steal money from somebody else.

Finally, this shit would not last long uwithout Obama and the Congress support. It all comes from the top.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:06 | 3052211 forwardho
forwardho's picture

Red,  me thinks their epic whining may escalate to more than mere words. After all they were PROMISED.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 17:20 | 3053132 New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

Unpaid cops will be the most greedy and thuggish gangsters in LA.  Hell, they pretty much already are.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:30 | 3052281 HurricaneSeason
HurricaneSeason's picture

With the early retirement age for the first retirement, many of them are already collecting their $10k a month in retirement.  I can't understand when they worry about someone getting $135 a month in foodstamps when their job went to China or technology or are medically incapacitated, and these clowns rake it in for previously selling license plates or stamps or answering the phone. The jobs that fed those huge salaries are gone, let alone the pensions.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:34 | 3052540 tango
tango's picture

Seriously, what will really happen?  Depending who is in power (and it looks like a permanent Dem lock at this point) I can see federal funds used.  Of course that's just one more step in the road to doom but who cares anymore.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:04 | 3052629 Panafrican Funk...
Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Yep.  Either direct Fed purchases, or via BABs (or similar programs).

Peter Orzag advocating for reinstating BABs:

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:21 | 3052047 resurger
resurger's picture

That's a lot of work!

Am issuing Cali' Appreciation Bonds


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:47 | 3052154 darteaus
darteaus's picture

Twofer: OctoMom is CA based, and AVAILABLE!

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:00 | 3052195 jballz
jballz's picture


That's the mormon model. Those cult camps have all the women (not allowed to work) collect gov checks, turn them over to the men who run the place. Mostly all tax exempt because they're a "church".

Huge money suck. Good racket if you are running it though. Move to Utah and get yourself enough sister wives you'll not bother wasting your time with the public sector job. 

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:54 | 3052368 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Daycare...for people who do not work. /facepalm.


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:15 | 3052021 resurger
resurger's picture


Gimme some CAliforniaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa LOveeeeeeeeeeeee <3

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:22 | 3052255 HarryHaller
HarryHaller's picture

If you want the real story on CA, then go here:

It's CA law that all state employee salaries are a matter of public record.  If you search by department you'll get the top 10 or so salaries.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:24 | 3052679 bankonzhongguo
bankonzhongguo's picture

I know some folks inside the UC system.  This one campus just created some new position for over $200,000/year plus benefits because NOBODY on the campus could generate a monthly budget to actual financial statement and associated metrics.  Incidentally, NOBDOY on the payroll is getting fired either due to their years of gross negligence.  This would be a part-time project for some junior analyst, but UC despite it's years hundreds of thousands (millions?) of worker-years of operations, millions (billions) in computer/accounting resources and hundreds of millions in annual payroll - they can't do 8th grade math as a fiduciary for the tax paying public.  AND they keep raising tuition.

Total free-fall.

The system must be burned down.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 16:09 | 3052856 Jack Burton
Jack Burton's picture

$85,000 a year to be head of the "Arts Council". WTF is the "Arts Council" and why are California workers paying taxes to fund a couple dozen employees who are over 60,000 dollars a year in pay???

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:44 | 3051901 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

Without taxes California wouldn't be able to pay its police force appropriately.  Don't you like the police protecting you? /sarc

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:01 | 3051969 max2205
max2205's picture

Yep and you'll pay for it in property taxes till you can't pay anymore

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:05 | 3052209 Matt
Matt's picture

Not in California. As I understand it, Property taxes can only rise when there is a change in property ownership. Voted in by referendum in the 1970s, can only be repealed by public referendum.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:25 | 3052265 HarryHaller
HarryHaller's picture

The property is also re-assessed if it is re-financed.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:36 | 3052303 CPL
CPL's picture

I'm responding for the sake of your awesome avatar.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:54 | 3052369 whotookmyalias
whotookmyalias's picture


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:34 | 3052530 redpill
redpill's picture


And property taxes can rise, but it's capped at 1% beyond its historical maximum.  This is particularly poignant now, when many California properties have lost tremendous value over the last several years.  Assessed values came down with them, but should home values begin to increase again the 1% increase restriction does not apply until the tax amount hits its former peak if the ownership has remained consistent.  For that reason alone it's a good idea for home owners to sell their houses, the problem is they can't afford to.  California is in a downward spiral, it will become a state of increasing extremes, the ultra-wealthy and the poor.  The middle, the words of Mr. Lenin, are being ground between the millstones of taxation and inflation.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 16:04 | 3052842 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

the corrupt system is its own worst enemy

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:51 | 3052360 LosOsos
LosOsos's picture

