My old boss Dave Zweifel is one of the genuinely nice guys. Dave is nonplussed at the understandable outrage over a Madison Metro bus driver earning over $150,000 a year, what with overtime and a Teamsters Union labor contract. Others earned almost as much.
"How dare a working stiff earn big bucks?" Dave cries, in mock anger. I can tell you this, Dave Zweifel never paid his reporters $150,000 a year. Would have been fired if he had. And that was when a newspaper was a license to print money.
Remember that $150,000 bus driver next time Madison Metro asks for a fare increase or heftier taxpayer subsidy.
The well paid bus driver is both metaphor and case in point of the growth of government. Should it surprise anyone that there is a growing disparity in which public sector workers make far more than their private-sector counterparts (with better benefits)? Government employees make 45% more on average than private sector employees, according to one analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
Unemployment is just below 10 percent; 14.8 million Americans are currently out of work and looking for a job, according to a report released earlier this month by the Bureaus of Labor Statistics. Even if you do have a job, wages have not increased substantially over the last ten years, with one exception: government workers.
"Thanks to generous health-care benefits and pensions, it pays -- more than ever -- to work in the public sector. Economist Gary Shilling fears dubious consequences if state and local workers continue to make more money and at the same time governments raise taxes and cut services," Business Insider Henry Blodget writes.
The squire of Stately Blaska Manor writes this as one who spent half his working life in the public sector -- and was handsomely rewarded for doing so, I may say.
At the top of the public employees heap are the unionized teachers. in Wisconsin, while state and county employees took furloughs that reduced their take-home pay, Madison teachers suffered no such loss in pay. The students may be failing but the teachers always succeed.
Milwaukee's public schools are such a disgrace that even Gov. Jim E. Doyle has noticed. So has the superintendent of public instruction. So has Milwaukee's mayor, who would like to succeed Doyle in the governor's mansion.
But the state teachers union has kept its talons into the rank and file, as exemplified by would-be governor Ed Garvey, D-Teachers Union. These obstructionists want to maintain a system in which the teachers union chooses the school board members and the superintendent.
The students may fail but the teachers never will!
A school superintendent in Rhode Island is trying to fix an abysmally bad school system.Her plan calls for teachers at a local high school to work 25 minutes longer per day, eat lunch with students once in a while, and help with tutoring. The teachers' union has refused to accept these apparently onerous demands.
These teachers make around $70,000 a year, as compared to a median income in the depressed industrial area of $22,000.Half the students at the school are failing all of their classes and the graduation rate is under 50%.
The school superintendent has responded to the union's selfishness by firing every teacher and administrator at the school. Central Falls Rhode Island Fires Every High School Teacher.
Now there is a profile in courage!
Government employees with too much time on their hands
Now, some want the Food and Drug Administration to put warning labels on hot dogs. How did we ever survive? Kids could choke on them. Now, if we could just keep the jihadists off our airlines.
Mark Steyn writes about the rise of the nanny state. (Thanks to Charlie Sykes):
In Britain, it is traditional on Shrove Tuesday to hold pancake races, in which contestants run while flipping a pancake in a frying pan. ... But, in St. Albans, England, competitors were informed by Health & Safety officials that they were "banned from running due to fears they would slip over in the rain." [National Review: Keeping You Safe (while) Iran will go nuclear]
Witty and wise and wonderful