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Archive → April 27th, 2016

How Much Should a Government Employee Make?

Editors Note:

Staff expects raises each year as well as more money for adding responsibility. Each non-union employee seems to feel they need more because they do more or because they have done a good job for a long time. There is a point where these jobs can be filled by Qualified people for less money. Put an add in the paper for a government job with the best benefits and medical and see how long it takes before you need to stop taking applications. Public Sector Unions have it even better. Who represents the citizen and what they can afford in taxes.

Point is that everyone in government for the most part makes more than the private sector when the total package is considered.

Raises are paid by taxpayers. Let the taxpayer decide.

How Much Should a Government Employee Make?


On his inaugural spin on the Sunday talk show circuit, Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts called for a freeze on federal-employee pay, which he said was twice that of private-sector counterparts. It was an issue he campaigned on as a way to bring government spending under control. “Lavish pay and benefit packages have unfortunately become a way of life for public employees,” he said at an event in January. “It’s time to bring fiscal sanity to Washington. I support a temporary freeze on federal wages until the Congress devises a plan to control spending and debt.”

The obsession with government-employee pay is surfacing at the state and city levels as well. Colorado Springs is cutting services in the face of mounting budget deficits. Tax increases can only be approved by referendum, and residents recently voted one down. In November, a city councilman proposed reducing employee pay. A local business leader named Stephen Bartolin has criticized a city employee pay and benefits package that he said amounted to more than $80,000 a person, compared to the mere $24,000 Bartolin pays his employees. It’s not clear if the positions are comparable — he runs a resort and benefits from being able to hire seasonal and part-time employees. Now the idea that Colorado Springs pays its city employees too well has emerged as the “other side” in the debate. The vice mayor has stepped up to defend the city pay as in line with that of other municipalities.

The hand-wringing over how much government employees are paid is perennial. It trades on the image of a nameless bureaucrat stamping papers in an office bloated with redundant, union-protected workers who do very little work for great pay and too many holidays. That competency and talent are as important in the public sphere — remember Michael Brown at FEMA? — as they are in the private sector is often forgotten. Because the government employs a wide-range of workers, wholesale comparisons between government and private-sector workers are often unfair. Moreover, they’re usually not even accurate.

Which is why PolitiFact was surprised by Scott Brown’s claims, which after fact-checking, proved false. Brown used Cato Institute numbers that put the average federal employee’s salary at $79,197, compared to $50,028 in the private sector. It’s easy to tell right away that those salaries aren’t double, contrary to Brown’s claim on This Week on Jan. 31, but PolitiFact did even more digging.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers put average federal wages at $68,740, while private-sector wages averaged out at $42,270. The disparity is still there, in part because the nation’s overall work force skews more toward blue-collar jobs than does the federal government. But $68,000 sounds less “lavish” than “respectable.” Whether a worker makes more or less in the public sphere depends a lot on what job he or she is doing: Nurses make more, and petroleum engineers make less. Cashiers in government jobs make a lot more, $34,000, than the $18,000 of their private-sector counterparts.

But where can anyone easily live on $18,000 a year? It’s below the federal poverty line for a family of three, and even a two-wage-earner household, with both adults making that salary, would be struggling well below the national median household income of $50,000. Conservatives argue that, especially in a bad economy, everyone should suffer equally. But why should we advocate anyone suffering at all?

Morgan Warstler recently posted on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government blog that, to “fix” the budget, the government should cut federal employee wages by 20 percent because, “it is time for government workers to share our pain and get their interests aligned with ours.” He also argues, without explanation, that government employees would eventually make more money as a result. Presumably he means they’ll make more when they can snag the private-sector jobs created when savings from government wage cuts go to tax credits for businesses. So, he seems to simultaneously argue that federal employees are paid too well and that those employees would ultimately make more in the private sector. “Real jobs,” he calls them, “the kind that don’t have the dirty taint of government on them.”

Which is really the point; conservatives don’t believe the government should have many employees at all. That argument might be picking up steam because it’s coupled with rhetoric that the government is expanding — with the stimulus, bank bailouts, and health reform. It also probably helps that much of the anti-government rhetoric in the Republican Party is now aimed at voters in the South, where many of the states are among the nation’s poorest and median incomes fall below the national average.

So what about Warstler’s claim that cutting federal-employee wages by 20 percent would save the government so much money? (Incidentally, I don’t know of any work force that would tolerate an overnight cut in the wages they agreed to work at by one-fifth.) Total compensation in the 2011 budget for employees is about $457 billion, including military personnel and benefits, and represents about 12 percent of the budget. It’s clearly not where the bulk of our money is going; that would be defense spending.

