Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
The Almighty Buck United States

The Ten Most Overpaid Jobs In The U.S. 1130

misbach writes "Here is what the 'compensation experts' have to say are the ten most overpaid jobs [original article at CBS MarketWatch]. 'Almost no one in America would admit to being overpaid, but many of us take home bloated paychecks far beyond what's deserved. 'Fair compensation' is a relative term, yet human-resource consultants and executive headhunters agree some jobs command excessive compensation that can't be explained by labor supply-and-demand imbalances.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Ten Most Overpaid Jobs In The U.S.

Comments Filter:
  • by Stephen ( 20676 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:44PM (#7436852) Homepage
    The Indian programmer doing the job you were laid off from
    I thought they were underpaid. Isn't that the point?
  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:44PM (#7436858) Journal
    He makes less than 500,000 per year. I think it is around 250,000 or so. The rest of his wealth comes from investments.
  • by NoOneInParticular ( 221808 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:56PM (#7437010)
    First of all, self-preservation is a fairly strong instinct you can count on in such a situation. As the article rightly points out, you should more fear the mechanic or the overseer to think "fuck it" if he sees that the left wing can fall of in mid-flight any flight now. He will not be on board when that happens. Why not pay him the 250K and the pilot a 100?
  • by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @04:57PM (#7437020) Journal
    Where do you expect the money to go? I really enjoy watching football. The feats of athleticism and dedication required to play at the level of NFL players is just amazing. So, I'm willing to pay money to watch their games. I'm willing to sit through commercials, and the advertising are more than willing to pay to for my attention. So, who should get all that money? I mean, it's pouring in. Lot of people are paying it. Where does it go?

    I, for one, would MUCH rather have it go to the players, the guys out there on the field, who've spent their lives training for this, and who risk serious injury every Sunday for my entertainment, than have it line the already cushy pockets of the team owner. Supply and demand at its finest.
  • #10 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sckeener ( 137243 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:02PM (#7437080)
    10) Wedding photographers

    Photographers typically charge $2,000 to $5,000 to shoot a wedding

    I went to a wedding over the weekend. The cheapest price they could find for a wedding photographer was $1200 in the Houston area. They didn't want to pay that so they got the UH school paper photographer to come and do it for $200!
  • by Kirby ( 19886 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:08PM (#7437164) Homepage
    With respect to pro athletes, keep in mind that it's not a matter of greedy jocks taking the public for money, in reality.

    It's massive multi-billionaires (like pre-AOL Ted Turner, and Rupert Murdoch, and Walmart's Carl Pohlad) setting prices based on what the market can bear. That's 90%+ of what determines ticket price - salary concerns are a red herring.

    And most of the owners are making large, large amounts of money - much more than even the highest paid players. The accounting practices are such that it's extremely hard to get actual data, as things like concessions are often booked under a sub-corporation and not reported as income on what little data they do release (which always shows them losing money.)

    Player salaries are supply/demand, and their skills are not easily replacable. They're high in sports without a salary cap, because the marginal wins that player is expected to provide is worth a real dollar amount in increased ticket sales and merchandise. Some teams spend their money more wisely than others, but they're hardly offering contracts at gunpoint.

    Leagues with a salary cap, like the NFL, the owners are raking in money hand-over-fist.

    Sure, washed up athletes in guaranteed contracts are a huge waste of money. Why do owners give out multi-year deals? One, cost-certainty - if I sign a young player for a long contract, and he breaks out into an MVP, I have him for those years at below market value, a competitive advantage. Two, because the players want it, and if I don't offer them, they'll sign with someone else who will. Eventually, every athelete stops being productive, for one reason or another, and if you don't do your analysis correctly or just get plain unlucky, well, that's the chance you take.

    Many contracts do include substantial amounts in performance-based incentives (particularly for often injured players.) The entire industry could, I suppose, switch to entirely performance-based after the fact salaries - but both sides would fight tooth and nail to stop it. The players want some protection, so that if they get hurt and miss the year they don't have to forclose on their mortgage. The owners need the cost-certainty - if the Oakland A's had to pay for what the players actually produced, rather than being able to bargain hunt and find value in unexpected places, the franchise would collapse. (Of course, it'd be awfully nice for the Orioles.)

