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Obama's Aides' Earnings Through the Ceiling: Do They Even Care about Average Amercans?

Original post made by The Answer is TEA, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Mar 4, 2013

President Obama's top political appointees average $142,691 annually, more than three times the average American wage of $42,979–a difference of $99,712 a year.

Deep inside a new Government Accountability Office audit of the 321 presidential appointees working for the government are details showing that the 94 who Obama works closest with earn a range of $120,000 to $172,000, a top paycheck that is more than double the median income in Washington, the nation's highest income region.

When education level, experience, and specific skill sets are added, Obama's appointees earn approx 1/6 of what their counterparts earn in the private sector. But these latters statistics are of no interest whatsoever except to those who would want to irrationally defend the President's penchant for assigning way totally high wages to his advisers and assistants.

Comments (27)

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 4, 2013 at 10:22 am

$99,712 is not an enormous salary...duh


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2013 at 11:19 am

Look at what City of Pleasanton Employees earn, and they are not in charge of a nation. The $120K to $172 income range is not that outrageous for what they do, keeping in mind that they are probably exempt (i.e. salaried and not hourly so may not get OT) and put in well more than 40 hours per week. The salaries you sited are for a 40 hour work week without OT.

Web Link

I say look at the teachers salaries, they complain they do not make enough, however, when you break down their pay/hours worked in a year, they do damn well. They should be working 15 hours a day during the school year to make up for all the time they have off.


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Posted by Nathan
a resident of Rosewood
on Mar 4, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Hmmmm. The calculations of "anon" leave quite a bit to be desired. I'm glad my kids are getting the quality education that will put "anon's" kind of reasoning and inability to do basic math into the trash bin of backwater ignorance, where it belongs.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Mar 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I agree that a quality education helps one discuss money:

Web Link

A quality education ain't free...it does cost money!!!


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 4, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I was waiting for someone to question my numbers...

I am going to use averages and basic math to show you just that the teachers aren't that bad off...

Per website: Web Link

The AVERAGE TEACHER SALARY IN PLEASANTON IS: $55,584. Remember this is average and I have taken it right from the above website.

Take that $55,584 and divide it by weeks in a year and you get

$55,584./52 = $1069/week or $26.72/hr.

However, the teachers don't work 52 weeks/yr. they work about 38 weeks per year. So...$55,584/38 = $1462/week or $37/hr.

For the average joe that makes $55,584/yr he works approx. 2080 hours per year. (I didn't account for vacation etc. I used basic calculations of 52 weeks x 40 hours per week).

However, the teacher making this same salary is only working 1520 hours per year. (at the calcualtion of 38 weeks x 40 hours per week). So that works out to giving another almost 15 hours a week in the classroom, that is 3 hours a day. So an 11 hour day should be a "normal" day for a teacher, this includes prep, grading papers, etc.(whether done at school or at home) to equal out to what any other worker making $55,584/year makes.

I think the teachers in Ptwn do just fine.


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Posted by Nathan
a resident of Rosewood
on Mar 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm

(Removed because it was disrespectful to another poster and didn't further te conversation.)


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Posted by nancy s.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2013 at 9:57 am

I read the web link from the earlier post. Seems a bit outdated because it has the T:S ratio at 20:1. Also, the average salary takes into account "preschool teachers @ $33K+ per year. We don't have pre school teachers so I took that out of the equation and came up with an average teachers salary of $61K+/year. High school teachers in the 90 percentile are actually making $90K+.

I see what the poster tried to do, even the playing field by not giving vacation to either group, assumed average joe worked 52 weeks and teachers around 38 weeks. (2 weeks off at winter break, 1 week off for thanksgiving, 1 week off for spring break, and the rest for summer break).

Basically it is saying for anyone else other than the average teacher in pleasanton they would have to work 11 hours per day to make the same wage. More hours per day if you are talking about the higher end earners.

I think this is a fairly accurate representation of the facts. I do understand, which anon said nothing about, that teachers require at least a Bachelors degree and a teaching creditinal. Some have a masters (and are compensated finacially for it). However, many of the professions "average joes" are in also require degrees.

However, I do feel the teachers are worth every penny and then some. They are teaching our future. We should treat the teaching profession like they do in finland. Web Link


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Posted by nancy s.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 5, 2013 at 9:58 am

oopps...should say T:S ratio at 1:20


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Posted by Finnish Teachers
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Mar 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I agree with the previous post
" However, I do feel the teachers are worth every penny and then some. They are teaching our future. We should treat the teaching profession like they do in finland. "
But first I would like to see the teachers in Pleasanton adjust their attitudes toward students and behave like the teachers in Finland. I am the parent of a challenging student and an academically successful student. The attitudes toward my son by his teachers are nothing short of disgusting. Most teachers in this district do a great job with easy to teach kids but I have encountered very few educators who care to be bothered with kids who are more difficult. I do everything I should at home but the kid is a kid still. I have seen him get more and more apathetic toward school as he has moved into the higher grades because the teachers are not caring or compassionate toward him. I know he is not perfect but they could try a little harder. They embrace my other child. It's hard to watch.


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Posted by Michael L.
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 8, 2013 at 10:08 am

I'm surprised that the political appointees make so little. $120,000 to $172,000 is the pay range for individual contributors at tech jobs in Silicon Valley. These are what one of the anonymous PUSD shills call "grunt jobs" in another threat. Directors and Vice Presidents make far more. If I were a parent I'd be concern about whether my child is getting an education that will lead to one of these jobs because tech is where the good jobs are. Everything that I read about PUSD on PW talks about the need for discipline and punishing children for being late. I don't see any articles about how they are getting a good education. Forcing students to sit in rows and absorb canned lessons and read text books won't prepare them for tech jobs. I will be ignoring the ignorant PUSD trolls from now on and only responding to concerned people who want to understand what is going on and would like to improve things. So if you are in to baseless personal attacks save it. If you are in to sharing facts and real experiences, then good.


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Posted by The Answer Is TEA
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2013 at 10:42 am

I agreed totally with Michael L. We need to do something about the anonymous shills on these threads. And in support of Michael L., from now on I'm going to add an initial to the end of my name: The Answer Is TEA Z.

And I agree that technology is where the good jobs are. Being an advisor to the President, or even being President, just doesn't compare to being a technology analysis marketing evangelist. That's why I tell my kids to stay away from bad, non-tech jobs like teaching, doctoring, law (especially anything having to do with human or civil rights), and community organizing. We really do have to speed up the transition for telling our kids to study things that give them a chance to change the world to high-paying tech jobs that involve doing tech work that those who employ you can use for the economic benefit of their stockholders.

Parents used to say to their kids, 'I want you to grow up and be president.' But now, clearly, the better option is to tell their kids to become tech analysis experts.


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Posted by Michael L.
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 8, 2013 at 11:58 am

I suspected that the PUSD and its supporters were out of touch with reality and were pushing an agenda but I have to thank Tea Z for illustrating just how much so. You say that tech is just about benefiting stockholders? Do you realize that the WWW that you are using now to post here was invented by the tech industry. Perhaps you use email, or you watch Youtube videos or use Googlemaps, or an iPhone. All brought to you by the tech industry.

I could go on to talk about how medical doctors access digital xrays over the Internet or how lawyers do research over the Internet or how students in remote places have access to the library of congress or the Smithsonian and are able to communicate with each other. But you know all of that right?

And data analytics is the fastest growing field where "data scientists" are in great demand and are using the Internet to pull together information from many sources to compare it and learn from it and further science and understanding. But you knew that too, right.

In the mean time the school districts still think that computers are glorified typewriters and tools for delivering canned lessons, and their advice is similar to telling people to plan for retirement by taking a 1:200,000,000 chance of winning the lottery.

They say to study anthropology, or sociology or some other subject where there are 100,000 candidates or more for every job. That is why they are all unemployed, because they are studying the subjects that support the tenured professor system and the text book publishing system. And the students come out of school with a huge debt and have to work at Starbucks or McDonalds because they are not prepared for anything else.

It's no wonder they have to require attendance. Any child with an ounce of awareness knows that the teachers are out of touch and the lessons are not preparing them.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Michael L. you have to go further up the food chain...

"that the teachers are out of touch and the lessons are not preparing them". Curriculum comes from the top and is diseminated down into the classrooms. Teachers are being told what to teach by the school boards, the state and the federal government.

