Sunday, September 19, 2010

Time for a headline

I don't know about you but I get really annoyed with the forwarded emails that put down government workers. Here's the title of a brief article I want to recommend:

By the Numbers, Public Workers Defy Anti-Government Stereotypes

Here's how the article gets started:

Want to get a disgruntled worker really mad? Just point to his arch enemy: the civil servant. You know, the shiftless paper-pusher, fattened on our tax dollars, the epitome of “waste, fraud and abuse.”

Alright, this might sound harsh to those of us who still think the government has some useful functions in society today. But bashing on the government and its workers has become a favorite pastime for conservatives like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has
argued that public employees enjoy undeservedly lavish compensation packages while their private-sector counterparts grapple with shrinking paychecks. So the logic goes: Why should struggling families' tax dollars finance the bloated wages of bureaucrats?

An analysis of New England public employees by the Center for Economic Policy and Research and Political Economy Research Institute helps dispel the myth of the “spoiled” government worker. Researchers found that New England's state and local workers are actually comparatively disadvantaged. After taking into account variables like age and education level, "state and local workers actually earn less, on average, than their private-sector counterparts."

More and more I wish that the fundamentals of research methods were taught in high school and were made a basic requirement for undergraduate degrees. Too many people simply have no idea how to assess what's true or not when dealing with large groups.

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