# The Economist: Americans still want lower taxes, but don't want to cut anything.

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In this past week's Economist poll about the budget deficit, 62% of Americans favored cutting spending to combat the deficit, while only 5% favored raising taxes.

Alright in theory, but cut spending where, exactly?

The only thing that more than about a quarter of Americans can agree on cutting is foreign aid, at 71%. (Americans, on average, estimate that 24% of the budget goes to foreign aid. It is actually less than 1%.)

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that most of us want to abstractly "cut spending" without actually cutting any spending - we could all just have different opinions of what should be cut. But this still present a problem, since everything still has majority support.

So, you can't raise taxes without angering 95%. And you can't cut spending in anything significant without angering at least 75%. So...

Incidentally, we're seeing the effects of this kind of thinking with the very unpopular Governor David Patterson of New York, who is currently being attacked both for cutting budgets and for high taxes. Sigh.

Edited by Sisyphus
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The only thing that more than about a quarter of Americans can agree on cutting is foreign aid, at 71%. (Americans, on average, estimate that 24% of the budget goes to foreign aid. It is actually less than 1%.)

We are, collectively, a bunch of blithering idiots.

Almost nobody (7%, which means lunatic fringe numbers) wants to touch Social Security or Medicare. Medicaid garners a paltry 11%. We could zero out *all* discretionary spending (i.e., almost everything on that list), get out of both wars, cut all earmarks, and we will have only have made a tiny dent in our current budget mess. The mandatory spending is where the problem lies -- and any politician who dares attack that will be sent home packing by us blithering idiotic voters.

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In this past week's Economist poll about the budget deficit, 62% of Americans favored cutting spending to combat the deficit, while only 5% favored raising taxes.

Alright in theory, but cut spending where, exactly?

The only thing that more than about a quarter of Americans can agree on cutting is foreign aid, at 71%. (Americans, on average, estimate that 24% of the budget goes to foreign aid. It is actually less than 1%.)

Well the way I see it, it means that 78% think we need to cut (or are at least indifferent), and they have 329% suggestions of where to cut, but it averages out to only 21% agreement on average on what to cut.

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that most of us want to abstractly "cut spending" without actually cutting any spending - we could all just have different opinions of what should be cut. But this still present a problem, since everything still has majority support.

So, you can't raise taxes without angering 95%. And you can't cut spending in anything significant without angering at least 75%. So...

Incidentally, we're seeing the effects of this kind of thinking with the very unpopular Governor David Patterson of New York, who is currently being attacked both for cutting budgets and for high taxes. Sigh.

My suggestion: cut everything, piss off everyone!

I probably wouldn't make a good politician.

Hm, maybe it could be done as a two-step process: cut various programs while lowering taxes, then raise taxes while increasing funding to programs (just not as much). The tax raising probably has to be done in an absurdly complicated fashion so no one knows what's going on. The tax raising could focus on either taxing the rich or reducing progressiveness of the tax, and same with the cutting taxes. The tax raising could also be accompanied with a smaller increase in spending.

Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged

Oh, and I too throw my vote for cutting costs rather than raising taxes: if we raise taxes odds are they get swallowed up in various projects instead of combating the deficit.

Edited by Mr Skeptic
Consecutive posts merged.
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I think what this poll is really saying is that the American people don't think they are getting their moneys worth out of the taxes paid. So why send more money down the rathole for further waste?

That said, I think this poll also indicates the public recognizes the usefulness of government and government programs, hence the hesitation to cut back on any program.

I actually would favor a freeze in the overall budget (i.e. no increase in money at all) perhaps even setting the budget at 2005 levels, until such time as revenues catch up via economic growth and the deficit is gone. But I realize the US government should keep its promises to social security, etc. (or shouldn't have promised what we can't afford - though thats for another thread) so this won't happen.

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A freeze on discretionary spending without touching mandatory spending won't even come close to fixing the problem.

Suppose the goal is to just make the budget neutral; neither a surplus nor a deficit. While this won't cure past excesses, it will stop the bleeding. You want no new taxes, and you don't want to touch Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. OK then. That means an across the board 40% cut to everything else.

There is no easy solution to this problem.