Propery tax base year value can only be reassessed if there is a change in ownership or new construction on the house. So basically the average family who most likely moves a couple times or remodels has their property revalued to today's levels while companies who own large tracts of land get to keep their base value at the 1975 level. Great fucking idea electorate.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:14 | 3052453 Bollixed
Bollixed's picture

Years ago (2005ish?) one of the local Cali newspapers showed where the average property tax in Anahiem where Disneyland is was $1.71 per foot for residential and Walt paid $0.05 a square foot IIRC.

Our house was taxed at $7500 a year and our neighbors on either side who bought in the '50s paid $530 each per year in property taxes.

Prop 13 to the rescue...

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:24 | 3052502 Matt
Matt's picture

Also, for corporations, what they figured out as a loop-hole was that, rather than transfer ownership of property, you create a company that only owns the property, and you just transfer ownership of the company instead. Presto! No tax increase on corporate properties, ever.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:50 | 3051917 darteaus
darteaus's picture

And we voted in Jerry Brown!

Talk about doubling down on stupid!

He never exhaled!

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:00 | 3052399 The Shootist
The Shootist's picture

Come on guys, what do you think the basketball coach at UCLA makes?

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:43 | 3052571 darteaus
darteaus's picture


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:45 | 3052577 eatthebanksters
eatthebanksters's picture

Only partof the salary is paid by the state...same with UC football coaches...the difference is made up by private donations from alums and endorsement deals.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:51 | 3051924 HobbyFarmer
HobbyFarmer's picture

Spent an eye-opening 1.5 years as a state employee about 7 years ago.  During my yearly review, my direct supervisor complimented my work ethic, quality of projects I produced, my peer reviews, etc and then spent 5 minutes asking me to "slow down".  He said that a couple team-mates felt I was showing them up by getting so much done; they felt it made them look bad to the end-users we all supported.

This is a true story, regardless of if you believe me.  I could not believe it myself.

On top of that, I saw supervisors taking naps, double dipping (retiring one day, then restarting their jobs (same pay + pensions)) the next, and cashing in "unused" sick time.  I say "unused" because I'm a computer programmer in HR/Payroll and I happen to know that people who called in sick wouldn't report it into the system.  State employees are given vacation time plus sick time and it accrues endlessly (rolls over at the end of each fiscal year).  Some would retire with perfect amount of sick time, as though they had never had a sick day in their career.  When employees retired, 8 hours of sick time would purchase 1 month of state-paid health care for the employee and family.  Most of them bought decades of coverage at taxpayer expense.

What an expensive sham.  I could've worked there the rest of my life and never broke a sweat.  But, I couldn't shake the feeling of becoming a parasite.  Although I consider myself a great programmer and did a lot of work during my 1.5 years, I could see my future of becoming a mosquito and evolving into a less motivated person.  Why work hard when my supervisor is asking me to slow down?

I took a long hard look at myself and knew I had to go back into the private sector.

Recently, I took another long look at myself....I'm now preparing to go Galt and not allow parasites to feed off me.

I look forward to the reset.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:03 | 3051979 Rip van Wrinkle
Rip van Wrinkle's picture

My dauughter has just changed jobs from the private sector (Xerox in London) to the public sector (NHS).


Private pay increase for two years, extra management repsoibilities provided with no pay increase. Leaves home at 6.45, gets home around 8.30. No lunch break.


Public job.....leaves home at 8.10, gets back at 5. Hour for lunch and POETS day included as extras. Oh, and two days training a week, all expenses paid.


I told her she wouldn't believe the difference. And she can't.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:21 | 3052049 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

The private sector employer can't afford all that, because the state takes to much from them to give it to the public sector employee so they can have a great touchy feely work experience.  Your post sums it all up very nicely.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 16:15 | 3052873 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

the taxpayer gets a touchy feely experience too

but it's more like a sex crime

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:53 | 3052176 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

I've always referred to government jobs as adult daycare.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:26 | 3052071 petolo
petolo's picture

I spent 5 years working for USDA. The biggest occupational hazard was alcoholism. Not joining in the afternoon happy hourS was tantamount to treason.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:39 | 3052117 darteaus
darteaus's picture

HAHAHA.  Same thing happened to me.

