PatriotPost.usBy Mark Alexander Â· Thursday, February 24, 2011 "If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy. ... I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious." --Thomas Jefferson It may look more like Socialist protests in Greece or France, but the latest incarnation of collectivist insurrection is under way in Madison, Wisconsin, spreading like a plague into Indiana, Ohio and other Midwest states.
Government union activists are protesting Gov. Scott Walker's effort to confront Wisconsin's looming $3.6 billion 2012/13 budget deficit. Walker, a former county executive and state assemblyman, was elected last year on a platform promise that he would roll back 2009 state tax increases and bring government union compensation plans in line with those of the private sector taxpayers who fund them.
The governor plans to impose economic realities1 on the collectivist bargaining ability of the state's public employee unions by capping their wages with the Consumer Price Index (unless increase by voter referendum), requiring union members to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary to their pension funds and picking up 12.6 percent of their health insurance premium costs. For the record, private sector employee pension contributions average 7.5 percent and almost 20 percent for health plans.
Most vocal among the state's 300,000 public employee union members are protesters from the 98,000-member teacher's union, who are now paid, on average, more than $75,000 in wages and benefits. Wisconsin parents should be protesting against these teachers, too many of whom are clearly motivated more by tenured job security rather than improving student performance.
According to the latest federal education data, pathetically less than 40 percent of 8th grade students in the state's government schools meet basic requirements for math and reading performance, even though the state spends more per student ($10,791) than any other Midwest state. In Milwaukee, where the average teacher compensation package exceeds $100,000, the graduation rate is under 50 percent, and for black children it is below 35 percent.
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