Columnist challenges analyst's estimate
In a recent article, columnist Jack Lessenberry questioned the accuracy of the amount of money a Mackinac Center for Public Policy study found the state could save if state worker benefits were in line with the private sector.
James Hohman, fiscal policy analyst with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, wrote a report in 2009 wherein he calculated that bringing public benefits of fulltime state and local government employees in line with the private sector would save the state $5.7 billion.
Lessenberry, a lecturer at Wayne State University where he teaches History and Law of Journalism, wrote: “His dollar figure is considerably higher than other studies.” After Lessenberry’s column was published, Hohman questioned what studies refuted his dollar amount. Hohman said he knew of no other study that listed a dollar amount.
“He thinks the overcompensation of public employees is a myth,” Hohman said about Lessenberry. “In this case, his observations are simply inaccurate.”
In e-mails to the Mackinac Center, Lessenberry did not cite any studies. Instead, Lessenberry wrote that he should have written “I did not know any other economists who believe that anything like those savings are realistic.”
Hohman said that although some have criticized the findings, no one that he is aware of has produced an alternate study that shows his numbers are not valid. Hohman has since written an analysis that walks readers through how he came up with his figures: http://www.mackinac.org/14216