Yesterday you said police and teachers need to be paid like doctors

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ztienapm's picture

I have two brothers in law that are police officers.  Both are making over $150K/year and both have pensions that will pay them the majority of their pay on retirement.  How much better should they be paid?

In San Jose, CA police and firefighters are 70% of the payroll.  Should they be 99% with the last 1% being the payroll person that pays them?

In California the salaries of the best paid government workers is made public.  It's pretty much all police and firefighters at the top of the earnings food chain.  


Phaedrus76's picture
California does pay good

California does pay good money, they are the exception.

Yes teachers, police, and

Yes teachers, police, and firefighters in California get paid better than probably 80% of working stiffs in California.

The point of that story was that in Singapore teachers are paid as well as doctors.  All I know about Singapore is that they cane people for grafitti.  I'm guessing the curriculum that is being taught is science, science, and more science.  And I'm guessing that if a school figures out when you're nine years old that you're not going to be a rocket scientist you're out on the street fishing for rats, like in most societies. Henceforth doctors are probably paid less in that society.  I'd prefer to improve the model we have here.

I can't remember what Thom said about Finland.

DRC's picture
The Singapore analogy is not

The Singapore analogy is not apt.  Most of the doctors I know would be fine with the salary quoted for cops in California.  Oregon college professors are not paid that well for the most part.  Cost of living differences need to be part of these comparisons, but I doubt California teachers are being paid what their cops are making, and that would be the issue in a nutshell.

The doctors I see are not in in for the money, but they do want to cover their costs and be treated as professionals.  I think teachers and cops are like that too.  Nobody should be motivated more by money than by doing something of value that serves a human and social purpose.  The itch to get rich needs medicine rather than scratching.  The laborer being worth his/her hire is a measure of value added, not greed.  The "profit motive" is a distorted perversion of vocation and motivation.

Which comes first, the

Which comes first, the teacher or the doctor? No doctors.

Dr.'s aren't allowed to train themselves with a mail-order "How To" book. "Medicine for Dummies' isn't on the best-seller list.

Probably retirement above a poverty level is a good thing. I've no problem with it. The nation earns $40,000 per year for every man woman and child working or not....$160,0000 per family of four. A couple's share is $80,0000, isn't it?. Retirement income above that is excessive.

. Probaby a retirement income of  $40,000 for a couple isn't excessive. It's half their share of the national pie.

The $12,000 average of Soc. Sec. retirement assures destitution. Probably $20,000, 1/2 of their share of the national pie wouldn't be excessive. Someone else would still get the other half.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Bush_Wacker's picture
Phaedrus76 wrote: California

Phaedrus76 wrote:

California does pay good money, they are the exception.

Yes and it's all relative.  I have a friend who lives in Boston burbs who makes 75K a year.  He used to laugh at me making 35K a year in South Dakota.  He bought a house and sent me a pic.  It's a little smaller than mine and a little bit older but farely comparable.  Both in nice neighborhoods very close to public schools.  He paid 370K for his house and I paid 140K for mine in the same year.  He doesn't laugh at my wages anymore.  He's thinking about moving to South Dakota.

California pays good wages but the economy takes most of it back there just like everywhere else.  It's all relative.

Bush_Wacker wrote: California

Bush_Wacker wrote:

California pays good wages but the economy takes most of it back there just like everywhere else.  It's all relative.

True, AND

The federal tax code doesn't provide for regional cost of living (I suppose certain Californians get more deductions for their state taxes and for the interest on their mortgages.) By and large, taxpayers in the bluest blue state pay far more in federal income taxes than probably any single red state. Not to mention California's very high state income tax and sales taxes and just about everything else except for all the retirees paying $1,000 in property taxes on $400,000 homes.

DRC's picture
Housing prices in California

Housing prices in California are absurd, and salaries often have to deal with this.  High income taxes do not help bring down the cost of housing.  I was only trying to compare similar fruit and avoid having bad data trump the value of the discussion.

Erik300's picture
As Thom has said, the minimum

As Thom has said, the minimum wage in Danmark is $18 but their tax rate is about 50%. Yet they are rated the happiest people on earth. 

captbebops's picture
DRC wrote: Housing prices in

DRC wrote:

Housing prices in California are absurd, and salaries often have to deal with this.  High income taxes do not help bring down the cost of housing.  I was only trying to compare similar fruit and avoid having bad data trump the value of the discussion.

That's because everybody wants to live here because of the weather.  The housing boom took off here in the late 90s because there actually was a shortage of housing.  We weren't surprised in the rise of prices until they got ridiculous.  But we were even more surprised that the rest of the nation thought their houses were worth more.  These weren't locations that were favored because of the weather.

BTW, we're having summer today in the Bay Area.


DRC's picture
It is always summer in

It is always summer in Honolulu by SF standards.  I don't want to give away the dirty little secret that anything West of the Cascade Mts. is climate compared to weather, but being away from Jan-April is not hard.  Still, given the rest of the good life in Portland, the difference in housing prices to the Bay Area makes no sense at all.  One can also find good weather away from the Bay where Google and Apple workers have not inflated the market.  That and the crazy tax laws.

The big point is, can the workers live where they work, or is it only for the wealthy with their servants having to come in from the 'townships.'  I would not commute from Walnut Creek to the City in that traffic.  You can't even go to the grocery store on the Peninsula during commute times. 

There hasn't been a housing

There hasn't been a housing shortage in California since the San Francisco earthquake 106 years ago.  Maybe in 1942 when we had to build a whole bunch of stuff right away in Los Angeles to fight Japan.

There's a phenomenon in Southern California, which I'm sure has reached the Bay Area and other parts of the country.

House prices are dependent on the price of rents.  The price of rents is dependent on the lowest quality available housing.  The worst part of town will cost you 1.0x, the next worst will cost 1.2x, on up the chain.  Every prospective renter looks at what is available for less, and decides if they want to live in the neighborhood with an independent liquor store on every block, versus the neighborhood with the 7-11, or the Starbucks, on every block.

In the last 30 years there has been a rather large, to put in mildly, influx of people who are willing to accept less housing than the people who were already living here.  The rent for an apartment was priced at the wages of maybe two adults.  Then that apartment was taken by 3 or 4 adults.  The individual wage of each of those 4 adults is less than that of the 2 previous tenants, but each also pays less taxes, perhaps no taxes, so the purchasing power of the 4 is higher than the 2.  The price of rents go up in the worst neighborhood.  The price of rents go up in all the other neighborhoods.  The price of houses go up.

On top of that, the change in tax law in 1997 gifted married homeowners $150k+ with the exclusion of $500k in gain (25% + state) tax on the sale of their personal residence put a lot of purchasing power into the real estate market.  Add the phenomenon of the internet, Greensuck's easy money policies, and the newfound comfort with refinancing, and the seeds of the bubble were sewn.  I think Southern California property values increased something like 50% from 1996 to 2000.

And then someone thought that Cisco really shouldn't be worth more than General Electric...