Education

Wisconson Gov. Scott Walker on Balancing Budget, Teacher Protests, & Collective Bargaining

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Heritage Foundation videographers (including former Reasoner Dan Hayes) interview Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker about his plans to balance Cheeseland's budget, the protests taking place in Madison, and the role of collective bargaining in jacking up public-sector benefits to bust-the-bank levels.

National public opinion seems to be firmly in the governor's corner. According to Pew Research, 45 percent of adults gave unions positive sentiments (about the same percentage corporations pulled). And a Clarus poll showed just 29 percent of respondents thought public workers should have union representation. Go here for more.

There's also a disputed national Rasmussen poll that shows support for the governor's tack while a poll of Wisconsin voters shows support for the public sector. Go to Nate Silver's NYTimes blog for more on that.

For those interested in the connection between collective bargaining and state deficits, Reason's Tim Cavanaugh pointed out last summer that it's far from clear that killing CB is a rosy path to a glorious future of budget surpluses. And Walker himself is quick to point out that Wisconsin public-sector workers will still have massive workplace protections in place.

I think introducing collective bargaining issues into budget debates ends up confusing things more than it clarifies (I realize that Walker was pushing for an end to it as a county-level pol in the Badger State). The same political forces that have increased public-sector total compensation up at the state and local levels will be there regardless of whether unions and CB are there.

Based on the various studies I've seen, it strikes me as inarguable that total compensation for state and local employees has grown beyond that of analogous private-sector workers. That's a sign that even former California pol Willie Brown has gotten. But even if you don't agree with that, there's no question that states can't afford large and growing compensation packages for employees. Forget about comparing public-sector employees to anyone but themselves in the past for a second and note:

As the Buckeye Institute, since 1986, [Ohio] state employee annual raises have averaged 3.5 percent. And that doesn't include yearly step increases between 1 percent to 3 percent, and longevity increases for folks working five to 20 years between 2 percent and 10 percent. All that adds up, clearly, as does the massive expansion in the workforce itself (over 90,000 new positions created in the past 20 years).

More here.

Like most states, Wisconsin's economy is ailing and raising taxes to keep teachers in the pink of benefits isn't going to help grow the cheese wheel any bigger. If teachers want to get pissed, they ought to figure out how to capture a bigger share of the gigantic growth in school spending over the past 40 years. Think about this: Over the past decade or so, teacher salaries have increased about 2 percent more than inflation. Over the same time, total spending per pupil has increased 20 percent above inflation. Even recognizing that fringe benefits have certainly increased over the same time period, what kind of union is only pulling 2 percent to wages out of a pie that has grown 10 times that much?

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  1. More Mad-urbaiting!

    1. It doesn’t have the same ring as mosque-urbating did.

  2. I posted the text of the bill on the thread last night. It’s crazy long but has a good legislative summary at the beginning. I actually think some of it seems reasonable. CBAs can’t be for two years but are limited to one. They are limited to bargaining for wages. I can see taking the benefits off the table at a time when it simply can’t be afforded, but I think work conditions should be on the table.

    But some of it is just straight union busting very indirectly to budget issues, like requiring re-certification yearly (Walker doesn’t have to face a recall election every year), not allowing dues to be deducted directly from the paycheck (this doesn’t effect the state budget, it just makes it more likely dues don’t get to the union from the worker), and allowing people to be covered under collective bargaining units without paying the collective bargainer (come along for a free ride!).

    1. (Walker doesn’t have to face a recall election every year)

      Gov. Walker is subject to a recall vote at any time the electorate sees fit.

    2. “…benefits off the table at a time when it simply can’t be afforded…”

      Tell me about it. It’s a wonder how we get buy. Give up cable TV? Never! It’s a right!

      But maybe now you understand why we’re not exactly viewing this as fair…especially, considering our deficit.

  3. Unions forever! Wait, what? We’re in 50th place economically? How’d that happen?

        1. All hail the North American Union!

          1. Get yer red-hot Ameros here. 2 for 1 special!

            1. I’m buying up real estate near exits on the proposed 70-lane supermegahighway being secretly built between North North American Union and South North American Union. I got this information from the Masons.

            2. the amerios remain impounded in perot’s duty-free zone near DFW awaiting completion of the NAFTA super highway.

              1. To think that people believe that Perot lost the 1992 presidential election!

            3. Re: Really?

              Get yer red-hot Ameros here. 2 for 1 special!

              Actually, the proposed Amero is not a particularly attractive coin.

              http://esarsea.files.wordpress…..eview.jpeg

              1. I don’t know, OM. I like the timelessness of the design. It’s very Art Deco/Bioshock.

                1. I don’t know, OM. I like the timelessness of the design. It’s very Art Deco/Bioshock.

                  Can’t get anymore midwestern than what that chick sounds like.

                  The butler was way too saucy though. I had to take a shotty and reboot to him a few times.

              2. That is pretty ugly, as far as coins go.

  4. I think the unionistas in Madison are making a very good case that pubsec employees should not be allowed to unionize at all.

    With their sickouts and their disruption of the commonweal, they are demonstrating why people whose jobs are supposed to be essential to the, err, general welfare should not be allowed to strike, engage in mass walkouts, or otherwise deploy the panoply of union tactics.

    But some of it is just straight union busting very indirectly to budget issues, like requiring re-certification yearly (Walker doesn’t have to face a recall election every year),

    No, but he does have to be reelected every four years. Would you be satisfied if the recerts were on four year intervals?

    not allowing dues to be deducted directly from the paycheck (this doesn’t effect the state budget, it just makes it more likely dues don’t get to the union from the worker),

    Why should the State act as a collection agency for a nominally private arrangement?

    and allowing people to be covered under collective bargaining units without paying the collective bargainer (come along for a free ride!).

    Ahh, right to work. The bane of the unionista. The collection of dues from people who don’t want a union, voted against the union, don’t support the union.

    See, the “free ride” is essential to collective bargaining as practiced in the US of A. If employers were free to hire non-union employees at market rates in unionized shops, guess how many union members would be hired at union rates? Your “free ride” is the price you pay for ashcanning freedom of association and contract.

    1. How hard is it to replace teachers? Really. I’m not saying that there aren’t great public school teachers, but there are plenty that are no more suited for K-12 education than I am–terminal degree aside. And there are lots and lots of college graduates out there.

      1. Yet, amazingly, given the outrageously high pay and ridiculous benefits, not many people choose to devote their lives to raising other peoples’ bratty kids.
        BTW, As a chemistry and physics teacher, my training in math and the sciences is just as valuable to a private sector employer as it is on my current job. But your PhD in chemistry or physics is useless in the classroom. Over and over again, we’ve seen these people come over from industry to get a taste of the sweet teaching life. A year is a good long run for these types. Usually they’re gone in a semester, or less.

    2. No, but he does have to be reelected every four years. Would you be satisfied if the recerts were on four year intervals?

      Hey, let’s go a step further and have term limits. After one recert, you have to find another job, just like the governor. It only seems fair.

    3. It’s a shame that there are uneducated people running off at the lip service about subjects that they truely don’t understand or because it doesn’t directly effect them. Gov.walker or should i say dictator walker thinks that if he can bust the union in his state that other states will follow. The rightwing idiots see this as their chance to stop the campaign contributions that come from the unions to the democrats and that this will magically bring republicans into a sweep for the elections. This really is a sad and pathetic ploy, you see they know that they have no candidates that can beat Obama in 2012 without trying to stop the large contributions nor can they win the senate and will lose the house again. This is all that this new legislation is trying to do and to screw the middle working class again my making them the ones responsible for fixing the budget mess. Hey walker why don’t you get your bank rolling campaign contributing koch brothers to pony up some of their billions to fix your budget mess, that by the way was your fault by handing big business big tax breaks once again. So you see there is no “free ride” as you call it, it’s dirty politics. What the republicans aren’t counting on are folks like myself that have voted republican all my life but am now ashamed to even admit that and have since changed parties. I will spend every waking minute working to ensure that the rightwing is crushed in 2012 and i’m not alone,that’s what their not counting on or that shows up in their poles.

      1. Unsustainable means we can’t afford it. Either we or our children are going to pay the reaper, barring some major economic boom that happens despite the ever-increasing hunger of the parasites sucking on the body politic.

        This whole matter is being blown out of proportion, anyway. Increased contributions to pensions and healthcare are, of course, totally fair and reasonable. Diminishing the state support of collective bargaining is hardly a denial of human rights–in fact, a number of states are right to work states lacking the large political thumb on the scales.

        I’m certainly sympathetic to people who are going to take a financial hit from this during economic hard times, but the fact is that we can’t afford to keep spending money that we don’t have. It’s as simple as that.

        1. I’m certainly sympathetic to people who are going to take a financial hit from this during economic hard times, but the fact is that we can’t afford to keep spending money that we don’t have. It’s as simple as that.

          [Hands over ears, eyes shut tight]
          LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA…

      2. or that shows up in their poles.

        You know who else blamed the Poles?

        1. The guy trying to screw in a light bulb?

        2. Godwin’d

        3. So pole dancers are working people.

      3. First off, if you had bothered to read anywhere among the like 1500 comments spread out around the blog you’d know that these people aren’t poor. Secondly…fuck it I’m not explaining it to you.

      4. I want you to know that I got way too drunk off this post alone.

    4. “Why should the State act as a collection agency for a nominally private arrangement?”

      That’s only fair if the state doesn’t do that at all. I mean, if they can assess deductions for charitable contributions, investments, or insurance premiums automatically, then they’ve already opened that can of worms.

  5. teacher salaries have increased about 2 percent more than inflation. Over the same time, total spending per pupil has increased 20 percent above inflation

    Sumpin’ wrong heeyah!

    (Rends garment)

  6. “Over the past decade or so, teacher salaries have increased about 2 percent more than inflation. Over the same time, total spending per pupil has increased 20 percent above inflation.”

    So where’s the money going? Capital improvements? Administration? Hookers and blow?

    1. So where’s the money going? Capital improvements? Administration? Hookers and blow?

      One of the places this money is going is to teachers, only not in the form of salary. My sister is a kindergarten teacher. She has a quad-core laptop that gets replaced with a new one every year or two. The school also purchased a digital video camera that she basically owns. The other day she described getting a video conference call, during class of course, and how she put it on the “smartboard” for all the kids to watch. Yep, you need a hightech blackboard to teach kindergarten.

      1. That’s what I suspected. Computer labs were seen as the silver bullet back in the 90s, so it makes sense that schools are falling for smartboards and such now.

        1. Maybe you haven’t heard that the Chinese have found ways to teach JAVA programming in the womb. We’re falling behind(we don’t even have a SINGLE high speed train) to the Chinese, and you want to take computers out of the classrooms.

          Are you ready for an army of 300 million Chinese kung-fu babies invading California on a high speed train…better learn Mandarin now Christina, maybe they’ll go easy on you.

          1. And all this time I’ve been preparing for a conservative christian dictatorship a la Margaret Atwood. My fertility is a liability now. I’m so effed.

            1. No, your fertility will be needed to create the race of hybrid amerochin super-cops.

              No dog will be safe and the bureaucracy will be awesome. And the trains, of course.

          2. Oh my god my boss is starring at me cause I’m laughing so hard right now.

      2. Really? The tools my employer loans me to do my job are part of my pay? I guess my part-time carpentry job is paying better than I thought.

    2. High-end goodies. You should see the auditorium at my kids’ high school. I think chunks of change also go to administration costs, which seem much higher than they once were.

    3. Speaking ex rectum, but litigation expenses, bureaucracy to comply with education regulations, and special education, probably account for a lot of that spending. No doubt the Feds are responsible for a lot of the mandated spending.

  7. We should all take care and realize that according to the esteemed Mr. Unger over at Forbes that Mr. Gillespie and the Reason staff are nothing but pawns working at the behest of the Kochtopus to destroy all unions everywhere.

    Seriously though, is there going to be some sort of response to the Unger/Mother Jones accusations mentioning Reason by name? Mother Jones is what it is, but they are some pretty daming accusations.

    1. Linky?

    2. So what? Even if the Koch brothers are working very hard to push this in the direction of busting public unions, so what? If you agree that public worker unions are destructive and dangerous then you probably reply to those accusations with “uhhh…GOOD”. And don’t we all have the right to advocate for what we believe and spend our time and money pushing for it? Only moronic liberals care about those “accusations”.

    3. Excellent. Go Kochtapus, go!

    4. my god the stupid is strong over there.

    5. Most of the accusations aren’t that damning to libertarians.

      Most of us have no problem with using automation to improve the productivity of labor, even if it means that individual laborers will need to find new ways to employ their labor.

      And most of us, if we had a billion dollars to throw around, would pay people to help us advocate our worldview; bullshit is easy, but actually putting together reports and shit takes effort, and people have to be paid for that effort.

      As for what they “award themselves” out of their business, it’s a private company. They don’t have a fiduciary obligation to shareholders. Presumably he means to insinuate that they are taking a share that rightly belongs to the workers they’re laying off, which might fly with communists but means shit to libertarians.

      1. What I meant by damming is the overall narrative that has taken place with the Wisconsin issue (in that particular piece) and the national scene. The implication in these articles is that the Wisconsin governorship was bought for $43k (and unlimited Citizens United funds) and this will somehow allow the Koch’s to pillage, plunder and pollute the States of Wisconsin all in furtherance of their nefarious goals. There is no public policy goal in this effort by the Governor, just a simple quid pro quo. By once again highlighting Reason and the Koch brothers together you then attempt to minimize and marginalize any work or discussion that comes out of Reason on Wisconsin, such as this piece we are commenting on. That leads into the larger National narrative about the Koch brothers. We are being asked to believe that we would all love the policies of Progressive liberals if not for the false consciousness being implanted on us by the cartoon super villain Koch Brothers. Every story like this now searches for the Koch connection as if to show there is no actual policy issue, no honest difference in opinion on the role of government, but all just a smokescreen to get us deeper under the rich man’s control. As for the Koch’s and how they spend their money, I don’t really care, they earned it, have fun. The issue is if this narrative takes hold and colors in people’s minds Reason and Cato and the rest. If you create a public perception that Reason is a propaganda wing of Koch Industries, then their work gets tarnished the same way as Governor Walker’s (not to imply he is blameless and of some higher calling in this mess) – lip service to a protect a higher master. The magazine and the foundation produce some great work, and it is making play in the larger world, it would just be a shame to see it marginalized. While coming to the Koch’s defense (of their Wisconsin actions) in this particular article would only reinforce the narrative, there should be a way to reinforce the “Free Minds” part of the slogan and show there are people who were thinking on the notion of limited government before we woke up in the Kochtopus Matrix.

