Why do we always want everyone to join us in the race to the bottom?
On Wednesday we published a story, as we do from time to time, about what our local governments’ employees are earning. We focused on the top wages, as we know that’s what people want to read. And usually get outraged about.
The thing is, I could easily write an editorial that would probably be pretty popular amongst readers about how these employees, paid with our tax money, are earning ridiculously big bucks, etc. But I’m afraid that’s not a bandwagon you’ll find me clambering aboard very often.
See, I tend to think it’s not so much that these folks make too much money that leads to this kneejerk negative outburst, it’s that everyone else wishes they made that or more. It’s about envy, and frustration that your own hard work isn’t likewise compensated.
Oh, I know the arguments well. They’re being paid with our hard-earned money. More of that cash should be staying in our pockets, not going to their paycheques.
But nobody ever says that about shopping, or using other services, when the fact of the matter is that the employees of those businesses are also being paid with your money, you’re just handing it over to them through a private transaction rather than through your taxes. It’s still your money.
So where’s the outrage about how much the CEO of the corporation that made your TV took home? It could certainly be argued that the CAO of your local municipality actually provided you with a more important service, and yet we complain about the $100,000 to $200,000 some of them can earn, but not about the millions private sector bosses pocket.
In my view, we should all be aspiring to raise everyone’s standard of living so that more of us are making that comfortable $75,000 per year, rather than tearing everyone down to a paltry and insufficient minimum wage.
After all, the more people in our communities making good money, the more people spending good money.
It’s worth the time to stop and think, do you really think they don’t deserve their wage? Or is it that you deserve more?