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Michael Maccoby
Scholar

Michael Maccoby

Michael Maccoby is an anthropologist and psychoanalyst globally recognized as an expert on leadership. He is the author of The Leaders We Need, And What Makes Us Follow.

Leading a divided public

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?

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is a polarizing leader. His supporters applaud his attack on the state's deficit at the expense of teachers and state employees. But according to a recent poll by the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, 52 percent of New Jersey voters say Christie is doing a poor job.

Republican voters throughout America want governors like Christie to take on what they consider bloated wages and benefits of public employees. Of course, those who benefit from the status quo and/or believe the economy needs more government spending oppose this kind of leadership.

Given these extreme differences in thinking about policy, not only by the public but also by experts, I cannot imagine a leadership appeal that would unite the country. The differences are too deeply rooted in different values and economic interests. If the economy improves and many more Americans find jobs, the public may again respond to leadership that unites more of us with a common vision.

By Michael Maccoby

 |  October 12, 2010; 11:42 AM ET
Category:  Crisis leadership , Government leadership , Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Govern like you don't care about a second term | Next: What can we learn from Christie?

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Mr Maccoby, I agree with what you say, but there are facts, data to be considered. Much of what the conservatives like Christie say is simply wrong. Let's take the idea that public employee make more than private ones.

"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 4:55 PM
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WAR SHALL UNITE THE COUNTRY.

Posted by: toddhathaway | October 12, 2010 1:36 PM
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