April 12, 2013

Rewarding "hard-working, high-achieving, and outstanding employees"...

... in the post-union era.

96 comments:

Alex said...

Dancing on the union graves.

traditionalguy said...

Why not give everyone a trophy for participation? LEAN IN GUYS. The happy group is happy.

But an efficiency reward to a group member is like acknowledging a leader exists.

Why that makes people compete! Quelle Horreur!

bagoh20 said...

I like it better than the former plan. There will always be abuses of any system, but at least it's not a plan that pays the most possible to the maximum number regardless of performance. The result will be less people spending their time doing nothing valuable, or even worse, doing harmful things. We may even end up with quality people in government, which has been the safe harbor of the incompetent for decades, since many never had to improve themselves, but rather just support the right candidates.

rehajm said...

"I'm not sure that's sustainable in the long run. At some point those 90 percent of employees not getting a wage increase are going to find state employment not attractive."

Haha! When they dip their toe into the private sector waters, they'll be content to stay right where they are, thank you very much.

bagoh20 said...

My pay philosophy is raises only for expansion of skills, productivity, or responsibility. Otherwise the only increase you get is from regular company wide bonuses based on overall profit, but even these are adjusted for scores on attendance, productivity, and cooperation.

You can make more by being individually better or causing things collectively to be better, or both.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

What a lovely ring that phrase has, "post union era."

President-Mom-Jeans said...

For the taxpayers and hardworking high achieving employees of course.

No doubt bitchtits will be in here any minute to bemoan the fate of the union bosses and worthless rentseekers in government.

Hagar said...

B.S. It still is not the supervisors' money, and survival of the agency still depends on the politicians, not competition in the marketplace.

garage mahal said...

Post union? Quick, someone tell the governor! He's sending out frantic fundraising letters warning us about BIG LABOR UNION BOSSES.

And if we are rewarding hard working, high achieving, and outstanding public employees, shouldn't Walker be let go? He never works, and his achievements have been a monumental suck.

Joe Schmoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Schmoe said...

I'm all for meritocratic compensation, but study after study shows that people are not incentivized intermediate- or long-term by the prospect of raises and bonuses. If they like the work they are doing, and are challenged enough at a level with which they are comfortable enough, then they will do good work. So a career govt. worker in the middle of the pack won't try to harder just for the money because they're not all that into their job anyway. I'd look at the payouts as a nice reward, but not an incentive that will suddenly turn govt. agencies into productivity machines. If it helps a mid-level contributor decide they want to wade into management, or take courses to add a skill, then great, but I suspect there are already incentives in place for that (such as paid education benefits).

Mark O said...

Nothing sounds so good as "post-Obama era."

X said...

The real question here is whether garage violates federal law by posting here.

I Callahan said...

Post union? Quick, someone tell the governor! He's sending out frantic fundraising letters warning us about BIG LABOR UNION BOSSES.

Right on cue.

SteveR said...

Yeah garage let's lump elected officials in with people who belong to public employee unions. Because we fully expect you to make such a stupid leap of logic.

Dante said...

while a union leader complained of favoritism by managers that was creating jealousy and friction among co-workers.

Isn't jealousy a good thing? You see someone whose circumstances you would like, and you emulate them?

As for the friction part, welcome to adult-hood.

I'm all for meritocratic compensation, but study after study shows that people are not incentivized intermediate- or long-term by the prospect of raises and bonuses.

There is so much bias in the sciences, and particularly these kinds of studies, who is to say the truth. If you want an outcome, you can often find it.

And finally, the real question is, does Merit work overall? There is that competition factor to deal with. Kids at schools that don't get the gold stars want to get them, you know. So perhaps the merit pay is an incentive to the slackers.

Michael said...

I put all my frantic mail in a little box until it settles down.

The Drill SGT said...

rehajm said...
"I'm not sure that's sustainable in the long run. At some point those 90 percent of employees not getting a wage increase are going to find state employment not attractive."


Until like osmosis, the percentage of turnover stabilizes in each direction at the same value, the risk/reward balance won't be correct.

alternately, till State annual turnover is 5-10% instead of .05-.5%, You still are paying too much :)

Joe Schmoe said...

