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"A widely read teacher blogger" - Jane Roh, Courier Post.
"One of my favorite bloggers" - Diane Ravitch
I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009
Hey, you. Yeah you, the one reading the Star-Ledger. Do me a favor, would you? Put down the paper, turn off NJ101.5, and come over here for a minute.
I know you've been following what's happening in Trenton. You seem pretty happy about what might happen to public workers tomorrow: losing health care benefits; losing pension benefits; losing collective bargaining. I was just wondering...
What's in it for you?
Wait, hear me out. I'm asking a simple question: where's the benefit in all of this for you, the average taxpayer in New Jersey. What do you get out of this deal?
Are your property taxes going to go down? No, it's clear at this point they won't. The bill does nothing to contain exploding health care costs or address the past shortfalls in funding the pensions: those are the two biggest drivers of your property taxes by far.
And as far as the pensions go: liabilities are going up and up and we still have to make up for the pension holiday the entire state took these last 20 years. In fact, the only thing keeping the system afloat are worker contributions; the increases every worker pays will pretty much be used to fund that. We won't get ahead of the debt incurred until more revenue comes in from sources other than public workers.
Again: what's in it for you?
"Fairness"? You think that just because your health care and retirement benefits are increasingly crappy, public workers should have to suffer the same fate?
Do we want less educated teachers? Less experienced firefighters? Less talented public nurses? Or do we want to pay them more up front? It's not much of a choice.
Again: what's in it for you?
"Shared sacrifice"? You want public workers to pay up with everyone else suffering? Sounds good, except what happens to private wages and benefits when public worker wages and benefits take a dive? Do they get better - or worse? Does it helps the economy - or hurt it?
If you really think about it, you'll realize you already know the answer.
So, I ask once more: what's in this benefit "reform" for you?
Times are tough. People are hurting. We need real help, and we need it now.
But this is not real help (and big parts of it are probably illegal). It's a ruse; a distraction to keep our eyes off the massive income inequity that has resulted from a government that was bought and paid for by our overclass long ago.
If public workers take this hit tomorrow, you'll see a lot of these lackeys of the rich slapping each other on the back and praising themselves for the "boldness" and their "leadership." Don't believe it.