Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ministers, Deputies and Senators: How top heavy can you get?

France has 577 deputies and 348 senators, making a total of 925 jobs. Add to this 16 ministers, 14 State secretaries, a prime minister and a president and we are at 957 people.
Deputies usually earn 7100 Euros a month, but get allowances of 5770, making a total of 12870 Euros per month, about 150,000 Euros a year. They are also entitled to expense reimbursements of about 9550 Euros per month or 115,000 Euros per year. Each deputy therefore costs about 265,000 Euros or a quarter or a million. This is in terms of gross salaries without taking into account their payroll taxes, probably another 60,000 Euros.
Senators seem to earn a little less: their salaries are 7100 Euros, but they get allowances of 6240 Euros, making a total of 13340 Euros. But their expense reimbursement is a little less at 7550 Euros. So, they cost about 20900 Euros per month or 252,000 Euros per year. Again with their payroll taxes we can say about 300,000 Euros.
With about a 1000 jobs paid like this, the expense is about 300 million Euros.

Of course, each minister and delegated minister has his cabinet and support staff. In 2013, there were 565 cabinet members and 2471 support staff, making a total of 3036 people. This costs about 26 million Euros in additional charges. Additional because some of these people are getting a salary elsewhere in the bureaucracy.
All this to serve a population of 65 million people.

Of course, we also have regional councilors, departmental councilors and the mayor's office. But in this note we are looking only at the top State level.
Just for comparison,in the USA for example, there are only 435 deputies and 100 senators, making a total of 535. Add the President and his State Secretaries and you are still at 60% of the French level.  This is for a population of 315 million people, which is about 6 times bigger than France.
Certainly, this is only at the federal level and the US has 50 States which have their own parliaments.

It would be great to get comparisons with other countries.

This is not to say that we would like to create unemployment in France. Less highly paid politicians will probably reduce the prestige of political science schools who rival business studies schools such as the one I teach in to attract the best of French talent (just to show my personal interest).

But certainly, some of these people can work part-time and share the jobs with others. In a 28 hour week, each of these people would work 3.5 days and we could hire others for 3.5 days. More jobs, less work, more sharing. And sharing is caring, even at the top.

Arvind Ashta