If favoritism is rewarding employees who get stuff done, do it well, and manage to work well with others throughout the process, then I guess I'm guilty of favoritism.

Chip S. said...

The real question here is whether garage violates federal law by posting here.

Never mind legality. What about decency?

Joe Schmoe said...

Dante, please don't misunderstand, I vastly favor the new merit method over the previous everybody-gets-a-trophy approach.

And merit can work in the short-term. Tell a kid he'll get a star if he colors a page right, and he'll do it. Tell him you'll give him 10 stars in a month if he colors 50 pages, then he's only likely to do it if he likes coloring. If he doesn't like coloring, he'll likely revert to doing things he does like if there's no penalty for not coloring.

I espouse meritocratic principles, but I have to be cognizant of where it intersects basic human behavior that has been around for thousands of years.

Chip S. said...

...shouldn't Walker be let go?

Maybe you should try a recall election.

Joe Schmoe said...

So someone quoted in the article worries about turnover in the un-rewarded 90%. How about considering the opposite? Before merit-based compensation, how many high performers left because no matter what they did, they got the same reward as everyone else?

When you recognize high performance, you build respect and loyalty with your people who are doing most of the work. When it comes to turnover, would you rather lose your lower performing 30% or your top performing 10%?

Hagar said...

I think UW-Madison would have been well advised to keep a lower profile and not attract attention in this way.

A strong haircut is coming anyway.

Mark said...

The system is great if you are the UW, who gave the most away from what I have read.

Pretty bad system if your are a part of DHS or one of the sections of government that aren't giving out one as they lack funds to.

So, it is merit pay for those with bloated budgets only.

Dante said...

Joe:

Tell him you'll give him 10 stars in a month if he colors 50 pages, then he's only likely to do it if he likes coloring.

Isn't the trick to reward industrious work? If you do the positive reinforcement thing enough, you can even get a Dog to salivate.

Meanwhile, the studies I would bet don't compare overall productivity.

And as I mentioned, Science is becoming increasingly biased. There have been a number of articles in Nature about this.

Scott M said...

You can't reward someone over someone else. That flies in the face of three decades of self-esteem work by the left.

Scott M said...

Why not give everyone a trophy for participation? LEAN IN GUYS.

A leaning in trophy would be hysterical. Maybe based on The Thinker, but more leaning and less thinking.

ken in sc said...

Raises and bonuses are what management gurus call a 'hygiene' factor. They do not motivate most people, but if they do not get them, they become unmotivated and unhappy at work.

If they are perceived as fair, using them keeps everything on an even keel. If not, things go down hill.

edutcher said...

Merit pay for government "workers"?

O, the humanity!

Andy Freeman said...

> I'm all for meritocratic compensation, but study after study shows that people are not incentivized intermediate- or long-term by the prospect of raises and bonuses.

Funny how that doesn't come up when someone asserts that public schools would be better if teachers were paid more.

cubanbob said...

Merit pay is just another term for a bonus. Think of the workforce as a bell curve. Those to the left need to be let go. Those on the top of the bell are doing what they are expected to do and don't deserve a bonus. Those to the right exceed what they were hired to do. Pay them the bonus. That said, merit pay should never be calculated as part of the base compensation since no matter how good the employee is there will come a point that they will be priced out of the market and as recent economic circumstances have shown the state may not be able to cover baseline increases with the revenues available.

Robert Cook said...

"What a lovely ring that phrase has, 'post union era.'"

Yes, almost as "lovely" as "post-jobs" era.

Sorun said...

"...while a union leader complained of favoritism by managers that was creating jealousy and friction among co-workers."

Favoritism: Managers favor productive, low-maintenance workers. They don't favor the lazy slugs who relied on the union.

Rusty said...

Olson said. "I'm not sure that's sustainable in the long run. At some point those 90 percent of employees not getting a wage increase are going to find state employment not attractive."

It's a feature. Not a bug.

garage mahal said...

Yes, almost as "lovely" as "post-jobs" era.

Wisconsin ranks near the bottom of every major economic indicator under Walker's regime.

Rusty said...

Chip S. said...
The real question here is whether garage violates federal law by posting here.

Never mind legality. What about decency?

You're foolish to expect either.

Brew Master said...

Chip S. said...
...shouldn't Walker be let go?

Maybe you should try a recall election.


And we have a thread winner!

damikesc said...

I'm not sure that's sustainable in the long run. At some point those 90 percent of employees not getting a wage increase are going to find state employment not attractive

Man, will they be in for a rude awakening in the real world.

Rabel said...

My opinion on merit pay is generally negative. But I understand that that is colored by my working experience.

I worked in a large organization with a relatively lean management structure. Part of the time I was in management and had to participate in employee evaluations.

The work we did involved a wide variety of jobs that changed on a daily basis. Evaluating performance fairly was a hopeless task, even though we tried our best and had a system to work with. Fortunately, the merit rewards were quite minor so there wasn't too much hell to pay for our inability to accurately judge the workers.

For piecework and sales for example, sure, reward the high performers. But as the jobs become more complex and varied, assessing relative merit becomes impossibly difficult and, as good as it sounds in theory, has the potential to produce demotivational results.

Peter said...

Teachers union to school board: "We're all qualified." There's no such thing as more or less qualified; there's nothing to consider but experience (years of service) and education (advanced degrees, even in education).

It's the Dodo method, from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland: At last the Dodo said, "everybody has won, and all must have prizes."

And now it's ... gone! Hoo-Ray!!!

Robert Cook said...

"Favoritism: Managers favor productive, low-maintenance workers. They don't favor the lazy slugs who relied on the union."

Ignorance: making generalizations revealing lack of knowledge.

I worked in a union job for 8 years, and the majority of employees there were as hard-working and conscientious as workers I've seen anywhere, and the number who were lazy, uncaring, or incompetent were about as few as I've seen elsewhere.

Given the natural bell curve, there were a few who were really bad, a few who were truly excellent, and the majority who did their best to varying levels of capability.

Obviously, my anecdote is, ahem, anecdotal, but it's been my experience that people tend to work according to their own temperaments and abilities...and, in the jobs I've worked, most people tend to want to do a good job. Whether one is in a union job or not will not materially change an individual's capacity and desire to work.

Now, this may not hold true in "do nothing" jobs, such as those in the financial sector where the highest paid positions are those that are essentially parasitic on other people's money, (investment bankers, stockbrokers, mortgage lenders, CEOs of big banks, and the like). But, down at the level where people really have to work, most people want to do their jobs.

Robert Cook said...

"Wisconsin ranks near the bottom of every major economic indicator under Walker's regime."

So, he's succeeding in his goals. After all, how else can one further enrich the already rich than by further immiserating those already struggling?

Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...

"What a lovely ring that phrase has, 'post union era.'"

Yes, almost as "lovely" as "post-jobs" era.

4/12/13, 12:55 PM

This topic has reached epistemic closure. The left has nothing to add and the right is just gloating.

But Robert Cook has provided an opportunity for this otherwise boring thread to be interesting. Are we preparing for an economy where low skill labor and people doing make-work aren't necessary? In a shorter time than people want to believe building all but the most complicated and technical items will be accomplished by automated means better than by human hands. Building a house will require a design, code, a plot of land, material, a combination of flying and ground based robotic tools. And soon all of those will also be created by automated processes. Anyone remember the cartoon "The Jetsons?" Cars are well down this path and within 10-20 years that process will be completely automatable. Only coders and highly skilled machinists will be needed for a while but eventually even those jobs will be taken over by AI, and most machining is done by(sorry)... machines and codes now.

Do the unions even have a plan for this? Does our government? What will unskilled labor do when McDonalds doesn't need anyone to flip burgers and machines do a better job than a high school drop-out?

And who is the first retard going to be to say "Oh that will NEVER happen!"

bagoh20 said...

Of course, merit pay is not perfect, and maybe even not very good at motivating people who already exist, but not paying people who produce more than those who don't will get you an organization of people who do not produce, Because quality people will not stay long with in an immoral workplace, and that's what it is.

Achilles said...

Robert Cook said...

"Favoritism: Managers favor productive, low-maintenance workers. They don't favor the lazy slugs who relied on the union."

Ignorance: making generalizations revealing lack of knowledge.

I worked in a union job for 8 years, and the majority of employees there were as hard-working and conscientious as workers I've seen anywhere, and the number who were lazy, uncaring, or incompetent were about as few as I've seen elsewhere.

Given the natural bell curve, there were a few who were really bad, a few who were truly excellent, and the majority who did their best to varying levels of capability.

Obviously, my anecdote is, ahem, anecdotal, but it's been my experience that people tend to work according to their own temperaments and abilities...and, in the jobs I've worked, most people tend to want to do a good job. Whether one is in a union job or not will not materially change an individual's capacity and desire to work.

Now, this may not hold true in "do nothing" jobs, such as those in the financial sector where the highest paid positions are those that are essentially parasitic on other people's money, (investment bankers, stockbrokers, mortgage lenders, CEOs of big banks, and the like). But, down at the level where people really have to work, most people want to do their jobs.

4/12/13, 1:50 PM

Do you see the obvious personal bias flaw in this argument? All of the hated parasitic positions are people who perform services for other people. Nancy, the mortgage lender down at my local Wells Fargo bank is hardly a parasite. When we are refinancing a house we are constantly haranguing her, and she has a dozen or so people like us at most times. Investment bankers, traders, and CEO's in general put in a lot of hours doing research, trading, and have a lot of pressure put on them to perform.

Now I despise croneyism as much as anyone and the special deals the big banks get from the government including bailouts and regulations that inhibit competitors are despicable. The bailouts have created a massive moral hazard and the Fed's discount window is a travesty. But this is created by more government intervention, not less. We replaced Glass-Steagall with Sarbanes-Oxely and Dodd-Frank which were terrible moves and all at the behest of the big 5 banks. But don't let your personal bias distort your view because as you say most "people tend to work according to their own temperaments and abilities...and, in the jobs I've worked, most people tend to want to do a good job."

bagoh20 said...

"And who is the first retard..."

That's not the politically correct term any longer. They now prefer to be called "Progressives".

Achilles said...

bagoh20 said...

"And who is the first retard..."

That's not the politically correct term any longer. They now prefer to be called "Progressives".

4/12/13, 2:10 PM

Does that make me a racist?

Larry J said...

"I'm not sure that's sustainable in the long run. At some point those 90 percent of employees not getting a wage increase are going to find state employment not attractive."

They say that like it's a bad thing. Welcome to the real world, assholes.

Brew Master said...

Robert Cook

I worked in a union job for 8 years, and the majority of employees there were as hard-working and conscientious as workers I've seen anywhere, and the number who were lazy, uncaring, or incompetent were about as few as I've seen elsewhere.

Given the natural bell curve, there were a few who were really bad, a few who were truly excellent, and the majority who did their best to varying levels of capability.


I have seen this as well. However, the unions that I have worked with protected the bad employees from the consequences of their behavior.

Due to the union, those employees who were lousy were compensated as equally as those who were excellent. They were also protected from being disciplined/discharged. The excellent employees were usually newer workers who had not spent time under the union stewardship and had not lost their incentive. Long term employees tended to be the worst as they had either been protected for years by the union, or had had the incentive driven out of them by years of exposure.

The hard workers tended to not stay around long. The bad workers stayed, and made things worse even to the point of taking over the stwardship of the union and protecting the like-minded.

This is the cancerous problem of unions.

"Stop working so hard, you are making me look bad"

"I won't do that, it's not my job"

"I'm filing a grievance over your temp workers using company gear" Even though they wouldn't do the job required, necessitating the temp workers....

On and on and on and on and on......

bagoh20 said...

"people tend to work according to their own temperaments and abilities...and, in the jobs I've worked, most people tend to want to do a good job."

Perhaps, but this is exactly the wrong standard. In fact, it is no standard at all. What you want to do is get people to excel beyond their own temperaments and abilities, and to actually DO a good job rather than just want to.

When I have to go to the DMV and it takes 3 hours to get them to do what I could in 5 minutes if I could jump over the counter, I see the results of no interest in merit or competition.

When I go to McDonalds I get in 60 seconds what would take me 30 minutes to do myself. That's what I want in my unionized government workers. McDonalds should be given the DMV contract. I'd bet they could do a much better job, make a profit and also pay taxes into the kitty rather than draining it.