After 2 months at the Dept. of Public Health, the "guys" ask me to attend Friday lunch.  They order a beer w/lunch, so, not wanting to be a pu$$y, I do too.  After 4-6 weeks, they order a beer before lunch, and one during lunch.  I do too.  Then, they order one before, one during and one after.

That was my last time going to lunch w/the "guys".

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:46 | 3052341 CPL
CPL's picture

If I'm ever on contract with a government agency I make sure to find out where their "extension" office is and make sure my timing is right on the level of their sobriety when settling contract adjustments with the at the time resident EXCOM directors.

There was one guy years ago when I was a baby engineer; he was a professional drinker/chain smoker (when people smoked in offices), started at 8, stopped when he slept.  Nice guy, old school, never drunk at least as far as I could tell.  He just drank often.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:38 | 3052550 Isotope
Isotope's picture

It isn't that you never saw him drunk. You just never saw him sober.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:34 | 3052100 resurger
resurger's picture

I recommend "High Social Skills"

"Work less , for more .."

Welcome to California, Shake ya nuts


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:30 | 3052280 alangreedspank
alangreedspank's picture

Very insightful, alas nothing really sounds new to me in the story you tell. It's stuff I've assumed for a long time :)

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:18 | 3052666 YukonJake
YukonJake's picture

Dude your avatar is the first thing today to make me actually Bwahaha out loud.  

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:34 | 3052296 Calculated_Risk
Calculated_Risk's picture

"asking me to "slow down""

holy shit! I thought it was just me! I got the same treatment for my 2 year stay...

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:12 | 3052007 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

"And California voters voted for a tax increase."

...on the people you're complaining about in the article.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:52 | 3052171 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

Kinda makes you want to go take a giant shit in the middle of one of those state hiway's no??

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:00 | 3052197 mirac
mirac's picture

California and all states, maybe even municipalities have giant slush funds...


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:21 | 3052674 hannah
hannah's picture

the states have 'paper accounting ponzi' slush funds....there arent any funds in the fund. it is all shuffling the same $1bil around...

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:20 | 3052249 hannah
hannah's picture

'california voters' needs to be defined. ALL the state workers voted for the tax increase and since they are the majority, they is a rigged system now. over the cliff we go...

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:30 | 3052523 lemonobrien
lemonobrien's picture

we didn't vote for a new increase; the vote was rigged; when i was watching the returns, that measure was soundly defeated; it wasn't until a week later the news station mentioned it passed. two measure the people did not want went through that way.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:40 | 3052561 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:46 | 3052582 Stock Tips Inve...
Stock Tips Investment's picture

It is another example of what are exaggerated government spending. With salaries of this magnitude, it is easy to explain the deficits. Until there is a real and true effort to lower costs, deficits will not fall. Though raise taxes.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:01 | 3052616 AmCockerSpaniel
AmCockerSpaniel's picture

For how many years now have the TBTF's gotten  $30B year end bonus? And; What or how much will this years be? California is really small potatoes. When you want to kill something you go for the head.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:32 | 3051854 midtowng
midtowng's picture

My brother works for the state of California and he hasn't seen a raise in 5 years.

Something is wrong with this article.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:37 | 3051870 Atlasshruggedme
Atlasshruggedme's picture

I have a friend that works for the State. He only works about 3hrs out of any giving 8hr day. Yep, increase taxes... anything over 50k is to much. 

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:49 | 3051912 Dr. Richard Head
Dr. Richard Head's picture

I have a friend that works for a local municipality and he was so excited about showing my pictures of the bunk set up he created in the maintenance closet.  Nice cot with pillow and a nightstand.  he was also very proud of his card table creation they use to play cards.  I called him a fucking freeloader and haven't talked to him since.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:00 | 3051966 redpill
redpill's picture

Solitary?  Wow, what's he in for?

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:42 | 3052331 Sauk Leader
Sauk Leader's picture

Masterbating at his desk.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:07 | 3052638 AmCockerSpaniel
AmCockerSpaniel's picture

So just how much do the firemen get? Oh; And what do they get pensions? I got a real eye opener when I was looking up how much the wife was to get after teaching for over forty years. Now put all that together with what a veteran gets after being shot up a little. We the people could do better.  