    That's probably far more sports economics than Slashdot readers typically want, but I strongly suspect that the same sort of naive, spiteful logic applies to the rest of the list. (Though, I do see the point about CEOs of failing companies taking multi-million dollar severance packages.)
  • by grn_lantern ( 533741 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:16PM (#7437258)
    10) Wedding photographers

    I *totally* agree with this. My brother just got married over the weekend and while I have *no* idea what the photographer was paid, but the guy pulled up in a Nissan 350z [].

    Someone else at the wedding overheard the photographer talking to someone about wanting to purchase a Bently [].

    hmmm....maybe I SHOULD use my darkroom more. ;-)
  • by cheezus ( 95036 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:19PM (#7437306) Homepage
    disclaimer: I only know this because at my uni the dept of computer science is for some stupid reason in the school of aerospace sciences.

    Lots of kids come in going for a commerical aviation degree dreaming of making a quarter mil a year. The reality? For the ones lucky enough to get a job out of college it's flying some puddle jumping prop for less than $20,000 a year. The guys making the huge money are flying the big jets, and they only get to do that because they have an insane amount of flight hours. Know who is able to rack up insane amount of flight hours (it's expensive)? That's right, retired air force pilots.

    Experience can demand that kind of money because that experience is expensive/difficult to get in the first place.
  • by cmallinson ( 538852 ) * <c.mallinson@ca> on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:21PM (#7437326) Homepage
    replacing athletes with artists

    I'm wondering how artists can manage to make so much money and at the same time taxpayers of major cities are more than eager to fork over their own money as well as their neighbors to have an art gallery built for art that quite blunty sucks, and then still have no problem paying $10 for a post card in the gift shop once it opens.

    Some athletes get millions of dollars. Some artists get millions of dollars. Probably similar percentages too. Sports stadiums, however, bring in a heck of a lot more money and can double as convention centers and concert venues.

  • by lysium ( 644252 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:29PM (#7437426)
    Since the money doesn't get spent, it simply vanishes from the economy. The truth is that trickle down would work, if the upper 1% spent all (or even most) of their money. Since they can't, trickle down is doomed to fail, as is the economy unless money starts flowing *out* of Eisner et al, and into the general economy...

    This is why estate taxes originally came about. The government was extremely worried that a de-facto aristocracy would form out of the money that Industrialists were accumulating. So in order to prevent assets from endlessly collecting interest, they decreed that a large percentage of an individual's wealth would return to society upon death. This would also ensure that, at some point, SOMEone would have to work to bring more money in. Not exactly what one would call a fair system, but since Rockefellers and Kennedys do not own GE and Microsoft today, I would have to call it a partial success.

    Now just recently estate taxes were repealed by the fiscal conservatives. Will this finally tip the scale to the point where wealth can endlessly create more wealth, so meritous, hard-working individuals like Ally Hilfiger [] can entertain us with their priviledge? Our children will find out!


  • by StenD ( 34260 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:30PM (#7437448)
    Huge investment? Next time you see a commercial airline pilot, ask him where he/she got their training and you will find that a majority of them will say either the Air Force or the Navy.
    Only about half, actually.
    Cost to former military pilot for training: Almost $0.00.
    Aside from about 10 years of their lives, after training, with the added opportunity of being shot at.
    And it's not like becoming a doctor-which IS a much bigger investment in time and money than training to become a commercial airline pilot after being trained in the military.
    The military pays for medical school, too.
  • by ComputerSlicer23 ( 516509 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:34PM (#7437496)
    It's my understanding that pilot error is now the single most dangerous thing about flying. You are more likely to die of the pilot doing something stupid, then you are of just about anything else going wrong with the plane. (Maybe not a on commercial air liner, but on planes in general).

    A friend of mine's Dad is a flight instructor, and tells about how there are a lot of things a pilot had to do to get a license that they don't now. They figured out, that by forcing unexperienced pilots to go into spins kills more people, then the number of people who are on a plane that go into spins.

    A modern airplane can be built so it's nearly impossible to stall. So it doesn't have nearly so many of the problems it used to have, and thus pilots really to know as much or be as technically skilled as they used to due to modern Engineering.

