Some California lifeguards reportedly earned $200,000 in total yearly compensation courtesy of taxpayers. Click here for the story. Meanwhile, physicians in general practice with twenty years’ experience, who paid half a million dollars or more for their required education and training, earn an average of around $170,000 on a yearly basis. At least with communism everyone would earn the same thing. Instead, we have a complete inversion of the natural wage distribution. The highly skilled and highly sought physicians are making less than the relatively less skilled and less demanded lifeguards.
Lifeguards provide a valuable service–no one contests this–but there is little reason to repose our trust in government to efficiently manage lifeguards and their compensation. There are no legitimate market failures that would evenly arguably require government intervention here. The free market can handle this one just fine.