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Marshall Goldsmith
Executive Coach/Author

Marshall Goldsmith

Marshall Goldsmith is an executive educator, speaker, coach and best-selling author. His most recent book is Mojo.

Against big government? It's no surprise he's popular

Q: New Jersey's new Republican governor, Chris Christie, has forced cutbacks in pay for teachers and superintendents, capped local property taxes, cut pension benefits for state workers, canceled popular public works projects and closed a $11 billion state budget deficit. Yet in spite of these highly controversial initiatives and a blunt speaking style, his popularity in a heavily Democratic state is rising. What is the lesson here for other political leaders?

While these may be 'traditionally' unpopular moves, they are clearly not unpopular in New Jersey (at least for now). Many Americans believe that their government is unnecessarily wasting taxpayer dollars. The average government employee is now making more than their counterpart in the private sector. Unlike many private sector employees, government employees have often been given very rich pensions and near lifetime job security. Some private-sector employees are now unemployed and angry about these discrepancies.

I have been very impressed with the commitment and work ethic of the government leaders that I have worked with in the past. Many Americans do not share my positive views when evaluating the dedication of their government's employees.

The fact that any 'anti-big-government' politician is popular today is hardly a surprise! Read the polls.

By Marshall Goldsmith

 |  October 11, 2010; 1:47 PM ET
Category:  Government leadership , Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Notice he doesn't describe those private sector "counterparts".

And what does he consider a "very rich pension"? After thirty years, it's a little more than half the average of the last three year's salaries. Maybe he considers it "rich" because it's a pension that a private company can't default on when crappy management tanks the company.

Posted by: st50taw | October 16, 2010 2:12 PM
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The average government employee is now making more than their counterpart in the private sector.
--

This writer chooses to ignore the evidence that this claim, as stated, is simply false.

See:


http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1153/is_n5_v119/ai_18500668/

Posted by: twm1 | October 15, 2010 9:24 PM
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Christie is a big loud-mouthed bully who would rather make headlines than actually try to work with the legislature and get things done. I don't think he's very effective at all. He personally was responsible for NJ losing out on Race to the Top money for education because he rejected a compromise his own education chief made with teachers's unions, changed the application unilaterally which cost a lot of points, then tried to blame it on the Obama administration and when that didn't work, fired his education chief. I don't support him! I think a lot of people like him because in hard times, a lot of people respond to someone who acts like a harsh daddy figure. Makes them feel secure, even though he is ineffective and bad for the state.

Posted by: catherine3 | October 13, 2010 12:28 PM
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I would argue we have become a lazy, entitled group of people who have grown to expect everything to be handed to them. No one owes anyone anything other than those who are incapable of helping themselves--elderly (who are incapable of self care), children and mentally/physically challenged. That is not the majority of us. Let's get real about what our time is worth and drop the gobbledy gook. Christie is being the Grinch so that the folks in his state can have peace of mind in the end. No easy task as there is no easy answer. It is much easier to get into debt than out. Perhaps my lack of close proximity to DC colors my world--can only be a positive.

Posted by: nmzia | October 12, 2010 9:03 PM
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"The average government employee is now making more than their counterpart in the private sector. Unlike many private sector employees, government employees have often been given very rich pensions and near lifetime job security. "

Even if this is true, all it really points to is the fact that in the private sector, workers are getting the shaft over and over again from their employers: lower wages, fewer benefits, canceled pension plans, higher premiums for health insurance, the list goes on and on. What happened to the days when technological advances and increased productivity brought higher wages, more benefits, and greater wealth for all? For the middle class and the poor, it has all gone by the wayside, as the corporations have moved their jobs and the productive capabilities of American to China. Only the rich can still look ahead to a better life. The rest of America is facing an economic disaster.

Posted by: Chagasman | October 12, 2010 4:58 PM
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" The average government employee is now making more than their counterpart in the private sector."

Typical intelectually lazy conservative claptrap. What does "counterpart" mean. Here are the facts.

"Jeffrey Keefe, an associate professor at the university's (Rutgers) School of Management and Labor Relations, said public employees do not make more than comparable private employees.


According to Keefe, comparing private and public employees with the same educational level, experience and work schedule shows private employees make 11 percent more in wages and 5 percent more in total compensation than public workers."

If you want to see some actual data, you can go to
http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/09/public-sector-compensation-its-the-denominator-that-matters-most/

or

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/09/15/study-finds-public-workers-make-less/ (From the Wall street Journal.)

This is just another right wing myth.

Posted by: lensch | October 12, 2010 4:50 PM
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We New Mexico folks certainly wish we had a Gov like Chris Christie. We have a billion dollar debt thanks to our big spending, Hollywood hanger on, pay to play Governor--Big Bill Richardson. More power to Chris Christie--NJ folks count your blessings!!

Posted by: nmzia | October 12, 2010 2:31 PM
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