    All that said, I'm still aware of several scenerios where a pilot saved people by doing something deemed "impossible", by everyone I know who knows anything about planes. I think the FAA has new training due to a plane crash that happened near Siox City, Iowa. A guy was steering a plane using the flaps in a way that wasn't supposed to work. It was supposed to tear the plane apart. However, that was the only control left on the plane that worked. I think 90 people lived (of the 170). I saw film of it, it was terrifing.

    Finally, pilots don't get enough time off. They should get paid that much for how much time they spend away from their families, and the hours they put in.


  • by e4liberty ( 537089 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:43PM (#7437633)

    This is a better argument for a wealth tax than an estate tax.

    Since we want assets to be used productively, and since the function of the government is to protect us and our property, then taxes should apply to assets (wealth) rather than income. This would encourage wealthy individuals to invest their assets in productive enterprises (making jobs) rather than, say, gold or art (no jobs).

  • by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:44PM (#7437642) Homepage
    6) Real estate agents selling high-end homes

    ... While most agents hustle tail to earn $60,000 a year, those in affluent areas can pull down $200,000-plus for half the effort....

    Luxury home agents live off the economy's fat, yet many put on airs as if they're members of the class whose homes they're selling, and eye underdressed open-house visitors as if they're casing the joint.

    Hello? Luxury home agents are members of the class whose homes they're selling, or within a step or two of it. And that class as a whole lives off the economy's fat. For the most part, people want to hire professionals who are of their class or better. That especially applies where fashion and taste are concerned. Decorators, landscape designers, architects ... if you wouldn't trust a decorator who didn't have the taste of your class, why would you trust a real estate agent? A realtor who acts like a used-car salesperson is not going to make it at the high end; having the same taste as the people you're helping find a home is essential to guiding them well.

    I don't much like realtors, and don't much hold by class, but I'm sure willing to see the realtor get a fee in proportion to the home I'm buying to avoid be steered towards the sort of place that would most appeal to trailor trash with the sales tactics appropriate thereto.

  • by j33px0r ( 722130 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:46PM (#7437670)
    I think people have this common misconception that doctors, lawyers and jumbo-jet pilots spend their lives in sainthood and keep us safe from all harm.

    I have a friend who is working up the ranks of American Airlines towards flying the big jumbo jets. That "great" investement is a 4 year bachelor degree in aviation. This is nothing in comparison to many professions requiring masters and beyond. His long hours are approx 20 hours a week. Yes, he is away from home and his wife for 3 - 4 days at a time but thats the adventuresome lifestyle he always wanted. Besides, how many hours a week are truck drivers away from home? As for stress, imagine being control of a big vehicle where 99.999999% of the time the only reason another vehile is within a half-mile of you is when its shut off. It is going to take him another 5-10 years to have the seniority to fly the big boys. But then again, at every job you have to put in your dues for the most part.

    Do pilots make alot. Oh yeah. Do airlines over-charge you to take a flight? Just a wee bit. I think the pilots deserve the amount they receive considering how much the airlines make on those flights. Young pilots however don't make $#i7.
  • by kcbrown ( 7426 ) <> on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:47PM (#7437690)
    Huge investment? Next time you see a commercial airline pilot, ask him where he/she got their training and you will find that a majority of them will say either the Air Force or the Navy. Cost to former military pilot for training: Almost $0.00.

    That may be the case, but from what I understand it's rather difficult to become a pilot in the military. For one thing, your uncorrected vision has to be 20/20 or better, which eliminates a whole bunch of people. By the way, as I understand it, "uncorrected" means just that: no corrective surgery, no glasses, no contacts.

    If you want to become a pilot through civilian channels, you do indeed have to make large sacrifices. The training is quite expensive and quite extensive. You have to train for your private pilot's license, your commercial license, your twin engine rating, your flight instructor's license, and then you have to work as an instructor to build enough flight time (at least a thousand hours or so) before anyone (even cargo haulers) will consider you. And when you are finally hired, you won't be hired by the majors -- you'll be hired by the regionals at best. And those guys start off at about $30K per year. Captains in the regionals make around $70K per year. That's for putting in 12-16 hour days, with a "home base" that may change on a yearly basis and which may be quite far from home.

