For nearly 20 years, Ontarians have seen the number of the public sector salary disclosure list (AKA the Sunshine Club) continue to balloon. This year for the first time the provincial number topped 100,000 people, as 111,440 persons on the public purse had pay in excess of $100,000. That represents a 13.9% increase in one year. A decade ago, there were 23,000 people on the list.
Locally, the number is more than 600. It’s actually difficult to pin down an exact number because the province releases the information in such a way that if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, it’s difficult to find.
For perspective sake, there are more people making $100,000 in Ontario than there are people in Chatham-Kent.
A few years ago there was a pushback by some in the public sector claiming that $100,000 isn’t what it used to be. Fair enough.
Neither is the middle class, which has been largely decimated by globalization, free trade deals that benefit foreign nations over our own, massive downsizing of manufacturing and mismanagement of our natural resources (such as oil) which sends profits overseas.
The well-paid industrial jobs of a generation ago have been replaced by jobs paying a half to a third of what workers once earned.
Compared to the devastation of the private-sector middle class, the public-sector brothers and sisters (more highly unionized than any other) have had a cakewalk.
There needs to be a distinction drawn between value of work and ability to pay.
This is about the latter, not the former.
In public service, as in any sector, there are those who excel, those who are competent and those who are below that line.
The ability to pay in the private sector is based on market conditions and the success of their employer.
The ability to pay in the public sector has no such restriction. Governments raise taxes to pay for their mistakes that are unfortunately too numerous to mention here.
Note the scores of provincial boondoggles where those responsible leave with golden parachutes.
The shrinking middle class continues to be squeezed by government ineptitude while those delivering the services continue to benefit from a system based on the tax gathering ability of an economy long gone.
We’ve already reached the tipping point. We just can’t pay so much to so many.
When we have hundreds making 30% more than the average wage locally, we’re close to creating a ruling bureaucratic class.
Of such things revolutions have sprung.