Warner Todd Huston
Obama says gov't employees not to blame, yet in 41 states they make more than everyone
FacebookTwitterGoogle+
By Warner Todd Huston
March 3, 2011

In a recent interview with Channel 4 TV News in Milwaukee, President Obama denied that government employees are responsible for the "budget problems" that the nation faces and that employees such as those in Wisconsin are not to blame. We shouldn't "vilify" them, he said. Yet, seeming to contradict Obama's claims USA Today has reported that in 41 states government employees make more on average than workers in the private sector.

In a fine demagogic manner Obama told Channel 4 that we need to understand that these public employees are "our friends and neighbors."

    And I think it's very important for us to understand that public employees, they're our neighbors, they're our friends. These are folks who are teachers, and they're firefighters, and they're social workers, and they're police officers. You know, they make a lot of sacrifices, and make a big contribution, and I think it's important not to vilify them, or to suggest that somehow all these budget problems are due to public employees.

Naturally Obama is standing up for the very unions that gave him millions in campaign cash as they sought to make of him their bought and paid for presidential candidate in 2008. Still, is he right? Is it wrong to focus on government employees as a budgetary item worth cutting? Are the salaries of public employees nothing to get all excited about?

The answer appears to run counter to Obama's claims. USA Today reports facts that tend to make the lie to Obama's dismissal of cuts in public employee pay and benefits.

USA Today finds that Wisconsin is one of 41 states where public employees earn more than the average citizens in the private sector.

    The analysis of government data found that public employees' compensation has grown faster than the earnings of private workers since 2000. Primary cause: the rising value of benefits.

So, as President Obama tries to cajole people into imagining that government employees are not the problem and that they do not earn more than the rest of the country, facts say just the opposite. Public employees live high on the hog while those that pay for them, the taxpayers, suffer.

Transcript of Obama's Appearance on Channel 4 News:

    Well I'd say that I haven't followed exactly what's happening with the Wisconsin budget. I've got some budget problems here in Washington that I've had to focus on. I would say, as a general proposition, that everybody's gotta make some adjustments to new fiscal realities. And I think if we want to avoid layoffs — which I want to avoid, I don't want to see layoffs of hard-working federal workers.

    We had to impose, for example, a freeze on pay increases for federal workers for the next two years, as part of my overall budget freeze. You know, I think those kinds of adjustments are the right thing to do.

    On the other other hand, some of what I've heard coming out of Wisconsin — where you're just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain, generally — seems like more of an assault on unions.

    And I think it's very important for us to understand that public employees, they're our neighbors, they're our friends. These are folks who are teachers, and they're firefighters, and they're social workers, and they're police officers. You know, they make a lot of sacrifices, and make a big contribution, and I think it's important not to vilify them, or to suggest that somehow all these budget problems are due to public employees.

    So, I think everybody's gotta make some adjustments, but I think it's also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to the well being of our states and our cities.

© Warner Todd Huston

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston's thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites... (more)

More by this author

 

Stephen Stone
'The fervent prayer of the righteous'

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Busted: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Madeline Crabb
Puppets, prostitutes, and pimps – Part Five

Rev. Austin Miles
Biden qualifies for impeachment!

Michael Bresciani
Equality Act: The most demonically inspired bill in U.S. history

Judie Brown
The Church MUST respond; Biden’s FDA gives mail-order abortion the green light

Cliff Kincaid
The Unabomber and other transgender pioneers

Curtis Dahlgren
The 13th grade: It's killing us

Steve A. Stone
The Fourth Horseman

Rev. Mark H. Creech
It's still a big deal, and for me it's personal

Judie Brown
Disassembling childhood

Michael Bresciani
Morality from our corporations: Are the fumbling feckless fiduciaries issuing new commandments?

Jerry Newcombe
The Sabbath—a gift from God

Tabitha Korol
Epilogue to a friendship
  More columns

Cartoons


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

RSS feeds

News:
Columns:

Columnists

Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites