Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Pursuit Of Happiness

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." ~ Declaration of Independence

Whatever founding father added the phrase "the pursuit of happiness" to the Declaration of Independence had it exactly right. God, in my opinion, has indeed endowed all men (and women) with the right to pursue happiness. Unfortunately, that is a goal that will always elude us on this side of forever.

Nobody is, or ever will be, one hundred per cent happy.

It is with that phrase in mind that I address the issue of the teacher's union's complaint in Wisconsin.

What, exactly are they complaining about?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has asked them nicely to make a small sacrifice to help ease the economic burden of the state. He has asked them to contribute a bit more of their own earned income to their own benefits plan. This might be objectionable were it not for the fact that they already have a more generous compensation and benefits plan than any position in the private sector.

Yet, they believe it's unfair to ask them to make that sacrifice.

I submit it's not only fair, it's expected. Their very own darling, their dear leader, the One the Unions supported and voted for, Barack Hussein Obama, has repeatedly demanded Americans to make sacrifice after sacrifice to help ease America's economic burden.

But, somehow, the teacher's union in Wisconsin feel they should be exempted from that demand. Why?

Because teachers, like the rest of us, have the inalienable right to pursue happiness.

Apparently happiness, for the Wisconsin teachers, means they have the right to keep as much of their earned income as they can. Money is happiness. Happiness is money. I have no doubt that money can certainly have an effect on happiness, or at least the pursuit thereof.

Funny. Wanting to keep as much of my earned income as I can is a Conservative concept. I wonder how the Wisconsin Public Workers Union Liberals explain this apparent ideological dichotomy. I wonder if they realize how duplicitous this makes them appear.

Also, the amount of money that might produce happiness is relative. By that I mean, the amount of money it would take to make one happy is different for every individual. I've often used this allegory:

To me, $100,000.00 is a veritable boatload of money. If I was ever lucky enough to have that amount added to my meager bank account, with careful planning and shrewd investments, and barring some severe unforeseen circumstances, I could live a long and comfortable life on that much money.

To Bill Gates, however, $100,000.00 is an insignificant drop in the proverbial bucket. It would be virtually impossible for him to maintain his lavish lifestyle with a mere one time addition of a hundred grand to his bank account.

See what I mean? Relative.

I am going to tell you something I have never told anyone: My income is just a little over $20,000.00 a year.

I recently looked over a list of average teacher's salaries from every state in the union. In all of the states, they make much more than I, and in most states, the average teacher makes more than double what I make in a year.

More than double.

Now, I understand their vocation is more important than mine. I also understand that they have attained their positions by doing the things they needed to do, such as finish college, suffer through internships, obtain their certifications, etc.

But still, the emotional me says, "It's not fair that they make so much more money than I. Don't I deserve to make a living for myself and my family as much as they do?"

The logical me says, "They have every right to try to make as much income as they possibly can, and every right to yearn for more, if they think it will make them happy."

I do not begrudge teachers, or anyone else for that matter, the right to make as much income as they can, as long as they do it ethically.

See, again, that's where that inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness comes in.

Some might point to my last post and say, "But, you think the teachers in Wisconsin are overpaid, and should be fired."

And that is still true.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think the teachers should be fired because they are overpaid. If they can manage to be overpaid for the job they do, I say, more power to them.

But, while I support their right to try to make as much money as they can, I don't support their refusal to do the job they were hired to do.

If I decide I am not being paid what I am worth, and there is much truth in that statement, I cannot just stop coming to work. I'd be fired, and justly so. Besides, if I don't come to work, I don't get paid anyway.

If the teachers in Wisconsin aren't getting paid to stand in the street outside the Capitol building and protest, they are demonstrating that they have enough money to last them if their paycheck stops coming.

Obviously, they make more money than I, because I can't afford to miss even one day of work.

So, again I ask, what are they complaining about?

They want money.

Well, so do I.

But, if money is the reason they became teachers, they made the wrong choice. That is, if we can believe what they say, that they are sorely underpaid.

If they became teachers to make a difference in the world, to help children become educated, to mold the leaders of tomorrow, etc, then the money they make shouldn't be all that important to them.

If it is that important to them, they have a college education. They don't have to teach for a living. They can look for work that's more rewarding. The opportunities are endless for anyone with the drive and determination it takes to succeed. The teachers of Wisconsin have demonstrated in the past they have the capacity and the ambition to study hard to obtain a diploma and certification. Surely that same determination would lend itself to other, more lucrative endeavors.

With a few notable exceptions, these teachers don't even do the job they are being paid to do when they aren't out in the streets protesting. I understand two-thirds of Wisconsin Public School 8th Graders can’t read proficiently, despite the highest per pupil spending in the Midwest.

On the other hand, according to this article, Wisconsin Public schools boast a 90% graduation rate.


How do they go from 2/3 illiteracy in eighth grade to a 90% graduation rate? To paraphrase Shakespeare's Hamlet, Methinks something's rotten in the state of Wisconsin.

Bottom line:

You don't like it? Shut up, and get back to work. If not, start looking for something more to your liking. No one said you have to teach.


Jim said...

"He has asked them to contribute a bit more of their own earned income to their own benefits plan....Yet, they believe it's unfair to ask them to make that sacrifice."

This assertion renders your entire post a failure. Apparently you do not actually read or listen to the news.

"They" almost immediate agreed to make the sacrifice of contributing more towards their pensions and health care. At no time have "they" ever claimed it was unfair to ask them to do so.

In your entire post you fail to mention that the issue is not sacrificing money. The issue is busting the unions.

Lone Ranger said...

Busting the unions. You mean like Jimmy Carter and the democrats did?? Nobody is trying to bust the unions. What the governor of Wisc. wants to do is put state workers on the same footing as federal workers - who are also paid far more than their counterparts in the private sector. It wouldn't do much good to make them "contribute" more if they could just grab back all their booty during the next contract negotiations.

And the unions know that. That's why they so generously have said they don't mind "contributing" more. But then, some liberals aren't capable of thinking that far ahead.

I confess that I make more than a million dollars every decade or so. Am I a millionaire? Nope. Because the government makes me "contribute" to help pay the health and retirement benefits of these unionized, leftist parasites.

Trader Rick said...

Every comment the anonymous troll "Jim" makes is a failure.

Mark said...

I want to bust the unions, and I'll tell you why:

They have become irrelevant. They served their purpose at the time they were began, but they are no longer needed.

Back when there were no regulations or standards to prevent child labor, slave wages, unsafe working conditions, etc, Unions were integral to reforming all those labor problems. Now that we have national hour and wage laws, OSHA, and numerous other agencies (too many, in my opinion) we no longer have need of organizations whose sole purpose seems to be nothing more than extorting money out of the labor force.

Unions keep the work force lazy and overpaid and are the main reason I can't afford anything.

So, I say, yes! Bust the unions!

Mark said...

I met a man years ago, back in Kansas City who was a GM employee. He hadn't worked in over a decade but he still received a paycheck from GM in the form of a union negotiated unemployment compensation. He still received 75% of his full pay, which is a good deal more than Federal unemployment compensation. The man had a house that was valued at at least $300,000, and that was 1990's dollars. His basement had more square feet than my entire house.

Do you know what that tells me?

Unions are the reason cars cost so much. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the average price of a new car sold in the United States is $28400! Unions have negotiated deals where the Automakers pay union workers NOT to work, and pay them better than I make while working full time. If unions were not involved in collective bargaining, how much do you think an automobile would cost?

Lone Ranger said...

As far as rights go, our diminishing rights and others' increasing rights are the direct result of removing God from the equation.

Without an all-powerful being, you have an all-powerful government. Rights are no longer inalienable (not transferable to another or capable of being repudiated). Rights are whatever the government says they are. Not only can the government take away rights, such as the right to bear arms, they can transfer them to others and can invent rights -- the right to food, the right to housing, the right to happiness. And there's only one way a country that takes from the makers and gives to the takers can end up -- collapsing.

Of course, this is just common sense and that's a sixth sense that liberals don't possess.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

After reading such an excellent article I was going to comment, but having read all the great comments - except for the typical union propaganda by Jim - I can't add anything!

Jim said...

"What the governor of Wisc. wants to do is put state workers on the same footing as federal workers"

This is beyond hilarious.

"who are also paid far more than their counterparts in the private sector" This has been asserted but I don't think proved.

"Every comment the anonymous troll "Jim" makes is a failure."

Another great debating point from Dick.

Trader Rick said...

Thanks for proving my point, "Jim"!!!

Go Gators!!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

There should be no such thing as unions in the public sector. Period.