Entry level Goldman Sachs salary: $63,942. Entry level North Carolina Republican hack salary: $87,500. Any questions?

There are many, starting with why these young men thought it appropriate to accept so much money from a state they just moved to last year. Certainly one of the most galling parts of this episode is the arrogance of two national hacks demanding so much taxpayer money. It’s not just the greed; in accepting Wall Street compensation, McKillip and Diaz displayed an incompetence that invalidates their claim to such generous pay. Their boss is a fundamentally unserious man, given to excruciating rhapsodies about towns that end in “‘boro.” As advisers, their job is to keep his boneheaded tendencies in check.

By bringing in unseemly paychecks, they failed to do so. And not to be too harsh, but this ineptitude isn’t entirely surprising. After all, their contributions thus far have been, to be polite, underwhelming. One of them developed a Medicaid “reform” program based on mindless ideology but no empirical evidence at all. The other Boy Wonder has failed to sell the plan with a better slogan than “Medicaid is broken,” because it is not.

You could argue that they’re too green for great expectations to be thrust upon them. That’s a valid point. But is it fair, then, to ask us to pay them top-shelf salaries? And what does it say about the governor that he so drastically overestimated his top appointees?

As someone just a little younger than them, I am happy to see McKillip and Diaz get a seat at the table. Indeed, McCrory deserves credit for offering opportunities to younger operatives–something the NCDP too often fails to do. So far, though, they’ve shown that they don’t deserve so much of Other People’s Money. For the sake of their credibility–and more importantly that of their boss–they should voluntarily accept large pay cuts.

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