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Column: Sometimes you can't count on mom, dad for support

You'd probably have to be living in a cave to not have heard about the recent controversy where taxpayers in Bell, Calif., learned about the exorbitant salaries many of their city officials were receiving.

Taxpayers found out that the city's chief administrative officer was being paid $787,637 a year and the chief of police was getting paid $457,000 a year.

The chief's salary is about 50 percent more than the city of Los Angeles chief was getting paid and more than double the New York City police commissioner's salary.

Compare those salaries with the president of the United States who receives $400,000 a year and the vice president who receives $221,000.

That made me think and I decided to search the Internet to see what other information I could find about who the public believes is truly overpaid in our society today.

Considered overpaid

As you can imagine the answers varied widely, but then there are of course the obvious choices.

Politicians, what a surprise, of course seemed to rank as the number one choice as to whom the public feels is overpaid.

That includes members of Congress and their aides as well as state lawmakers who in many states have made what should be a part-time job into a full-time job and thus have managed to feather their nest with high salaries and benefits that include huge pensions upon retirement.

This is not a scientific poll or study-just an example of how some people feel about who is overpaid.

Then here follows the other choices. The public then feel CEOs of big corporations and businesses are vastly overpaid in most cases. They are then followed by most professional athletes, movie stars, professional entertainers, doctors, lawyers, television news anchors, government workers everywhere in the U.S. and the list goes on and on.

But one field was mentioned in both categories-a number of people feel teachers are both underpaid and overpaid.

Considered underpaid

A sampling of who the public thought was underpaid included: Members of the military teachers, stay-at-home moms, restaurant employees, hotel service workers, non-union construction contractors, nurses, nannies, firemen and policemen.

I guess anyone can make a point that many people are overpaid today and many are underpaid, but you know it's pretty bad when your own parents tell the public that they think their offspring are overpaid.

Thanks mom and dad

Take for example in the case of Stephen Hester, the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland in the United Kingdom. His parents don't think he's worth what he's being paid.

"If you ask my mother and father about my pay they'd say it was too high as well, so some people close to me have that view of bankers," said Hester.

And if you ask me every federal and state governmental body should be reduced to part-time status and part-time pay.

There's no need to have our elected representatives serve in full-time positions.

Reduce the positions to part-time, cut the salaries in kind and there will be fewer political problems and you and I should then be paying lower taxes.

Joe VanDeLaarschot is the editor of the East Otter Tail Focus. He can be reached by calling 218-346-5900 or by sending an email to: