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Chicago is what’s wrong with the American public education system (Update)

Exactly what I expected from the City of Chicago … a complete cave to the teachers union that will result in status quo test scores, embarrassing graduation rates and horrible skill sets for kids “graduating” from the Chicago school system.

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Wisconsin public unions…it’s all about the money

This morning Jim read from an article about public unions, and their “contribution” to our country.  In case you missed the show, or, would like to read the full article, here is the link.  What follows are some of the highlights, or perhaps lowlights, which will explain graphically why you are seeing the show down in Wisconsin, and perhaps, a showdown in a state near you.

Indeed, public-sector unions especially have become the nation’s most aggressive advocates for higher taxes and spending… they mount multimillion dollar campaigns to defeat efforts by governors and taxpayer groups to roll back taxes.

Why?  To pay for the salaries, benefits and pensions of public employees.

In Oregon last year, the voters approved ballot measures that increased taxes by $727 million.

Led by $2 million from the Oregon Education Association and $1.8 million from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), unions contributed an estimated 75% of the nearly $7 million raised to promote the tax increases… [emphasis supplied].

In Washington state last year, an effort was made to raise taxes by $2 billion by increasing taxes on those making more than $200,000 per year.  Although the measure was defeated,

state and national SEIU locals gave $2.5 million, while the National Education Association and Washington teachers union locals contributed $900,000 to the $6 million campaign for the new income tax. [emphasis supplied]

In New Jersey,

[t]he New Jersey Education Association collects about $100 million a year in dues from its 203,000 members; last spring the union spent $300,000 a week, according to the head of the union, for radio ads urging tax increases on the rich instead of budget cuts. [emphasis supplied]

And, on the national level,

 the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Afscme) has been the third-biggest contributor to federal campaigns over the past 20 years, having given $43 million. The National Education Association is number eight with $31 million in contributions, while the SEIU—half of whose 2.2 million members are government workers—is No. 10, with $29 million in campaign donations. [emphasis supplied]

Where did that money go, you ask?

…[S]ome 95% of government workers’ donations has gone to the Democratic Party, whose members are far more likely to favor raising taxes and boosting spending than are members of the Republican Party.

So, the next time you see a teacher protesting in Wisconsin, or hear an ad extolling the virtues of raising taxes on the rich, understand that it has nothing to do with the children, or the needy, or the sick.  It is solely about raising the money to continue to pay the bloated salaries, benefits and pensions of government union employees.

Don’t believe that last statement?  According to a chart in the print version of this article, per the Department of Labor, on average, private workers are paid $19.68 per hour, state and local government workers, $26.25; 74% of private workers have retirement benefits, while 99% of state and local workers do; 86% of private workers have medical benefits, while 99% of state and local workers do; and private workers pay 20% of their insurance premiums, while state and local workers pay 11%.

How to recognize the union tax

With the election over, state legislatures will begin meeting early next year to deal with, among other things, state budgets.  Of course, it is no secret that virtually every state is facing serious financial difficulties, and, let’s face it, significantly decreased tax revenue over the past few years.  So, balancing the budgets won’t be easy. Read more