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Real Clear Politics is asking Can Chris Christie Fix New Jersey?
At a New Jersey town meeting, Gov. Chris Christie, the newest YouTube star for the limited government set, was reproached by an unhappy teacher. The governor, facing a budget shortfall of $11 billion, has proposed, among other economies, a one-year salary freeze for New Jersey teachers. Her voice raised in anger (that's a normal speaking voice in my home state), Rita Wilson protested that she should be paid $83,000, the only reasonable compensation in light of her "education and experience." Christie's reply got an ovation: "Well, you know what? Then you don't have to do it."There is more in the article. Inquiring minds will give it a look.
Meet the newest conservative hero: The Trenton Truth-Teller!
First, the problem: How can smaller-government Republicans win elections when more and more Americans are receiving government benefits while fewer and fewer are paying taxes? In 2010, 47 percent of Americans paid no income taxes at all. Among those who do pay taxes, most pay comparatively little.
But as Christie is demonstrating, voters are open to a new fairness argument. Whereas Barack Obama and his party invoke "fairness" as a license to take property from productive people and transfer it to the unproductive, Christie is inviting voters to consider the unfairness of our current arrangement in which government employees enjoy better salaries and benefits than private-sector employees.
Christie spelled it out:
A retired teacher paid $62,000 towards her pension and nothing -- yes, nothing -- for full family medical, dental, and vision coverage over her entire career. What will we pay her? $1.4 million in pension benefits and another $215,000 in health care benefit premiums over her lifetime. Is it 'fair' for all of us and our children to have to pay for this excess? (Is it) fair to have New Jersey taxpayers foot the bill for 100 percent of the health insurance costs of teachers and their families from the day they are hired until the day they die? Is it fair that teachers have a better, richer health plan than even state workers and pay absolutely nothing for it?
Christie's proposed economies -- in addition to the one-year salary freeze, he wants teachers and administrators to contribute 1.5 percent of their salaries to the cost of their medical coverage -- have provoked thousands of teachers to take to the streets, Athens style. They've started a Facebook page that excoriates the governor to the delight of its 68,000 fans. And the NJEA has spent $1.8 million on an anti-Christie ad campaign since January.
Still, when the question was submitted to voters in April, 60 percent backed Christie's reforms. His popularity ratings are in dispute (Rasmussen pegs him at 53 percent approval, whereas a Fairleigh Dickenson University poll has him at 43 percent), but he is gaining traction in a state with a 700,000 Democratic registration advantage.
This is one to watch.
Cheers to Chris Christie for laying it on the line.
Governor Chris Christie Slams Teacher
Chris Christie: "We have put forward a constitutional amendment that I am urging the legislature be put on the ballot for you for you to vote on, for you to decide, this November. Do you want a constitutional cap of no more then 2.5% a year. If you want it, I am prepared to give it to you."
During a question and answer session teacher Rita Wilson proposed $3 per pupil which she says adds up to $83,000 per year.
Rita Wilson: "You are not compensating me for my education and you are not compensating me for my experience."
Chris Christie: "Well you know what, then you do not have to do it". [huge applause]
Rita Wilson: "Teachers do it because they love it"
Chris Christie: "Teachers go into it knowing what the pay scale is." [applause]
Quick Check of the Facts
Inquiring minds just might be wondering what Rita Wilson makes and are reading the Rutherford Schools Board Minutes.
24. BE IT RESOLVED BY THE RUTHERFORD BOARD OF EDUCATION to approve the following faculty salaries and locations effective 9/1/09 through 6/30/10:Rita Wilson makes $86,389 "for the love of it" yet bitches about being undercompensated. Ironically, she asks for $3 per pupil which would pay her less.
Page 10. Rita O'Neill-Wilson: $86,389
Bear in mind that teachers get summers off plus enormous benefits. Medical benefits alone may be worth as much as $20,000 and pension benefits another $20,000 or so on top of that.
Far from being underpaid, she is way overpaid vs. what she would get in the private sector. The key, as governor Christie puts it "If you don't like it, do something else."
Rita Wilson and her ilk have the gall to oppose property tax caps of 2.5% just so she and her union parasite friends can unjustifiably make ever increasing sums of money while bankrupting everyone else in the state.
I commend you Rita Wilson for proving what a collective bunch of parasites your teachers' union is. Were it not for your union's thuggery, you just might see a 25-50% haircut in what you are making.
Public unions need to be abolished. It is the only way to get rid of the union termites.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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