Comments about ‘Letter: The government shouldn't cut programs, they should cut administrative salaries instead’

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Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Salaries consume 7% of the federal budget. Make them all work for free and it won't solve our deficit problem.

Emajor
Ogden, UT

There are a lot of good people working in the public sector providing services that the private sector isn't prepared to handle or shouldn't even be expected to handle. These people work honestly to provide for their families and often earn less than those in the private sector with equivalent levels of education.

It is easy and popular to callously demand sweeping program cuts without realizing or caring who you are hurting. If there is waste, needless redundancy, or poor performance, let's address it. But very few government employees are overpaid "administrators" lazily putting in 40 hrs a week on a job that serves no purpose in the first place, so let's not act as if they are.

Rifleman
Salt Lake City, Utah

We need to cut programs, administrative salaries, and put a freeze on federal hiring. We are going bankrupt and sooner or later someone is going to have to pay for our out of control spending.

I suppose the other option is to keep throwing money at the problem and see if it helps.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

I'm guessing that as a public-sector employee, I should make about $20K per year and be thankful for it.

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

"We need to cut programs, administrative salaries, and put a freeze on federal hiring."

Cite specifics. Give details. Name for us which programs you would cut, and explain why. How much would each cut program save as a percentage of the total budget?

Why pay certain people less? Is there an objective market analysis of their compensation that shows that their total compensation package is significantly different than the compensation given for the same jobs in the private sector?

What impact would a federal hiring freeze have on federal services? Would it apply to the military? If not, why not?

Conservative chest-thumping about cutting public spending is an increasingly tiresome joke.

Rifleman
Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: CHS 85 Sandy, UT
"I'm guessing that as a public-sector employee, I should make about $20K per year and be thankful for it."

If I had my way you'd be working in the private sector and making what you are worth.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

@Rifleman

You don't know what agency I work for or what kind of work I do, but the private sector does not currently have the ability to do what we do.

BTW, I believe I am fairly compensated. I have no complaints. I am glad to have my job and I am proud of the service I provide this great country.

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

CHS 85: If you currently provide about $15,000 in real value to your employer (public or private), then yes, you should feel very grateful if you are paid $20,000 to do it.

If on the other hand, you provide much more than $20,000 in value to your employer, you should not be happy and you should do what everyone else in the private sector does...look for someone who will pay you what you are worth. If you truly provide a valuable service, then someone will want you to do it for them.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

@JoeCapitalist2

Please read my comment directly above yours where I said I believe I am fairly compensated. I worked hard to get where I am, even gaining twenty years of experience in the military first. I make about what I would make in the private sector and am grateful for it. I really have no complaints.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

Also, cutting public sector salaries would mean less incentive for good people to do into government. It would increase incompetence.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The only way to reduce the cost of government is to get business out of government.

Business people use the government as a means to defeat the notion of free market and force their products upon the customer. The main job of the military is to protect and maintain our business operations around the world while generating huge amounts of profits for the arms industry.

Stop protecting American business with subsidies to Farmers and other Business. If American business can buy foreign labor at low cost, American consumers should be able to buy foreign goods at foreign prices.

ugottabkidn
Sandy, UT

All one has to do to see what the private sector does to areas of common need is look at what it has done to our healthcare system. Just add 30% for administration and you'll be just beginning and that doesn't count the extra markup for individual components that will be added to back end. That's how capitalism works and parts of our general welfare are best left to the commons.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

The letter makes a good point. Even if administrative salaries compose only 7 percent of government spending, as Roland mentions, all domestic government spending is part of the economy. For instance, my sister, who worked as a chemist for a private laboratory that receives defense funding, was supported in her private-sector job by government spending. Same for people who sell stethoscopes to the VA and lots of others. Social Security payments get spent on food, clothing, gasoline, and other necessities.

The fallacy in Tea Party thinking is the assumption that government spending happens in a vacuum. It doesn't. Even if it is something we don't necessarily need, it still creates jobs and supports businesses. Take it away suddenly, and you've got instant economic contraction: a recession. The main problem is that we've adopted the philosophy of paying for government spending with debt instead of taxes. No matter how we go about bringing things into balance, we have to do it gradually, or we'll cause a greater problem than we solve.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

I would disagree with one statement in this letter: "Cutting programs saves us the money the government foolishly gives away." Seems like you're lumping veterans' benefits and student loans with research on the length of rats' tails. Yes, some government spending is foolish. Most of it is stuff politicians can't speak of, because voters don't want to give up their favorite government programs.

Rifleman
Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: CHS 85 Sandy, UT
"You don't know what agency I work for or what kind of work I do ..."

To suggest that the federal government doesn't carry a bloated payroll is absurd, and people who have worked for Uncle Sam know it. There is a reason why the private sector don't want employees who have worked for the government.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

Cutting salaries for most positions would be fruitless, and may actually cause more problems. For many positions the salaries are at their current levels in an attempt to retain competent people. For instance, think of the DA's office. Would you want to have the cheapest lawyer working there, or would you want the best lawyers working there? If you have the best lawyers, then you should pay them at a rate that is competitive with private companies. If you don't, you will end up with the cheapest, and most likely less competent lawyer.

Many government programs need to be cut.

To "Roland Kayser" I don't know where you get your nubmers from, but they are quite wrong. The executive branch alone is 7%, adding in the post office employees and some other agencies will take you up to 14%. However, using salaries is a bad measure. According to the budget office, in 2009 the federal government spent $700 billion on salaries and benefits for their employees. That year the government spent $3.1 Trillion. That means the government spent 22% of its budget on its employees.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

@Rifleman

"To suggest that the federal government doesn't carry a bloated payroll is absurd, and people who have worked for Uncle Sam know it. There is a reason why the private sector don't want employees who have worked for the government."

Wow. You got me on that one. I didn't realize that you spoke for every private sector employer. The thousands of defense contractor employers might disagree with you, as well as the companies who are direct contractors of the federal government.

BTW, since the Department of Defense employs more civilian employees than all other federal agencies COMBINED, I am guessing you are willing to eliminate all of their jobs as well, or do they get a free pass because they are the DoD? What about all of the thousands of employees of the new NSA facility in Bluffdale? Free pass for them as well, I assume.

Number of federal employees per 1,000 American citizens under Nixon - 14.4, Reagan - 11.1, Bush - 12.4, Clinton - 11.1, Bush - 9.1, Obama - 8.4.

1conservative
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

No one (at least no one rational)believes that government employees shouldn't be able to earn a living wage, and in many cases deserve more.

The problem we have is that way too many are bringing home 6 figure salaries.

Usually these folks are administrators who basically have nothing to do all day except try to convince their bosses, (who are usually elected officials btw) that they deserve ever higher salaries.

Its NOT a demo. or Repub. problem. They (elected officials)have had no incentive to keep salaries in check. Salaries go up, so they raise taxes to compensate. Its been getting much worse for the last 30 yrs.
Its NOT the administrators who do the work. Its the "worker bees".

Administrators simply try to put a happy face on the little work they accomplish.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Why does this argument come round all the time? Sure everyone despises civil servants but fire them all and problems will only be made worse. Their pay amounts to very little of the budget you're trying to balance.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

1conservative.

Do you really think that the administrators in government are different than the administrators in large private organizations?

My limited corporate experience would indicate that people are pretty much the same no matter where they are. And that the corruption that you see in government also occurs in private corporations. Even churches, charities, non-profits, unions, associations and clubs.
Anywhere there is the flow of money or goods going by, some people will get their hands wet.

A partial solution might be the reduction in the number of governments that we are subject to. Every level of government provides an opportunity for corruption to happen. Further solution would be better control. Less opportunity plus ways to reduce the motivation.
Like better career paths and good retirement and even good pay.

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