A Job Opening in California—Chief Economist
California continues to have the third highest unemployment rate in the nation, at 10.7 percent. But there is one job opening, and it's paying six figures.
"The California Department of Finance (Finance) is seeking a Chief Economist to direct the periodic national and state economic forecasts used for revenue estimating and perform other economic analytical work," reads the job posting on the state's website. "The Chief Economist is the state’s recognized economic expert, and has broad authority to develop and perform economic forecasts."
The job also includes advising the governor on fiscal issues.
I'm thinking of applying, though I'm not sure the governor would appreciate my "advice." I also doubt there's a calculator on the planet which could crunch — no, collapse — the numbers in California to make them fit.
The state's long-time economist, Howard Roth, retired earlier this year, probably suffering from motion sickness after riding California's booms and busts since the '90s. Second-in-command Dennis Meyers has been running the numbers in his place.
The pay for chief economist is anywhere from $113,441 to $125,083, though "actual salary will be determined based on the qualifications and experience of the successful candidate."
I'm not sure a six-figure salary is enough to entice me to help navigate California out of its fiscal mess, a mess made up of hand-tying structural issues, dwindling tax revenues, unsustainable public employee pension commitments, and growing legions of residents who take more from government than they can afford to give. (Read More: California Restructures, One City at a Time.)
But wait! In addition to pay, there are benefits!
"The State of California offers a comprehensive benefits package including health, dental, vision, and a defined benefit pension provided by the California Public Employees Retirement System."
Uh-oh. I'd rather get shares of Apple instead. (Isn't it hard to believe that the state with the biggest deficit is also home to the world's largest company by market cap?)
So I'm going to take a pass on this opportunity and keep my day job. Who should apply instead? Here are a few choices:
David Copperfield — Watch this deficit disappear!
Kim Kardashian — She can make money out of NOTHING! (Read More: What Was Kim Kardashian Doing at the NYSE?)
John Corzine — He has experience in both the private and public sectors. "He could make the CA budget deficit disappear, just like the MF segregated accounts," tweeted @mullane.
Louis Reyes — Who? He's a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Assessor's office who told NBC4 this week that property values in the county have, as a whole, "gained back the value lost in the real estate crash that began in 2007." I don't know what he's smoking. According to the Los Angeles Times, median home prices in LA are $306,000. Back in 2007, they hit $505,000. Maybe there are more buildings to bring the total value back to par? Whatever formula Reyes used, that's the kind of creative math California needs more of!
Mark Zuckerberg — He has a knack for cutting things in half, and we need to cut spending in half. Plus, Zuckerberg could juggle this job and still run Facebook into the ground. (Read More: What Wall Street Wants From Mark Zuckerberg.)
The job has remained unfilled for months. Maybe qualified applicants see being chief economist for the world's 8th largest economy (9th? 10th?) as a lot of work for $120,000.
After all, you could be a meter maid in the California beach city of Hermosa Beach for nearly $100,000 a year AND have collective bargaining. Parking tickets in that town reportedly average $50, which means the top paid parking enforcement officer in Hermosa Beach needs to write 2,000 tickets a year just to cover his or her salary, plus more tickets to cover healthcare and retirement costs. Remind me to bring extra quarters next time I go there.
Still, a meter maid generates revenues. A chief economist does not. Maybe the new economist needs to come up with a forecast to solve California's problems through more parking tickets.
Better hurry, before California's famous reputation for ground-breaking legislation includes banning all cars. (Read More: Self-Driving Cars Approved by California Legislature.)
—By CNBC's Jane Wells
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