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Public Pensions and Health Coverage

Unsustainable costs have been heaped on the taxpayer.

When I went to the University of Dayton, one of my housemates was studying Elementary Ed., and he majored in what he called "Kiddy Lit" or Children's Literature. This friend of mine was the butt of many jokes because a degree in Elementary Ed was a ticket to what we thought was a lifetime of poor paying jobs. Were we wrong! Over the past few decades, government jobs, and I include teachers and police in this broad category have gone on to outdistance the private sector, not only in pay, but in benefits, notably retirement benefits and health coverage. Who could have predicted the salaries and pensions that are available in some of these fields and while we the taxpayers helped to create the systems and scenarios that educate our children and protect our communities, the continued funding of these salaries and benefits is unsustainable. Education is a critical component of the development of our children and society yet in some locales the high cost of public education is driving property taxes up annually. How can we as a society continue to fund and pay for systems that seemingly cost us more than we as a group can afford. The Unions will decry heresy when they read this, and they must do so to stay in business and protect their members. Unions were never created to allow one side to have an advantage over another. Unions came into prominence in the early and mid 20th Century to level the playing field in labor relations not to put the Unions and members in positions of dominance as some are. American society has some tough choices ahead. The fiscal tightrope act that all levels of government are walking can not continue. What happens to America if the European Union falters? What happens to the free world if Iran or North Korea start acting up with their nuclear weapons? We Americans must once again recreate ourselves into a financially sustainable society. Tough decisions must be quickly and with great wisdom. All sides and all levels of America will be forced to compromise for us to survive and grow and move forward. This will take courageous leaders, in government, labor and society. Anyone interested?

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FYI February 13, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I would venture to guess that 98% or more of the food service workers in Northport are our neighbors, primarily women that supplementing their family income. They also pay school taxes and contribute to our community by providing our children with a level of service and care you will not receive from an outsourced company. Let's not forget outside companies are there only to maximize profit. They will not care for our kids and provide the same levels of "motherly" concern we have now. Food service costs are minimal at best. There are much bigger fish to fry including state mandates, ineffective and costly programs directed at extremely select populations, out of control special education costs, excessive administrative personnel that generate tons of paperwork, little of which has to do with bettering classroom instruction.
Robert W February 13, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Finally someone who gets it!
kptree February 13, 2012 at 06:58 PM
So let me see if I can understand. Mr. Kehoe would like to return to a past where choosing to teach or work for the government is a "ticket to poor paying jobs". Where he and his friends can continue to make someone who chooses to educate our children the butt of their jokes? Righhhhttt... While I support pension reform for educators and all public servants- the time has come for them to structure and pay for their own retirement- the suggestion that public employees return to salaries that amount to "workfare" is patently ridiculous. There are so many things need to be reformed- 1. health insurance costs 2. unfair taxation of the middle class and poor 3. an inefficient, redundant duplication of services over many school districts - that to paint the salaries and benefits of public employees as cause of our current economic woes is like claiming that bogeymen really do exist.
Jerry Hannon February 13, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Now, here is a statement, by kptree, that I find basically on target and reasonable: "There are so many things need to be reformed- 1. health insurance costs 2. unfair taxation of the middle class and poor 3. an inefficient, redundant duplication of services over many school districts - that to paint the salaries and benefits of public employees as cause of our current economic woes is like claiming that bogeymen really do exist." Yes, we need to right-size the compensation of public sector workers, because it is currently mostly paid for by people who have suffered much more, economically. But, that is not the only fix to be sought, and those who pretend that those compensation (pay and benefits) reductions, or else much greater cost-sharing by the same public sector employees, are the only necessary part of a system-wide solution are either ignorant, or despicably selfish.
JSC February 14, 2012 at 05:35 PM
In my district the food service workers are the same people we've always had, local women. The company, Whitson's, provides the new menus, foods and brought in several new kitchen serving centers etc when our high school cafeteria kitchen was redone many years ago. The company included kids and parents in the process to create new menus. And yes, cafeterias must be self-sustaining.

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