NO COLA BLUES

Matthew Yglesias is experiencing the workforce blues:

Poor Fortune magazine readers are only getting a two percent pay hike, though the author suggests three percent may be more typical. In addition, apparently the typical white collar worker can also look forward to incentive pay, though I don’t know what that means. Matt, meanwhile, is eagerly awaiting his 0.00% raise come the new year. My understanding, however, is that congressional staff managed to get a fairly generous salary adjustment into one of the appropriations bills this year.

The government is the only sector that seems to provide cost of living raises irrespective of its own finances. Having grown up in a military family, played Army myself a few years, and then worked for a series of state colleges and universities, I always just assumed COLAs to be something everyone got.

Unfortunately, pay increases–and salaries generally–have more to do with the market than with the cost of living. My salary is the same as it was last year, yet inflation has raised the prices of most things and the crazy housing market has increased home prices 15% or so locally in that time. We also get a small “bonus” that’s based on company gross and, since the gross is down, so is my bonus. Such is life in the private sector, I guess.

Matt and I have, unfortunately, chosen to ply our skills in sectors that tend not to be particularly lucrative. While there are some journalists, notably TV talking heads and a handful of syndicated columnists, making huge salaries, they’re very unusual. Probably even more so in the book trade.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.