One of the basic tenets in business or of common sense (which, unfortunately, they don't teach in school) is that you cannot eat more than you produce. However, teachers and, more importantly, their unions seem to be failing at grasping that basic concept.
As the Indianapolis Business Journal stated last week:
Sometimes organizations don’t realize how good they have it until public support for their positions erodes, the good will vanishes and the bottom suddenly falls out.
Well, the bottom has fallen out in many cases. States and municipalities are on the brink of bankruptcy, many taxpayers are out of work and they still have mortgages to pay and the property taxes that fund the salaries that public-sector workers receive still come due. Therein lies the rub.
As Americans have cut largely cut back on their own personal expenditures by putting less on their credit cards, eating out less frequently and clipping more coupons, it is only reasonable that the public-sector workers who are fed from the trough filled by income and property taxes tighten their belts as well.
But unions like AFSCME, the SEIU, NEA and AFT are fighting tooth and nail (and actually spending their members' money) to raise taxes to keep the public till well fed. And, when cuts are made (or even proposed), they take to the streets in protest, causing more costs to be borne by the taxpayers.
This week alone, teachers in Pennsylvania and in California have gone on strike in protest of budgetary cuts cuts. In the Pennsylvania strike, despite the recession, the dispute is not over cutting salaries but how much the teachers' raises should be:
The union proposed no salary increase in the first year and raises of between 2.50 and 2.85 percent in each of the next four years.
...the school district proposed a zero percent increase in the first year and a 2 percent salary increase in each of the next four years.
School Board President Vince Sherpinsky argued that the district must pay additional millions to finance salary increases, due to changes in seniority.
When those figures are considered, the district's last offer amounts to an 18.81 percent cumulative pay raise; the union's proposal is 22.74 percent, Sherpinsky said.
The union offered to reduce its proposal by $1.25 million to address the seniority issue, but that, too, was rejected by the school board.
To add insult to injury, as the teachers' union bickers with the school district over how much of the taxpayers' money to spend, while the teachers are striking, many single parents (or those households where both parents work) have to make other child care arrangement or miss work entirely. This takes an even bigger chunk out of their already-strained budgets.
In New Jersey, where property taxes average $7,000 per year and are among the highest in the nation, a voter backlash has begun. On Tuesday, for the first time ever, voters rejected a majority of school budgets.
For the first time since 1976, New Jersey voters rejected a majority of proposed school budgets. Only 41.3 percent of the 538 proposed budgets received voter approval in yesterday’s Annual School Election, according to unofficial results released this morning by the New Jersey School Boards Association. That figure compares with a 73.3 percent approval rate last year.
According to the New Jersey Department of Education, nearly 26.7 percent of eligible voters participated in Tuesday's election, a significant increase from last year's 15-percent voter turnout.
“This has been a year unlike any we’ve seen before,” said Marie S. Bilik, NJSBA executive director. “Local boards of education did their best with the hand they were dealt. The election results should not be viewed as a rejection of public education or school programs. It's clear that voters were reacting to many concerns, including the poor economy and high property taxes."
In Chicago, however, public-sector workers rallied with their unions on Wednesday and, as noted on Big Government.com (from which the title of this post came), "a phalanx of public sector employees, including SEIU, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, AFSCME, and AFL-CIO, rallied in support of the tax hike in the capital, Springfield." [Emphasis added.]
As the attitude of many public-sector unions is greatly (and grossly) personified by this teacher, it has become a national problem. Unless and until more Americans realize the basic principle that you cannot eat more than you produce, taxpayers will continue to be the meal by which public-sector unions will continue to feast.
Or, as Ayn Rand succinctly wrote many years ago:
If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.
Now, back to work you serf!...There's a government worker out there who needs a new car.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
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