Private-sector workers should be the ones striking in the streets of Wisconsin. They’re the ones who have to support government workers’ bloated salaries and pensions. But private-sector workers can’t afford to take a day off, let alone a week. Doesn’t that say everything? Only government employees, with their powerful unions, lifetime job security, short workweeks, loads of sick days, nonstop holidays, early retirement, and huge pensions, can afford to stand in the street protesting. Common sense tells us anyone with this much time to protest and the ability to abandon their work duties is greatly overpaid.
It’s time for a reality check. These $100,000-per-year teachers keep talking about “the kids.” Exactly who is teaching those kids while their teachers abandon their jobs and commit fraud with fake doctors’ notes? If they cared about the kids, they’d be in the classroom. They’d leave the striking and lobbying to their union leaders and lobbyists. It’s the students (and their parents) who should be on strike.
I’m a small businessman. Like all private-sector workers, I have no time to protest or strike. Take a day off? How could I do that? I run a business. People depend on me. I’m on call 24/7/365, weekends, holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Vacations are “working vacations.” The phones never stop ringing, the emails never slow down. I have to work 16-hour days just to pay my taxes. Who benefits? Those government employees protesting in the streets of Wisconsin.
Is it fair that government employees can be paid as much as 70% more than the workers who work the same jobs in the private sector? Is it fair that private-sector taxpayers work to age 65, 75, or even longer to pay obscene taxes so that government employees can retire at age 50? Does any of this make sense?
These public “servants” claim this is a battle for “the middle class.” Let me assure you, in the private sector a $100,000-per-year job with paid medical, early retirement, and thirty (or more) years of pension is (a) as far from “middle class” as you can get and (b) very rare.
Call me old-fashioned, but the system has been rigged. Here in Las Vegas, firefighters average $199,000 per year in compensation. Yes, you read that correctly. Quite a few have income of over $300,000. One fireman took 48 sick days and still took home $232,187. Another is headed to prison for trying to have sex with underage girls. He’ll get his $200,000 pension while in prison. It’s happening all over the country. These people aren’t part of the “middle class,” they’re part of the privileged class.
My father-in-law, Ralph Parks, was a hospital CEO for 30+ years. He managed a hundred-million-dollar institution with hundreds of employees. He was always on emergency call and rarely enjoyed a real day off. In his best years, he was paid just over $100,000. He received no pension or lifetime healthcare. He saved money for his own retirement. He had no tenure and could be fired at any time. At age 59, he lost his CEO job. Soon thereafter he had a stroke and heart problems. He never worked again. That’s the way it works in the private sector. There are no guarantees. Why are these government employees guaranteed a job for life? Are they better or more deserving than Ralph Parks? Why don’t they keep or lose their jobs based on their performance?
More importantly, why do millions of government employees who get holidays, weekends, and in some cases the entire summer off, take no midnight phone calls, never have to risk their own money (as entrepreneurs in the private sector do), and have a guaranteed lifetime job deserve $100,000 in compensation, plus early retirement, free medical care and lifetime pensions — all on the back of true working-class taxpayers? How is that possible? How does it make fiscal or moral sense for an average government employee to be paid more than a CEO? The answer is that it doesn’t make sense.
It’s the taxpayers and business owners who should be in the streets protesting, shouting, and pumping their fists. But, of course, we’re not in the streets protesting. We have no time for strikes. We’re too busy working for a living, paying the taxes that fund the bloated salaries and pensions of government employees.
This sad story is at the heart of what has damaged the U.S. economy, created a national debt of $100 trillion (counting unfunded liabilities), and has cities, counties, and states on the verge of economic Armageddon.
If we don’t get government employee unions under control, we will face disaster. All of us will lose. And good luck with those $100,000 pensions. Soon $100,000 may buy you a loaf of bread.
Wayne Allyn Root is a former Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee. He now serves as Chairman of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee. He is the best-selling author of “The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold & Tax Cuts.” His website: www.ROOTforAmerica.com