Friday, May 22, 2009

Teachers' Unions Attack On Capitalism Bites them in the Butt

Taxpayers really need to educate themselves on public pensions and teachers pensions. In most cases teachers or the school district will contribute 5 - 9% of a teacher's annual salary to a pension fund. Once retired, teachers typically take 75% of the average of their highest three years of salary as a pension annually. The difference between these two numbers is to be made up by investments and/or taxpayers. Teachers will probably withdraw all that they put into the system in the first three years of retirement. With retirement age so low they could be collecting a pension for 40 years that is a lot of money that needs to be made up by taxpayers and investments and once you multiply that by the millions of teachers you can see what an economic mess the unions and taxpayers are in. These pensions were designed in a way that only doomed them to failure how one math teacher could not see this is beyond me, school boards and legislators across America should be ashamed of themselves for ever enacting such a dreadful pension system, but so goes greed and pandering.

Teachers', SEIU members, etc., will be getting what they deserve, ultimately there is no way governments will be able to pay these pensions out many States and Cities will have to go bankrupt. These pensions should have been stopped years ago but greedy union people and the politicians who pandered to them never did the right thing.

The following piece appears on American Thinker. Be sure to check out the American Thinker site to see the links in the story and the comments.


How's that attack on capitalism working out for teacher unions?

May 21, 2009
How's that attack on capitalism working out for teacher unions?
Jack Kemp
A number of reports are making their way into the press about how various teachers' unions are being hurt by the drop in the stock market. It is realistic to assume that the leaders and many, though not all, members of the teachers' unions are liberal Democrat Obama supporters. So, let us see how it is going for them.

The Minnesota state teachers pension fund is hurt badly by the drop in stock prices - and they want a government bailout. I gather they aren't members of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Some quotes from Twin Cities' own Star Tribune:

Through their Education Minnesota labor union, retirement association and education lobbying organizations, they're asking the Legislature for between $207 million and $223 million over four years to restore their pension fund to economic health. The proposal, part of the overall pension bill making its way through legislative committees, won't kick in until 2011, an acknowledgment that the money simply isn't there this year. ....

"It's just astonishing how tone-deaf Education Minnesota is, how they are pushing this now," said Mark Haveman, executive director of the Taxpayers Association (which is not connected to the Taxpayers League of Minnesota). ....

"It's not doable; we don't have the money," said Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, and the sole Senate Republican on the Legislative Commission on Pensions and Retirement. "That doesn't just make Republicans nervous. I've seen a lot of DFLers squirm. It's really the problem child in that entire pension plan."

Brian McClung, spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, said the governor's office is still examining the pension bill, but added that "we've got a multibillion [dollar] deficit to solve, so this isn't a year to tack on big amounts of additional spending."

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the teachers pension fund is "closer to insolvency," losing "$2.6 billion" in the last fiscal year, according to this April article. There is talk of not being able to pay out full benefits in the near future. To quote the article, "The increase in the deficit, like the overall shortfall, is due largely to stock-market woes and the state's failure to pay the amount it owes into the system this year and for years before."

And in neighboring Pennsylvania, the teachers pension fund lost $20 Billion from June 2008 to March 20, 2009, according to Page 5 of this PDF file report from the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System. The fund is invested 19.9 percent in stocks and 14.2 percent in Real Estate and 20 percent in foreign stocks, according to Page 3 of this report.

And also in neighboring New York City, the NY Post reports that:

"The city faces potentially catastrophic costs of up to $43 billion from recent pension investment losses, which threaten to drain the municipal budget and put taxpayers on the hook for years.

Recent market losses have left massive gaps for city taxpayers to plug -- $15 billion from Fiscal Year 2008, and an estimated $28 billion from 2009 if the pension funds dip 20 percent as feared, officials told The Post."

New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania all voted for Obama. Be careful what you wish for.

Meanwhile, in Alabama, where Sen. McCain won the vote, there is this press release about a Federal Election Commission complaint against the NEA, concerning teachers' money being funneled to political donations. I'm going out on a limb here and assume it wasn't an NEA donation to the Ron Paul or John McCain campaigns.

'Washington, DC (January 13, 2009) - The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation announced today it will file a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) asking it to investigate charges made by two Alabama educators who discovered a union scheme to divert their money into the National Education Association's (NEA) political action committee (PAC).

Claire Waites, the chair of the science department, and Dr. Jeanne Fox, an assistant principal, both work at Daphne Middle School in Bay Minette, Alabama. Waites and Fox are both members of the Baldwin County Education Association (BCEA), Alabama Education Association (AEA), and NEA teacher unions.

In July 2008, Waites and Fox attended the NEA's annual convention in Washington, DC, as delegates of the BCEA. By telephone, BCEA union president Saadia Hunter informed Waites and Fox that contributions to a "children's fund" in their names were made from money included in their expense reimbursements for their trip to the convention.

Although Hunter told Waites that these contributions were not political in nature, they actually went to the NEA's PAC, the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education.