Nonapod said...

Achilles said...
In a shorter time than people want to believe building all but the most complicated and technical items will be accomplished by automated means better than by human hands. [...]
Do the unions even have a plan for this? Does our government? What will unskilled labor do when McDonalds doesn't need anyone to flip burgers and machines do a better job than a high school drop-out?


The transition to a post scarcity society will be both the most culturally significant challenge humanity has ever faced as well as the most wonderful and freeing thing. Pretty much every product will cost virtually nothing to manufacture - just raw materials. Real human physical labor will cease to exist. What will most people do with themselves when they don't have to work?

President-Mom-Jeans said...

What will most people do with themselves when they don't have to work?

Urban Detroit is your answer.

Dante said...

I'd bet they could do a much better job, make a profit and also pay taxes into the kitty rather than draining it.

I think you need competition. I think private companies with monopolies tend to deteriorate in the same way. For instance, ATT long distance rates, until after it was split up.

Rabel said...

bagoh said:

"...but not paying people who produce more than those who don't will get you an organization of people who do not produce,.."

I agree with you in situations where it is possible to accurately quantify that production.

I just don't see how that accuracy is possible in many or most jobs.

Patrick said...

Now, this may not hold true in "do nothing" jobs, such as those in the financial sector where the highest paid positions are those that are essentially parasitic on other people's money, (investment bankers, stockbrokers, mortgage lenders, CEOs of big banks, and the like)

You have no idea what these people do for work, do you?

garage mahal said...

So, he's succeeding in his goals

He just had to make tough choices to cut spending to give us a balanced budget for the hard working taxpayers!

"When Governor Walker took office, Wisconsin's long-term debt was about $10 billion. By the end of Walker's term, Wisconsin's long-term debt will be nearly $14 billion."

Sorry Wisconsin, the joke's on you.

Dante said...

But as the jobs become more complex and varied, assessing relative merit becomes impossibly difficult and, as good as it sounds in theory, has the potential to produce demotivational results.

I'm in the software industry, and it takes getting a product out to know how really good the engineering is. Sure, there are instances where someone is really bad, and they get drummed out by other workers.

However, I have to ask you, if you can't tell how good a job someone is doing, how can you make a good product/service? It's incumbent upon management to define what a good job is. Presumably, one that leads to superior quality, improved productivity, etc.

Revenant said...

Rewarding people for the quality of their work instead of the length of their employment? Wotta concept!

Dante said...

Another thought on Merit pay. Perhaps it simply isn't enough? Sales people seem pretty motivated, at least the good ones.

If a significant chunk of change is on the line, say a 40% bonus, I'll bet people will work harder.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

What will most people do with themselves when they don't have to work?

The only jobs left for humans will be priests, prostitutes, and politicians.

( Yes, of course the machine prostitutes will be much better than the human ones, but there will always be those freaks with a flesh fetish. )

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Awwww, feeling bitter today bitchtits?

Child support check clear from your account today or something?

How can you claim the Wisconsin economy is doing so poorly when someone like you with no education is able to brag online about high income?

Sounds like the economy is doing more than fine to me. Unless of course, you really don't have a high income and were lying as usual.


Ignorance is Bliss said...

And the politicians will only be safe because the laws will prohibit those jobs from being taken by machines.

Until, of course, in a few years, when all elections are done with electronic voting machines. In a surprise upset, the electronic voting machines themselves win in a massive write-in campaign.

The human politicians protest that this is against the law, but a database search finds no record of such a law ever existing. In a strange coincidence, that same database server is appointed ambassador to Fiji.

Achilles said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...

What will most people do with themselves when they don't have to work?

The only jobs left for humans will be priests, prostitutes, and politicians.

( Yes, of course the machine prostitutes will be much better than the human ones, but there will always be those freaks with a flesh fetish. )

4/12/13, 2:32 PM

But will there be regulations that guard against people passing robots off as real prostitutes when the robots do a better job and it is difficult to tell?

bagoh20 said...

"I agree with you in situations where it is possible to accurately quantify that production.

