Does Secretary of Education Arne Duncan work for taxpayers or teachers unions? Duncan agrees that states are out of money and talks about getting used to a “New Normal” because of the down economy. He also claims that teacher salaries should be as high as $150,000 per year.
When did dependence become an American value? From the deterioration of Social Security to the crisis over public sector pensions, Democrats and their special interest supporters are warning constituents that their retirements are in jeopardy while claiming that there is an implicit guarantee from government to provide.
An ad hitting Illinois’ airwaves begs taxpayers to not let politicians cut public employee pensions. Accompanied by mournful piano notes, public servants lament the possibility of lost retirements described as “modest.” The ad tells us that most of these employees are ineligible for Social Security, and that the problem with public employee pensions is caused by politicians not making promised payments.
Detractors critical of President Obama’s decision to depart for Latin America while the situations in Libya and Japan deteriorated have not been paying attention. The president has been on the road a lot lately, with March stumping appearances in Boston, Miami, and Arlington promoting a federal takeover of education in the guise of fixing No Child Left Behind.
Angry mobs protesting in Madison, Wisconsin showed what happens when government cedes its responsibility to manage public employees. There are consequences for forgetting that governments must retain control of the resources needed to carry out public services paid for by taxpayers, whether those functions are fighting fires, arresting lawbreakers, or making sure that teachers are standing in front of our classrooms.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker forced states nationwide to consider the cost of union control of their public sector workforces. The outrage from Wisconsin public employees over a modest increase in benefit contributions mocks private sector workers, who pick up the tab for generous public pension and health care benefits while pondering the fate of their own recession-damaged 401(k)s.
Politicians can be masters at using hot-button events to create a dialogue that suits the needs of the moment. Plans for a Ground Zero mosque became a discussion of religious freedom instead of a condemnation of unpardonably bad judgment. The Tucson, Arizona shootings led to partisan pleas to tone down political rhetoric as power in Washington shifted and the GOP took control of the House.