I love my job…it’s a great place, interesting people and surroundings, and always something new happening. That’s lucky for me since I plan on staying there until they carry me out. I can’t afford to retire as we still enjoy eating and I can afford paying for health insurance while I’m employed. When I do give it up I’ll be able to receive my pension (it’s a non-profit so there is no 401K available to us) and, by that time, I ought to be able to get about $200 per month. If I’d been there longer, of course, the pension would be better. I’ve also been able to put a little away each month in the annuity system we can use. There’s not a lot there, either.
We live in a community with a dandy, highly-rated school system–considered one of the better ones in the state. I try to remind my husband that the value of our home is enhanced by the availability of that good school system but he still grouses about the high real estate taxes and the perpetual campaigns for more bond issues, more tax increases, more schools, more expansion, in this system. In the last go-round where the district was looking for more money they didn’t get it…..the first time in a very, very long time. Folks are finally realizing they are taxed-out and there’s nothing to be done when they are underemployed, their homes are worth way less, and they are in fear of never being able to sell those houses and move up or along.
So the high drama of Wisconsin is very arresting and compelling as it seems to be a long-awaited collision between a group of folks who feel very entitled (public sector workers) and another group who just don’t feel they can continue satisfying that entitlement. [I never imagined I’d agree with FDR about anything, but he was right about public unions.] The focus of the drama is the teachers union but they are likely the ‘front’ for the aggrieved because they are always the most sympathetic. Who, after all, doesn’t appreciate the work that teachers do? Where would we be without them? What would become of the American Way Of Life without teachers? I think many teachers are underpaid, depending on their locale, but it seems obvious to me that the Madison teachers don’t fall into that pitiable group. And yet, they don’t seem to recognize that they are doing considerably better than many of the people who pay their salaries via real estate taxes and other means. They quibble about paying a greater percentage of their salaries for their pension and insurance–and most folks in the private sector must pay all toward their retirements and oftentimes half or more of their health insurance costs.
But the true sticking point, it appears, is the seemingly innocuous provision that union members make their own dues payments to their union. It’s a sweet deal they have had going and I didn’t ever really think it out before. The union members have their dues withheld from their pay by the school district, town, etc., and that entity then sends the money off to the union. I don’t consider those entities the ’employers’–as I believe the citizens/taxpayers are the employers. The union, in turn, takes the money and ships it back as contributions to political campaigns to those politicians who will do as they are asked on behalf of the union members. Meanwhile it’s our hard-earned money that gets ‘laundered’ through this system. I am afraid I don’t see the basic ‘right’ in this system. If I wished to join an organization it would be my responsibility to send in my money.
I know, I know…..things are different than in the olden days when I was in school. Miss Elizabeth and Miss Virginia and Miss Carpenter didn’t have a union ‘working for the children’ and they didn’t have air conditioned classrooms and I know they didn’t make big bucks, either, and if they had pensions I’d be surprised. I also know that my classmates were a varied crew from middle to lower-income families–not all Cleaver families–and yet somehow those ladies managed to give us all very good educations in a wide variety of subjects. They didn’t have to contend, either, with whole armies of vice-principals, assistant vice-principals, and reams of Washington-required paperwork while they were teaching us. We didn’t have high-tech gizmos in class and yet we learned stuff. How can that be?
This whole system is out of whack and the public union idea is not going to be tolerated by the taxpayers any longer. I, and many others, will be working into our 70s (good thing I love my job!) so that we can handle the real estate taxes to pay the pensions of 55-year old retired public workers while they travel, play golf, or just have time to putter in their yards. They need to start thinking about that.
So….now I’ve complained about the gub’mint to excess, let me rant about my filthy rotten lying thieving co-citizens (at least one)! I got paid this week (Yay!) and today was the day for ’rounds’–hardware store, Costco, grocery #1, bank, grocery #2, gas station. When I completed the transaction at the bank I noted the receipt looked a little ‘off’ but not enough to alarm me. After all, I’d been cutting a swath through all those stores.
After I had settled back in at home I checked the bank website and noted that yesterday someone bought themselves a ticket on Caribbean Airlines with my money. You talk about adding insult to injury! You’da had to have seen the weather here today to realize the true irony of a ticket to the Caribbean! Not only am I out $400+ for a couple of weeks until the bank can restore it to me, but I am inconvenienced greatly by having to wait to receive a new debit card and remembering all those places that have that number for regular recurring bills each month. The last time this happened, it caused havoc for quite a while. I just hope that it rains on the jerk the entire time he’s vacationing and that some exotic bug takes a liking to his gut for the duration.
It was great finally meeting Crucis and Mrs. C! We likely could have sat and visited for many more hours than we did, but it ensures that we will have to do it again. One of these days spring will show up and perhaps we can can go shoot some things!