Public employees are a cosseted, overpaid bunch and well-deserving of whatever smackdown people like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker lay on them. Right?
Not so simple, the New York Times concludes in a survey of pay across the country.
The clearest pattern to emerge is an educational divide: workers without college degrees tend to do better on state payrolls, while workers with college degrees tend to do worse. That divide has grown more pronounced in recent decades. Since 1990, the median wage of state workers without college degrees has come to surpass that of workers in the private sector. During the same period, though, college-educated state workers have seen their median pay lag further behind their peers in the private sector.
The census data analyzed by The Times do not include information on pensions and other benefits, which is crucial for a fuller comparison because public sector workers typically receive more in benefits than workers in the private sector do.