Later, Hunter admitted that the money would be contributed to Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Sworn statements by Waites and Fox indicate that the AEA union boss also admitted that the PAC contributions were paid with BCEA members' dues. However, it is illegal for unions to contribute to political candidates using "dues, fees, or other moneys required as a condition of membership in a labor organization." '

A leftist I casually know recently was informing me a week ago that he saw a television report of a poet being invited to the White House and he thought this so much culturally better than the previous White House resident's years. Perhaps it was - for the White House resident, but not necessarily for his supporters around the country. I brushed off his remark and changed the subject. The mainstream media reports news of the Chrysler bankruptcy and General Motors pending bankruptcy and auto industry layoffs, but none of this impressed him. And I can't help but wondering that while Pres. Obama enjoys his $100 a pound steak, shortly travels to Las Vegas (after shaming other CEOs not to go there on business trips thus has and endangering Harry Reid's chances of reelection), that all these teacher pension fund losses are a type of poetic justice for those who no longer teach basic economics and characterize all businesses as polluters and exploiters.

There is an old saying in New York. A conservative is a liberal who got mugged. We will shortly see what kind of effect a huge mugging at the pension office and at the grocery store (as their dollars buy less) has on liberal teachers.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reasons number 6478.

Reason number 6478 why I will not send my children to a taxpayer funded socialist indoctrination center. The following article appears on American Thinker. Some of the comments are excellent be sure to go to the American Thinker website and read the comments.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

May 20, 2009
Obama may earn Millions from Schools in Book Deal
By Richard Henry Lee

Obama may earn millions from taxpayer-funded schools in his new book deal.

Five days before taking the oath of office, President-elect Barack Obama signed a book deal with Crown Publishing Group to publish a version of his best-selling book, "Dreams from My Father", aimed at middle school and young adult age groups. Obama would receive a $500,000 advance payment against royalties, plus ongoing royalty payments. Some in the media have questioned the propriety of this deal from the angle that the President might be unduly influenced by Bertelsmann AG, the German based media publishing empire which owns Random House, which is the parent company of Crown Publishing.

But there is a far larger dynamic at work. Random House and Crown are interested in selling books. And most middle and high school students do not buy lots of books, but the schools they attend do. So we presume that Crown Publishing will primarily pitch the book to schools along with libraries.

The real issue then becomes the tremendous influence that President Obama now enjoys over the spending plans of thousands of school districts which just received $44.5 Billion from the Stimulus Bill plus additional billions in the Omnibus Spending Bill, both of which Obama signed.

When Random House marketing professionals call on school districts and the state-level education departments to place the book, they will more likely be treated as purveyors of hope than annoying salespersons.

In addition, the teacher unions, such as the National Education Association, supported Obama overwhelmingly during the past election as they did the Democratic candidates for House and Senate seats, and the additional federal dollars the schools received in a time of need will not be forgotten.

The current version of Obama's book is already targeted for use by high school students according to the Random House website, and the abridged, easy-to-read version should be an even easier sell. Students will also appreciate the shorter version as they write their book reports.

President George W. Bush placed his assets in a blind trust when he became President to avoid any appearance of impropriety, but President Obama has not followed suit. Instead, he signed on to this business venture just before becoming President despite his campaign promise that there would be change in the way business is conducted in Washington.

The editorial pages have been silent on this aspect of the book deal. But when one considers that the ranks of the Fourth Estate are filled with book authors and would be book authors, it is no surprise that neither reporters nor editorial writers find fault with Obama's book deal. Writing books is considered to be a noble profession so perhaps they cannot attach the stigma of "influence peddling" to it.

James Taranto, recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal (where he also quoted from my recent NY Daily News Op-Ed on Obama's personal finances)

A less charitable observer, or one less inclined to paralipsis, might characterize Obama's book royalties as more of a "get-rich-quick scheme" than a "quality product." But in any case, they passed the marketplace test, so more power to him.

But the marketplace to which he referred, is the unfettered retail market, not the academic market. We suspect that no President since Woodrow Wilson has enjoyed such unabashed support from academia as Obama. Thus the marketplace in this case is not only heavily biased, but beholden as well.

The Obama family has relied heavily on book sales to help them maintain their upper middle class lifestyle as we have chronicled previously. With Michelle Obama's purchase of such apparel as $540 Lanvin sneakers recently, it appears that there is a continuing need for more book royalties to keep the First Family looking fashionably chic. Plus, the Obama's two children attend the exclusive Sidwell private school in Washington, DC where tuition is $28,000 each.

There is political advantage to Obama (and the Democrats) as well. If this book is largely incorporated into the reading curriculum, students currently in high school will be of voting age when Obama presumably runs for reelection in 2012, and this inspirational book may help them decide how to cast their ballots in both Presidential and Congressional elections.