And while conservatives like to gripe that government jobs don’t inspire innovation in their workers, they don’t like to point out how many private-sector jobs are spurred by government spending. It’s hard to ignore that the Department of Defense gives a lot of money to Lockheed Martin, the third largest employer in Colorado Springs. So, government employees — at the city or federal level — are problematic, but employees whose jobs would not exist without government money are fine.

The hostility to government workers also fits into a larger conservative narrative that arose during the bank bailouts of Obama as a socialist who just wanted to spread the wealth. Letting the banks fail would have caused a lot of pain to the working class, which might have lost paychecks along with tax dollars, but that’s beside the point for conservatives. Loss is already socialized, but wealth can’t be. The wealthiest, of course, always deserve what they earn. The federal government — with its steady pay structure, good benefits, and somewhat even playing field for promotions — runs counter to the Republican idea that a system in which the wealthiest rise leaving the lowest earners behind is better for all.

Source: Will County News

$1,000 Gun Tax Pushed as “Role Model” for States

$1,000 Gun Tax Pushed as “Role Model” for States

Posted by John Kartch on Monday, April 18th, 2016, 12:51 PM

Steep gun tax concept endorsed by Hillary Clinton in 1993 beginning to take hold

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A $1,000 per gun tax should serve as a “role model” for states, according to the governor of the U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands, which imposed the $1,000 gun tax earlier this month. An idea first endorsed by Hillary Clinton in 1993, steep gun taxes have now taken hold in Cook County, Ill. the city of Seattle, and now a U.S. territory.

As reported by the Saipan Tribune:

The administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres defended the CNMI’s new gun control laws on Friday as a law that could be “a role model” for other U.S. states and jurisdictions facing seemingly uncontrolled and continued gun violence.

The administration was responding to queries regarding its position on recent reports that the a legal challenge to the new law, Public law 19-42, was likely, particularly over a provision that assesses a $1,000 excise tax on pistols.

The threat of such a tax serving as a role model for other politicians to impose is not an idle one. Consider the following:

Seattle Gun and Ammunition Tax: On Jan. 1, 2016, Seattle’s $25 per gun tax took effect, as did a two cent to five cent tax per round of ammunition. The new taxes have already forced at least one major gun dealer to leave the city.

Cook County, Ill. Gun and Ammunition Tax: On June 1, 2016, Cook County’s new ammunition tax takes effect, at a rate of one cent to five cents per round of ammunition. The ammo tax comes on top of the existing gun tax regime of $25 per gun.

Hillary Clinton’s 25% Gun Tax Endorsement: In passionate testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in 1993, Hillary Clinton gave her strong personal endorsement to a new national 25% sales tax on guns and endorsed a steep increase in the gun dealer fee, to $2,500. “I am speaking personally, but I feel very strongly about that,” said Clinton at the conclusion of her endorsement.

“The Left is now seeking to tax guns out of existence,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The Second Amendment makes it difficult to legally ban guns, but Hillary has led the way to explaining you can achieve the same thing with high taxes.”

In newly released footage from Americans for Tax Reform, Clinton is shown nodding enthusiastically as she endorsed the 25% gun tax and as legal gun dealers were described as “purveyors of violence.”

Further details are available at ATR’s dedicated website, www.HighTaxHillary.com

Read more: http://www.atr.org/1000-gun-tax-pushed-role-model-states#ixzz46flyDLvF
Follow us: @taxreformer on Twitter

Source: Will County News

Marques Gaines case is reason to reflect: Are we guilty of ‘bystander effect’?

By: Dan Proft

What would you have done early on that February morning had you come upon an unconscious Marques Gaines lying facedown on State Street at a busy Chicago intersection?

Would you have come to Gaines’ aid? Be honest.

Research suggests that only 1 in 55 of us would have.

No one assisted the 32-year-old man after he was punched unconscious and left prone on the street. Surveillance video released in mid-April showed more than a dozen people nearby failing to come to his aid. At least one person, reportedly an employee of the 7-Eleven on the corner, called 911. But no one outside even bothered to shield Gaines from traffic, though two predators swooped in to pick the injured man’s pockets. Eventually Gaines was accidentally run over by a taxi, and he died after finally being taken to a hospital.

Cornell University sociologists recently released a study that found only 1 in 39 Americans would respond to assist their fellow man in a health emergency. But add race as a factor (Gaines was black) and the research is even more alarming. The likely response rate to help a black person with a health emergency was 1 in 55, compared with 1 in 24 for a white person in dire straits.

Much has been written about the so-called “bystander effect” in the wake of the release of the video detailing Gaines’ unnecessary death.

We rationalize our own behavior. We want to absolve ourselves and blame the proprietor of the 7-Eleven.