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:40 | 3051885 tbone654
tbone654's picture

"contingent valuation"

one employee gets a 100% raise, and the writer extrapolates that to mean that everyone must be getting a 100% raise... 

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:49 | 3051914 darteaus
darteaus's picture

"I can't carry a gun onto school grounds, so there can't be any school shootings."

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:43 | 3052136 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Amazing how government employees are evil right up until you see them running into a burning building to save the lives of people they don't know, or facing down an armed lunatic.

Then they become "first responders".

At least until their heroics are no longer in the news, then they are evil again.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:53 | 3052175 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Perhaps, but in my neck of the woods, the SWAT, firemen, and many paramedics are volunteers.  Care to square that circle sport?

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:26 | 3052513 bilejones
bilejones's picture

71% of firemen in the US are volunteers


The State parasites are a smill minority.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:54 | 3052184 forwardho
forwardho's picture

Yeah Mid I'm with ya. I see those brave folks at the DMV staring down death. Truly inspiring.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:03 | 3052201 midtowng
midtowng's picture

So you are saying that firemen and policemen don't exist?

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:05 | 3052206 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

They don't have to be thugs, is the point. (see below)

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:21 | 3052252 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Dunno. The people standing in line sure can be stupid and angry when THEY are the ones not following the goddamn instructions. I think they do, indeed, stare down death at times (or at least brain death). I don't want that job. 

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:03 | 3052202 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

*rolls eyes*

Yeah, 'cuz these public "heros" need to be a service provided at the barrel of a gun.

Did it ever occur to you that people value fire fighters enough to fund them voluntarily? Rothbard's "For a New Liberty" lays out the specifics in detail, as does Morris and Linda Tannehill's "The Market for Liberty."

Both of these are excellent resources in understanding the superiority of not having to obtain goods and services from the mob-run monopolies. Long story short, most of the protective services would be driven by insurance companies in an effort to reduce risk.

A peaceful society will never emerge from such a corrupt structure d.b.a. political organizations. Instead, it will only serve as the source of corruption.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:39 | 3052319 midtowng
midtowng's picture

This country has already experimented with private firefighters. It was a disaster. That's why we have public firefighters today.

Read up on their history in New York in the mid-1800's. Firefighters would only rescue buildings that paid insurance to their firehouse. Sometimes they were fight other firefighters that came to put out fires.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:51 | 3052591 Matt
Matt's picture

A company that only provided service to people ... who paid for the service?! That's insane!

Yes, yes, we all know about Gangs of New York. Maybe dumping off millions of impoverished, starving immigrants all in one place was not the best plan.

Wed, 12/12/2012 - 11:04 | 3055724 midtowng
midtowng's picture

You missed the point twice:

1) Fire doesn't discriminate. So if a building is on fire, and the owner hadn't bought fire insurance, then it will burn until it catching the buildings around it on fire.

2) Are seriously going to blame a bad system (i.e. private firehouses) on immigrants? If so then you have basically admitted that your system can't work in all cases.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:43 | 3051894 toady
toady's picture

This should be an advertisement for higher education.

' get your doctorate and you will get paid '!

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:44 | 3051896 TheGermanGuy
TheGermanGuy's picture

My friend´s mom works for the state of California and she makes $ 200 an hour on the internet

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:49 | 3051911 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

My friends moms brother makes $888 an hour on the internet surfing for porn...

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:28 | 3052081 Grinder74
Grinder74's picture

My dad's friend's brother's cousin's sister-in-law's pet midget works for the SEC making...oh never mind.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:24 | 3052260 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Your friend's uncle works for the SEC (they think that spells sex).

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:55 | 3051940 NuYawkFrankie
NuYawkFrankie's picture

Re. My brother works for the state of California and he hasn't seen a raise in 5 years.



I don't think being an inmate of San Quentin counts...