  8. Let me guess… being a republican the guy will exempt police and firefighters, which are the highest paid public employees, with obscene pensions.

    And if taking union dues from paychecks is so wrong, what makes withholding taxes OK? Lets see Mr. Walker show some balls and come out for that.

    1. Re: not again,

      And if taking union dues from paychecks is so wrong, what makes withholding taxes OK?

      Nothing. Both are theft.

    2. Re: not again,

      Let me guess… being a republican the guy will exempt police and firefighters, which are the highest paid public employees, with obscene pensions.

      Not to mention they also have occupations with high rates of death and injury.

      1. Statistically speaking it’s more dangerous to be a fisher or a farmer.

      2. For the record, I don’t think any public union should be exempt from this.

        1. For the record, I agree. The point is that Walker’s decision to exempt the firefighters and the police is not irrational or particularly self-serving, especially when he obtained very little support from them during the election.

          1. For the record, I don’t actually keep a record of my “for the record” statements.

          2. The danger of being a firefighter or a police officer has been way overblown as Sage pointed out.

            I would argue that it is very self serving to exempt them. He wants to stand up and be a crusader against unions and public employees, but he knows that it’s a common belief amongst republican voters that police and firefighters are somehow better than everyone else. He’s not brave enough to stand up against the worst offenders.

            It’d be like a democrat coming out and wanting to cut public salaries for everyone but teachers and nurses (the groups they use to manipulate the emotions of their typical voters).

            To be fair, I don’t know the pay difference between police and fighters and the rest of the public employees, but if it’s like any other state the difference is massive.

            1. Actually it makes perfect sense. He needs the police and firemen on his side when the riots break out. Also, it takes the “…but who’s going to protect us?” argument away from the unions.

          3. For fuck’s sake OM you pretend to be this absolutist but you just can’t help making excuses for Republicans.

            1. Every once in a while you find an acorn, Tony.

    3. You know why the firefighters showed up at the protests the other day (the most dramatic moment of teh protests)?

      A) They know that for the most part they are above criticism, unlike pigs.

      b) They know that they’ll be next…eventually.

    4. Doubt Walker is for your #1, but you have to start somewhere. I agree with you on their compensation and retirement package.

      Good luck finding any politician this side of Ron Paul to come out against any type of tax withholding. Especially in a place as taxed as WI: http://www.revenue.wi.gov/faqs/pcs/taxrates.html 6-7% of all income?! With a 5.5% sales tax and a ~2.0-2.5% property tax too. No wonder the Tea Party did so well. God, I love Texas.

      Not that I’m for withholding at all. And of course, Election Day should be the day after Tax Day.

    5. There are 314 police and firefighter unions in Wisconsin. Four (4) of them endorsed Walker. The rest endorsed his opponent.

    6. So your problem with the bill is that there isn’t enough Union Busting(TM) in it? I agree. It could be improved in that aspect.

    7. That’s specific to Walker, though. Granted, that he’s made himself the star of the show in a sort of Assange-esque move. I’m not sure about Christie, but I think Kasich’s reform plan will include police and firefighters.

      “And if taking union dues from paychecks is so wrong, what makes withholding taxes OK?”

      Because one is a private arrangement, and the other is the law?

  9. I don’t see a problem with regular recertification votes unless you’re a one man, one vote, one time kinda guy.

  10. Fringe benefits? I thought it was French benefits!

  11. Like most states, Wisconsin’s economy is ailing and raising taxes to keep teachers in the pink of benefits isn’t going to help grow the cheese wheel any bigger.

    Tony would probably not agree with you, since he believes taxation and revenue make a positive slope line, you know: a magic revenue fountain where you take more and there is still more to take… like those in fairy tales.

  12. Unilateral is the perfect word to describe government negotiations.

    Any employee absolutely has the right to bargain for whatever they want; the employer also has the right not to employ them.

    What confuses this issue is the question: who is the employer? the taxpayer? the state?

    It’s time address the 500 pound gorilla in the room: teachers are not paid by taxpayers. Taxpayers are robbed at gunpoint by individuals who wrap themselves in a magical cloak called “government” and those individuals employ teachers.

    If we want to pretend this theft is justified, the government should respond as any employer would in a free market: lock the union out; not write legislation to manipulate the employer/employee relationship in a way might win them the votes of anti-union “conservatives” next election.

    Collective bargaining and strikes are a perfectly legitimate, voluntary function of the free market. A lock out is an employers non-violent defense against a strike. The government is neither voluntary nor non-violent, so forget anything you know about free-markets.

    STRIKE THE ROOT!

  13. Anybody here old enough to remember when public employees were referred to as public “servants”? And the “servants” actually had some pride in that role?

    1. “To serve and protect.”

      1. “To [self]serve and protect[my mealticket]”

        1. When I watched Adam-12 as a kid, it did occur to me even then to wonder whether that phrase necessarily ended with “the people.”

          1. To serve man and protect him while being fattened?

            1. That, too.

  14. And if taking union dues from paychecks is so wrong, what makes withholding taxes OK?

    (1) Who said it was OK?

    (2) You can actually opt out of having taxes withheld, unlike the mandatory collection of union dues in Wisconsin.

    (3) Tax withholding is not the State acting as collection agent between two (nominally) private parties.

  15. “Over the past decade or so, teacher salaries have increased about 2 percent more than inflation.”

    Not in California. It’s like a 43% increase in teacher salaries over the last decade in this state.

    1. That’s a 21% increase when compounded. And keep in mind that’s AFTER inflation. Add in inflation (rough guess at 2%) , and you get a 48% nominal increase. Sounds about right.

  16. Blaming broke states on collective bargaining in the presence of a government-enforced monopoly over the labor supply (of teachers, firefighters, etc), makes about as much sense as blaming bank failures on “greed” in the presence of a government-enforced monopoly over the money supply.

    Collective bargaining per se isn’t the problem; monopoly is.

  17. My problem with Right-to-Work laws for the private sector is that I endorse the right of unions to close shops if they can achieve a closed shop through bargaining.

    In other words, if a union demands a closed shop and the employer accedes to this negotiating demand, the state has no right to intervene and void that contract.

    Right-to-work laws are the employment equivalent of antitrust law. I don’t endorse either.

  18. So where’s the money going? Capital improvements?

    You should see the football stadium at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis.

    And they apparently have an Olympic-quality “Aquatic Center” too.

    You know, essential stuff.

    1. I live in SW PA, and the school districts are worse that the pro-teams with their venue demands. Last time that I checked you didn’t need a 20 ft lcd scoreboard to play high school football…but I’m old fashioned, I guess.

