Words from the founding fathers

Words from the founding fathers

Posted: Friday, March 18, 2011 8:02 pm
By: Nathan Castleman, Special to The Press

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” — John Quincy Adams

I feel that many people across the U.S. voted for principle in November. It seemed that we were turning a corner, but I’m beginning to wonder. Hopefully some down to earth common sense will prevail.  Here are a few things that we need to be voted on with principle not political expediency:

The never ending Continuing Resolutions (CR) being passed by Congress.  This Friday at 11:59:59 p.m. the government runs out of money. I can hardly type those words because they are such a joke. The government is not going to run out of money – IT ALREADY HAS NO MONEY!  

We’re broke, but Congress and the president think we can just ignore it and keep passing CRs as if we had the money to back it up.  We’re broke – deal with it.  Do what’s necessary.  

I’m sorry, my fellow teachers, but at least Scott Walker (Gov. of Wisconsin) is dealing with financial problems in his state. 

It’s the same old song. We need to cut back, but don’t cut from my pile. In Wisconsin, the average Milwaukee public-school teacher salary is $56,500, but with benefits the total package is $100,005. 

Teachers belong to the Wisconsin state pension plan. That plan requires a 6.8 percent employer contribution and 6.2 percent from the employee. 

However, according to the collective-bargaining agreement in place since 1996, the district pays the employees’ share as well, for a total of 13 percent.

In addition to the state pension, Milwaukee public-school teachers receive an additional pension under a 1982 collective-bargaining agreement. The district contributes an additional 4.2 percent of teacher salaries to cover this second pension. Teachers contribute nothing.  

Under the current collective-bargaining agreements, the school district pays the entire premium for medical and vision benefits and over half the cost of dental coverage. 

Milwaukee’s health care plan for retirees covers the entire premium in effect at retirement, and retirees cover only the growth in premiums after they retire. 

Together with pension and Social Security contributions, plus a few small items, one can see how the total cost of fringe benefits reaches 74.2 percent.  Collective bargining has crippled their state. I don’t disagree with collective bargining as long as it is not based on greed.  

I heard of a man in Japan who went to the store in need of water since the disaster. There were about 10 bottles. He took all 10 and started to walk off with them. Then he stopped and put eight back. He only took what he needed and left the rest for others who would also need water. 

What would you have done? What would a union tell you to do? It would tell you to take the 10 and then find someone else with water in their buggy, and take some of theirs.

General Councel Bob Chanin said it best, “Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas; it is not because of the merit of our positions; it is not because we care about children; and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. The NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of million of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them; the union that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.”

For this and many other reasons, my wife and I cancelled our membership with NEA. We’d love to be a member of our local education associations, but can’t.  

Teachers used to be able to be members of their local associations and even the state, without being part of NEA, but NEA made it an all or nothing.  

Now you have to be a member of NEA and TEA to be a member of your local. Many teachers are only members for the liability insurance. We were, but joined a Christian association with similar coverage.

We have got to start taking common sense stands or our children will be the ones to pay the price. This includes cutting entitlements. We can’t continue to pay out to those who don’t deserve. Stop giving tax refund checks to people who didn’t even pay into it. 

Reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Stop throwing money at problems. 

Stop funding organizations like Planned Parenthood, NPR, ACORN….

Stop funding the UN and throw them out of the US.  Demand that our President and Attorney General uphold the law, not set in judgment on whether a law is consitutional. Let the government shut down. 

Tell the president and Congress to do the tough but right thing and then stand behind them even if a cut comes out of your pile.

To do so, you may have to take the stand that John Quincy Adams spoke of:  “… though you may vote alone…”

Send me your comments by email to foundingwords@yahoo.com.

wcp 3/17/11

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