I just don't see how that accuracy is possible in many or most jobs."


This where the chain of command comes in. Supervisors know who is good and who isn't under them. The supervisors have superiors who know which of them do their jobs well, and up it goes. At each level, people depend on those below them to make them look good, so it's in their best interest to motivate and keep good people.

That structure should not get too deep though, and I like a flatter organization, because even higher ups need to know the quality of people a couple steps down to keep everyone honest. Like democracy, and capitalism, nothing is perfect, it's just much better than the alternative.

If you want the perfect merit sensitive job - start your own business. Then only the government will let you make less than you deserve.

Achilles said...

garage mahal said...

So, he's succeeding in his goals

He just had to make tough choices to cut spending to give us a balanced budget for the hard working taxpayers!

"When Governor Walker took office, Wisconsin's long-term debt was about $10 billion. By the end of Walker's term, Wisconsin's long-term debt will be nearly $14 billion."

Sorry Wisconsin, the joke's on you.

4/12/13, 2:26 PM

I just put "Winsconsin long term debt" in google and came up with 3 leftist front sites with comment boards full of slobbering fools mixed in with a bunch of investment ratings for Wisconsin Energy Commission long term debt reports.

If this is true there should be some official statistics somewhere or an FOIA request. Right now it looks like a badly supported garage squirrel mission gleaned from the fever swamp.

garage mahal said...

Sounds like the economy is doing more than fine to me

To a colossal dumb fuck like yourself, sure. Near bottom in jobs/economic activity? Only state to report declines in income and sales tax revenue? Doing just fine thank you very much!

fivewheels said...

Rabel, I've only worked in a single-digit number of workplaces, so my experience is not that wide, but it never took me more than a couple of weeks to be able to identify who the high performers were and who, let's say, were the opposite.

There have been times when management might have been less aware than those of us in the trenches, but I never thought it was hard to determine. And this is in a complex, information-based business.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Any state that gives people who never went to college the luxury to bitch constantly online instead of working to improve their lot in life seems fine to me.

I mean come on Bitchtits, its noot like you have been missing too many meals, fatboy.

Why don't you go and bang some drums or have an anti capitalist puppet show instead of ranting online today?

You obviously could use the exercise.

Seeing Red said...

What's the problem with long-term debt?

The country voted to keep on partying.

Larry J said...

When it comes to government jobs, there should be two questions asked:

1. Does the job need to be done at all?

By that, I mean is it a legitimate function of government and not just a make-work position for relatives and cronies. How many "Third Deputy Assistant Undersecretaries for Diversity" do we really need?

2. If the job needs doing, does it have to be done by a government employee? Can it be a contracted service? Why should the clerks at the DMV be government employees (with lifetime employment, government pensions and all the perks) instead of contract workers?

Dante said...

This where the chain of command comes in. Supervisors know who is good and who isn't under them.

In general, it's pretty easy to know who is capable. The problem comes in with deciding who is actually doing the work. That takes time, to know what each person is actually responsible for, and making sure they are doing a good job.

In my experience, the higher layers of management don't have time to do this, and often use arbitrary "Gut Feel" to know what someone is about. That's pretty sucky, most of the time. It comes with a kind of arrogance I don't like.

What's great is "Walk Around" managers. These types have a genuine interest in the mechanics of the company, and sometimes even a genuine interest in the people in the company. While that's good for the workers, I don't think it's a great evaluation approach. You have to trust the folks underneath.

wyo sis said...

It should be fairly easy to tell which employees should get raises. The ones you would not want to lose.

Robert Cook said...

"When I go to McDonalds I get in 60 seconds what would take me 30 minutes to do myself."

Hmmm...I hate going to McDonalds, but I do every afternoon, because I go with a work colleague to get coffee in the afternoon and he prefer McDonalds. More often than not, just to walk in and walk out with our coffees can take 10 to 15 minutes. It's particularly irksome when customers who came in after us and ordered food get their orders before ours, who are only waiting for someone to draw the damn coffees into their cups! My colleague recognizes this but he likes McDonalds for some reason.

So, the private sector is not a paradise of optimized workers, just as the public sector (or union shops) are not hellscapes of universally and uniformly degenerate workers.