      And now that the Pens have good team, there is grumbling about ice rinks. Yes, every fucking school needs an olympic sized swimming pool, a STADIUM for football, and an ice hockey arena.

      Shit pisses me off…total waste

      1. New York too. We have some of the finest community athletic venues in the free world at your local public school.

        Not to mention more than adequate classroom space in some Districts where enrollment is declining and the State Education Department is mandating larger classrooms and more Gymnasiums instead of sending kids outside for PE.

      2. Yeah. Busting the teacher’s union will definitely fix overspending by school boards on athletic facilities.

  19. Indiana could have saved a ton of money if they had just rented that Ben Davis facility to the Colts on game days.

  20. Ha ha. Liberty’s alleged pals, in their despicable rejection of the freedom to collectively bargain, managed to overlook the whole point of Walker’s provocation.

    Nobody noticed what Wisconsin’s budget fight is actually about: the GOP’s mass privatization of the state’s utilities.

    Bottom of page 23 of the governor’s budget:

    http://tinyurl.com/4hcelez

    SECTION 44. 16.896 of the statutes is created to read:
    16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state?owned heating, cooling,
    and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the

    department may sell any state?owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may

    contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without

    solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best

    interest of the state.

    This fight Walker and the GOP started isn’t about collective bargaining – he will almost certainly back down on that in exchange for passing the rest of the budget as is – clearing the way for the buyers.

    The most likely buyers? The same as Walker’s leading campaign contributor:

    Koch.

    http://www.kochind.com/factsSh…..Facts.aspx

    So please, glibertards: do not let this episode proving the horror of the free market for political results interrupt your eternal work on your knees under the boardroom table, slurping away on tumescent corporate members. And don’t forget to blame the government for the result either, you fucking choads.

    Ha ha.

    1. Ha ha. For those not really into reading evidence of the free market for political results (aka everybody at Reason) here’s the TV coverage of the Koch lurking at the bottom of the budget.

      http://www.todaystmj4.com/feat…..33848.html

      I know you wouldn’t want to miss out on news of a yummy Koch.

      Ha ha.

      1. Re: Orel Hazard,

        For those not really into reading evidence of the free market for political results[…]

        The free market for political results? You mean a free market cannot be for its own sake?

        1. OM,

          Why do you bother with these retards? They only post this shit to get a rise out of people. You shouldn’t give them the pleasure.

          1. Why do you bother with these retards? They only post this shit to get a rise out of people. You shouldn’t give them the pleasure.

            I know what you mean. But I’m an altruist, concerned for the younger, more isolated members of society. They need to see us point and hearing us laugh at the pathetic douchebaggery of economic libertarianism, so they might in the end be diverted from a sad, self-absorbed life of cuddling guns and fellating corporate wang.

            It’s, you know, the least I can do.

            1. Re: Orel Hazard,

              But I’m an altruist, concerned for the younger, more isolated members of society.

              Liar.

              1. Liar.

                Ha ha. Probably because dictionaries are the result of a collective effort, self-absorbed, tiny-minded libertarians don’t like them or what they contain, such as this:

                http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/altruism

                al?tru?ism? ?
                [al-troo-iz-uhm]
                ?noun
                1.
                the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others ( opposed to egoism).

                Ha ha.

                1. I’m not an Objectivist or anything, but when this dumbass called himself an altruist, I couldn’t help but think of these assorted Rand quotes:

                  Altruism declares that any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one’s own benefit is evil. Thus the beneficiary of an action is the only criterion of moral value?and so long as that beneficiary is anybody other than oneself, anything goes.

                  Now there is one word?a single word?which can blast the morality of altruism out of existence and which it cannot withstand?the word: “Why?” Why must man live for the sake of others? Why must he be a sacrificial animal? Why is that the good? There is no earthly reason for it?and, ladies and gentlemen, in the whole history of philosophy no earthly reason has ever been given.

                  It is only mysticism that can permit moralists to get away with it. It was mysticism, the unearthly, the supernatural, the irrational that has always been called upon to justify it?or, to be exact, to escape the necessity of justification. One does not justify the irrational, one just takes it on faith. What most moralists?and few of their victims?realize is that reason and altruism are incompatible.

                  America’s inner contradiction was the altruist-collectivist ethics. Altruism is incompatible with freedom, with capitalism and with individual rights. One cannot combine the pursuit of happiness with the moral status of a sacrificial animal.

                  If a man accepts the ethics of altruism, he suffers the following consequences (in proportion to the degree of his acceptance):

                  1. Lack of self-esteem?since his first concern in the realm of values is not how to live his life, but how to sacrifice it.

                  2. Lack of respect for others?since he regards mankind as a herd of doomed beggars crying for someone’s help.

                  3. A nightmare view of existence?since he believes that men are trapped in a “malevolent universe” where disasters are the constant and primary concern of their lives.

                  4. And, in fact, a lethargic indifference to ethics, a hopelessly cynical amorality?since his questions involve situations which he is not likely ever to encounter, which bear no relation to the actual problems of his own life and thus leave him to live without any moral principles whatever.

            2. As opposed to cuddling with gluten free vegan potato chips and lubing your asshole for the cock of the State.

              Fuck off slaver.

    2. Re: Orel Hazard,

      Nobody noticed what Wisconsin’s budget fight is actually about: the GOP’s mass privatization of the state’s utilities.

      The world will surely end because of privatization of state utilities.

      1. The world will surely end because of privatization of state utilities.

        Ha ha. You missed the part where it says without bid. Some free-market ideologue you turned out to be, advocating a fixed-price corporate appropriation of public property.

        Ha ha. You’re either illiterate or you’re an enthusiastic sucker of corporate cock. To cover both eventualtites, we’ll just call you “libertarian”.

        Ha ha.

        1. Re: Orel Hazard,

          Ha ha. You missed the part where it says without bid.

          It says with or without bid. YOU missed that part.

          You’re either illiterate or you’re an enthusiastic sucker of corporate cock.

          Or rather I know to read and you don’t. Buying without bid solicitation may stem from a small available pool of suppliers or subcontractors. Depends on the requirement.

          Some free-market ideologue you turned out to be, advocating a fixed-price corporate appropriation of public property.

          You may think in your very limited appreciation of things that such thing is the end all of my preoccupations, but that’s not it. The problem is not selling so-called “public” property to single bidders, the problem is giving the private entity sole license to operate, limiting competition.

          1. Ha ha. Plain English shows you’re okay with no bids, and you’re okay with limiting competition and you’re okay with quiet corporate appropriation of public property.

            Ha ha. You thought you were fellating the free market, that’s a Koch on the other end of that cock.

            Ha ha.

    3. Next time don’t spend a century raping property rights in order to centralize the production of electric power.

      If it was up to us, there would be no state utility properties for Walker to illicitly sell.

      1. If it was up to us, there would be no state utility properties for Walker to illicitly sell.

        If it was up to you, there’d be no rural electrification, you mean.

        1. Re: Orel Hazard,

          If it was up to you, there’d be no rural electrification, you mean.

