Tue04282015

Last updateMon, 27 Apr 2015 9pm

LOS ANGELES Tuesday, April 28th 2015 8:56

  • Issue: LA City Workers Make Much More Than Private Sector

    Peter Jamison & Catherine Saillant

    Date: Apr 28, 2015 

    For almost a year, the labor groups representing roughly 20,000 Los Angeles city workers have battled at the bargaining table for people like Marshall Turner. 

    Turner supports his union. Yet when it comes to his job, he's not complaining. A 59-year-old garbage-truck driver, he made $95,696 last year including overtime. His three decades of city employment enabled him to buy a four-bedroom Rancho Cucamonga home and provide for five children. He recognizes his privileged place in an economy that has grown increasingly bleak for blue-collar workers. 

    "I feel blessed at the city of Los Angeles," he said recently over a ramen lunch during a break from collecting trash in South-Central. 

    That sense of satisfaction is not misplaced — at least not when it comes to his paycheck. Among the city workers who are currently threatening to strike amid contract negotiations that have stalled over pay and other issues, many collect salaries higher than those who do similar jobs in both the public and private sectors, a Los Angeles Times analysis has found.  (Read the rest.) 


Thu Apr 30, 2015 @11:30AM -
Town Hall: Raising the Minimum Wage
Fri May 01, 2015 @11:00AM - 02:00PM
Women for a New Los Angeles Luncheon
Fri May 01, 2015 @12:00PM - 05:00PM
Women for a New Los Angeles
Fri May 08, 2015 @ 8:00AM - 08:00PM
Greenlining Institute 22nd Annual Economic Summit in L.A. May 8
Wed May 13, 2015 @11:30AM -
Reflections on Leadership in the Museum World from an Outsider


Amazing! 500 years of NYC … in 60 seconds

LA Watchdog Jack Humphreville guesting on LA Roundtable … Making a Difference

‘Infinity’ folks … Mariah Carey’s latest

 

 

 

 

  

 

 


Passing the Buck

The Buck Stops Here

Most men in the early west carried a jack knife made by the Buck Knife Company.  When playing poker, it was common to place one of these Buck Knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was.  When it was time for a new dealer, the deck of cards and the knife were given to the new dealer.  If this person didn't want to deal, he would "Pass the Buck" to the next player.  If that player accepted, then "the Buck stops here".

 


 

 

We're Becoming a Nation of Servants

OTHER WORDS - Fire fighter, basketball player, lion tamer, teacher, nurse: Ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up, and you'll get all sorts of answers. But you'll never hear this one. You'll never hear youngsters say they want to devote their careers to serving rich people.
 
Today's youth might want to reconsider. They're facing an American economy where serving rich people increasingly seems to offer the best future with real opportunity. We're well on the way to becoming a full-fledged "servant economy," as the economist Jeff Faux puts it. 
 
We've had "servant economies" in the world before. At times, people even rushed toward servant status. In the early industrial age, jobs in mines and factories would be dangerous and pay next to nothing. Domestic work for rich families could seem, by comparison, a relatively safe haven.
 
But that calculus changed as workers organized and won the right to bargain for a greater share of the wealth they were creating. Over the first half of the 20th century, America's super-rich lost their dominance, and fewer and fewer Americans worked as servants for them.
 
This state of affairs didn't last long. Since the late 1970s we've witnessed an assault on the building blocks of greater equality — strong unions, progressive taxes, regulatory limits on business behavior — that has hollowed out the American middle class.
 
Good manufacturing jobs have largely disappeared, outsourced away. Most Americans no longer make things. They provide services.
 
We could, of course, have a robust "service" economy, if we built that economy on providing quality services to all Americans. But providing these quality services, in everything from education to transportation, would take significant public investment — and significant tax revenue from America's rich.
 
A half-century ago, we did collect significant tax revenue from America's wealthy. No longer. Tax cuts have minimized that revenue and left public services chronically underfunded. That leaves young people today, Faux notes in his new book The Servant Economy, with a stark choice.
 
Young people can either become engineers and programmers and spend their careers in "pitiless competition with people all over the world" just as smart and trained but "willing to work for much less." Or they can join the servant economy and "service those few at the top who have successfully joined the global elite."
 
In this new "servant economy," we're not talking just nannies and chauffeurs. We're talking, as journalist Camilla Long notes, "pilots, publicists, art dealers, and bodyguards" — a "newer, brighter phalanx of personal helpers."
 
Want to see the world? In the new servant economy, you can become a "jewelry curator" and voyage to foreign lands to pick up gems for wealthy clients.
 
Want to face daily challenges? You can become a concierge and hire an elephant for a wealthy patron's wedding reception.
 
Or, if you lean traditional, you can always shell out $12,000 for a course that will certify you as a manservant in good standing with the Guild of Professional English Butlers.
 
A butler can annually pull in over $100,000. But serving the rich can be far more lucrative than that. Interior decorator Michael Smith pulled in an $800,000 fee for his work on a Wall Street CEO's office. John Blackburn, an architect in Washington, DC, specializes in designing horse barns for wealthy equestrians. His fee can run up to $300,000 per barn.
 
But we have a basic problem here. We have a limited pool of super-rich people who can afford to commission horse barns and hire elephants.
 
As of this past summer, calculates the Credit Suisse Research Institute, only 38,000 Americans had fortunes over $50 million. The entire world has only about 3 million people worth at least $5 million.
Even if those 3 million gave gainful "servant economy" employment to 100 people each, we would still have another 4 billion folks on the outside of the "servant economy" looking in.
 
The "servant economy" can only be a dead end. We need to change course.
 
(Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the weekly Institute for Policy Studies newsletter on excess and inequality. This column was provided to CityWatch by OtherWords.org a project of The Institute for Policy Studies.) -cw
 
 
 
 
 
 
CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 88
Pub: Nov 2, 2012
 
Share