    It's ironic, really, because the kind of flying the regional guys do is harder than the flying done by the majors. The regionals typically operate turboprop equipment that flies in the 15,000 to 25,000 foot altitude range, where weather is much more of a factor than the 30,000 to 40,000 foot range the majors fly in. The regionals tend to fly into smaller airports that have fewer or older navigational aids and which also tend to be in areas of more dangerous terrain. And their equipment isn't as good as the equipment the majors fly, so icing (for example) is more of a problem.

    If it were up to me, the guys in the regional airlines would be making more than the guys in the majors, simply because their job is harder.

  • by twiddlingbits ( 707452 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @05:56PM (#7437797)
    Airline Pilots are limited by the FAA to like 100 hours a month and 8 hours flying time per day w/o a 12 hour off time. Senior Captains often can ick long trips where they get the 8 hours in on 1 flight. Jr Pilots have to make multiple takeoffs and landings which at busy airports and with weather can be very stressful. Delays due to weather don't count towards the 12hr max duty day, so there can be some LONG days. Right now, airlines are really getting some concessions (S$$$) out of pilots, who not only have to worry about terrorists but thier own CEOS stabbing them! Senior Captains with 15-20 yrs experience who fly the "heavies" like 747s get a nice 6 figure income, the guys and gals flying for Southwest make about 60K. Seniority is the key, as well as getting trained on lots of different aircraft in order to move up. Often a captain of a small plane will get trained on something else and move up, but he is back to being co-pilot or flight engineer and maybe even a pay cut until s/he is certified on the new equipment. It's not an easy job, you have life and death over a lot of people and have to deal with a lot of Gov't red tape as well as other things. These guys earn the checks!
  • by gbulmash ( 688770 ) <> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:01PM (#7437853) Homepage Journal
    It wasn't so much amazing to see real estate agents listed in there as it was to see their logic.

    The way they talk, anyone with a RE license could set up shop in a high-rent area and the money would start rolling in.

    If it was that easy, wouldn't everyone be doing it?

    You can throw out a shingle anywhere, but to make money as a RE agent, you have to do one of two things... convince homeowners to let you sell your house or convince homebuyers to let you help them find and purchase a house. And the richer those people are, the richer the deals they're making, the more competition there is to get them to sign with you.

    Knowing your way around the technical labyrinth of buying and selling houses is the easy part. That merely requires study, which anyone with a brain can do. But doing the networking, selling yourself as an expert, making the good impressions, having or developing the skills to read people, get them to like you, AND get them to trust you with handling megabuck deals for them... that takes serious skill and talent.

    I'm not an RE agent. But I've sold high-ticket consumer goods on commission. It was one of the hardest jobs I've ever had. Dancing around with someone is easy, but closing them is a true skill, and to work the high-rent customers you have to be a great closer. If you're not, the other agents will eat you alive, because the more lucrative the market, the more cutthroat it is.

    Go to an auto dealership, the ad sales department at a radio or TV station, a real estate agency... Ask any of those sales managers what a great closer is worth.

    Go actually work as a commissioned salesperson, selling a high-ticket item for a month.

    Then tell me if real estate agents are overpaid.


    - Greg

  • by j7953 ( 457666 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:13PM (#7437976)
    The money that doesn't get spent gets put into some sort of financial instrument, which then is put back into the economy in the form of money that can be used as capital.

    Sure, but having a supply of capital for investments makes sense only if the investments that it can be used for make sense, and the investments make sense only if at the end of the chain, there are enough people who will actually consume the produced goods.

    A healthy economy needs consumers just as much as it needs investors.

  • Re:wealth taxes (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:14PM (#7437991)
    Actually, the money would be spent on accountants, tax attourneys and lobbyists to avoid the tax.
  • by igny ( 716218 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:16PM (#7438027) Homepage Journal
    Pilot's traning may be crucial in situations like this [].
  • by onthefenceman ( 640213 ) < minus physicist> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:22PM (#7438106)
    If you look at the mean salary of all the people that TRY to be professional atheletes, I think you would be more satisfied with your CS/IT/Engineering/CowboyNeal salary.

