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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Only a Fool Argues With Fools

Which makes me a huge idiot. I got into an exchange with the local troll when I cross posted this over at Blue Jersey.

Well, I'll fill up space reprinting it here:

I think it's a fair question... (0.00 / 0)
why wouldn't the union recommend the 1 year salary freeze if the first priority was the children?

"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzai

Reply |  ]
Here's why: (4.00 / 1)
1) As I've pointed out on my blog many times, Christie's contention that the freeze would have saved jobs is just not true. The OLS report clearly states that a one-year freeze would not have saved even 1/4 of the $1.3 billion cut in state aid.2) There was never a guarantee that any district savings from a freeze would be used to save jobs. Why should the unions ask members to make that sacrifice if their jobs could still be cut?
3) For all the talk of "shared sacrifice," the very wealthiest in this state got over $600 million in a tax gift from Christie right in the middle of this crisis. Why should the teachers have to take on all of the burden?
4) About 1/3 of contracts are in negotiations every year, and many of these contracts continue to be negotiated. Salaries freeze when that happens - should they be "more" frozen?
5) By law, every teacher is now or will soon be contributing to their health care. When you add that contribution to a freeze, it becomes a CUT. Why should any teacher accept a CUT when tax gifts for the rich are being passed out?
6) Many districts did have teachers who voluntarily took freezes. It is and should be a LOCAL issue.
7) Contracts are contracts. Period.
8) As I have pointed out many times on my blog, teacher pay has lagged behind average pay in NJ for over 20 years - not the average pay of college-educated workers, but AVERAGE workers. That includes provisions for benefits.
9) The average contract in NJ since April has settled for an average raise of 1.6% annually - and that's locked in for three years. It's not like teachers are getting huge raises. When the economy picks up, we'll still be stuck with these low wage increases.
Finally, let me add this: don't hand me that crap about how teachers really don't care about kids. What are we supposed to do - work for free? I'm in the classroom every day teaching, and I hardly make a mint doing so. I knew what I was getting into, so that's fine, but I won't let people like you challenge my or my colleagues' commitment to kids. I have a family, too, and I won't let them suffer simply because you or Christie feel I'm not saintly enough.


Parent | Reply ]
I'll play your game then... (0.00 / 0)
If the millionaires were taxed, and magically, the money went to education vs. the senior rebates it was dedicated to by vetoed law, the 600 million generated would not have have been enough to cover the 820 million cut.So, by your logic, if you can't save ALL the jobs, save none?
And yes, accepting the freeze, whether it's police in Newark, or Camden, or teachers across the state would have saved jobs, no matter which way you slice it, not all jobs, but some jobs.
The union never asked for a guarantee. They didn't even consider it.
When health care was first considered a no charge benefit, it was nowhere near the 33% of salary is current amounts to in some cases. Costs increase by double digit percentages each year, the current contribution, which is a percentage of salary, does not. It is NOT a cut, you recieve a raise because the increased amount you contribute is MORE than offset by the increased amount the district contributes.
Ie. Let's put the premium cost at 12k. Let's put the average teaching salary at $67k (the latest figure I read), 1.5% is $1005 (teaching contribution).
Total compensation is then $67,000k plus $11,000 in health care costs, $78,000 total.
The next year, you accept the freeze. But health care goes up 10% (average year), your contribution remains constant, the state now antes up $12,200. New total (with freeze) is $79,200 total compensation, a 1.5% raise, and this happens every year.
Again, you are stating there are no circumstances where contracts should be re-examined/reopened. I'm sure the 820 million cut in NJ to education was unprecendented historically, if that didn't warrant review of contracts, what would exactly?
I just demonstrated the average teacher is making about $78k. Not extravagant, but not petty either, but certainly more than the average NJ worker. And I didn't even include pension costs.
I demonstated above, a big part of your raises are included in your health care plans.
Yes, I'm challenging THE UNION's committment to kids. No one is asking you to work for any less than you made last year, and in fact, you are getting raises via your health care. All that was asked was a one year freeze. The union made no counter-offer and flatly said 'no'.
How can one NOT question the committment to kids?

"Where ever you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzai

Parent | Reply |  ]
Game? (0.00 / 0)
You think this is a game? Are you kidding me?!I know you like to hang around here and stir the pot, William, but we are talking about my JOB here. This is no game.
First, your argument about the $600 million tax cut for millionaires is self-contradictory. If you're saying teachers should have taken the cut even if it only closes less than 1/4 of the gap, why shouldn't that hold true for the millionaire's tax, which close much more?
My clearly stated point was that teachers should not be called on to make sacrifices when the wealthy are not asked to contribute a blessed thing.
Your argument about my compensation increasing because premiums are increasing is ridiculous on its face. Those costs are going up for ALL employers. Nearly all employees of large companies receive health insurance coverage - why should government employees, especially those providing a vital social service like teachers, have to count this as a pay increase while the private sector does not?
I also really love how casually you mention the 10% increase in health care premiums. If your buddy the governor directed a faction of his ire against teachers toward health insurers who create these outrageous increases, our state's fiscal problems would be far less severe.
Your ignorance of teachers unions is also very clear. The "union" is really a confederation of local unions, and they all negotiate separately. As I said, some locals did take pay freezes. The NJEA's position was that this was not something the state should demand - it should be up to the locals.
Then there's your ignorance of teacher pay compared to the private sector. Over and over, the serious academic, peer-reviewed literature shows teachers take a pay cut when they commit to the profession. That's fine - I knew that going in, but I accepted that as the price I would pay to do a job I really love. But now you and Christie want to change the rules late in the game.
Even if you don't care about me and my family, think about the impact of this on the future of the teaching corps. Who's going to want to be a teacher when they know the inherent promises society made to us will be throw out the window in favor of keeping taxes low on the wealthy?
And I never said there weren't circumstances where contracts couldn't be reopened. I said why should teachers have to make a "shared sacrifice" when the wealthy in the state are not.
William, don't try to parrot Christie's little ploy that your problem is with my union and not me - that's complete bulls***. You're problem isn't with my union - it's with ME. You think I make too much. Even though my paycheck this year is LESS than the one I got last year, you think I need to be paid even less.
Man up enough to admit that. If you can't, I'm done with you.


Parent | Reply ]

No comments: