No sooner had Inkwell praised Cuba (yes, Cuba) for reducing the public sector than a piece by media and real estate magnate Mort Zuckerman came across the radar screen. Zuckerman, too, is concerned about the United States’ bloated public sector:

 We really are two Americas, but not those captured in the stereotypical populist class warfare speeches that dramatize the gulf between the rich and the poor. Instead there is a new division in America that affronts a sense of fairness. That division is between the workers in the private sector and the workers in the public sectors. No guesses which is the more protected. A new study by the Mayo Research Institute, based in Louisiana, demonstrates that there is a striking differential in the impact of the recession. In 2009, the study found, “private-sector workers were nearly three times more likely to be jobless than public-sector workers.”

Political tension is bound to grow when private sector jobs disappear faster but at the same time private sector compensation is being squeezed much more than that of the public sector.

Zuckerman notes the differences in what the two Americas earn:

In 2008, the average wage for 1.9 million federal civilian workers was more than $79,000, versus an average of about $50,000 for the nation’s 108 million private sector workers, measured in full-time equivalents, according to federal figures. Comparing the same mix of jobs, the gap was about $8,000 in salaries and $31,000 in benefits. Ninety percent of government employees receive lifetime pension benefits. Only 18 percent of private employees enjoy that protection. Public service employees continue to gain annual salary increases; they are almost impossible to fire; they retire earlier with instant, guaranteed benefits paid for by the taxes of those very same deprived private sector workers.

The other key point about public sector workers: We pay them from earnings in the private sector.

I keep wondering where we’re going to find the $$$ to make our pampered public workers happy when they outnumber us!