    For every athlete that makes it big, there are probably a thousand hustling Big Macs and shoveling roadkill for $25000/year or less because they spent evenings playing ball instead of doing homework.

    Do the math:

    1,000 x 25,000 = $25 Million.

    If the one guy that makes a professional team pulls down $5 Million a year for his trouble, he's still only bringing the group average up to just under $30k a year. Makes your $60-100k/year sound pretty nice, doesn't it?
  • by delcielo ( 217760 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:39PM (#7438305) Journal
    I'm a flight instructor, and I'd like to respond to some of your post.

    First, the fact that most accidents can be attributed, at least in part, to pilot error is no surprise. The word "most" implies a ratio. As the systems on airplanes become more reliable, and procedures more conservative, that leaves pilots who are getting both better and worse to make up the rest of the percentages.

    Pilots are much more educated these days in subjects as diverse as aerodynamics, systems, physiology and crew resource management, etc.

    At the same time, some of the skills previously taught are not now mandatory. The spins you mentioned, for instance. It used to be mandatory that you gave students spin training, and that CFIs (Certificated Flight Instructors) had to demonstrate spins to get their licenses. As your buddy's dad noted, however, there were more people being killed by the training than by accidents. I had a student inadvertantly enter a spin during slow flight who froze on the controls for roughly two turns until I was able to get him to let go. So I easily understand the now lesser requirements. Having said that, I and many others still give spin training. Most students stare agog at the rotating earth on their first spin rather than do anything constructive, so I think it's unfair not to get them through that initial "shock and awe" before sending them out into the world where, as shown above, they might enter that situation inadvertantly.

    So we're growing them smarter; but at the same time, we may not be arming them with everything we used to. Having said that, spin training isn't necessarily useful to a DC-10 driver.

    As for aircraft design... you can build airplanes that are very stable, very smart, very fault tolerant and forgiving, etc.; but every piece of that perfect airplane adds complexity and problems of its own. For instance, the Airbus that crashed at the Paris airshow because the computer entered "land" mode and wouldn't allow the pilot to exceed certain parameters in his go-around attempt. In 1994(?) there was a Fed-Ex DC-10 crew that was attacked by a disgruntled employee who struck all 3 crewmembers with a framing hammer. They disabled him by initially performing a split-S maneuver that no computer would have allowed. The attacker wanted to fly the airplane into the Fed-Ex hub in Memphis and would likely have succeeded if the pilot had been unable to fly the airplane beyond its operational parameters. History has many more such stories of times when doing something the airplane wasn't supposed to do saved the day. You don't want a computer to control everything. There needs to be context for actions; and currently, only humans can really analyze that.

    Also plan on getting rid of anything smaller than a passenger jet, if you're going to require the same systems that those high-end airplanes carry. They're simply not feasible in terms of weight and price for smaller airplanes, though that is slowly changing.

    In the Sioux City crash, the pilot was using differential thrust from the engines to control the airplane. If you increase thrust on the right wing, it travels a bit faster and produces more lift, which causes it to raise a bit and the airplane to turn. The sweepback angle on the wing enhances this also, as the forward wing (the one on the outside of the turn) is effectively longer than the other wing. (That's a lot easier to illustrate visually.) Anyhow, the Sioux City incident is a perfect example of how necessary the pilots are.

    Finally, I know of jobs that pay a lot less and are more demanding on average. For instance, the dishwasher at your local restaurant works a lot harder day in and day out than the airline pilot who flew you to Cleveland last week. The reason we don't pay the dishwasher 100K per year (aside from the now exorbitant $1000 price for chicken-fried steak) is that there won't ever be a dishwashing emergency that will cost the lives of hundreds of people if not dealt with in the next 20 seconds.
  • Sports Stars (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ziggles ( 246540 ) * on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:49PM (#7438418) Homepage
    I know people (especially slashdot nerds) love to trash on anything related to professional sports, but let's actually think about this for a second. Becoming a professional athlete is not an easy thing to do. It's not just "throwing a ball," it's hours of training every day. And even with all the training in the world, there's still no guaruntee that you'll even get in the gate, even less that you'll become a highly paid star. Injuries come pretty often as well, which will put a stop to any career you had going.