Though I do believe every child needs to be tech savy. One must remember that the world will always need plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, barista's, doctors, anthropologists,field workers etc. Technology has made an impact on all of those professions. However, technology isn't the game in town. Technology requires strong math and to a certain degree, science skills. We need to prepare all the students with stronger math and science capabilities.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

@Finnish Teachers...the reason why the teachers don't step up is because they have 30 students to teach and they don't have the time resources to individually take the "1" or "2" (or more) students asside that need the extra help and work with them. Whereas, in Finland. Once a student is identified as needing the help, everyone is on board.

Here in PUSD they just try to move that student ahead from grade to grade and get them out of the system. The school loses money if they retain them a grade. It ususally ends up where the student becomes an "independant study" candidate.They finish up their PUSD career being home schooled away from other kids, not really getting the full curriculum. (How can you teach HS Biology or Chemistry at home). And absolutely no structure, since they do not have a planned "day".


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Posted by Michael L.
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 8, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I realize that the lessons are being handed down and that is a big part of the problem, that teachers are not allowed to be creative and innovative. Students get engaged when they have an engaging teacher, not from a text book and canned lessons.

I also realize that we need other professions, however the the public schools do not prepare one for a trade, and we have a shortage of trade schools. That's another subject.

It is also fine to teach children a rage of subjects, I'm not knocking that. What I'm getting at is that as far as I can see technology is being ignored and it is the biggest employer in this area and the biggest job growth area. There are very few jobs for anthropologists or sociologists, yet those areas are where the focus is.

While I agree that we need to teach more math and science, and math is critical to getting a job such as a data scientist or an advanced programmer, it is not necessary for a job in technology marketing where communications skills are important and many other high paying jobs in technology.

However when I talk to young people or their parents it seems that they are unaware of where or what the jobs are, including the school counselors and certainly many of the poster on here, most of whom want to deny and fight and shill for the system instead of looking at the facts and figuring out how to fix things.

While some people might work as a barrista for a time I doubt that many want to be stuck doing that, especially if they have spent $100,000 on a college education and have a nice debt to pay. I'm only in tech because I taught myself after realizing where the money was. No one told me about it.


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Posted by The Answer is TEA Z
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Yes, technology is always good, and we can always trust the "self-taught" technological evangelists, and especially those who are into marketing, who, yes, are out to make a buck, but other than that they have no agenda. Honest.

Trust the tech evangelist, who can't differentiate between a noun, "analysis," and an adjective, "analytical," but who cares? He doesn't. Because technology is the be-all-end-all, and fields like anthropology or indeed any of the social sciences, not to mention philosophy and other fields in the humanities, are only tickets to unemployment. So they must be bad. One reflects on the uses and effects of technology, the other wants to make a buck selling technology. Hey, forget the thought! Just go make money!

Look how great technology was in the hands of the Nazis! You know, where Hitler thought it best to test out new technological advances by bombing the civilian population of Guernica. And then leave it to the silly artist, Picasso, to represent the carnage in a painting. Or the silly philosophers who, such as Hannah Arendt, waxed eloquent on how Eichmann and so many others blindly accepted technology and its power as used by the political apparatus. Now, what good would training in the Humanities or Social Sciences have done them, you know?

Our relationship with technology is incomplete, one-sided. The courageous Michael L., who provides us with his first name and initial, exemplifies this. It's as if he's never had a dialogue with the technology he shills so shamelessly before us. But, of course, technology is "easy" in that sense. For technology doesn't talk back like humans do. Technology is merely a tool, and without thoughtful and critical applications -- critical, reflective thought being the domain of the humanities and social sciences -- we are left at the mercy of the technocrat and the silly geese who uncritically honk out all the virtues of technology without having the skills to think through its implications for humanity. Hey, but it pays well.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Michael l. I know what you are trying to get across, however the skills you are talking about are ones that are more geared to learning at the college level, not in high school.
You make it sound like because these kids are going to hs here they will also end up working or living in silicon valley.


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Posted by Michael L.
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 8, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Tea Z if you had half a clue of how to use Google you could find me using some of the references I've given. You feel the need to engage in personal attacks instead of learning something. Just like a frustrated school teacher you ridicule people over minor errors that are due to haste. By the way it is called Data Analytics in the industry, but you wouldn't know that. I'm paid to focus on the message and communicate it. They pay people like you to edit my work and dot the i's and cross the t's.