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:40 | 3052121 midtowng
midtowng's picture

You're right. Being an inmate of San Quentin doesn't count

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:51 | 3052163 Abitdodgie
Abitdodgie's picture

"You're right. Being an inmate of San Quentin doesn't count"

Why not from a tax payers eyes what is the differance Gov worker ,jail ,unemployed , they are all just takers.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:01 | 3052199 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Only if you are blind

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:36 | 3052305 Likstane
Likstane's picture

Go back to your weight room and then go fix lunch for the rest of your 'heros'

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:38 | 3052312 dogbreath
dogbreath's picture

My brother works for the state of California and he hasn't seen a raise in 5 years


Either you are plain stupid and your brother is a liar or you are both liars. 

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:40 | 3052323 midtowng
midtowng's picture

Or maybe you have trouble with the truth.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:16 | 3052661 JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

Its the guys at the top that rake in all the cash, not the peons down in the trenches.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:26 | 3052267 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Inmates are the new captive labor. They work for a lot less than minimum wage and it is legal. China has nothing on us. Take the dissenters off the streets and make em work.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:39 | 3052320 centerline
centerline's picture

I'm pretty sure we have one of the highest - if not THE highest - prison population of any first world country.  Maybe you are onto something here!  iPhone6 can be made in the USA.  And these guys can't jump from the rooftops if you chain them up real good.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:15 | 3052462 Liquid Courage
Liquid Courage's picture

First World? Entire world. By far.


What with the War on Drugs, Hip Hop and Welfare, the Privatized Prison "Industry" can never run out of Raw Materials. Good for GDP.

Only in America.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:21 | 3052672 HobbyFarmer
HobbyFarmer's picture

Work will make you free.  Er....Work so others can live for free. 

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:57 | 3051945 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

In which case, he hasn't yet learned how to milk the system.

Plenty of others have.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:42 | 3052330 centerline
centerline's picture

As soon as J6P figures it out, game over.  Every time.  We must be close... just waiting for the the term "employer of last resort" to surface.  lol.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:32 | 3052095 petolo
petolo's picture

Government works like a pyramid scheme: those at thr top do the least work, receive the longest vacations and the biggest pensions. Po folks at the bottom vice/versa.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:49 | 3052159 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Yeah.  It's bullshit.

Cherrypick a few of the most egregious examples of state mismanagement and pretend they represent ALL state jobs.

Clickbait/3-minute hate/etc. 

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:08 | 3052198 RKDS
RKDS's picture

I know what you mean because I might be that brother if we were talking about PA.

I really hate these articles because their agenda is so transparent to anyone who can think for themselves and that, unfortunately, rules out so much of the audience.  They find one guy who's a friend of some legislator or the governor, who really is paid too much money for too little work, and then leap to the conclusion that the other 99% of the workforce is in on it too.  If that were true, the debt would be a trillion times higher.  The private-sector guy who doesn't think that far gets crazy with rage because they've just shown him all of these people making more money than him.  He howls "socialism!" and then demands...socialism, in the form of price controls and redistribution.

And that is how the right wing, vociferous denouncer of class envy, becomes an active participant in it.  It sets the working man in the private sector against the working man in the public sector.  The pay/benefit/job cuts eventually come and, surprise, the financial outlook for the working man doesn't improve.  Why?

For starters, the tens of thousands of millionaires working in state government were a fantasy.  Salaries comprise a small percentage of many state government budgets and all of the cuts were to positions at the low end of the spectrum ($40K and below).  Essentially, it's cutting 1% of 10% of the budget.

Secondly, the decision-makers, the individuals squandering tax dollars like they're going out of style, are always spared.  Whether it's a feeling of entitlement or the fact that nobody's punished them, they will continue to behave irresponsibly.  Perhaps they might even reward themselves for this magnificent feat of efficiency, erasing any miniscule savings achieved.

Finally, there are the consequences of the unemployed worker.  It's a triple whammy here.  The taxpayer continues to fund work that is no longer performed.  Sometimes the effect is delayed, like cuts in July that leave roads unplowed in February.  Sometimes the effect is dispersed, like higher insurance rates because fires consume more homes.

The unemployed also reduce spending.  Marginal businesses in the area calling for cuts may as well cut their own throats and save themselves a long suffocation.  Perversely, the negative effect is worse the closer you get to the rich-public-employee meme being true, even if it's only relative to a lousy local job market.

Fortunately, the unemployed reduce, not stop, spending due to the social safety net.  But there's a catch.  Unemployment insurance isn't free money; it comes from taxes and factors into the budget.  Now, the private sector, already crippled by reduced revenues that resulted from its previous cries for economic justice, is struggling to afford UI.  The politicians are only too happy to cut the unemployed loose.  Who ever got a campaign contribution from a bum anyway?