    They're taking a bigger risk than most people ever take by deciding to devote their life to something that can so easily go wrong. In my opinion they do deserve to be rewarded for taking that risk. I don't enjoy sports, I don't watch them, but logically it makes sense to me for professional athletes to get paid a lot. Same with movie stars. The reward is proportional to the risk.
  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @01:06AM (#7441474)
    Prepares for karma hit

    I started a business with a college friend of mine. He is talented in advertising and marketing and has no clue how to run a business. That's why he asked me to become his partner and run the damn company. Yes he does a lot of the apperance and grunt work of coming up with slogans and such, but he can work 6 hour days and get away with it because he is that good.

    I on the other hand spend an average of 14 hours a day in the office during the first year doing everything from strategy to accounting.

    We are now in our third year and doing about $850k a year in business and now have 4 full time and 2 part-time employes along with four interns every semester. Think my job's gotten easier? No I work an average 60 hour work week. As the "General Manager" (aka CEO without the letters) of the company, I am required to attend an average of 3 business functions a week from weekly "Local business executive's breakfasts" to "Big client's wife's sucky art gallery opening".

    Granted, I don't do much of the mundane billing, collecting and now have a secatary that does a lot of my dictation work, but now I have to deal with motivating employees, looking out on the horizon.

    What was my salary last year? $175k plus $55k from profits. As an original founder, I get 30% of the profits, co-found/partner gets 50% and the other 20% is divided amoung the employees. Average employee salary is about $38k with all bonuses and benefits.

    Yeah, so we get paid more than the average empolyee, but I built this company with hardwork, took a risk leaving a comfortable 9 - 5 job, and by the grace of god got lucky.

  • by kylef ( 196302 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @04:10AM (#7442204)

    I think you're basically making my argument for me here.

    I work on Learjets so perhaps the planes I play with have better equipment, however I doubt there is a single commercial jet out there without a full navigation suit onboard.

    Yes, I understand that! Do you think bus drivers know how to navigate a great circle path? Do you think they understand magnetic deviation? If you fly Lears, you know as well as I do that the question isn't what happens when all the equipment is working: it's what happens when the equipment doesn't work. You have to be able to fly the airplane without navigational aids, or with "archaic" backup systems like VORTACs. You think your average bus driver can plot his location given a sectional chart and a VOR radio while he's flying the plane? Maybe the bus drivers in your area have more technical competence than they do in my area.

    Planes have pressurized cabins and O2 systems.

    Yes, of course they do. But my point is that you have yet another system that bus operators don't worry about, and would have no clue how to operate. Sure, new two-seater jets have computers that control their operation, but older jets force you to manually set the cabin pressure altitude. Does a bus driver know about hypoxia? What would happen above 10000 feet without a pressurized cabin? These are the questions that NO ONE with the level of training and responsibility a typical bus driver has would be able to answer if he/she were tasked with flying an airplane.

    #1 Eng to start ... Throttle lever to idle. Lights look normal.. #2 to start etc... I could teach a bus driver to start one of these things in half an hour.

    Sure, you could teach a bus driver to start them. Heck, you could probably even teach a bus driver the concept of independent engine throttle. But how do gas turbines operate? What happens if the compressor stall light comes on? How do the fire extinguishers work? When is it OK to deploy them? Heck, what about planes that require an APU just to start one of the mains? Or when the first officer does a walk-around preflight, would a bus driver know what to look for around the engine compartment to make sure nothing is amiss?

    Basically, my argument is that it isn't good enough to expect that the systems are automated, because automated systems will fail. Yes, it's rare. But it happens, and I guarantee you that pilots will always be expected to know how to operate a plane manually in the case of an emergency. Some failures are so catastrophic that no backup systems exist, and I'm aware of that fact. In those rarest of rare circumstances, even trained pilots would fail. But don't try to tell me that someone with the same level of training a bus driver receives would be even REMOTELY capable of landing an MD-11 in, say, Salt Lake City. Or recovering from an engine failure on takeoff in a max-loaded 777. The whole notion is ridiculous!

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard