Are Government Jobs Desirable?

Something I didn’t know. In San Francisco, 

All city employees hired before 2009 were promised lifetime health care after five years of work. The coverage includes all dependents, and it does not matter how long before retirement the employee stopped working for the city.  (from the NYT)

What a good deal!  These employees pay nothing into the healthcare fund. Things were tightened up last year, so new city employees are assessed 2% of their income for a health care trust fund.

In response, Mish Shedlock of Global Economic Trend Analysis points out that

The city would have massive applications for jobs even if the employees had to pick up at 100%.

That is, Shedlock is arguing that even if the retiree healthcare benefit disappeared, there would be plenty of people who would be willing to work for the city of San Francisco.  My guess is that he is probably right.


  1. Intriguing question. It would be fascinating if there were a way to quantify the job demands, the benefits and the alternatives for potential employees.

  2. Typically you’d handle this through supply and demand: keep dropping pay and benefits until turnover and hiring quality starts to suffer, then bump them up a smidge and leave them for a while. If not overpaying was your primary concern, of course.

  3. One related question is, do you want your city run by people who choose city management or city services as their career, or by people who took the job because they couldn’t get anything better?

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