The more you post the more crazy you show your position to be. You complain that the Obama aids are making big money, so obviously the money matters to you. You lament the fact that the average American makes so little money, yet when I explain why that is, that the school system is not teaching subjects that lead to good paying jobs you defend the school system and attack what I'm talking about.

But worst of all you presume to know all about me assuming things that I have never mentioned. I've been to the Museo Reina Sofia, in Madrid, Spain and seen the painting by Picasso. Have you? I lived in Germany not too long after the war and and visited the death camps. What do you really know about it?

I'm just making a simple statement that out schools are not preparing students for the good paying jobs and you seem to think that they should be training them to save the world, but who will pay the rent?


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Posted by The Answer Is TEA Z
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Yes, I should spend my time googling Michael L.

And yes, what good is saving the world when there is rent to be paid? Obviously your 'interaction' with Picasso's Guernica didn't provoke much of an effect, beyond you assuring us that you've been there and seen it. Yeah? And you've seen death camps. Yeah? What kinds of reflection did those activities provoke? Well, there, only silence. Perhaps because your selling technology doesn't require reflection?

Obviously you come up pretty short in a number of areas. Beyond an apparent disrespect for how our language expresses the clarity of our thought, there are also matters of being able to recognize a clearly sarcastic post and distinguish it from a serious one. Go to the back of the class, Michael L.

When you mention so many positive effects of technology, which you are paid to sell, without recognizing the negative effects (which you are paid not to mention), yes, I'm able to deduce quite a bit about you. You sell technology in a blind, unthinking manner. You have no artistic sensibility. You reduce academic fields to their exchange value without recognizing the importance of things like policy planning, the social organization of scientific practices, the need to understand the interface between technological intervention and distinctive people's own cultural needs, to mention only a few.

You haven't sold me (or anyone else) in the least with your fervant, one-sided evangelical pitch. I think you "taught" yourself how to sell technology without having studied much, at all, in the areas of human interaction, culture, sociological forces, philosophy, history. Ah, but you've been to Madrid....




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Posted by Michael L.
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Anon I'm not just talking about technology skills or awareness of what is going on with technology. I'm talking about letting students learn to think and explore. If you want to be able to learn in college you have to start early with developing the skills. Forcing canned lessons and treating them like prisoners does not lead to developing good learning skills.

People all over the world desire to come here and work in Silicon Valley and many of them do manage to come here and get good jobs, yet our high school and college graduates have poor grades and lack skills and have high unemployment. This is evident by the idea that we need the no child left behind program and the standard test, but I'm saying that they are extensions of a stifling education system and what we need it less of a prison system and more freedom to learn. If you make it interesting they will want to study.

It is a fact that majoring in subjects like philosophy and the social sciences leads to unemployment. That's not my assertion. There are stats to back it up. That's not to say that I don't like the subject and I've read many books by philosophers, but what I'm saying is that students will be much happier if they have interesting and well paying work and they can go and save the world in their spare time. I mean do you really think that an unemployed college graduate with a degree in social science and a big student loan debt who is living back at home is feeling so great?

And Tea Z you ridicule me for being self taught in tech, after I found that my social sciences degree was not taking me anywhere, yet my employers like my work and pay me well for it, so who are you to judge. I'm proof that independent study works.


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Posted by Michael L.
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Mar 8, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Tea Z. you can't tell the difference between what I'm talking about, Internet technology, and the technology of war. You obviously have a serious axe to grind and you are bitter with your constant attacks. I'm sure you are a pleasure to talk with in person. You are not being sarcastic you are being passive aggressive, and you think that you speak for everyone else, so you are arrogant. How do you know what else I've studied. I have stacks of books and I've been to museums and I have the picture and the stamps in my passport, but I don't need to prove it to a troll on PW. One day I realized that being just another person with a social sciences degree and not making any money wasn't fun so I got on the computer wave and it's been much better since then and I'm just sharing that. Sorry that I interfere with your agenda. Now I'm done responding to you.


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Posted by The Answer Is TEA Z.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm

This is almost too funny. I've travelled all over. I've got books on my shelves. I'm well paid by my employers for whom I stoke the ovens. I've seen Guernica. And I must be okay because people pay me.