          No, he doesn’t mean that, and concluding such a thing from his comment would tell me you have a problem with understanding concepts.

          1. Damn it OM, you idiot. If the government doesn’t do it, it can’t be done. Roads. Somalia. Top Men.

            Commonwealth and Southern did not exist.

            1. Damn it OM, you idiot. If the government doesn’t do it, it can’t be done.

              Ha ha. Slack-jawed glibertarian cheerleaders for business interests don’t even know what utility executives all know: that distant, rural service is unprofitable to build and would not ever exist to its current degree without enormous public subsidy.

              You’d think such enthusiastic corporate fellators might pick up a thing or two about business by now, but I guess it’s hard to hear the captains of industry talk when you’re on your knees under the boardroom table, slurping away.

              Ha ha.

              1. “that distant, rural service is unprofitable to build and would not ever exist to its current degree without enormous public subsidy.”

                Even if this ridiculous assertion were true, so what? Why should the rest of us subsidize your desire to live remotely? Living remotely has disadvantages and one of them is that some things in life cost more than they do in urban areas. And vice versa.

                You want to live in the woods be my guest I just don’t understand why you think society owes you a power line.

                1. Ha ha. You think ratepayers in rural areas don’t pay rates. Ha ha.

                  Ha ha. You think that the free market wired the rural areas for power and phone and gas – as if programs such as the Tennessee Valley Authority weren’t needed.

                  And you think it’s okay for tens of millions of people to have no opportunity to pay for and have these essential things. You’re a retrograde idiot advocating a return to the 18th century.

                  Ha ha.

                  1. Actually, you’re right that there probably would not be much in the way of rural utility service for electrical generation.

                    Instead, what almost certainly would have developed is a wide array of local, distributed generation sites, serving either a single property or a handful of properties.

                    In other words, exactly the sort of generation web that we’re now told we need to pay billion-dollar subsidies to create, because the centralized system built around utilities is wasteful and overly dependent on fossil fuels.

    4. Sweet! State governments should get out of the power business and property-owning business anyway.

  21. Please read this article and destroy

    Yes, I get most of my related information on this topic here @ Reason, so perhaps I’m biased… But frankly I find the analysis on Reason to have greater actual basis in fact than this guy’s cobbled-together fantasy world…

    http://www.marketwatch.com/sto…..2011-02-18


    Some people have some funny notions about government workers. They think the federal, state and local governments are hiring more people each year. They think government workers are vastly overpaid. They think government pensions are responsible for budget shortfalls. None of it is true.

    Here are some facts:

    Government employment isn’t rising. Government employment ramped up in the 1950s and 1960s to educate the baby boomers, but the share of the labor force that works for government has been fairly steady at around 14.5% for the past 30 years, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There has been no surge in hiring by governments. Bureaucrats aren’t taking over the economy.

    Government workers are not overpaid. Government workers, on average, do make more than workers in the private sector, but there are good reasons for that: They have more education and more experience. More than half of government workers have college degrees, for instance, compared with about a third of private-sector workers. This is a good thing. We want educated and experienced people in classrooms, courtrooms and laboratories.

    If you compare workers with similar training and experience, it turns out that state and local government workers make about 4% less than comparable workers in the private sector, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute. Read the EPI paper on government compensation.

    There is not an immediate pension crisis. Overly generous government pensions are not responsible for the state and local budget crisis; the recession is. There’s a simple explanation for the shortfalls: Revenues have plunged, while demand for services has increased because of high unemployment.

    On average, contributions to pensions account for less than 4% of government operating budgets. The pensions are considered severely underfunded now because of the recession, which led to big losses in the stock market and to lower yields on assets. But even fully funding those pensions would only require contributions of 5% of operating budgets, according to Iris Lav of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The pension shortfall can be solved over time by making relatively minor changes in contributions and benefits.

    State pensions, for the most part, can meet all their obligations for the next 20 years without doing anything. Read Lav’s testimony on the budget crisis.

    Oh… the other thing in his article that gets my goat is the “WE DIDNT CAUSE THE RECESSSION!!”

    See, only private sector people are supposed to suffer the pain of economic cycles, apparently, because we made the mistake of participating in the morally-tainted if economically-productive side of the working population. Public workers are free of the taint of contributing to the capitalist business cycles, and are thus free from its consequences… See, its a lack of revenue! Not spending! You’re not earning enough for us to tax away!!

    But really… I’ve seen this argument come from a number of sources, always prefaced by, “see, you CAUSED the recession…”

    Didn’t KVH of the nation accuse Nick of as much during that parker-spitzer show?

    1. Government employment ramped up in the 1950s and 1960s to educate the baby boomers, but the share of the labor force that works for government has been fairly steady at around 14.5% for the past 30 years, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There has been no surge in hiring by governments. Bureaucrats aren’t taking over the economy.

      You know what?

      At the state government level, static employment over that time period is a huge fucking problem.

      Missions for state governments haven’t changed since the 60’s. Not for white-collar staffs. But technology has dramatically changed.

      If you have the same number of drivers on the road that you had in 1970, it should only take 1/5th as many DMV workers to provide the same level of service as was available in 1970.

      If we have the same number of DMV workers, it’s a big problem.

      The same is true of social work, the probation bureau, etc.

      Why can we get by with 1/50th the number of travel agents we used to have, but still have the same number of DMV workers?

      1. Well observed.

      2. Part of the boom during the 90s was from reaping the benefits of computing to reduce labor costs, improve inventory management, etc.

    2. Oh… funny P.S.

      I saw this on the next H&R post, re: Andy Card’s editorial


      2. Wall Street Created the Fiscal Crisis, Not Unions

      Re: the second point, the fiscal crisis could have been caused by a meteor, and it still wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference to the problem at hand…

      …Which was the same thought I’d had about the shills writing these editorials = they all keep repeating this claim, almost as though theres some *actual relevant argument being made*…. when there’s not: it’s just a rhetorical gag to pathetically position themselves on some opposite end of some fictitious moral scale, where they should be treated with *special consideration*, since “we’re not wall st fat cats”…

      Seriously. These guys seriously must either circulate B.S. talking points around the liberal-sphere, or simply start echo-chamber repeating the mantras of their peers without ever reflecting on whether the point being made is a) actually true or not, or b) relevant to the actual argument at all.

      I would go so far as to point out re: a) – that in fact, public sector unions *did* contribute mightily to our current State fiscal-crises, recession or not… that they have contributed to the vast inflation of state benefits which were simply unsustainable, and now that economic conditions have worsened… well, now they don’t appear so justifiable anymore.

      As noted by mr welch = the relationship of the financial crisis to the widespread recession is basically immaterial to the issue of public sector unions bleeding State coffers dry. In fact, there is certainly a big difference between the financial crisis, and the current recession; it would be fair to say that the recession is the product of a range of factors far beyond that of “Wall St finance” = many of which fall in the lap of State and Federal government, and public and private sector unions.

      I note that andy card doesn’t bother defending pensions in point #1; he puts it farther down, and makes two minor points about Wisconsin’s pensions in particular; he makes a broad sweeping claim that ‘they’re not the problem’, but then provides no particular evidence supporting that claim.

