Monday, July 6, 2015

Georgia's Teachers Argue for More Taxpayer Funded Teacher Pay and Benefits ... But What About Fairness to the Other Taxpayers?

Occasionally something so dumb is said that it's hard to believe. And the occasions seem to be happening with greater frequency as time goes by.

Is Jonathan Gruber right about the American public? Are We the People really stupid? Sometimes I wonder.

A Georgia spokesman for public school teachers apparently believes that to be the case. Either that or he's the stupid one.

Since Forrest Gump taught us that stupid is as stupid does, let's hope Georgia taxpayers or their elected representatives don't fall for what this guy is advocating.

Georgia state workers, teachers pay more for health care says this about public sector benefits in Georgia:

Teachers and state employees in Georgia are paying more for their health care than other public sector employees, according to a new study by the state Depart­ment of Community Health.

Consulting group Aon Hewitt studied the State Health Benefit Plan and concluded that state employees and teachers are paying more in out-of-pocket costs, including payroll deductions, than government workers in surrounding states and those on Georgia’s university system health insurance plan. . . .

The study said state government could also pay more toward health care costs so its employees can pay less. . . .

The findings did not surprise members of the group TRAGIC, which was founded last year by teachers and their spouses to fight rising out-of-pocket health insurance costs.

“This report confirms what the teachers and state employees of TRAGIC have been saying since January 2014,” said John Palmer, a Cobb County school band director and TRAGIC spokesman. “The question is, what is the Legislature willing to do to help the citizens who work for the state of Georgia?”"

Summing Up

TRAGIC spokesman and school band director Mr. Palmer is asking the wrong question when he asks what the Georgia Legislature will do to 'help' the teachers.

He's really asking taxpayers to pay more taxes to pick up a bigger part of the tab for Georgia teachers' health care benefits.
Instead he should be asking what further the taxpayers should be asked to do, if anything, relative to upping the package of total pay and benefits for Georgia's teachers relative to comparable private sector employees in Georgia.

In other words, when seeking 'equity' for teachers and other public sector employees, he should first compare those public sector pay and benefit plans to those plans for private sector taxpayer employees who would be required to pay the higher taxes he's advocating.

And he should also compare the retirement benefits for teachers and other public employees with guaranteed pension benefits in contrast to the private sector's unguaranteed 401(k) retirement plans.
In other words, instead of comparing teachers' benefits to other state employees in Georgia and surrounding states, and arguing that taxpayers should be spending more for teachers and others, how about first comparing public sector pay and benefits to those benefits offered to the bulk of Georgia taxpayers working in the private sector?
And while we're at it, how about looking at the staffing levels and productivity of teachers and other public sector employees compared to those working in the highly competitive private sector?

And so on.

That's my take.
Thanks. Bob.

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