Monday, March 21, 2011

March21: A new low for The Moncton Times&Tribune

    The heanline on the front page is  "Rise of union power fuels wage gap."

1. This is not, in fact, what the story says. Much of it comes from interviewees chosen by the newspaper who spin the usual propaganda line of the The Moncton Times. But there are also interviews with well-qualified scholars from New Brunswick's universities who disagree. (However, their comments are hidden well down in the story because editors know few readers go that far.)

2. "Wage gap" is a term with emotional punch because it is usually used to describe the huge gap between the very rich few and the poorer rest of us. Here is it designed to take our attention away from the rich entirely, and pretend that people who get decent salaries are the very rich.

It's the same stunt that was pulled in criticizing Moncton works who got raises of something over 2% a week, while ingnoring years of increases by corporate executives or 10% or a hundred percent or even more a year. (Meanwhile, the middle class and the poor in Canada and the US have actually been getting poorer.)

In fact, for a really interesting report on real wage gap, The Moncton Times should have published the cost to us (Yes, us. All money comes from the same place.) of corporate executives. It would have to count wages, bonusses, paid golf club memberships, meals at lush restaurants, free interest on mortgage payments, lavish separation benefits.... Perhaps it might also include years of tax cuts for the rich since that's a loss the rest of us have to pay for from our taxes and from cuts in services.

3. The sub head of the "story" is "Experts say salaries, benefits of public sector employees need to be reined in."   In fact, some of the experts (the ones hidden at the bottom of the "report") did not say that at all. That sub-head is a blatant lie.

4. On page A4, there is a chart which claims to give a picture of public and private sector pay scales. In fact, it shows two ways to use charts to give a false impression
A bar for each year since 1998 shows private and public sector wages. The lower part, in light blue, is private sector. The upper part is darker blue. Making the public sector darker and placing it on top as a extension of the private sector bar make the difference look more prominent and greater than it really is.
(I remember learning that somewhere around grade six.) And it may be even more misleading than it seems.

We are told the comparison is of average salaries in both sectors. That assumes a perfectly matching set of requirements for skills, labour and reponsibilites in both sectors. But there is no evidence to show that there is such a matching set.

Finally, the "report" does not even consider another possibility - that corporations may be responsible for this wage gap which may or may not exist. It is possible, even likely, that corporations have been more successful in cutting out unions so that greedy bosses can have more money for their million dollar bonuses and golf club memberships.

That would suggest that it is corporations, not unions, that have too much power in New Brunswick. After all, can you imagine a minimum wage Walmart employee declaring himself a member of the government - without bothering to get elected? Mr. Irving did it.

This will be an interesting budget, with good news for millionaires and bad news for the rest of us, for The Moncton Times to make so much effort to ensure we cheer at the prospect of getting ripped off to make the rich even richer.

1 comment:

  1. What a great analysis and it is just what we need -- the truth! The article pictures a protest over P3's! P3s are not mentioned for good reaon in the article. We would be asking this Government to explain fully the $1.4B listed in Public Accounts for Capital Leases! Leases like roads, schools, court houses, public buldings even the new hospital going up in Campbellton! Tax payers get to build them them lease them. No Deal for NB!