      I also note that all the defenders of the public sector unions in Wisconsin are desperately trying to spin this as an essentially ‘political’ move by the GOP; that in fact, “there’s no problem with unions…its just being done so they can eliminate democratic power bases…”

      The irony here that in making this accusation, they both admit that, a) There may in fact be a legitimate reason for criticising unions = just that in this case, *its pure politics*, and b) *of course unions are a democratic power base*…

      …the fact they (shamelessly!) admit that public sector unions are a monolitic political bloc that pulls the strings of the democratic party should maybe raise more questions about the ‘legitimacy’ of their bargaining power vis a vis those they help get elected…

      Meaning, they seem to think there’s *nothing wrong* with using their political muscle to extract disproportionate pay & benefits from their Democratic lapdogs… but when a different party comes into power and doesn’t want to play ball?? “Dirty Politics!!” they scream…with absolutely NO sense of irony whatsoever…

  22. “I think introducing collective bargaining issues into budget debates ends up confusing things more than it clarifies…”

    I think it addresses the source of the problem, rather than just the symptoms.

    Until the public sector employees can no longer collectively bargain, that cancer will keep metastasizing and the effect will be amplified with every upturn in the economy.

    “Over the past decade or so, teacher salaries have increased about 2 percent more than inflation. Over the same time, total spending per pupil has increased 20 percent above inflation.”

    It seems to me that comparing the amount of pay per teacher to the amount spent per student isn’t an apples to apples comparison.

    If they hired 20% more teachers and paid them all 2% more each, then the unions would still be capturing all that spending growth.

  23. More than half of government workers have college degrees, for instance

    This is really starting to piss me off.

    Aside from the obvious questions regarding the utility of those degrees, and their relevance to the actual tasks performed by the workers, it is merely provides more evidence of credentialism as a barrier to entry erected by those public sector cartels. Furthermore, I suspect many of those degrees were obtained at taxpayer expense.

    Shut the fuck up, EPI.

  24. All we need now is Neu Mejican to spend the next six hours quibbling about the true meaning of the word undercompensated.

  25. HuffPo is touting a poll, paid for by the AFL-CIO that shows more favorable results for unions.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..26359.html

  26. everything is damn superb…

  27. Let’s be perfectly clear about what unions are all about:

    They traffic in intimidation in order to extract above-market wages and promote workplace inefficiency.

    Strikes, camping out on executives/legislator’s lawns, mob protests, all the union tactics have nothing to do with reasoned persuasion. They are exercises in intimidation, pure and simple.

    A union has to obtain above-market wages for its members, or it will die as they leave the union shops in droves for better-paying jobs.

    A union has to maintain workplace inefficiency through work rules in order to maintain a high (dues-paying) worker census and provide job security for its members.

    That’s what unions do. That’s what they are for.

    While we might be able to tolerate them in the private sector, I submit that they have no place, at all, in the public sector. And we will never solve our budget problems as long as we have large, well-funded groups dealing in intimidation opposing budget reforms.

    1. Ha ha. Look at the corporate cocksucker point his finger at unions and “intimidation”, providing a smokescreen while the GOP’s governor tries to pass no-bid privatization of Wisconsin’s public property to the leading campaign contributors on page 23 of the governor’s budget.

      http://tinyurl.com/4hcelez

      SECTION 44. 16.896 of the statutes is created to read:
      16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state?owned heating, cooling,
      and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the

      department may sell any state?owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may

      contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without

      solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best

      interest of the state.

      Ha ha. Look at the shill for the Koch brothers jump up and down, gripping one Koch-cock in each lubricated hand. Look at him pretend that the free market for political results is a good thing.

      Ha ha.

      1. Ha ha. Look at the corporate cocksucker point his finger at unions and “intimidation”, providing a smokescreen while the GOP’s governor tries to pass no-bid privatization of Wisconsin’s public property to the leading campaign contributors on page 23 of the governor’s budget.

        Why is this a bad thing?

        1. “Why is this a bad thing?”

          Ha ha. Somebody really hasn’t been paying attention.

          Tell you what. Let the Koch brothers turn your street into a toll road, and let them do it under the table for whatever ridiculously tiny price they determine between themselves and their shills who were elected on the pretense of “balancing the budget”. When they come for your toll, will you:

          a) happily pay it, get out of your car and offer to blow them on the spot, or,

          b) fucking scream about the anti-competitive, coercive, corporate screw job you were just the victim of?

          You see, no-bid seizures of public property as a quid pro quo for campaign contributors is a magnificent example of the free market for political results. As such, it tends to soil the libertarian wank-fantasy of efficient markets mitigating desires through competition while at the same time it deprives the public of what they fucking paid for over the decades.

          That wasn’t obvious, I guess. Ha ha.

          1. If and when that happens, you know whose fault it will be?

            The people who spent a century using the coercive power of the state to force American society to configure itself around the automobile.

            Next time don’t do that.

            1. force American society to configure itself around the automobile.

              Ha ha. Please email video of you steadfastly walking or biking year-round to your job, your shopping, your school, etc. to

              orelhazard@putuporshutthefuckup.com

          2. Ahhh….you fooled me! For a minute there I thought that you were NOT one of those paranoid, delusional, nuttier than squirrel turds, rub shit in your hair, wacko, nut jobs!

            1. nut jobs

              Yes, exactly. Pointing out the plain English in the bill that says the utilities may upon passage be sold without bid is something unworthy of mention at a free-market, competition-worshipping website. Indeed, only a “nut job” would mention it.

              Ha ha.

        2. It’s not the “privatization” part that’s bad, it’s the “no bid” part.

      2. Ha ha. Look at the useful idiot, trying to divert attention from the topic at hand.

        Ha. Ha.

        Did you ever stop to think that a governor trying to engineer the sub rosa handover of state assets to a shadowy cabal, maybe wouldn’t put into the middle of the most controversial, high-profile piece of legislation in existence?

        1. Did you ever stop to think that a governor trying to engineer the sub rosa handover of state assets to a shadowy cabal, maybe wouldn’t put into the middle of the most controversial, high-profile piece of legislation in existence?

          Did I ever…what? Wait, that’s your response? That the words aren’t there?

          OMG, I love Reason. It’s like a Whitman’s Sampler of smug delusion and wishful thinking.

          Listen carefully: The bill is in plain English. I didn’t make it up. It didn’t write itself. It is real. It is there. I brought it to your attention. You didn’t read the thing, I did. For that, you’re welcome – you should know what your anti-union smokescreen is covering up.

          Also: Ha ha.

          1. What the hell is a heating, cooling and power plant, anyway? We don’t have those where I live. And why is the state in that business in the first place?

            It seems like many on the left are concerned that it will cost citizens more if a private company runs the plant. That seems illogical to me. I’ve never seen a gov’t program that couldn’t be run more efficiently and at less cost by the private sector.

            1. Then I guess you haven’t checked out the tuition at prep schools.

              1. Actually, I went to private schools through high school. I was checking on the current tuition at my old HS for a friend not long ago. Tuition for one year is $5,480.00. That is much less than what is spent per pupil in public schools.

