Teachers are getting the short end of the stick and the people they support are holding the stick

Alexi Giannoulias, state treasurer of Illinois
Image via Wikipedia

Many teachers in Illinois contribute nearly ten percent of their pay to their pension. That is a lot of money and in most cases should be sufficient to FULLY fund a good pension and yet the Illinois pension system is only 45% funded.

The main reason is that for years the politicians in Illinois failed to make the appropriate contributions to the fund.

Where is the outrage? Illinois is only one example among the states. What citizens of Illinois, New Jersey, New York,California and other states should be asking is where did the money go?  What was the money spent on if not these massive obligations?  Chances are it went to other programs to appease different voters, property tax rebates, special programs for seniors, low-income or whatever.  Given the condition of overall finances for many of the states, it appears that not only did politicians not fund their contractual obligations, they also did not have the money to support a wide array of promises.

Rather than supporting these politicians who for years have made promises they don’t keep, public employee unions should be holding them accountable.  In fact, these unions take their members money and support Democratic politicians almost exclusively.  Democrats are perceived as most friendly to “working” people, most friendly to unions.  If that were truly the case you would think that these politicians would have assured that pension promises were funded and that the state was managed for the long-term benefit of all “working” citizens, if not all citizens.  Instead teachers and other public employees are the victims of the pandering by “their” politicians and the collusion of their unions.

At the same time we vilify those politicians who attempt to break this no win cycle because all we see is the immediate and not long-term impact.  Union members vote out those who attempt to correct this painful problem and vote in politicians of like mind to those who created the problem.  Can we conclude that public employees are their own worst enemy?

While union leaders make a big deal of supporting working families and condemn the wealthy among us, top union leaders fully enjoy the benefits of their position.  While it is easy to find the salary and total compensation of corporate officers, it is surprisingly difficult to find the same information for top union leaders.  I have been searching for days and can only find bits and pieces of information about some individuals.  However, even that is enough information to easily conclude that top union leaders earn a quarter of a million dollars a year and up, not including many desirable perks.  There are many with total compensation packages of $500,000 or more.

It seems to me that a corporation taking compensation from earnings and hence shareholders is a bit different from union officers taking generous compensation packages from their members wages.

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