We are good people, we think to ourselves. If not for some group psychosis, of course we would render aid to a man in need.

In our therapeutic culture, there is always a ready-made psychological explanation for man’s inhumanity to man so any consideration of our moral depredation may be avoided.

The two scavengers who scurried to rob Gaines while he was out cold are not vile, we tell ourselves. They are victims of economic injustice that pushed them into a life of picking at the bones of their brethren. We must not assign opprobrium, we must enact a $15 minimum wage.

And the post-moral rationalizations similarly abound for those who blithely meandered past Gaines finding nothing out of the ordinary with a young man lying facedown in the middle of State Street.

I could get attacked, too, we think. I don’t want to expose myself to any legal liability by helping.

I am not a medical professional. I didn’t want to do more harm than good, we assert, ignoring that it doesn’t take a medical professional to call 911 or to stand by until first responders arrive, or to enlist others to rally assistance.

I pay taxes so that other people will respond to such situations. I gave at the office. The list goes on.

In America today, we are much more content to be our brother’s sugar daddy than we are his keeper.

Gaines was punched. He was robbed. He was run over. There were three opportunities to prevent his death and many onlookers present to seize them.

None did.

This is not a new phenomenon. Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death in New York in 1964 while residents who heard her cries for help did nothing. They didn’t want to get involved either.

In our atomized society, we are encouraged to live autonomous lives in which the only responsibility we owe anyone is to live “my truth.”

Your truth says you help someone in distress, my truth says I don’t.

When we conclude those views are morally equivalent, social mores disappear, the bonds that hold civil society together fray, good Samaritans vanish and Marques Gaines is roadkill.

Dan Proft is a co-founder of the Illinois Opportunity Project and morning drive talk show host on WIND-AM 560.



Source: Will County News

Homer 33C 8th graders explore Land of Lincoln

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High


Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628



For Immediate Release:

April 26, 2016


8th graders explore Land of Lincoln


Homer Junior High School eighth-graders were in Springfield recently, following in the footsteps of President Abraham Lincoln.


Students had an opportunity to visit the Old State Capitol where Lincoln served as a State Legislator, tour the home in which he raised his family, see the building that housed his law offices with partner William Herndon and stand at the train depot from which he left Springfield for the 1861 inauguration.


“The annual 8th grade field trip provides students with a fun, educational way to learn about Illinois history, especially about the great emancipator, President Abraham Lincoln,” said Karen Norville, who organized this year’s trip.


Students even have a chance to experience Illinois government in action. This year, for example, a few student groups watched as the Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 2059, a stop-gap funding bill to help universities, colleges and community colleges remain operational through September.


The trip was optional for all Homer Junior High School eighth-graders, giving them an opportunity to visit the Land of Lincoln


In addition to seeing Lincoln’s old neighborhood, students visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, the New State Capitol and Lincoln’s Tomb.


Participants paid $99 for the day-long motorcoach tour on April 22. Several parents served as chaperones while a professional tour director served as the guide.


Lincoln lived in Springfield for 24 years, passing (in his own words) “from a young to an old man.”


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Source: Will County News

Adopt-a-Firefighter program begins in Homer 33C

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High


Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

01: Ryan Nolan, a firefighter and paramedic with the Homer Township Fire Protection District, introduces himself to a second-grade class at Schilling School.


For Immediate Release:

April 26, 2016


Adopt-a-Firefighter program begins in Homer 33C


Students in Dorene Jonelis’ second-grade class made a new friend recently at Schilling School.

Ryan Nolan, a firefighter and paramedic with the Homer Township Fire Protection District, stopped by their classroom April 22 to introduce himself and talk to students about thunderstorm safety as well as how to locate fire exits.

It’s all part of a community partnership between the school district and the Homer Township Fire Protection District to acquaint students with emergency personnel while presenting various life-safety education topics.

“The goal is to further enhance our delivery of life–safety education to the community,” said Deputy Fire Marshal Dave Bricker, who accompanied Nolan on his first visit to Schilling School.

Firefighters plan to conduct five visits during the school year to review everything from expanded fire safety messages to bike and pool safety to severe weather preparedness.

The program is being piloted at Schilling School this year and will be expanded to include Young School in the future.

During his first visit to Jonelis’ classroom, Nolan reviewed EXIT signs and how students should look for them when they need help finding their way out of a building.

He also reviewed what to do when a thunderstorm occurs while they’re outdoors.

“If you hear the sound of thunder, go to a safe place immediately,” he told students. “The best place to go is a sturdy building. Avoid sheds, picnic areas, baseball dugouts and bleachers.”

Each student was sent home with a Thunderstorm Safety information packet to share with their families.


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Source: Will County News