When Obama accepted help from now convicted felon, Tony Rezko, in purchasing his spacious home in Chicago, he described the decision as "boneheaded", but that was only after reporters questioned him about it. Yet his book deal will be far more lucrative to Obama than the house deal, but the reporters have yet to ask the right questions.
The premise is that the MSM have ignored the school sales angle of the book deal. I have searched and cannot find any media raising it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Could the Good News In California Foreshadow Future Elections

Bravo to the California voters for soundly rejecting several ballot measures that would have raised their taxes. The following piece appears at via the AP. I am hoping that the momentum of taxpayers and voters rejecting tax increases will carry over to other ballot measures across America. I hope that President Obama gets the message too. But I doubt it, instead of letting California balance their budget and cut spending he will raise taxes on all Americans to pay for California's spending problems. Let's hope voters wise up and not re-elect Obama in 2012 my children's and grand-children's taxes will be outrageous without further spending I can not imagine what they will be like if his insane spending habits continue.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Schwarzenegger says he's heard voters' anger
May 20 11:30 AM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday he's heard "loud and clear" a voter message to take care of deficits through budget cuts alone, without passing additional costs along to them.
Voters on Tuesday resoundingly rejected Schwarzenegger's package of budget-balancing measures that he promised would temporarily fix the state's financial crisis.

Instead, he now faces a $21.3 billion budget deficit.

Schwarzenegger said the state's residents have had to sell off motorcycles, second cars and hold garage sales to make ends meet in recent months. Now, they're telling state officials that the government has to shrink, too.

"Don't to come to us for extra help. That was the message," Schwarzenegger said after a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "And you know something. I appreciate that when you hear that from the people. It gives us a chance to go and adjust, and say 'OK, we went in the wrong direction. Now lets go in the right direction and lets go do what the people want.' "

Still, Schwarzenegger said the budget cuts to come may be more painful than California voters realize. While they may not want to pay more for services, they can't say specifically which services they would pare, he said.

He said cuts will certainly come in education, health care and in prisons by transferring undocumented immigrants to federal facilities and transferring more non-violent offenders to local jails. He plans to meet with state lawmakers in the afternoon to discuss the state's options.

Schwarzenegger did get some good news on Wednesday. The federal government informed him that California will remain eligible for an extra $8 billion in Medicaid funds despite complaints from unions that it violated the terms for getting extra stimulus dollars for health care.

The governor said he felt all along the state should trim certain government services, but he didn't want to make what he described as drastic cuts.

"Now we have to. There's no other choice. I think the message was clear from the people: Go all out and make those cuts and live within your means," Schwarzenegger said.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Surprises Here

In the below story the Massachusetts Department of Education is reporting that 73% of aspiring teachers failed the math section of the elementary school teacher's licensing exam. My God these people should be angry very angry I assume they have finished college and spent tens of thousands of dollars to do so. Not only has their K-12 education failed them but their college education failed them as well. Boy I sure would like to know what these people think? I hope to heck that these people are not awarded teaching licenses but I assume they will as the teacher's union or the ACLU will somehow step in and get these people into a classroom.

I would assume that any high school graduate has enough math under his belt to teach elementary math. The fact that 73% of college graduates with a teaching degree failed the math portion of a teacher's licensing exam speaks volumes for teaching degrees.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

The following piece appeared at

Aspiring school teachers fail in math
Only 27 percent of the teaching candidates pass

Bruce Morin
MALDEN, Mass. (WPRI) - According to state education officials, nearly three-quarters of the people who took the state elementary school teacher’s licensing exam this year failed the new math section.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is releasing the results Tuesday. They say that only 27 percent of the more than 600 candidates who took the test passed. The test was administered in March of this year.

The teacher’s licensing exam tested potential teachers on their knowledge of elementary school mathematics. This included geometry, statistics, and probability.

Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester was not surprised by the results. He told the Boston Globe that these results indicate that many students are not receiving an adequate math education.

Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents , says "The high failure rate puts a shining light on a deficiency in teacher-prep programs."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Newport Per Pupil Spending vs. CPI

Click on image to enlarge.

The above chart is cost per-pupil vs Consumer Price Index - CPI. The per-pupil costs were obtained from the New Hampshire Department of Education's website. The NH Department of Education gets their numbers from the Newport School District's Annual Financial Report. I did not break out the elementary, middle school and high school costs I used the total K-12 costs reported in said reports. The CPI information was obtained from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Inflation Calculator.

If the Newport school district ran the school district in a fiscally responsible manor and kept spending at the rate of inflation over the last ten years Newport would be spending 4128.50 less per student. This would have been a significant cost saving in property taxes for Newport residents.

At the current rate of spending can you imagine what property taxes will be like in 10 years. It is time for fiscally responsible individuals to run for the school board in Newport.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spelling Test

Proud Mommy showing off Anastasia's spelling test, she typed all the words herself and she is only 4.


Click on image to enlarge.

Employee Benefit Research Institute

I am adding another great link to our site in our links of interest area. The website is Employee Benefit Research Institute yet another source with a plethora of information.