NYU Teachers Ask: Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?
A Sunday NYT Style’s section cover story provided us the usual class envy propaganda we expect from the paper of record. The strategy is to show how people of equal skill and education have different incomes. It is especially egregious to the NYT mentality when the person doing the most social good gets paid much less than the “sellout”.
In “Money Changes Everything” I came across the following whopper:
At New York University, for instance, instructors make $35,300 for the current academic year, up from $24,500 for the 1985-86 academic year, according to the American Association of University Professors. A first-year associate at a large New York law firm, however, can earn as much as $170,000 with a year-end bonus, compared with about $53,000, including bonus, in 1985.
Translation: Capitalism is so flawed that people who provide educations at elite schools like NYU make paltry salaries compared to law practice (and, by inference, other selfish careers).
I had a few questions after reading that.
1. What are “instructors”?
I am sure they are not tenured professors. I doubt they handle more than one class. I am sure they work other jobs to pay their bills as anyone with a $53,000 salary cannot live in NYC or its nearby suburbs without roommates.
2. Are we comparing apples to apples?
The new lawyers at the top firms work well over 60 hours per week, have no personal lives and have no job security when they bill fewer hours or bring in no clients. Do these instructors work fewer hours? Do they receive housing for free? Is access to hot teen coeds worth something?
3. Why would an instructor accept such a low salary?
There is a pot of gold called security at the end of the rainbow. Move from instructor to tenured professor and you have something the lawyer (and Frenchmen) can only dream of. A pension and a job for life. How much money must a lawyer save per year to match that end zone payoff?
4. Why is there such a discrepancy in starting salaries?
Supply and demand tells us that the number of eligible law school grads with the credentials and ability for such a grueling job are considerably less than the number of humanities majors in the country. Additionally, maybe it also speaks to how the lawfirms actually reward their employees for their production while these universities see little value in the contributions of the instructors.
The NYT consistently pursues this culture war between the Have and Have Nots. We always need to assess if they provide us with credible comparisons.