                1. I have recently been offered jobs by two prep schools in neighboring states. Despite the fact that they do not have to “teach” the developmentally disabled (like the 15 drooling, diapered semi-vegetables in my building that take up a teacher and 3 aides), or the emotionally behaviorally disturbed (like the half-dozen kids in my school that have to have a personal aide go with them everywhere to keep them from hurting others), they were both still charging well over $10,000 per year. My track record with AP test results make me a really attractive candidate, so one of them offered me a higher salary than they had ever paid a teacher in their history, and it was still substantially less than my current pay in the public schools. That’s real efficiency.

                2. Don’t forget that averaged into that per pupil expenditure rate is spending for students like I mentioned above that private schools would never have to take. Despite that, WI has per pupil expenditures that are at the national average, yet its graduation rate is the highest in the nation and it’s also perennially in the top 5 nationally on average SAT and ACT scores. Yet its teachers are 49th of the 50 states for starting pay, 19th for average pay and 42nd for salary increases over the last decade. Total per pupil expenditures in WI have increased 7.6% over the last decade and spending has been virtually unchanged since 2003.(compared with 17.9% nationally)while teacher pay in WI has decreased 5% over the same time period. Walker is barking up the wrong tree. The data show very clearly that WI teachers have been silently bearing this burden for years and this new, sudden attack on our benefits package is a real kick in the nuts. That’s why the teacher protests in Mad-town are fueled by such passion.

        2. Maybe. It could be a case of hiding in plain sight. Crazy like a fox, or something.

          At any rate, any sort of no-bid sale is a going to be subject to the same sort of corruption that union bargaining is famed for. If it’s there, supporters of the bill should demand that it goes — it only strengthens the case against the bill, which is the last thing they need on such a contentious subject.

    2. I’d one one more to your list of things that unions do.

      They overcompensate the low productivity workers and under-compensate the high productivity workers. Competent, productive workers who are in a union are getting royally screwed by their union.

  28. Blah blah blah. Why in the name of John Stagliano’s soured 2% Vitamin D Skim Milk are we not discussing the real problem:

    Schools shouldn’t be publicly funded in the first place. Certainly not on a federal level.

    And TN1967 above is totally correct about WI being all about political theater and dirty politics. It is. But it was started by the left. The final score will be Walker 56 – Lefty Union Thugs 0, but the media will portray it as a tie. And similar Union smackdowns across the country (Ohio, NJ) will be ignored.

    Oh, and stop pissing on Gregory Smith. Just because he holds some socially conservative views, doesn’t mean he’s not a libertarian. Sheesh. Can you be anymore politically tone deaf?

    Read this sentence again: “Schools shouldn’t be publicly funded in the first place.”

    You know why this isn’t being discussed? Because Libertarians can’t get their s^#@ together. Trashing like-minded individuals just because some of their views don’t jive with yours is, you know, silly.

    (whispering) That’s the kind of behavior I’d expect from Max. He’s napping now. He likes Nilla Wafer and iced tea just before he awakes for 3PM cartoons.

    1. “Oh, and stop pissing on Gregory Smith. Just because he holds some socially conservative views, doesn’t mean he’s not a libertarian. Sheesh. Can you be anymore politically tone deaf?”

      No, pro-life libertarians hold some socially conservative views. GS holds mostly socially conservative views. You know what the word is for people who are socially conservative and fiscally conservative? I’ll give you a hint: it appeared twice in the previous sentence.

  29. I’m a WI public schoolteacher. I’m not a Democrat. Or a Republican. I have chosen to think, rather than sign on to an ideology so someone else can tell me what to think. So, sometimes I think like a libertarian. Sometimes, I think like a socialist.

    But mostly, I’m just really, really busy teaching your kids. My typical workday begins with grading papers at home or coffee shop at about 5:00. When I am allowed in the school at 7:00 AM, I’m there, tutoring your kid. Guess why I have to be there? He won’t read his text, because it’s boring. He won’t watch the video podcast of my lesson I’ve created and put on Facebook, my class website, and Youtube and reminded him of by email, Facebook message and text because he’s too busy chilling and playing Xbox. I’ve also sent you a reminder text and email, if you’ve bothered to respond to one of the gazillion requests I sent out for your information. But you were too busy with your own personal stuff to get involved in your kid’s life and raise him, so that becomes my job. So, when he gets desperate enough, he’ll make an appointment with me to come in for private tutoring. I charge college students $50 an hour for this, and they are delighted to pay it, because I’m really good, but it’s free to your kid, because he got behind and I care enough to leave my own kids at home to eat breakfast by themselves. But chances are pretty good that I will get to do some extra paperwork or something, because your kid is only about 30% likely to actually show up for the appointment he made for his free private tutoring session.

    When the bell for the first class starts, I begin delivering the first of three 90 minute floorshow that I’ve prepared to try to capture your kid’s attention, so he has some hope of learning some of this material and passing. Most of the class will be devoted to hands-on activities (because I’m constantly told that kids who won’t buckle down and listen, think, read and do their work aren’t really lazy and undisciplined?they’re just “kinesthetic learners”). So I have to work hard to try to make the learning “relevant” and “fun”. Of course, this comes at a price, because all your kid really wants to do is get radical to gain the attention of his friends, so he wrecks my lab equipment, wastes the chemicals I have painstakingly prepared and puts himself and his classmates in danger by screwing around. Plus, in lab, he doesn’t really learn any of the stuff that will be on the standardized tests that right-wing politicians will use to show that I’m a crappy teacher and that my school is failing kids. So in the end, I still have to try to coax him into doing some kind of a worksheet so he can be trained to jump through the hoops needed to pretend that his lazy ass learned something. Of course, he won’t do it, because he’d rather chill with his friends, watch Youtube videos on his i-phone and text his girlfriend. So I have to go sit down next to him and convince him that he really can do this and that it is really in his best interest to try. I’m skillful enough that after a couple of minutes of this I can get him to pick up his pencil and try a problem. But there are 25 or so of him in class, so I will spend about 50 minutes getting 2 or 3 minutes of work out of every kid. Then the bell rings and I get to do it twice more.

    Finally, my planning period has arrived. Wow! 90 minutes to get something done. Well, actually about 70 minutes, because the school district assigns me some 20 minute job like walking the halls with a clipboard taking student names or supervising a locker room during a physical education class. Of course, a lot of that time will be taken up preparing the next day’s hands-on activities, which will have to be done before I get locked out of the building, so I’m mixing chemicals and testing instruments and packing up the previous lab equipment and supplies for today’s activities and grading papers and preparing form b and form c and form d versions of tests and quizzes for the kids who need to re-take them because they didn’t try to learn the first time, because they know “our school believes all kids can succeed in their own way,” is grown-up for “they can’t really fail me, no matter what I do.” Also, I have to contact parents, meet with the case managers of special ed. kids that have been mainstreamed into my classroom to try to figure out ways to pretend they’ve succeeded, meet with the principal or a guidance counselor about some crisis or attend a committee meeting. I’ll also spend about 20 minutes uploading material to the internet for my students and their parents. I’m also supposed to spend some time on professional development, but that almost never happens. And also, your kid didn’t make it to his morning appointment, so if he’s desperate enough, I can talk him into coming to my room during my planning period from his class and meeting with me then.

