Where is the outrage?

It’s funny what people are willing to protest. I hear about people lining up to protest all kinds of stuff each year, from Gay marriage to changing a principal at a school. I think we need to get a clue folks because there’s so much graft out there in government, it’s hard to know where to start. But let’s fix what’s driving us into the economic abyss first.

I’ll suggest examining Scott Plotkin, the Executive Director of the California School Boards Association who made $400,000 in 2009. Yes, he’s not technically a government employee I guess, but I’d bet that 100% of his salary was paid for from YOUR TAX DOLLARS. The state average income in 2009 was $42,425. What the hell did Scott Plotkin do that was 10 times better than the average Californian? Not a damned thing; in fact, turns out that he wasn’t making enough to support his gambling habit so he allegedly used the CSBA credit cards to get a cool $30k to play the tables with.

The same article states that teachers were paid from $27,084 and $119,657 in salary. REALLY? $120k for 182 days of work!?! Holy cow, $659 per six hour day? REALLY!?! That’s not counting about 1/3 of that salary for benefits (yes REALLY) PLUS 8.25% that the Unions never choose to report for State Teachers Retirement System (STRS)that the public contributes for teachers. That’s right, so a teacher working 182 days could make a salary of 119,657 + 9872 (STRS 8.25%) + 39,486 (33% benefits) = $169,015 – REALLY!? And if a teacher works until about age 62 they get about 90% of their salary for the rest of their life?!? And all you suckers (me too) earning an average of $42k per year and hoping to live off the fat of the land at age 67 (SS) are going to pay for the teacher retirement, it’s guaranteed by the state budget no matter how bad the managers of the fund are at investing it. Happy now? Think there’s somewhere to cut some FAT? How do you feel about going to parent/teacher conferences now? Do you realize that the teacher is arriving in a Mercedes YOU paid for?!?

And stop to think for one cotton-picking second about what the administrators must be earning if teachers are making $120k per year, oh yeah, Scott Plotkin ($400,000), I forgot the topic of my rant for a second.

But see, teachers unions cornered the market on the martyr brand years ago. Poor overworked and (previously) underpaid teachers dealing with your rotten kids for 180 days, 6 long hours a day – gosh – how rough can work get? We better pay them a salary of $120k per year so they can handle the pressure, poor old martyrs who sacrificed a wealthy career in real estate to teach my kids. Wow, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in NY f you really bought all that horse manure.

And don’t be fooled, Scott Plotkin WAS paid from your tax money, where do you think the California School Boards Association dues come from? It comes right out of your kid’s classroom, each School District pays dues to that corrupt organization.

And yes, I think they qualify to be called corrupt if they pay this knucklehead $400k per year at a time when the average Californian makes a tenth of that; plus, many families were losing their homes, and many teachers were being laid off from their $120k per year jobs.

Sad state of affairs isn’t it?

According to the report, Executive Director Scott Plotkin’s base pay rose steadily from $216,320 in 2006 to $328,973 last year. He also was given $539,497 in bonuses and other compensation during that period, bringing his total compensation to $1.6 million.

A bonus for what!?! Hitting the Progressive Jackpot!?! WOW, we have some serious government cutting to do folks, in my opinion, nobody in government should make more than double the average per capita income of the state plus benefits and their retirement, period. What are we afraid of in setting limits, that we’ll end up with a bunch of mediocre government employees and services? Oops, that ship sailed didn’t it?

And if the response to trimming salaries is that all these valuable government employees leave and start a private business; ALL THE BETTER AND GOD BLESS THEM! Think of all the NEW private sector jobs that will be created! YEEHAW, sounds like a plan to me.

So folks, where is the outrage? Are you still brainwashed by the CTA marketing machine that sells poor, underpaid, underappreciated, self-sacrificing educators evey time there’s a union contract to negotiate? PUH_LEESE people, get a clue, and develop some outrage.

Let’s agree to set the average income of any government worker at a level somewhere between the 80% of the average and 2x the average per capita income, think about it, it’s not unreasonable; in fact, it’s freakin’ generous.

Is this Recession like the Depression?

Here we are headed into midterm elections and Obama in 19 months hasn’t managed to sort out the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, circumstances he did not create. A lot of us contributed to that so let’s not point at the hapless George, the cigar-toking William, or George I.
Let’s look at the timeline of the Great Depression, shall we?
So it begins in the 1920’s when banks were failing in huge numbers, the top tax rate was cut to the lowest rate in 80 years, and there was an artificial stock market bubble, and there is a shift in wealth from the lower income to the upper income.
Hmmm…déjà-vu all over again? Maybe, if you stopped there, you might think so…but wait.
By the end of the 20’s production was declining at an annual rate of about 20% and in 2004, since the US peak in production in 1979, production fell by 17.5% (can anyone round up?)
By 1930, the GNP falls by 9.4 percent and employment rises to 8.7 percent and we currently sit at 9.5.
This is where the Great Depression begins o diverge, so are we in a lull before the real storm, or are we at a turning up point? That’s the question, and that’s what nobody seems to know or be able to predict.
By 1932 10,000 banks have failed, 40% of the total number of banks in 1929, unemployment hits almost 24 percent. Currently, 301 banks have failed since 2000 in the current crisis (About 3% of what is left, currently about 8,700 FDIC insured banks in the US), and as mentioned above, the unemployment rate stands at 9.5%.
So maybe we’re living in somewhat of a manufactured crisis. I mean if things are not even a third as bad as they were in the Great Depression, then why should we worry?
Interesting news from the past here – “Alarmed by Roosevelt’s plan to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, a group of millionaire businessmen, led by the Du Pont and J.P. Morgan empires, plans to overthrow Roosevelt with a military coup and install a fascist government modeled after Mussolini’s regime in Italy. The businessmen try to recruit General Smedley Butler, promising him an army of 500,000, unlimited financial backing and generous media spin control. The plot is foiled when Butler reports it to Congress.”
So by 1933 unemployment rises to almost 25% and YET Roosevelt rejects Keynes’ advice to begin heavy deficit spending.
Sweden is the first economy to recover due to a policy of deficit spending, unlike the US which begins a slow recovery in 1934.
By 1936 unemployment is falling and hits just under 17% percent and the top tax rate climbs to 79%.
The climb out of the Depression is finally aided by the boost in manufacturing created by WWII.
So perhaps trying to draw parallels between such different times is interesting but not very meaningful. After all, we won’t know what will work to bring the US out of its economic troubles until we are actually out of them, if we ever are.

All I know is that we have a President now who has the reins and is expected to find the right answers, whether popular or not.