Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Conspiracy Against the Taxpayers

We were recently alerted to this excellent article about how liberal special interests have been effectively conspiring against taxpayers for many years and are running up state and local government deficits. Here are just a few of the things that this article points out.
"Public-employee unions have so successfully used their political muscle that whereas public-sector compensation once lagged the private sector, now the reverse is true. Astonishingly, the average state and local government employee now collects 46 percent more in total compensation (salary plus benefits) than the average private-sector employee, according to the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute."
"Unions have also convinced Americans that teachers are underpaid, when they now take home considerably better pay packages on average than professional workers in the private sector. The federal government’s national compensation survey estimates that local public school districts pay teachers an average of $47.97 per hour in total compensation, including $12.39 per hour in benefits—figures that far outstrip not only what private school teachers earn, but also the average of what all professional workers earn in private business, a category that includes engineers, architects, computer scientists, lawyers, and journalists."
"Equally rapacious are the nominally private social-services and health-care providers who have found a way of diverting some of the torrent of government dollars to their own pockets. With so much money available from Medicaid, one of the original War on Poverty programs, health care has become an increasingly government-financed business and has been transformed unrecognizably in the process...

...According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, two-thirds of Medicaid services that states now provide are optional under federal guidelines—from free ambulette rides to doctors’ offices to dental and podiatry services. From 1994 to 2000, when U.S. poverty rates were plunging, spending on Medicaid, originally a program for the poor, grew by 30 percent after accounting for inflation, an American Enterprise Institute study shows."

1 comment:

Michael Morrison said...

Are teachers underpaid?
I have a teacher in my family and I hear near-horror stories every day of what she has to put up with.
That she isn't accomplishing very much by way of educating her charges is really not her fault.
She is burdened by the paradoxical Bush administration and by the administration of her school system and by the paradoxical parents.
The Busheviks out of one side of their mouths rant -- or used to rant -- about keeping the federal government out of local matters, including schools. Yet it is that very same bunch of Busheviks who foisted "No Child Left Behind" onto the parents, schools, and taxpayers.
(As an aside: When Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue asked -- and he ASKED, he didn't "command," as one moronic "news" outfit said -- school districts to close just prior to the advent of Hurrican Katrina, parents expressed outrage: Why, now they'd have to find other babysitters!
(In other words, their chief interest in the schools was as a place to park the kids while the parents did whatever they did, which often included work.
(A further aside: If governments at all levels did not take so much in taxes from the working and producing people, families wouldn't need two or more people working. One could stay home and be with the children.)
School administrators far too often are making a career of being school administrators -- not making a career out of educating children.
Teachers sometimes, too, are just there for the income.
But most of them, in my experience, are there in order to guide children, to teach, to instruct, to educate.
Parents too often see schools as, primarily, babysitting institutions (see my parenthetical note above), and too often others have just abdicated responsibility for their children and are letting some government institution raise those children.
Some parents have raised their children to lie and to blame others for all kinds of problems, some purely mythical (see the stories about "abuse" at various daycare facilities from California to New Jersey), and those parents will believe anything their offspring say -- or at least act as if they believe it.
Schools, by and large, and at least the government schools, deserve an F for the poor performance of America's students.
But teachers generally deserve grades from C to A+.
They generally ARE underpaid, for the work they do, the huge amount of time they put in, for the money and effort and personal time they devote.
The only flaw in what I just said is that they are government employees and therefore the money they do get, as much or as little as it might be, is by definition stolen from the working and producing people.
If you say "abolish the government school system," then I agree with you and we are working toward an improvement.
If, though, you say "keep the government schools and pay the teachers less," we'll have to disagree.