Ending furloughs by the hour

Next Surf Safari

December 9th, 2009 :: Permalink

Aloha ~
Unbelievable! Will Espero has lost his mind and clearly knows little about education. Derrick DePledge reported yesterday Espero's plan would increase the school day by one hour on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. The existing short day on Wednesdays would remain.

Not only does Espero expect teachers to work for FREE five days he demands they work an additional FOUR hours per week for FREE.

Why don't we ask private sector employees to work FIVE days and FOUR additional hours per week for FREE this spring? This revenue will go to balance the state budget.

Such a plan is ludicrous. It's insane. Yet this is exactly what Espero and others are proposing for our teachers.

What a shameful and selfish society we are! In David's editorial today he writes, A unionized worker I know in the travel industry had to take a pay cut of about 10 percent when the company's revenues steeply declined.

In the private sector - when business activity increases workers receive bonuses and larger commissions. If activity slows their pay will drop accordingly. This is the sector's incentive system - their choice.

There is no decrease in the number of public school students. There are likely fewer teachers due to budget constraints and classroom burdens have probably gone up. Our public teachers do the same or more work yet people in Hawai'i want to punish them because the private sector failed.

In a better society this would be a simple math problem. Since teachers are residents we would ask all residents to chip in. If the budget deficit is $10M and there are 1M residents, everyone pays $10. This is PONO. Simple ... done!

Yet non-teaching "residents" claim, I'm not working. Most lie because more than nine of ten still have jobs. The truly unemployed are being helped by those who are (including teachers) and their tax contributions.

Others say, I'm broke. I bought too many big screen TVs and beer so take it from someone else. People cheer, Yes, take it from the teachers. They get paid too much anyway. I want to buy a new fancy truck. Stores have been packed for holiday shopping.

Thus we argue and argue and argue. We're gridlocked. We've known of this problem for at least a year and all leaders do is suggest more half-baked plans to push the pain on the least politically-aligned in society.

I see no leaders with courage in our state. They triangulate to find a way to hurt the smallest group while appeasing the most. They don't care if it's fair or good for education.

Sen. Espero will enjoy seeing his son graduate from the U.S. Marines OCS. The nation doesn't have $30B to pay our brave troops going to Afghanistan in the spring. Sen. Espero's precedent means we will expect them to sacrifice for their country - FOR FREE!

Thank god we have unions in our public sector that stand up for a critical American value - no forced work for free. We ended slavery about 150 years ago.


Aloha David ~
I believe you reveal a bias here ... privileged few. I'm not aware of anyone who will seriously claim teachers are somehow an economically privileged class in our society. Teacher pay likely runs below travel industry (TI) worker compensation when we consider the amount of required education and training.

If we increase excise taxes then teachers suffer higher taxes equally as do TI workers. Everybody shares the pain - but it's spread out so nobody is hit with 5% or 8% wallop. And everyone retains the option to transact or not - thus pay or not pay more taxes.

You claim it's unfair TI workers were hit with a 10% cut. I agree. It was unfair to them - caused by greed on Wall Street. You and I didn't force this though. Yet you and Espero are trying to force pain on our teachers.

A key difference is TI workers chose the rules of the private sector and once the economy turns TI workers have the opportunity to make HUGE commissions and bonuses. They can recover their losses. Teachers and public workers gave up this right to make more. Their pay is fixed and why their pay must be recession proof as well. No boom, no bust.

Espero comes along and says, "Hey, I got an idea ... let's require teachers to take a pay cut - yet forgo their right to demand a furlough (day off) - essentially work the day for free. In addition I'm asking them to work an extra hour four days per week. Can't pay them for this additional time either. This is fair to all."

Here's why I am so adamant about this. Teachers did not come up with the theory of Supply Side economics. They did not for decades advocate reducing taxes on our MOST RICH and deregulating the private sector supposedly to produce more jobs and create wealth for all.

This was a wild experiment - opposed by many main stream economists - but pushed on society primarily by those on the right - the Masters of the Universe in our private sector. Their grand plan failed.

How do we pick up the pieces now? Bankers and financial wizards on Wall Street said, "We're too big to fail. Scott, David and teachers need to bail us out."

The Masters blew it. This economic pain should be suffered by them. Yet it is our teachers, parents, your workers in the private sector who sacrifice. By sticking it to 13,000 teachers or a small section of public workers we forget the failure.

We ALL must share the pain ... and it will hurt. I hope this pain teaches us not to trust the most greedy in society again. I've posted an analysis of our tax structure and how it's crushing the middle class. See:


Republicans in D.C. now demand Obama begin reducing the deficit. Yet they championed GW Bush as he blew through over $5 TRILLION of the American people's money - and our future.

We have two sets of rules in this country. It's time for real change.