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Also, a merely neutral budget is not going to be good enough, since then we're stuck with the debt we have. We'd need a surplus - actually many years of substantial surplusses - to pay off the national debt. But just try running a surplus without losing elections to either people who promise to spend it, or to give out tax refunds, or both.

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I definitely feel the DoD is an extremely inefficient multi-tiered bureaucracy with tons of overlap between the various branches of the military. I'd like to see them work towards eliminating a lot of this overlap and cleaning up their accounting, at least to the point the DoD can be audited.

I'm entirely for phasing out Social Security. I'm even happy to continue to pay into it even though I'll never get that money back.

I also wouldn't mind paying more in taxes.

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Dang, Bascule! You aren't just advocating touching the third rail here, you're advocating touching all of the third rails simultaneously, and cross-tieing them too boot.

The half-life of the most recently discovered element would exceed yours as a politician.

That said, I can't disagree with you much, last item excluded. I do mind paying more taxes, but I also do accept that doing so is inevitable.

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The half-life of the most recently discovered element would exceed yours as a politician.

Indeed, I'm not in politics for a reason

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This article claims 2,047,128 current Civilians Federal Workers, but there are other reports of over 2,700,000 currently working. The Government Agency charged with the current figures, has been off line for some time http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs041.htm It's difficult to find a reliable source for the number of retired workers, still alive and receiving benefits, but I think you could easily say another 2 million folks or their survivors are involved, probably many more.

Now, to get the total annual cost of these civilian federal government employees across all areas of government, let’s multiple the average federal government civilian employee compensation ($126,680) times the current number of federal government civilian employees (2,047,128). Thus, we get an estimated annual cost in current March 2010 dollars of$259,330,175,040 ($259.3 billion) to the federal government from civilian employee total compensation. [/Quote] http://universityandstate.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/the-annual-cost-of-us-federal-government-civilian-employees/ Are you considering a government job? The federal government employs over 2,700,000 workers and hires hundreds of thousands each year to replace civil service workers that transfer to other federal government jobs, retire, or leave for other reasons. Average annual salary for full-time federal government jobs now exceeds$79,197. [/Quote]

http://federaljobs.net/

FEDERAL BENEFITS

These are but a few highlights of benefits that Federal employees enjoy. If you hone in on one that particularly interests you, search the website for even more detailed information.[/Quote]

http://www.jobsfed.com/bene2.htm

For a somewhat comparison, Wal Mart, has over 2 Million employees and assuming there average $/hr wage including benefits is around 15.00/hour (600.00 per week and 31,200 per year) that would mean an annual 6.2B$ cost of labor per year. They do 408B$in business and create 14.4 B$/yr in profits. That's about 18% of the Federal Expense and I'm positive there don't retire at 50 or receive the same benefits of Federal Employees, possibly less than that 18%. To add to the comparisons, Wal Mart is primarily automated in many of it's operations, can tell you at any given second how many of any of the thousands of items are in one store or all stores at any one time and they operate thousands of Stores in 14 different Countries, including ownership of hundreds of suppliers. I believe you could say, it's as complicated as any State Government and near or equally as complicated as the US Federal.

Point of research; If Congress mandates a 10% cut or 20% cut in spending across the board in all Departments, they wouldn't have to look very far, to achieve these cuts. This idea, that the service itself that's provided, welfare to mail or Amtrak Service is dependent on available funding is absurd. At any given time, any one service is being handled by not only one or more Federal Agencies, but is also being addressed by State and Locals Offices, drawing from the same funds (duplications). If NOTHING else many of the listed items, can be outsourced or privatized, saving 99% of the Federal Cost...

My two cents...

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So, you can't raise taxes without angering 95%. And you can't cut spending in anything significant without angering at least 75%. So...

Well, recently we all discovered that Americans are willing to accept change more readily after it has passed. If that can work for something as monumental as health care reform, then surely it might also work for cost-cutting. What's notable about your opening post is that there's that much agreement that costs need to be cut. That's a very long way from the Democrats' perception of a people's mandate for social reform and the ever-expanding role of government.

So cut the biggest numbers on that list, explain carefully what that will and won't do, cut through the fear-mongering by the Marxist left and the Orwellian right, and look to see if the polls back you up after the fact. Isn't that what President Obama is teaching us about running a government? Seems like a pretty good lesson to me.

