Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Council Has Spoken!

It's that time again...the votes have been cast, the Council has spoken and this week's winners become a part of cyber-history! ( did I just invent a word?!??)

The events in Wisconsin were on many member's minds this week, so it's perhaps no surprise that this week's winner, Bookworm Room carried off the prize with her fine essay Thoughts about the Wisconsin teachers' union. Here's a nice slice:

In a dreadful economy, in a state with a huge debt load, you’d think that the public sector employees would be sanguine about the proposal. After all, they get to keep their jobs, they get to keep their benefits, and they still have salaries and benefits that exceed those given to their taxpayer employees. In addition, the unions that they are currently to which they are currently forced to belong would have to be run more fairly.

If you were looking for reasoned thought from unions, however, you’d be looking a long, long time. The unions and their Democrat consigliores have gone absolutely ballistic. The Democrat politicians have gone into hiding and the teachers have gone on the march.

With regard to the teacher protests, you’ve already heard about the illegal strike; the ill-informed and indoctrinated students dragged into the fray; the vile signs likening Walker to Hitler or Hussein or Mubarak, or placing gun sights on Walker’s face’ and the filth these protesters left in their wake. What I’m more interested in is why the teachers? Other public sector employees are also subject to these budget proposals, but it’s the teachers who are leading the way.

Part of the answer, of course, lies with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. In a state in which the teachers’ union has been likened to the fourth branch of government, it was he who first made Americans aware of the way in which teacher’s unions, more than any other single employee group, are putting a pinch on state government coffers. Suddenly, teachers aren’t the sweet-faced little ladies teaching Johnny and Janie to read. Instead, they’re well-paid cogs benefiting from the union’s depredations.

Christie is always careful, in his speeches, to distinguish individual teachers from the unions themselves, and he’s right to do so. It is the unions that are rapacious. The teachers benefit, of course, from the union demands. They’d be absolute idiots to say “No, I don’t want the salary you’re handing me; no, I don’t want the benefits that are coming my way; and, please, forget about that tenure that makes sure I’ll have a job forever.” Each individual teacher knows that if he should decide unilaterally to be honorable and turn down the salary and benefits headed his way, it would change nothing. The situation would continue the same, but he’d be poor.

The problem for teachers is that, having taken these benefits, they’re stuck with the consequences. They’re stuck with the fact that, because of tenure, too many incompetent teachers occupying America’s classrooms, bringing the whole profession into disrepute. And they’re stuck with the fact that the unions have stuck their collective bargaining noses in the curriculum, teaching information and values that offend their taxpayer employers. And they’re stuck with the fact that ordinary taxpayers (and teachers are taxpayers too, but their numbers are small compared to the rest of America’s taxpayers), think that it’s obscene for someone to get paid twice their own salary, with much better benefits, for seven months work.

Our non-council winner, our old friend Zombie over at Pajamas Media scored with Death Channels. It's an amazing piece about - well, life and death and the attitudes we and others have towards it, to describe it briefly and in the most broad terms. As the old Michelin Travel Guides used to say, well worth the detour.

Here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

please helps me write more gooder!

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