Public Employee Pay

imagesOne of the political memes of the day is that public employees are better far paid than those working in the private sector. Like most memes, it’s worth looking at the underlying facts. An article in today’s New York Times talks about public sector pay and benefits, noting:

A raft of recent studies found that public salaries, even with benefits included, are equivalent to or lag slightly behind those of private sector workers.

At UW, where our salaries lag well behind those of many of our peers, many faculty could readily increase their income, often dramatically, by moving to the private sector. Most of us, I think, do what we do in large part because we are committed to educating the next generation more than to lining our pockets.

Still, we need to actively challenge misrepresentations of our situation. This meme is a myth and needs to be talked about as such.