    Next, I have a 30 minute homeroom, in which I am supposed to look up the current status of all 15 kids in all their classes, contact their teachers if they have any missing work (which is hard, because the phones are all busy, ’cause all the teachers are doing the same thing) and get them to spend the 30 minutes working on their missing work, which I am supposed to help them with, even though it’s not in my subject area (and, I’m on the phone!). Plus, some of my own students have asked for passes to come to get help during their homeroom, so I have a half-dozen of them in my room, too. Meanwhile, because it’s the end of the day, the 15 homeroom kids are going beserk, drifting in and out of the room, messing with my lab equipment, violating every classroom rule ever invented and I’m supposed to somehow keep a lid on all that while tutoring kids and being on the phone at the same time. That’s my favorite period of the whole day.

    After that, I will finish all the really essential work I didn’t get to during my planning period, which is nearly all of it, most days. This will take until about 5:30 or 6:00–longer if I have a meeting after school. Then I’ll go home and spend a few hours with my family. On the way, I’ll often stop at the hardware store or Wal-mart and buy supplies for my classroom with my own money, because our budget is cut more and more every year and there just isn’t enough to do all this hands-on stuff. After I put my kids to bed, I go to my basement office and create online lessons until about midnight or 1 AM.

    I’m not describing the worst day ever. This is every day for me. Most Saturdays, I work about 8-10 hours catching up, reading research and developing new ways to try to reach my students, but I’ve sworn off working on Sundays until my kids are off to college. Starting in September, I log more hours by mid-March than someone working 50 hour weeks for 52 weeks a year. I worked in the private sector as an engineer for a decade before I changed careers, a move which cost me $125,000 in tuition, fees and lost income, and gained me a job that paid just under half of my last engineering job (so obviously teachers are just in it for the money). In the private sector, I occasionally had a crazy week where I worked 90 hours, but it wasn’t every single week, like it is now. Also, as an engineer, my best work was valued, applauded and recognized, not left laying on the floor of a classroom or ignored.

    I don’t know what think tank spun up the reports you’ve been reading that show public employees earn more than analogous private sector employees. I haven’t ever seen that. In fact, just days before Walker introduced his plan, Rutgers University released a research report that looked into exactly that question in Wisconsin, and they found definitively that public employees earn 4.8% less than their private sector counterparts in total package compensation. I do not make more than anyone I know with a college degree working in the private sector. Those with MS degrees, like I have, make WAY more than I do. In fact, I don’t know anyone with an associates degree from a technical school that makes less than me. I’m talking total package here, not just my pay. And don’t start with the common libertarian’s refrain that my educational background and experience are irrelevant. You cannot grab anyone off the street and have them teach chemistry and physics and achieve the kind of results I do. The numbers quoted in this article have been cherry-picked and they are not from Wisconsin data. My real pay has been steadily eroding for the 16 years I’ve been doing this job. I have not gained 2% on inflation, I have lost 5% to inflation. My benefits are mostly covered, and it’s a pretty good package, but they’re not what they used to be, either. The concessions we’ve made in that area over the years are completely ignored in this debate. The other thing that is amazingly absent from these discussions is the QEO law that basically prohibited teachers and school districts from negotiation of benefits. We have this great benefit package only because a Republican governor (Tommy Thompson) made it illegal for school districts to work together with the union to negotiate total package deals.

    When Gov. Walker finally prevails, his budget bill will either leave me out of a job or with a monthly take home pay that has been reduced by approximately the size of my mortgage. Since it took 9 years of eating beans, rice and venison, driving a 15 year old truck and buying almost everything my family owns second-hand to raise enough cash to buy my house, I am not wealthy enough to take that kind of a hit, so I will have to leave teaching, but it’s just as well. Over the years, I have thought of myself as dedicated and altruistic. But now it’s finally dawning on me that I am becoming something else. There is a word for someone who does more and more work for less and less pay, when he has other options. That word is “stupid.” When the dust settles in Wisconsin, the only people left teaching your kid will be stupid people. Be careful what you wish for.

    1. Here, let me edit that down to something manageable:

      “I hate working with kids because they refuse to learn when I want them to, plus I think I could get more money elsewhere, so I’m going to quit.”

      Awesome, good luck to you, and remember that A) people piss on anything that costs them nothing, B) most kids that don’t give a shit about chemistry in high school will grow up to be adults that don’t give a shit about chemistry.

      1. cynical, you are completely missing my point. Even though I have known I could earn more elsewhere for 17 years, I have been performing an increasingly difficult, but essential service for a public that refuses to raise its own kids. I can no longer afford to do so.

    2. There is a word for people who demand more and more pay for less and less service…

      Union

      1. Your very witty comment doesn’t apply to me. Look at the data. My union teacher pay in WI has fallen 5% in the last decade but I and my colleagues have maintained our state’s rank as the top in graduation rate and in the top 5 in average ACT/SAT score over the same decade, while the percent of kids taking those tests increased. It’s fun to call people names and talk in broad generalities (and libertarians are good at it), but data doesn’t always agree with the rhetoric.

    3. I’m not sure what your point is here. You sound like a pretty awesome teacher.

      Most of your students don’t give a shit and most of their parents don’t either. What is the state of Wisconsin supposed to do about that? Your tale of woe is frankly an excellent argument against the public school system. In a non-unionized voucher system, I’m confident that a teacher of your caliber would be earning great money & teaching the best & brightest.

      Good luck. I hope you find a job you enjoy where you feel appreciated. One where your compensation is not forcibly taken from citizens.

  30. There is a word for someone who does more and more work for less and less pay

    I’m pretty sure it’s not “teacher”.

  31. You may be “pretty sure” but I’m absolutely sure. My workload, paycheck stubs and CPI data are much more reliable indicators than your hype-driven belief system.

  32. “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.”

  33. can H&R please do a convenient explosion of the notion that “Union” = “middle class”?

    I’m getting sick of it.

    If they followed marx (which nominally they might), ‘middle class’ meant, “owner of your own means” = basically the opposite of parasitic state employees…

    1. So anyone who doesn’t own their own business or live off their own piece of land or investment portfolio is a parasite? I am a teacher–a really good one. A modern society like ours needs to have an educated workplace, so teachers are doing important work. Where I live, there is no other place to practice my profession than the public schools. I could hang out my shingle and start my own private school, but where I live, I would not attract enough clients, because everyone sends their kid to the government-sponsored schools, which they are paying taxes for. You will probably argue that public schools should not exist. Maybe I agree. But I didn’t establish the public school system–it was around before my Grandpa even moved to this country. Just because my paycheck is signed by a governmental agency doesn’t make me a parasite, unless I don’t do my job well, which is a whole different conversation.

  34. The study cited to back up the claim that public workers are over compensated does not take education levels nor experience into account. If teachers are so overpaid, why does an elementary education degree consistently rank as one of the worst paying bachelors degrees you can receive? Government workers have a much higher percentage of workers with post-secondary schooling than the private sector workers, that is why the salaries tend higher. Not because they actually make more relative to private sector employees with equivalent education and experience.

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