Your government wants you to subsidize young retirees and other sweet deals

For all the legitimate complaints about the news media, the fact remains that quite often good information about the ridiculousness of government reaches the public. The next time some lame Republican politician whines about the media, ask him four questions.

1) What is he doing to correct the media?

2) Is he helping spread the accurate information the media does put out?

3) What is he doing to bypass the media?

4) Or, is he afraid the truth will come out?

The answers you’ll get will probably tell you a lot about whether that guy should be in office.

Two newspapers recently reported some good facts on very similar topics. The Wall Street Journal printed this story about the General Motors and the United Auto Workers:

GM’s Plan: Subsidize Our 48-Year-Old Retirees: Lots of taxpayers would like to get the deal UAW workers still get.”

According to the Wall Street Journal article, a lot of people in Detroit “saw today’s troubles coming for years, even decades.”

“‘I frankly don’t see how we’re going to meet the foreign competition,’ said Henry Ford II, then chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Co., on May 13, 1971, right after the annual shareholders’ meeting. ‘We’ve only seen the beginning,’ he predicted…

That was a couple years before Detroit agreed to let auto workers retire with full pension and benefits after 30 years on the job, regardless of their age. In practice, that meant a worker could start at age 18, retire at 48, and spend more years collecting a pension and free health care than he or she actually spent working. It wasn’t long before even union officials realized they had created a monster.

In 1977, UAW Vice President Irving Bluestone said he was ‘flabbergasted’ that so many workers were retiring at age 55 or younger. ‘We were aware that the trend to early retirement was escalating . . . but we were surprised at the escalation in 1976,’ Mr. Bluestone declared. ‘It is astounding.'”

Now our federal government has added an additional burden to taxpayers through their assistance of the “big three” Detroit automobile companies, which should instead be forced into bankruptcy.

The Chicago Sun-Times ran these two articles:

“Teachers got bigger raises on average”

“Rich in ‘Incentives’ | Pay for some educators now tops a record $400,000 — and when their careers end, bonuses and perks sweeten departure”

Thanks to the public posting of public school teacher and administrator salaries, more Illinoisans than ever have been learning just how absurd the notion is that “teachers are underpaid.”

Unfortunately, despite this knowledge, our school boards and our state legislators have been cooperating in a steady effort to make the problem worse. Instead of us privatizing the public schools and issuing parent education vouchers, our government seems as if it wants to nationalize an industry that should be allowed to go under.

Clearly the UAW inspired the teachers unions – who have a similar retirement provision in their contracts (teachers can also retire after 30 years). Make no mistake – much of the talk that is going on in Springfield about increasing taxes to increasing funding for the public schools has less to do with current education costs than it does with catching up on payments to that wrongly named state pension fund.

As for the state teachers “pension fund” – it’s a misnomer to call it that. A pension fund is funded as a pay-as-you-go system, not like the generational wealth transfer that it actually is. Click here to read more on that topic.

From the Sun-Times:

“A Niles Township school superintendent made $411,500 last year — a record in a year that saw top public elementary and high school administrators’ pay climb past $400,000 for the first time.

Neil Codell (left) received $411,511 as superintendent of Niles Township High School District 219 in 2008. That year, Laura Murray, former superintendent at Homewood-Flossmoor High School District 233, was paid $402,331 while Eric King, former superintendent of Elementary School District 159 in Matteson, took home $340,267.”

Some people are starting to wake up. The Sun-Times reports:

“Not every District 219 taxpayer thinks Codell deserved such a large payout.

‘Considering the grave state of our economy, this is a gross injustice for the taxpayers,” said Robert Swartz, a former president of Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, a group that unsuccessfully fought a district tax rate hike in 2004.

Despite Codell’s top pay, district test scores do not top the state, although they are above the state average. Both the district ACT score and its Prairie State Achievement Exam pass rate are lower now than when Codell became superintendent.

‘We’re not getting our money’s worth,’ said Swartz.”

Under the subheading ‘Crisis in confidence,’ the Sun-Times reported the following:

“Although the state Board of Education keeps total compensation records for every educator in the state, they are not itemized.

The Civic Federation’s [Lawrence] Msall said lawmakers should require all ‘tax-supported governments,” including school districts, to make compensation breakdowns and pension sweeteners more readily available to public scrutiny.

‘There’s a crisis in confidence in government in Illinois right now,” Msall said. ‘If these salaries and bonuses are all justified, then taxpayers have a right to see them.”’

Stupidity has reigned in both the private and public sector – and taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill.

©2009 John Francis Biver