He [Brooks] has this annoying habit of trying to claim the reasonable center, often by making false equivalences between the two things he is trying to sound more reasonable than…….The idea that you can compare the amount that people contribute toward their benefits is based on the assumption that first everyone in the world bargains for salary and then everyone in the world bargains separately for benefits. That’s nonsense. Insofar as there is any bargaining, there’s only one bargaining phase, in which you bargain for both and all you care about is the total value. The amount you nominally “contribute” to your benefits is meaningless, because you also pay for benefits by accepting a lower salary. A lot of the pain over restructuring retirement benefits for unionized manufacturing workers was because their unions had specifically negotiated for those benefits instead of wage increases decades before — and management went along because it wanted to push those costs far into the future.**
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.