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What's the value of lifetime tenure in a position from which, on all evidence, you cannot be fired?

Academic professorships are quite secure, indeed, Tony. Not sure that every public job is totally secure, though... Federal civil service jobs might be most sticky, but (despite the efforts of AFSCME) State, county and municipal jobs frequently depend on the whims of elected officials who periodically change. A change in administration can mean sweeping changes in employment.

Nevertheless, there is little doubt that the relative security of a job is a major retention element in the employee value proposition.

I think the environment has changed significantly since 2005.

Since the financial crisis we have been in since 2008 and the efforts to unionize government employees, I believe the situation is reversed now. Look at the scandals surrounding the payment of bonuses to IRS employees, VA employees, etc. The federal government bailed out the state and local governments so the government employees (and teachers) could keep their jobs, while private sector employees were being laid off. I also think it is much more difficult to take disciplinary action (i.e. firing) against government employees, so poor performance is in fact condoned and rewarded.

Funny to me. University prof is the only job I know of that gets tenure ------ except for the Supreme Court. Isn't it time we changed that? Even people in higher ed say they should be under contracts.

Yes, academic and government jobs have traditionally been more secure than those in the private sector. The trend has only strengthened with the principal union growth in recent years coming among public workers. Strong employee protection systems confronting weak managers usually result in enhanced job security. That applies to most academic and government jobs, from teachers to IRS agents. Don't know how we can change that from the outside.

"Don't know how we can change that from the outside."

- outlawing or drastically restricting public service unions would IMHO, be a logical and effective place to start.

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