April 10, 2008

Pilot Pay Proves Capitalists Unfit to Rule

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Today's NY Times. Business section. Front page.

I'm going to be flying to Milwaukee soon on Iraq Moratorium business. Articles like this I don't need. Do you know that a pilot starting out at a regional airline can expect to make about $21,000 in the first year on the job?

$21,000! That's half what a US Postal Service mail processor with a bit of seniority (to pick a union job totally at random) makes.

This is an outrage. We are talking about an individual who has sole responsibility for dozens of human lives--most importantly, my human life--stuffed into an aluminum tube zipping along at 600 mph, eight miles above the surface of the earth.

Listen up! I do not want my pilot worrying about how to pay for the kid's braces. I do not want my pilot a little spacey after moonlighting on the midnight shift at the local 7-11 to keep the car payments up.

What I want is a pilot who's pulling down at least 80 large--make that an even hundred thou, who takes nice relaxing vacations a couple times a year, and whose only worry is the funny noise the Evinrude on the bass boat has started making.

If the invisible hand of the capitalist market (in the form of airline CEOs who make millions in salaries and bonuses) is handing airline pilots checks for around $420 a week, before taxes, mind you, that's just one more reason to ditch this system. Pronto.

And on the subject of responsibility for human lives, don't get me started about mandatory overtime that forces exhausted hospital nurses to put in 80 hours a week and more on a regular basis.

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