Government Meets the Real World

I believe 2010 will go down as the year the wage discrepancy between public and private employees began to narrow.

According to a recent article in USA Today, the average yearly pay including benefits for a federal government worker is $81,000 compared to $51,000 for a private business employee. Cadillac health plans and defined benefit pension programs have bloated federal payrolls. State and municipal payouts have kept up with or sometimes surpassed those of the federal.

The tide is changing. The dike of unchallenged government pay and benefits is showing leaks. California is broke and politically stalemated, but furloughs are now common in the school systems and layoffs and hiring freezes are the norm. In Illinois, it appears that 10 percent of the teacher’s pension plan portfolio will be sold to pay current pension obligations. In Washington DC, 241 teachers were not rehired by the gutsy new school superintendent.

The rationing of jobs which we have witnessed in private business for the last 10 years is taking root in government. The latest monthly employment figures showed 131,000 lost government jobs. Some of these were temporary census jobs, but others were in schools, bureaucracy, police, sewer, etc.

I feel somewhat ambivalent about the new trend. I see an erosion of middle-class America, which is regrettable, but I also see the beginning of the cleansing of government excess that has been gumming up the engine of American capitalism for 50 years.

Question: Are public school teachers overpaid?

Share this post

10 thoughts on “Government Meets the Real World

  1. Joel VanAntwerp

    Being the husband of a Kindergarten teacher, I do not think teachers are overpaid. They have to deal with children who come to school in Michigan winters without coats, lunches and without have ever been taught the letters in their name or the basic colors. You would also be surprised how much money she needs to spend to buy basic school supplies for her room, such as paper, glue, crayons, scissors, markers etc. None of these expenditures are compensated.

  2. Bruce Renwick

    School teachers are not overpaid but should no longer expect huge pensions and public funded retirement, they should contribute to there own future just like the rest of us. There are thousands of other government jobs that should be scrutanized that do not involve education, especially the so called “public servants” that we vote into office. Look at the benifits these people are getting.

  3. Janie

    My mom taught in public school system 32 years. She had a great salary compared to most people we knew. She now has a great comfortable retirement. I don’t think she was overpaid, even tho the media was screaming to pay them more during her whole career. And, I am sure she was not underpaid either. However, a closer look should be taken at administrator’s, and school board member’s salaries. Also, we NEED turnover in Congress and State leaders. Same people in office for years is not good, no matter if Republican or Democrat. Their salaries should be frozen until voted on. Limits on their staff and discretionary spending need to be implemented. Those guys are over paid and need supervision. They spend money as if it were not their own! And it isn’t!

  4. R. Dahlen

    I had to bring my own pencils and paper to school. I didn’t know teachers ( or are we supposed to call them “educators” now ) have to ” provide” these items to students.

  5. Deborah Rudy

    I don’t think the question is whether or not teachers are overpaid. The question needs to be about re-examining the tenure system. The best teachers need to be rewarded for their performance, and non-performing teachers need to be cut loose, not protected by some arcane system of tenure, guaranteeing them a job for life, just for hanging around the longest.

  6. Jack Frost

    Lloyd: We are self victims of an overloaded system. The retirement liabilities soon will be larger than communities can pay. Two things can happen. The first is a domino effect in that the communities will not be able to fund the retirement obligations. The community keeps increasing taxes to the point that tax foreclosures are very possible. The real estate would be auctioned and the unions and their members being solvent could assume ownership. The other possibility is bankruptcy which is what Harrisburg is proposing to do. This action would void all contracts and allow for a new start. What we need is cap retirement at $100.0K per year. No retirement payments until age 60. All disability claims meet a medical board. If we had that we wouldn’t have the problems. I hear it is quite common in California for some teachers to get $500.0K per year retirement. A machinist would have to be an 8 armed genius to get the same. But these government unionists expect us to pay and demand it.

  7. Jon Falk

    Teachers are grossly overpaid with unions at the root of the cause. And here is a thought that has only recently occured to me – do teachers purposely slow the learning process in order to prepetuate the school (all levels) systems? By keeping learners back, they automatically extend the educational process. This may be the reason that so many young people are still in “school” at ages beyond the former norms of 17-18 for high school and 21-22 for undergrad college.

  8. Allie Campbell

    My cousin’s wife is a public school counselor, and she makes well over $100,000!! The home she just had built is more than I’ll ever be able to afford in my lifetime.


Comments are closed.