Robert Cook said...

"This is the cancerous problem of unions.

"'Stop working so hard, you are making me look bad'"


I had one guy say that to me once and I just ignored him, as did other fellow workers whom he had apparently tried this on. He never raised the issue again. The thing is, he was a good worker himself, if a bit temperamental.

Michael said...

I worked many manual labor jobs as a teenager. In each I encountered the full time, lifer, workers who said "whoa there, where's the fire! Slow down. " they could cram three hours of work into eight hours every single day.

Rusty said...

Patrick said...
Now, this may not hold true in "do nothing" jobs, such as those in the financial sector where the highest paid positions are those that are essentially parasitic on other people's money, (investment bankers, stockbrokers, mortgage lenders, CEOs of big banks, and the like)

You have no idea what these people do for work, do you?

No he doesn't hence the stupid.

Rusty said...

Larry J said...
When it comes to government jobs, there should be two questions asked:

1. Does the job need to be done at all?

Most government jobs could disappear tomorrow and the vast majority of the population wouldn't notice.

garage mahal said...

Walker wants to hire 700 new government workers, because they cost less than private consultants.

LOL

Peter said...

'Dante' said, " I think private companies with monopolies tend to deteriorate in the same way. For instance, ATT long distance rates, until after it was split up."

Private companies with monopolies have no incentive to be efficient (and regulators often lack the knowledge to tell them how to do so). They also going to be resistant to improving technology, at least unless they can easily see direct benefits to themselves from doing so. But they can be quite good at providing reliable service, as regulators can and will crack down on them if they don't.

The old AT&T seems ludicrous today because its technology has become so thoroughly outmoded. But AT&T's high long distance rates were no accident; they were used to subsidize local service (because they did want everyone to have a phone (how often are you going to originate, let alone receive, a long-distance call if you don't have a phone?).

The old AT&T was riddled with cross-subsidies, of which this was the most obvious. But its goal of "universal service" also lead to urban customers subsidizing rural ones. But if communications technology had remained mired in the vacuum tube and electromechanical switching era, I think we might still have "Ma Bell." After all, she did make the (old-style) phones work.

Which is one reason why rural areas are not getting low-cost, high-quality internet today: building networks into rural areas costs more, but today's service providers, constrained as theu are by competition , have no way to implement cost-shifting.

An obvious example of a contemporary private monopoly is electric power. Technology hasn't changed all that much and the regulated utilities are mostly willing to do whatever is asked of them- so long as someone can be forced to pay.

But don't ask them to be efficient. Presumably the dangers of working with electric power discourages at least some of the fools from making careers there (and culls others. But so long as the utility can charge ratepayers at cost-plus, why would they care how productive they are?

And yes, many of these electric utility jobs are union.

(And, BTW, at my brief stint at a union job I was not told to work slower. I was just reminded of the last-hired, first-fired rule- and asked what I thought was likely to happen if there wasn't enough work for all of us?)

Michael said...

Garage:"Walker wants to hire 700 new government workers, because they cost less than private consultants."

Have to hire new people to handle Obamacare. Have to hire new revenuers to collect more taxes. Private consultants obviously demand more pay than government employees.

You laugh out loud irrationally, stupidly even.

garage mahal said...

Private consultants obviously demand more pay than government employees.


Imagine that.

Michael said...

Garage: Private consultants do not get jobs, they work on "projects" and are paid during that "project" at the agreed rate. When the project is over they leave and the pay stops. That, imagine that, is totally different than being on the payroll whether the workload is high or low or barely existent. They, the consultants, demand higher pay than state employees who are willing to take less because they risk less.

garage mahal said...

Michael
Agreed. It just funny juxtaposed against all this stupid rhetoric we've endured over the past three years.

Synova said...

"Without more pay raises for more workers, however, the state will lose more of its most valuable workers as the recession lifts and pay increases in the private sector, said Charles Carlson, a compensation expert for a management consulting firm in Middleton."

*When* the economy improves enough that the private sector starts to suck good employees out of the public sector, the better economy will be able to support better wages or pay increases for the public sector.

What I found completely outrageous over the last five years is the way public sector employees, typified by those in Wisconsin, seemed to think that they were immune to the pain and serious hardship that everyone else suffered because of the economy.