Oh, but they don't just cut unemployment for those rotten public employees.  No, they cut it for everybody.  Remember those reduced revenues causing marginal businesses so much pain?  They've just been reduced further.  More businesses are suddenly on a downward slope and those already on one had their descent accelerated.  End result is more unemployment, that only compounds the problem and turns into a vicious circle.  The economy collapses, millions starve, and a somebody like Big Brother or Adolf Hitler creates a nightmare worse that the one they promise to deliver us from.

All because some bozo told a lie and nobody questioned it.


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:55 | 3052375 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Hey, we don't need no stinkin government workers! Unemployment is an economic stimulant cause Nancy says so and besides, if you have watched many government employees, there ain't a lot of work going on there anyhow.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:07 | 3052423 RKDS
RKDS's picture

Did I interrupt your coke party or your daily six-pack of tallboys?

If we fired everybody who didn't work, it'd clear out corporate board rooms and think tanks faster than Taco Bell and a gallon of Metamucil clears out a colon.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:12 | 3052421 centerline
centerline's picture

This is the biggest piece of shit I have ever seen.  Justifies (and avoids the subject of) imbalances by claiming they are a lesser evil?  Uses deflationary concepts to support an argument against deleveraging?  Jesus Christ.  You must be Krugman's best friend.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:23 | 3052490 RKDS
RKDS's picture

The article itself was a cheat of the highest order but I suppose you approve because _its_ lie fits the story that you'd like to tell.  You know, the magical fairy tale of rich public employees with jetpacks that do nothing but hide under your bed and rearrange the medicine cabinet just to vex you.  Dr Krugman only looks like the sharpest tool in the shed because so many people are fucking butterknives.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:18 | 3052664 centerline
centerline's picture

I can see the angle of the article.  As can most people here.  Is the greater subject that matters.

The reality is that there is a growing divide.  And most people will fall for it.  Also, there is the grand issue of sustainability.

There is no means to justify this away.  The public sector is heading off a cliff as a result of it growing out of control and overtaking the private sector in terms of jobs, pay and benefits - overall.  Abuses of an $822k magnitude are rare.  Abuses all down the payscale are another.  Even more sickening, is that the real shaft goes to many who deserve better!

Wed, 12/12/2012 - 13:09 | 3056240 RKDS
RKDS's picture

Aside from the rare abuses, is it really the public sector growing or does it only look that way because the private sector is shrinking (due to globalism, inflation, and countless other frauds)?  If you take the Republican talking point, that we can never strengthen the weak by weakening the strong, as a maxim, how can you justify the attacks on "rich" public sector or unionized employees?  Isn't this sharing of misery exactly the kind of philosophy that we hang around the neck of socialists?

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:03 | 3052203 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

The article is a disgusting hatchet job, and the ZH headline is an embarrasment.

According to the actual data in the article itself:

Cali workers make $60K on average--not very much.

Lump sum pay is up--because of layoffs and buyouts.

Overall pay is down--for five years straight.

Oh, and the big headline $822K?  That guy is being investigated.  And there is only one of him.

Blah.  It's getting too easy around here.  No balls any more.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:06 | 3052215 midtowng
midtowng's picture

The real problem here is that pointing out facts will both get you downrated and flamed.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:18 | 3052248 79
79's picture

You can't let facts get in the way of negative bias.

Still come here every day, there are plenty of diamonds amid the rough...


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:24 | 3052264 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

You're mostly right, but about THIS...

"Cali workers make $60K on average--not very much."

$60K is good money.  Don't kid yourself--those are folks who make enough to continue to convince themselves they're "middle class."

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:50 | 3052363 RKDS
RKDS's picture

$60K in California?  What are you smoking?

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:01 | 3052405 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Take a look at the income breakdowns in the USA.

It doesn't matter where you live.  $60K is good money by "American wage-earner" standards.  No, you won't be able to afford a house on the beach or a new car every 5 years or an Ivy League education for the kids.

Welcome to our workers paradise.

What have YOU been smoking that you're that badly out of touch with what Americans can reasonably expect to EARN?

