Welcome to the October Money issue of NorthBay biz magazine. In addition to the stories this month, there’s a special report on law and business. We hope you enjoy these features and columns in the areas only locally-owned, glossy business publication. You can rely on NorthBay biz as your local source for business news and information, because, “Helping grow your business isn’t just something we do…It’s all we do!
Remember the days when taking a government job meant earning less, but having more job security? Now, it seems part of that equation has changed. For the average Joe or Josephine, entering the work force deciding whether to join the private sector or become a government employee, there’s a clearer choice: Government employees earn approximately 17 percent more in total compensation than private-sector workers performing similar jobs according to the Congressional Budget Office. Workers with a high school diploma (or not) earn 53 percent more working for the feds than they do in the private sector and individuals with a bachelor degree bring home on average 21 percent more when working for the government. The only exception is private sector workers with doctorate degrees, who average 18 percent more compensation than they would working for the government.
It’s comforting to know that a government that simply redistributes money it collects from its citizens can be so generous in its distribution to employees. And the quality of service we receive in exchange for such a good compensation package, proves it’s a worthy investment since it’s one we get to pay for.
Speaking of wise investments, government can be creative in finding ways to spend lots of money while claiming to serve our best interests. Practically any government agency does this well, but the National Institute of Health (NIH) is a leader when it comes to handing out grant money, looking for answers to stupid questions. The NIH, for example, awarded a $48,500 grant to research and document the definitive history of people in Russia smoking tobacco. Another $150,000 grant was awarded to study if debating politics with family and friends is too stressful. Recently, in keeping with today’s headlines, a $400,000 grant was given to study, “Whether gender norms of masculinity and femininity lead LGBTQ individuals to drink too much.” Not to be outdone, the National Park service spent $65,000 on a study to determine how rural insects react to light bulbs. Now that’s what I call fiscal responsibility. I can’t wait to read the results of this vital research.
And speaking of answering questions and solving problems, Sacramento politicians are talking, once again, about “fixing” the state’s housing crisis. You’ve heard of this crisis, it’s the one where your kids can’t afford to live here and employers can’t hire qualified workers because they can’t afford to buy a home in the Bay Area. In all the conversation about fixing the problem, I’ve yet to hear any “pol” talk about lowering taxes/fees, altering restrictive building regulations or mitigating the over-the-top environmental regs they put into place that created the housing shortage in the first place—but they’re going to fix the problem.
However, in a related vein, that brings a head-shaking, disbelieving smile to my face, the governor is advocating the necessity of exempting his pet “high speed rail” project from compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In his wisdom, he’s concluded that it would be impossible for the state to be in compliance with CEQA when building a project of this size.
Think about the privileged mindset it takes to issue a statement like that. “Do as I say not as I do,” must be one of the governor’s favorite sayings. You however, can wait years for approvals of your local building project, but with a wave of his imperial hand the laws that govern us don’t apply to a project of importance to the governor. Remember, each mile of track for high-speed rail means millions of dollars are not being spent to repair and maintain the state’s crumbling local roads and freeway systems. Wait, maybe they can increase taxes to fix the roads…
In fact, as you already know, they did increase taxes on gas and registration fees to the tune of $52 billion. What added insult to injury was when the governor in responding to criticism about the tax hike called those who complained, “…freeloaders. I’ve had enough of them…”
I guess it’s politically incorrect when we “freeloaders” raise our voices in complaint about the burdens being imposed on us to fund a runaway system of big government. A system that rewards special interests, and its goal remains to impose every nanny state whim, regardless of the consequences and too often in opposition to the will of the people.
That’s it for now. Enjoy this month’s magazine.
Cows grazing along hillsides and in seaside meadows are a picturesque and familiar sight in Marin and Sonoma counties. Dairy farms have been a local presence for more than 100 years, but thes...