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The only thing that more than about a quarter of Americans can agree on cutting is foreign aid, at 71%. (Americans, on average, estimate that 24% of the budget goes to foreign aid. It is actually less than 1%.)

Maybe this is a special case where the normal arguments as to why you shouldn't have to pass a test before being allowed to vote don't apply?

Maybe the gov' could poll people for what they think is being spent on x, and whether x should have it's funding cut; everyone's vote is weighted by how close they got

So, if you think that 24% of the budget goes on foreign aid, then your opinion that foreign aid should be cut is disreguarded (basically, your view would be 'given that 24% of the budget goes on foreign aid, we should cut it', which can be invalidated by proving that the premise is wrong).

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Money can be saved by making programs more efficient. For example, what we need is data that shows what percent of the money given to the various programs, goes to the ends users.

For example, if we are looking at farming and farmers get 25% of the total amount budgeted and it takes 75% to implement the farm program, we could cut the budget in half and still meet the end user amount. But we would need sharper tools in the shed.

Another way to raise revenues is to tax campaign contributions, by treating this as a type of business income. The tax rate could be the same as that for businesses of the same size. For example, the last presidential cycle raised over $1B for one office. If you consider all the offices, we can raise billions of new taxes. http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/index.php ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Money can be saved by making programs more efficient. For example, what we need is data that shows what percent of the money given to the various programs, goes to the ends users. These data do exist to some extent. That is, in part, the job of the CBO and GAO. That we have both a CBO and a GAO is an example of government inefficiency in action. Devils advocacy: Why not combine them? The argument against combining them is checks and balances. Our government was built from the onset to be inefficient. You want an efficient government? Look to a dictatorship. Bullets are cheap. Our government is inefficient by design, and for a good reason. To quote the person who authored the Declaration of Independence, doubled the size of the US, organized the Lewis & Clark expedition, but nonetheless remains a rather unimportant President, The government which governs best, governs least. One way the founding fathers insured that our government will govern least was to create built-in inefficiencies. For example, if we are looking at farming and farmers get 25% of the total amount budgeted and it takes 75% to implement the farm program, we could cut the budget in half and still meet the end user amount. But we would need sharper tools in the shed. Let's look at this example. The USDA gets about 3.9% of the federal budget. So right off the bat this 25% figure is off by almost an order of magnitude. To make matters worse, the vast majority (70%) of the USDA's budget goes to people who don't live on farms. Many of those recipients have never seen a farm. Some can't even spell the word "farm" (illiteracy runs rampant among the urban poor). After taking out food stamps and other such programs, the portion of the federal budget that truly does go to agriculture is a paltry 0.75% of the total. So even if those programs are 100% inefficient (and they aren't; federal subsidies to farmers represents a good chunk of farmers total income), getting rid of the inefficiencies will make a barely perceptible dent in our budget morass. Another way to raise revenues is to tax campaign contributions, by treating this as a type of business income. First off: Get real! The people who would have to make campaign receipts taxable are the people elected in large part thanks to those campaign funds. Secondly, campaign contributions are already taxed in a sense. They are not deductible. Suppose, for example, that you gave$500 to Obama's campaign last year. If you declared that $500 as a deduction on your tax form you broke the law. You have to pay taxes on that money. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites I definitely feel the DoD is an extremely inefficient multi-tiered bureaucracy with tons of overlap between the various branches of the military. I'd like to see them work towards eliminating a lot of this overlap and cleaning up their accounting, at least to the point the DoD can be audited. I do as well. The DoD represents our "real" foreign expenditures. We should be able to cut it in half and be even more effective, IMO. I'm entirely for phasing out Social Security. I'm even happy to continue to pay into it even though I'll never get that money back. Not sure about phasing out, I think this has really improved the lives of the elderly poor, but we should be honest with ourselves and extend ages, reduce benefits. I also wouldn't mind paying more in taxes. That's easy, don't itemize or take the standard deduction. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites This article claims 2,047,128 current Civilians Federal Workers, but there are other reports of over 2,700,000 currently working. The Government Agency charged with the current figures, has been off line for some time http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs041.htm It's difficult to find a reliable source for the number of retired workers, still alive and receiving benefits, but I think you could easily say another 2 million folks or their survivors are involved, probably many more. http://universityandstate.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/the-annual-cost-of-us-federal-government-civilian-employees/ http://federaljobs.net/ http://www.jobsfed.com/bene2.htm For a somewhat comparison, Wal Mart, has over 2 Million employees and assuming there average$/hr wage including benefits is around 15.00/hour (600.00 per week and 31,200 per year) that would mean an annual 6.2B$cost of labor per year. They do 408B$ in business and create 14.4 B$/yr in profits. That's about 18% of the Federal Expense and I'm positive there don't retire at 50 or receive the same benefits of Federal Employees, possibly less than that 18%. To add to the comparisons, Wal Mart is primarily automated in many of it's operations, can tell you at any given second how many of any of the thousands of items are in one store or all stores at any one time and they operate thousands of Stores in 14 different Countries, including ownership of hundreds of suppliers. I believe you could say, it's as complicated as any State Government and near or equally as complicated as the US Federal. Point of research; If Congress mandates a 10% cut or 20% cut in spending across the board in all Departments, they wouldn't have to look very far, to achieve these cuts. This idea, that the service itself that's provided, welfare to mail or Amtrak Service is dependent on available funding is absurd. At any given time, any one service is being handled by not only one or more Federal Agencies, but is also being addressed by State and Locals Offices, drawing from the same funds (duplications). If NOTHING else many of the listed items, can be outsourced or privatized, saving 99% of the Federal Cost... My two cents... Comparing federal jobs to Wal*Mart is … well, hard to classify politely. I'm pretty sure that no jobs at Wal*Mart require a PhD, for one. The federal government has a lot of jobs that one would classify as middle- or upper-management, as well as the R&D-type job that I have. I have a hard time believing that one could attract such people at wages of$15 an hour.