The argument that public employees have to be paid more NOW so that some time in the future when the economy gets better and private companies are poaching employees they won't leave is about the dumbest thing I've heard today.

Synova said...

"After all, how else can one further enrich the already rich than by further immiserating those already struggling?"

Well golly, I don't know. Maybe one can enrich the already rich by creating a vibrant economy where the formerly immiserated can now afford more products and services?

Nah... that would never work.

garage mahal said...

Nah... that would never work.

It's definitely not working here.

Robert Cook said...

"Most government jobs could disappear tomorrow and the vast majority of the population wouldn't notice."

I think you would be rudely awakened.

I do agree we can cut about 75% of our military personnel and budget...if not more.

Robert Cook said...

"Well golly, I don't know. Maybe one can enrich the already rich by creating a vibrant economy where the formerly immiserated can now afford more products and services?

"Nah... that would never work."


That would require an economy where as many Americans as want to are employed to do jobs that pay well.

The "job creators" have decided they don't want that to work as it will impinge on their riches, so they replace American workers with automation and with workers brought in from outside our country or by sending those jobs overseas.

Until this country has enough well-paying jobs to employ a majority of our citizenry, we will never climb up out of the deep black well into which our economy has plummeted, (rather, into which it has been thrown by those who have plundered it and who continue to do so).

Do I think this will happen?

No.

Things are going to get much much worse for more and more (and eventually most) Americans.

Robert Cook said...

"What will unskilled labor do when McDonalds doesn't need anyone to flip burgers and machines do a better job than a high school drop-out?"

They will fail to find work of any kind and will turn to crime or the dole. If the dole is eliminated to keep the "parasites" from living off the "productive" (sic), they'll all turn to crime. The prison population will skyrocket such that we will become, literally, a prison nation.

In other words, in a society advanced enough technologically that most jobs can be performed quicker, better and cheaper by robots--in other words, where there will be no jobs for most citizens--the only way citizens will be able to live well will be if there is a system in which everyone is allocated a guaranteed stipend by the government such that they can afford to pay rent and buy food and other consumer goods. If not that, then many of us will have to be killed or imprisoned, or will live in metropolis-sized tent cities.

Dante said...

Peter Sez:

(And, BTW, at my brief stint at a union job I was not told to work slower. I was just reminded of the last-hired, first-fired rule- and asked what I thought was likely to happen if there wasn't enough work for all of us?)

Isn't that simply amazing? Presumably that was the union bosses, and their role was to make the work seem more substantial to increase the share of the pie without increasing the value. Like ATT did in various ways.

People like that tend to not survive in my field. Or at least, maybe they did at Yahoo, but not at the companies I work for.

sane_voter said...

If not that, then many of us will have to be killed or imprisoned, or will live in metropolis-sized tent cities.

Just find a few Gosnells to do some 4th-90th trimester aborting to thin the herd will suffice.

stlcdr said...

I'm all for meritocratic compensation, but study after study shows that people are not incentivized intermediate- or long-term by the prospect of raises and bonuses. If they like the work they are doing, and are challenged enough at a level with which they are comfortable enough, then they will do good work.

This isn't at odds with the article. Some people are motivated to do good work when their work is recognized and they are rewarded for it. So, let us reward those people.

Those that are not motivated to work hard based on pay then do not need merit bonuses or pay raises.

From a business standpoint, it would be foolish to not give a pay raise to your most productive and valuable employees, even if they are not motivated by pay [increases].

stlcdr said...

Michael said: Private consultants obviously demand more pay than government employees.

Actually the word is command, not demand.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"Most government jobs could disappear tomorrow and the vast majority of the population wouldn't notice."

I think you would be rudely awakened.

Nope. But you'd be.

I do agree we can cut about 75% of our military personnel and budget...if not more.


We've had this conversation before and you can't defend your position.
OK lets cut it 75%.
What would our defense look like?

Robert Cook said...

"OK lets cut it 75%.
What would our defense look like?"


Does it matter? We haven't fought in defense of ourselves in nearly 75 years.

Others around the world have certainly had to defend themselves against us, though.