On Getting What You Pay For

If you don’t think that the growing gap between corporate and public-sector salaries is a big problem for the country, think about this one:

The chief of counterterrorism investigations for the FBI is leaving to work for the Steve Wynn gambling operation. [*]

I have no idea whether this guy is any loss or not. But assuming he was good at his job, the country would have been safer if leaving it, rather than staying in it, meant a financial sacrifice.

If a college football or basketball coach — a public employee — can get a financial package worth a million dollars a year without causing a fuss, why is it written in stone that no federal civil servant can make as much as a fourth-year associate at a big law firm?

Update A reader who is a career Fed sums it up nicely: “Pay peanuts, get monkeys.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com