I know from published numbers that I've been making less than the average salary of an industrial physicist, as have my non-supervisory colleagues. When you do an apples-to-apples comparison of government jobs to civilian equivalents, you often find that the government employees make less than average.

You cannot normally retire at 50 from federal civilian service. Minimum retirement age (MRA) is 55 (and edging up; it depends on when you were born), and if you retire at MRA with less than 30 years of service, you get reduced benefits.

http://federalretirement.net/fers_eligibility.htm

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Swansont; Their was an error in my figure, more or less on purpose. W/M wages if my calculation are correct (doubt) represents 1/43rd of the sites estimates for government employees cost (same number of employees). In other words, W/M could hire and work 86M people under its system, if the business were there to support, earn 619B$in profits, and cost no person one dime in support. I did try to find other Companies, with large numbers of people, found BA @ 26$/ (less than the State of Washington average), but I have have enough trouble explaining comparable base figures, people vs cost...

I don't know if your suggesting Wal Mart employees are a lower class, less educated or in particular any less qualified for the jobs they do, but I believe your wrong. They have tens of thousands of people with degrees. I believe if you compare a company, that can tell you how many cans of beans are on any shelf or in all there stores, or any single item and that of the US Government that with out 100,000 additional people and an extra 10B$(estimate) can't give a reasonable estimate (all it will be in the end) of how many people are where, you'll have to conclude something is wrong. Aside from that the vast majority of Government workers, are in administrative, not NASA Engineers. Keep in mind many in higher Government, give up lucrative careers for a short or long periods, for various reasons. Yeah, 50 was off and I almost said 49, having just been in a 'email' tug of war with a California Politician. Apparently they can retire in some cases at 49, full benefits and then go out and accept another job. 55/57 is the norm, FBI I believe is 50 with 20 years and the benefit package is complicated, but lucrative compared to any Private industry program, even unionized. Still I would suggest, Government could cut 10-20% across the board cost and do it all in labor, not touching the benefits. Speaking of NASA, I hear it's now going to cost 58M$ per person to catch a ride to the Space Station, and what will you bet the luggage/supplies will cost.

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One way to lower costs, would be to give cash bonus incentives, directly connected to cost savings via efficiency. For example, we gave 1% of the value saved, as a cash bonus. If someone can save $1million they get$10K.

The other 99% of the savings is given back as tax relief.

Currently one can not profit by their position, so there is no incentive to be efficient like the free market. The incentive is to be inefficient since that makes one in charge of more resources.

For example, if one was given a choice of a $10Millions budget and ten people under you, or$5million and five people under you, the bonus incentive person would pick the latter, if he could keep 1% of the difference. The department gets smaller, but he just made $50K. If there is no cash incentive, most will pick the$10M since you have more people under you and more funny money to spend on whatever. One is judged by the size of their budget and not bank account.

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I don't know if your suggesting Wal Mart employees are a lower class, less educated or in particular any less qualified for the jobs they do, but I believe your wrong. They have tens of thousands of people with degrees.

And that's the difference right there, in bold. Wal-Mart might employ atomic physicists, but they don't employ them to build atomic clocks.

Aside from that the vast majority of Government workers, are in administrative, not NASA Engineers.

That may be true (though I don't know), but I'd think the vast majority of Wal-Mart employees are not in administrative roles. They're putting cans of beans on shelves and saying "Hi, welcome to Wal-Mart," not doing complicated accounting. (Apart from the small percentage that are accountants.)

Merged post follows:

One way to lower costs, would be to give cash bonus incentives, directly connected to cost savings via efficiency. For example, we gave 1% of the value saved, as a cash bonus. If someone can save $1million they get$10K.

The other 99% of the savings is given back as tax relief.

This reminds me of some deals that Lockheed did at Skunk Works when designing various aircraft. If you could shave a pound off the aircraft, you'd get a bonus (I forget how much). A good idea if you have an aircraft that needs to be exceedingly light.

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I don't know if your suggesting Wal Mart employees are a lower class, less educated or in particular any less qualified for the jobs they do, but I believe your wrong. They have tens of thousands of people with degrees.

Which represents an insignificant fraction of their workforce...

Wal-Mart has built its empire on part-time employees. Their fundamental motive is employing two part time employees instead of a single full-time employee as a method to defeat legislation surrounding full-time employees and things like wage restrictions, benefits, etc.

I generally don't shop at Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart sucks. I'm more of a Target person. But there's really no defending Wal-Mart as an employer. They pretty much singlehandedly pioneered the "two part-time employees instead of one full-time employee, because it's cheaper!" policy.

If you support the rights of corporations over individuals, then I'm sure you have no qualms with this policy. If you support simple human dignity, I hope you don't shop at Wal-Mart. Free market people eat this sh*t up with a spoon, however... all I can say is you value misplaced idealism above simple human dignity.

I don't know if your suggesting Wal Mart employees are a lower class, less educated or in particular any less qualified for the jobs they do, but I believe your wrong. They have tens of thousands of people with degrees. I believe if you compare a company, that can tell you how many cans of beans are on any shelf or in all there stores, or any single item and that of the US Government that with out 100,000 additional people and an extra 10B$(estimate) can't give a reasonable estimate (all it will be in the end) of how many people are where, you'll have to conclude something is wrong. Aside from that the vast majority of Government workers, are in administrative, not NASA Engineers. Keep in mind many in higher Government, give up lucrative careers for a short or long periods, for various reasons. Precisely — who makes more, the floor worker, or management? Any comparison with a traditional company will be flawed, because in a traditional company, the laborers outnumber management by a wide margin. Not true in government; as you point out, most are in administrative roles. That's management. People taking pay cuts to work in government is yet another data point showing that you make more money in the private sector. It's a bad comparison. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites And that's the difference right there, in bold. Wal-Mart might employ atomic physicists, but they don't employ them to build atomic clocks. [/Quote] Which Federal Corporation, is it that builds Atomic Clocks? That may be true (though I don't know), but I'd think the vast majority of Wal-Mart employees are not in administrative roles. They're putting cans of beans on shelves and saying "Hi, welcome to Wal-Mart," not doing complicated accounting. (Apart from the small percentage that are accountants.) [/Quote] CR; Actually, Wal Mart and most like, diversified retailers, outsource restocking, most maintenance and those folks welcoming you or saying nice things when leaving are there as security guards of sorts. Beer, Soft Drinks, Drug Departments, Snack, Chips, Bread. CD's/Recording/Electronics and many other items are serviced by those that distribute to their stores, often daily. Many other departments, used tear tags, sending to some supplier, to assist in a constant resupply system. Staple items or high volume items are handled through check out where every item (staple or not) is recorded, then computerized ordering is sent out to the various ware houses and those warehouses are set up to receive consistent supply of products. Their strategically located warehouses are loading 24/7/365 for each store, some receiving a couple truck loads daily to as few as a couple, three per week. They carry back, loads of cardboard, returned products or discontinued items, or loads from manufacturers of products going to their warehouses. Of those 2M employees, probably 5- 600,000 are in distribution alone. W/M has the largest fleet of trucks on the planet, with 260,000 Trucks, second being the US Postal Service, with about 216,000 vehicles. They also have their own Construction Company, which travel around building new stores, or remodeling others, often using local sub-contractors. What you think is this organization or probably many others, is not what is...If I am describing efficiency and you are comparing to government, then something is being accomplished here.. If you support the rights of corporations over individuals, then I'm sure you have no qualms with this policy. If you support simple human dignity, I hope you don't shop at Wal-Mart. Free market people eat this sh*t up with a spoon, however... all I can say is you value misplaced idealism above simple human dignity.[/Quote] bascule; What I don't support is 'Government Rights' over the States or the individual. I do support Corporate rights to influence my opinions of them and have often rejected them as well, long story but coke and ATT were two victories. What human dignity; It's there figure, but they claim to save the average family of four 2,000$ per year in savings, they always have long lines when a new store opens and some people must appreciate this, doing a half trillion dollars in business per year. Aside from that, like it or not, their business model/plan has revolutionized retailing around the world, including Amazon and other on line retailers, often warehousing nothing (drop shipping).

Precisely — who makes more, the floor worker, or management? Any comparison with a traditional company will be flawed, because in a traditional company, the laborers outnumber management by a wide margin. Not true in government; as you point out, most are in administrative roles. That's management. People taking pay cuts to work in government is yet another data point showing that you make more money in the private sector. It's a bad comparison. [/Quote]

swansont; I believe this means the performance, which management controls. That is it's the operation itself, charged with which ever entitlement, we're supposed to be talking about. Virtually every person in the IRS, then is involved in administrating the collection of taxes, and so on...

Please clarify; Are you suggesting, the people in the operation of Government, that do no more (probably less- Productivity) than in the private sector, are entitled to higher pay? For the most every Service Company (Insurance to Banking) do nothing but administrative duties and earned substantially less than Federal Employees. What I was talking about were politicians, advisors etc, who took/take time off from the careers endeavors to participate for a few years (even many). Chaney, as I recall was earning in the millions per year (your favorite Company) as CEO of Haliburton, dropped to less than 200K$, just to be bombarded for 8 years by half the people and 80% of media, for even breathing. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Which Federal Corporation, is it that builds Atomic Clocks? http://blogs.scienceforums.net/swansont/about Yes, the government does more than push paper. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Which Federal Corporation, is it that builds Atomic Clocks? The Department of Defense and the Department of Commerce both build clocks, and buy and maintain many others. Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged Please clarify; Are you suggesting, the people in the operation of Government, that do no more (probably less- Productivity) than in the private sector, are entitled to higher pay? For the most every Service Company (Insurance to Banking) do nothing but administrative duties and earned substantially less than Federal Employees. What I was talking about were politicians, advisors etc, who took/take time off from the careers endeavors to participate for a few years (even many). Chaney, as I recall was earning in the millions per year (your favorite Company) as CEO of Haliburton, dropped to less than 200K$, just to be bombarded for 8 years by half the people and 80% of media, for even breathing.

I said nothing about what they are entitled to. I said that when federal jobs are compared to comparable private-sector jobs, the salary/compensation is often higher in the private sector. You can't compare average salaries in general because the structure of a corporation is different — lots of low-paying manual labor positions that just don't exist in government (some simply don't exist and some have been contracted out). Plus there are areas of government that don't have a corporate counterpart. Where I work, NIMH, NIST, i.e. government labs. You want something close for that kind of job? Compare us to a biomedical corporation like Pfizer that does a boatload of research

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Employer=Pfizer,_Inc./Salary

BTW, the VP makes more than $200k. Cheney's salary was$221,100 in 2008

http://www.opm.gov/oca/compmemo/2008/2008-01.asp

Edited by swansont
Consecutive posts merged.
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This graphic could have found a very nice home in any one of the several politics threads currently active, but I thought I'd put it here. From the New Yorker:

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