Chemist Chad Mirkin of Northwesthern University in Evanston, Illinois, who sits on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, worries that not only will positions dry up, but perceptions of the postdoc as an “all-out work commitment” that prepares young scientists for a faculty position will change. “When I did a postdoc, money was not my prime motivator—the experience for me (and most who I know) was priceless,” he says.It's hard to know what to say to such a comment. "Tone-deaf" is a good start - I'll supply my own quote, which is "out of touch with the likely reality of the median postdoc."
I suspect (although I don't have a lot of data) that the median postdoc is a life scientist, who is somewhere slightly older than 30 years old, and has family commitments, or is looking to start some. Could that person use some overtime, a raise (if the PI chooses the exempt status route) or some free time? Yeah, I'm going to guess they could.
Do I wish that the overtime, the raise or the free time came on my dime (putting my taxpayer hat on), rather than the PI's dime? Yeah, I wish that were true. One more time: I'm in very strong sympathy with PIs who have had this new federal (as of yet, unfunded) mandate foisted upon them. If I were the Emperor of the American scientific research enterprise, I would have phased this rule in over 3 or 4 years. But, I'm not.