Easy Targets and the Economic Crisis

We were flipping stations today and stumbled upon a news program on CTV. The topic of discussion was compensation for the highest paid public servants in Canada. 

Two of the three worked for CBC and CMHC respectively but the name of the organization for which the third individual worked escapes me. The range in salaries was about 350K to low 400K with bonus tie-ins that brought the total to about 600K.

Holy crap!

This may seem like a lot of money (and it is) but compared to people in similar positions in the private sector, chump change. Okay, except for Warren Buffet who “only” takes a salary of 100K (including board fees 175K), base salaries for those in comparable positions are easily double that of the public servant with much larger bonus tie-ins.  

It may be hard for the average Joe (like myself) to comprehend but that is the way of the world.

What was really funny is that the host was hoping for fireworks but the two guests were basically in agreement that though the figures may sound high to you or I, these people would be making much more in the private sector. The guests made the point that these salaries constitute a very small percentage of public sector salaries and in fact, the majority of public servants are actually underpaid.

The host was trying to get something going by suggesting these salaries were gratuitous considering the current economic situation but the guests weren’t going there. My boyfriend made the point that the CTV executive in a position similar to the one from CBC likely makes a lot more- it would have been hysterical if one of the guests specifically made a point of this.

Hmmm, maybe that’s why CTV and their parent company are in trouble. (I wonder if they are rethinking the money they coughed up for the Hockey Night in Canada theme. I wonder if their shareholders are questioning the same….)

The argument is that you have to pay for talent. Working for the public sector is not a volunteer job. Politicians may come and go but public servants are the people who have to get the job done.

That is not to say that there aren’t useless civil servants but you will find people whose only gift is the avoidance of work, everywhere.

As easy as it is to malign public servants (especially those that work at CBC), let’s keep it in perspective.

Compare apples with apples or don’t bother.

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~ by angryegg on March 15, 2009.

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