Monday, October 24, 2011

Don't lay off government employees

The Wall Street Journal ran my following letter to the editor October 24, 2011:

Harry Reid's jobs math may be more politics than economics, but so is the Journal's retort that "State and local governments now have no choice but to cut workers."

Laying off people when there is work for them to do makes no sense, especially when unemployment is high. Government does have another choice; it can reduce pay and fringe benefits for its workers to save the needed money.

Government has a duty to drive the best possible bargain when it spends money extracted from taxpayers. Paying government workers more than is necessary to attract and retain enough qualified applicants—generosity with other people's money—may be politically safe in an age of public-employee unions, but it is a breach of that duty.

Paul deLespinasse

Corvallis, Ore.