Now, it might be true that some of this could be an unrealistic expectation of compensation on the part of workers who had unusually good jobs during the past expansion. But I note that the financial industry (apparently where the recession began) is not necessarily hurting:
"Wall Street earned $21.4 billion during the first three quarters of 2010," Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said.
"While much less than last year's record of $61.4 billion, which was fueled by federal assistance, the securities industry is on track in 2010 for the second-highest level of profitability on record," he said.
So I think we should be sceptics about narratives that include the need for "shared sacrifice" from all segments of society. I do note that the idea that last year's record profits where fuelled by government assistance ironic given the concerns over matters like pay forK-12 teachers. I don't have a good road map forward except to note that simple solutions and metrics seem unlikely to be helpful under these conditions.