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:31 | 3052524 RKDS
RKDS's picture

Ah, there we go.  Now we get to your real problem.  My paycheck's signed by the Treasury, so I don't work or earn anything.  But every "private" sector parasite sucking down a fat government check is a great hero that the world can never thank enough.  You might want to venture outside the gated community or trailer park in which you reside to get an idea of real world cost of living and what constitutes good pay for a day's labor.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:41 | 3052557 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

You totally lost me.

I've been a private sector worker my whole life--my income was only greater than $60K briefly during the bubble.

What are you talking about?

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:50 | 3052343 centerline
centerline's picture

Jim - most of us know better.  This shit is for shock value.  Duh.

$822K is nuts and an isolated case.  But there are a whole bunch of turds below this range.  AND, when you start talking about private sector versus public sector total compensation for equivalent work - the skew is obvious.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 13:57 | 3052386 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

(climbs down from 80-foot-high platform on pole, brushes self off)


Public sector makes a bit more at the bottom and a lot less at the top.  Careful of what you wish for.....they only doubled the President's salary recently.


A lot of the issues folks keep raising are excellent, I just get pissed off at the intellectual laziness and lack of math.  And then I look at 'regular people' like when I watched Monday Night Football last night--watching the spectators, instead of the players--and I wonder, how many Americans can think any more, and of those, how many know any facts to help their thinking. 


And then I pray for our fair Republic.  And then I go to bed.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 15:26 | 3052683 centerline
centerline's picture

Where are most people are in terms of the top or the bottom?  How about averages then?

Lop off a few of the top percent in the private sector and the picture changes pretty quickly.

From an apples to apples perspective, how about considering total compensation?  Now, let's go one step further and look at risk... Where is private sector pension funding (largely) and how is it funded/paid-out/etc.?  Where are the backstops and guarantees?  Where is the equivalent performance that places job at risk?

Come on Jim.  

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 16:02 | 3052841 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

I am sure we can have this discussion on another thread real soon.  I would be happy to participate.  But this thread goeth stale.


Bloomberg's sure to help us out with another TOP-QUALITY missive on this topic.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:33 | 3051858 SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

 Markets down handfulls of Viagra and put on a cool 1% this morning....nothing to see here nevermind daily additions of $4 trillion in new debt and a 1% GDP....pop the Bollingers and spoon up the caviar.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:57 | 3051955 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

All this new debt issuance can only mean one thing: more monies on the sidelinez.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:58 | 3051959 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Boli and Stoli, Sweetie! Fabulous!

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:35 | 3051862 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Looks like the folks in Georgia need a serious raise.  Is the chart referring to the management and adminstrators or the people actually doing the work?  Something is amiss here.


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:34 | 3051863 reader2010
reader2010's picture

Money for nothin' and chicks for free.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:38 | 3051874 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:49 | 3052158 forwardho
forwardho's picture


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:39 | 3051877 youngman
youngman's picture

Its called padding your last year to inflate your retirement happens all over..and it should be stopped....but of course it won´t...wink wink...

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:39 | 3051878 centerline
centerline's picture

This all started to go wrong decades ago.  And you know what happens when everyone runs from one side to the other.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:40 | 3051880 Intelligence_In...
Intelligence_Insulter's picture

The entitled middle class.  They actually think they are worth what's on their pay stubs. LOL.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:20 | 3052043 Vooter
Vooter's picture

"They actually think they are worth what's on their pay stubs."

As long as that pay keeps coming in, they are...

Wed, 12/12/2012 - 01:08 | 3054790 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

I know am worth what is on my pay stubs because I know I bring in enough revenue for the company to turn a massive profit on my labor.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:40 | 3051883 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture


Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:58 | 3051961 1100-TACTICAL-12
1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

It's like oneday I woke uo on Fantasy Fuckin Island...

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:09 | 3052001 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Smiles, everyone... smiles!

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:40 | 3052126 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Is that "Corinthian Leather" I smell?

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 14:05 | 3052417 Joeman34
Joeman34's picture

It didn't happen overnight.  Try decades...

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:41 | 3051886 dolph9
dolph9's picture

Again, it's all about how connected you are and how much ass you are willing to lick.

The more ruthless and selfish you are, the higher you go and the more you make.

And more is never enough.

Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:42 | 3051891 Silverhog
Silverhog's picture

Smells like Greece fire to me.

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