Coronavirus pay cuts: This may make you very, very angry

Coronavirus pay cuts: This may make you very, very angry. By Adam Creighton.

Public sector workers are not suffering nearly to the same extent as those in the private sector, who ultim­ately pay their wages.

The destruction of millions of jobs and businesses that is now well in train will expose the extraordinarily high pay and conditions of the nation’s top public servants, state and federal, that typically leave foreigners and members of the public speechless.

In NSW alone, just one state, more than 3200 senior executives, none of them “frontline” staff, are paid between $200,000 and $500,000 a year. Victorian Premier Dan Andrews’s salary is set to rise by $47,000 to $441,000 in July, while backbenchers’ base salaries are set to rise by almost $20,000 to $182,400.

Not much sharing of the burden there. So far, the jobless are concentrated overwhelmingly among the young and lower-paid, but as household and business spending collapses, soon professionals will face big pay cuts too. Barely a fortnight into the shutdown, law and consulting firms are reducing and announcing lay-offs.

Asked on Thursday whether senior federal public servants and senior MPs might experience a pay cut as a way of sharing the ­burden, the Prime Minister said: “We’ve put the freezes in place.”

Forgoing a 2 per cent July ­increase on already enormous salaries is a scene from a Monty Python skit. The 3240-strong Senior Executive Service, for instance, will be keeping their $238,000-to-$453,000 salaries, not to mention the thousands of officials in federal and state regulators who earn at least as much.

Whatever the merits of the range of the extraordinary impositions on personal freedoms and ­future taxpayers, state and federal public servants, and the politicians who oversee them, should share some of the pain, especially since it’s government that has caused the economic collapse. …

World class pay packets, and then rather a lot more!

Australia’s departmental secretaries and agency heads, for instance, are the highest paid in the developed world, according to a 2015 OECD study, earning roughly double their counterparts in 28 other developed countries. And they’ve increased a lot since then.

The pay of taxpayer-funded political staff, around 1700 strong across states and federal government, is also gobsmacking, where advisers in their late 20s often earn $180,000-plus. …

In economies dominated by public and private bureaucracy, the idea of workers being paid their “marginal product of labour” — the neat concept in economics textbooks — is more and more a fairytale.

The very class of people whose incompetence and complacency allowed this to occur at all — by not closing the borders in time — and who dreamed up and are enforcing society’s draconian response, are not harmed at all by it! Who ever said there was no justice in this world?

Such clever and wise people we have governing us. Pay them more, they deserve it. I think I should pay higher taxes to pay more to these experts, so they can make even better decisions for me on how to run my life. How on earth did society function properly before the existed? So much progress!

hat-tip Stephen Neil