Saturday, October 31, 2015

Greedy grade four teachers threaten to bankrupt economy

What the hell is wrong with people who think nothing of spending $120/hour to get their car serviced, but begrudge the elementary school teachers their $45 per hour?

The sly bastards at the C.D. Howe institute know they can usually count on some free publicity when they slip Margaret Wente one of their anti-union screeds, and sure enough, there she is today on page F9 of my Globe and Mail, broom red-lined, ranting about our overpaid grade four teachers.

Margaret makes much of the fact that in 2002, at the dawn of the Liberal era, Ontario spent $7,201 per student on education; now it's a whopping $11,451!... yup, clear proof that the teachers unions have been colluding with the Liberal government to screw the tax-payer!

Get a grip, Margaret! This ain't 2002! In 2002 the minimum wage was $6.85; now it's $11.25... the minimum wage has gone up more than our education spending! In 2002 the average house in Toronto was under $300 thousands; today it's a million!

It's not 2002 anymore, folks!

Is $94,000 per year "a lot" of money? Sure, if you're making less. Not so much, if you're making more. According to the latest "sunshine list," well over half of the Toronto Police department is earning into the six numbers. I'd like to think that, as a society, we value the contribution of the grade four teacher as much as we value the contribution of the friendly neighbourhood policeman or policewoman.

A journeyman welder with the (private sector) Boilermakers Union has an all-in hourly rate of over $60, which translates into $120 thousand per year before overtime. Speaking of which, when that unionized welder works a Saturday, it's at double time. When that unionized teacher supervises a weekend volleyball tournament, it's for free.

Then we get the usual bromides about the fast-changing world, where, just because the private sector has managed to off-shore Canada's manufacturing base and create a precariat where there was once a viable middle class, EVERYBODY should live at or below the poverty line with no job security!

Of course we should! After all, according to Wente, precarious employment engenders innovation and creativity! How else will we compete against all those countries we've been rushing into "free trade" deals with?

The fact that some people earn more than others doesn't necessarily mean they're overpaid. Maybe we should worry about raising the standard of living for those on the lower rungs of our economy instead of stirring up spite and envy at those doing alright.

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