I'm living proof that the internet is our savior. It gives us the opportunity to 'know' things without reading too much. It contributes to a generation of students who, on average, read less than ONE book per year after graduating from college. It enables corporations to advertise their wares incessantly, and surreptitiously to boot. It spawns internet technology which is valued by those with money and power more than, say, critical self reflection. Does some good? Unarguably. Has great potential? Unarguably. Shortcomings? Spawns technology evangelists who can't write, can't think, and who reduce human thought and activity to how much an employer is willing to pay. Hey, let me show you my passport stamps! Do I have an agenda? Of course I do! I'm a self-promoting, technology promoting evangelist, a real true believer.

Parents, teach your children. We don't need leaders in this world who know how to mobilize, organize, problem solve, plan, and such. No, we need unreflective microchip processers who will do their jobs for the highest bidder. We want leaders who will treat people like the machine I am. I've read philosophy. I've been to Europe.

And now I'm done. Don't respond any more because I'm too busy developing increased ways to use the internet to bring more advertising into our lives.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Michael l. everyone beats to their own drum, not everyone wants to be under the high pressure and stress of some of thejobs you tout. Yet, they still
Manage to support themselves.
You make it sound like as of this very minute everyone should stop
pursuing their interest and switch to the tech industry.


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Posted by Michael L.
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 8, 2013 at 9:51 pm

No I'm not saying that everyone should leave a job that they like. I'm saying that people who think that Obama appointees make a lot of money should get some perspective. I'm giving the example that what they make is worker level pay in the tech industry. I'm saying that tech industry jobs are local and available to anyone who makes the effort to learn the skills. If you don't make the effort and you choose to study the wrong things and spend your time trying to save the world then don't complain that other people make more money than you do and don't rant and rave at them because of it.


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Posted by The Answer Is TEA Z.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2013 at 10:27 pm

... assuming of course that the system we live in is a just one where people are compensated justly for the labor they perform. But of course that might very well be something the sociology or philosophy major might dedicate themselves to -- viz., learning about and righting a corrupt system. (See, for example, Barack Obama's work as a community organizer.) Michael L., in contrast, having dismissed the importance of the humanities and social sciences, has little to say about the system we are part of, whether it is just or not. He's quite content to feed at the trough of the highest bidder, no questions asked.


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Posted by Michael L.
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Mar 8, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Well in the system we live in you gain skills based on getting the education of your choice and you offer them to the highest bidder. It's call Capitalism. You are apparently calling it corrupt. There's another system where you are paid according to your needs as determined by people like sociology or philosophy majors. It's called Socialism. This seems to be the one you like.

They tried Capitalism in West Germany, and they tried Socialism in East Germany. In the East they had to build a wall to keep the people in and they had the Stasi to watch over them and ensure compliance and people were encouraged to inform on others.

Eventually the people knocked the wall down and it became all West Germany and Capitalist. I'll try not to bore you with how I took the train from West Germany through East Germany and then went through Checkpoint Charlie and saw it for myself.

It was kind of like our current school systems where the buildings are fenced in and you had better show up on time and do what you are told or else you will be in trouble and if you skip out people will tell on you and you will be brought back and do your lessons or else you will be put in detention or even locked out and scared with the threat that you will never get a job. But guess what people like Bill Gates founder of Microsoft and Steve Jobs found of Apple and two of the richest people in the world dropped out of school and did just fine as self taught technologists.

But hey keep reading Das Kapital and urging the workers of the world to unite, because they have nothing to lose but their chains.


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Posted by The Answer Is TEA Z.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2013 at 9:51 am

Welcome to Michael L's world of comic book thinking. Capitalism v Socialism; W. Germany v E. Germany. Don't read about the differences. Michael was there. Philosophers and sociologists are socialists, traveling salesmen like Michael L are capitalists. Do not strive to excel in any of the dozens of world-class universities here in the United States. Drop out of our socialist public school system, like Gates and Jobs did. Above all, do not criticize Capitalism because you must be an E. German philosopher and product of our socialistic public education system if you do. What's to criticize? Michael L tells us he made his! So everything must be grand! Hey, we're better than the E. Germans!


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