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McCamy Taylor's Journal
Posted by McCamy Taylor in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Jul 26th 2010, 05:14 PM
The veteran teacher at your son’s school is not being fired, because she does not do her job. She gets amazing results, considering that her school is

1. Under funded
2. The classrooms are too crowded
3. The kids come to school hungry
4. There is no health care available to treat their many medical problems
5. And the economy has forced many parents from their homes, requiring the kids to change school frequently as they are shuffled from one relative’s house to another.

Right now, it has become fashionable in certain (government) circles to criticize teachers for not lifting kids up by their bootstraps---kids that society has failed. The teacher has to be the social worker, the doctor, the nutritionist and the counselor, because we do not want to pay someone else to do these jobs.

In order to lure people to take on this difficult and often frustrating task, local governments offer generous benefits. Teachers do not make the highest wages, but they have good health insurance, time off for vacations---and they are all guaranteed a pension, like any other dedicated government worker who chooses not to pursue higher paying work in the private sector.

Apparently, state and local governments never really intended to keep their part of the bargain. If they had, they would have made sure that teachers’ retirement funds were solvent.

The Manhattan Institute has an alarming new report out on teacher pension plans. Either some big changes need to be made, or state taxpayers across the country are going to have to cough up $933 billion to pay for the unfunded pension liabilities of public school teachers


The report also debunks the persistant myth that underfunded public-sector pension plans are in trouble because of the downturn in the economy. In fact the report finds that only a $116 billion of the $933 billion in unfunded liabilities "is attributable to the stock market drop precipitated by the 2007 financial crisis."

Teachers pensions were never appropriately funded. States never intended to make good on their promises.

The next bit of editorializing is important:

In other words, there's no escaping the conclusion that politicians were either too generous in bestowing absurd retirement benefits to their valued union constituencies, too susceptible to union arm-twisting, or both. But the problem is structural, and not a temporary blip in the economy.

The government lured teachers to do difficult work with promises of benefits they were never going to pay. Now the government is attempting to whitewash its own illegal and immoral behavior by blaming the victim. The problem, according to the Washington Examiner and the Manhattan Institute, is not that government made promises it never intended to keep. No, the problem is that foolishly generous politicians bowed to the “absurd” demands of greedy unions.

Now, think about that for a moment. Politicians love to give tax breaks to the rich. They love to give bailouts to criminally negligent banksters. They will get on TV and tell you that this is money well spent “stimulating the economy.” And few in the mainstream media complain about the “greedy wealthy” or “greedy corporations.”

At the same time, corporate lackeys in the news media will claim that education spending is frivolous—it is breaking the budget---even though education spending does more to stimulate the economy than tax breaks and corporate welfare. They will attempt to portray public servants, like teachers, as less deserving than Dick Cheney’s Halliburton and Morgan Chase ("too big to fail"). Money spent honoring our contractual obligations to public servants can be better spent---as tax breaks for the wealthy.

Why would the corporate media attempt to spoon feed us this horseshit? Because it is “the corporate media”. It is owned by a handful of extremely wealthy and powerful companies, who, like Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire depend upon the kindness of (taxpaying) strangers to keep their corporate jets in the air and their CEO salaries seven digits.

The hunger of the elite for dwindling public funds means that others will have to do without. Teachers are among the most numerous public servants. Contrary to reports from the mainstream media, they are not the most highly paid public servants. Check out this table comparing teachers’ salaries in 2009 dollars from 1950 to the present. Average pay has gone from $36,000 to $53,000.

Note that the average wage for a registered nurse is closer to $90,000. Why is the corporate media silent when discussing the salaries nurses make? Maybe because nurses are necessary for hospitals and doctors to make even more money. All teachers do is attempt to give every child an opportunity to learn---

And “opportunity for all” is a suspect goal, at best, in a corporate fascist state like ours.

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McCamy Taylor
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"God appears and God is light to those poor souls who dwell in night But does a human form display to those who dwell in realms of day." Blake
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