After reading various news reports recently promoting “Education Week” I decided it would only be fair that I represent the taxpayer for “Taxpayer Week” where we taxpayers would solicit praise from various public employee groups. I can see something like the following press release from the teachers union:
We teachers want to take this opportunity to thank all the taxpayers out there who make our jobs possible.
First of all we want to thank you for giving us two weeks off during the Christmas Holidays and three months off during the summer. It would be a real drag having to work during the holidays and trying to find something to do with your kids during the summer is impossible. We would love to work 12 months but we know you need the kids in the fields for the summer harvest.
And thanks for the guaranteed jobs. We know it must be tough getting laid off and having to find health insurance and a way to make the mortgage payment, but hey, God must have loved taxpayers because he made so many of them. If a few of you go down the tubes the others can easily pick up the tax ball and carry it across the goal line. And to think some of us almost went to work for Motorola – whew, close call.
And thanks again for the 8% raises you gave us this year. We know that the average white-collar worker only received about 3% while their property taxes went up 7% but if you drop your vacation plans you should be okay. Let the kids watch Disney on TV – they don’t actually have to go there. And the really neat thing is we get the raises whether we do a good job or not. Meritocracy is so overrated.
Thanks also for allowing us to retire at 55 on multi-million dollar pensions. We know most of you will have to work until you are 65 or 70 to pay the $197 billion due to the Teachers Retirement System over the next 40 years but don’t worry Walmart is growing fast and there will be a huge need for greeters. And besides those 401K’s and IRA’s that all of you have are so annoying having to worry about the stock market and stuff like that. And did you know you have to invest your own money in those things? What’s that about?
Oh, and thanks for making us the highest paid white-collar workers in the Chicago area. Being ranked first on the Bureau of Labor Statistics list is really impressive. How cool to make more than engineers, computer programmers and accountants. And we didn’t have to take those impossible math courses in college either. Maybe our new motto should be “First in pay, last in test scores.”
And finally, thanks for giving us the money to give to the politicians in Springfield. It’s so much easier for you if you just let us do it. After all, we gave the governor $2.5 million for his campaign and he hasn’t mentioned that silly voucher thing even once.”
Bill Zettler is a free-lance writer and consultant specializing in public sector compensation.
(This article first appeared here on January 1, 2007.)