Friday, June 30, 2006

Sacred cow inflation

[An] important source of tyranny and absolutism in the school system is the fact that the teachers are under Civil Service. As a result, once a formal examination is passed — and this has little relation to actual teaching competence — and a little time elapses, the teacher is on the public payroll, and foisted on the children for the rest of his working life. The government bureaucracy has fostered Civil Service as an extraordinarily powerful tool of entrenchment and permanent domination. Tyranny by majority vote may be unpleasant enough, but at least if the rulers are subject to democratic checks, they have to please the majority of the voters. But government officials who cannot be voted out at the next election are not subject to any democratic check whatever. They are permanent tyrants. "Taking something out of politics" by putting it under Civil Service certainly does "increase the morale" of the bureaucracy. It elevates them into near-perpetual absolute rulers in their sphere of activity. The fact that teachers are under Civil Service is one of the most damning indictments against the American compulsory system of today.
— Murray Rothbard, Education: Free and Compulsory
As civil servants, public school teachers relinquish parents as clients — an arrangement most conducive to tending to the individual educational demands of children — and substitute for them the government. Teachers thus enter into a reciprocal tyranny with the government such that, while they suffer themselves from the arbitrary policies and restraints of a centralized authority, they reap the benefits of a monopoly political influence over elected politicians sensitive to the damaging popular effects of disruptions to their manufactured sacred cow. In either case, however, each side is compensated by the other either with money or control — commodities which both covet — but it is the taxpayer and the parent who formerly owned both that suffer the most without any compensation. Terence Corcoran provides a shining example of this in today's Financial Post:
The same crises that plague private pensions — brought on by the same wonky assumptions, unfavourable laws and mounting deficits — is ripping through government-run plans. The big difference is that while private sector plans such as Nortel's must face funding realities, governments and their unions are looking at limitless supplies of taxpayer cash to bail them out.

To illustrate, we have the latest grotesque news out of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. The funding shortfall at OTPP, last estimated at $32-billion, would sink the average corporation. At OTPP, such numbers are no big deal. The two "partners" in the plan — the teachers' union and the provincial government — got together to "negotiate" out from under the $32-billion and, in a matter of months, came up with an "agreement." They had no problem finding the money, and not one gilded edge on the gold-plated teachers pension benefits had to be trimmed. Even indexing to inflation remains untouched.

Full details are to be released tomorrow, but it looks nothing short of an amazing feat. The partners, after tough talks, decided to reach over and grab fistfuls of cash out the pocket of taxpayers.
Read the rest here. They've got your children and your taxes… so what are you going to negotiate with?

Crossposted at Dust my Broom


Dick said...

Just wondering if you attended the 'Creative Cities Network of Canada' initiative 'Open Air III' launch yesterday. Looks fun... and of course hip!

Pietr said...

You kidding?
Sacred Cow?
Let's see; we all die.
Death is bad.
That's why people like to have doctors.
In fact it is so bad that we really should pay attention to having a doctor.

But apparently we don't, so we are to be treated as feckless bastards who wish to dictate the terms of the people we need.
And some variety of politician or something springs up and passes a motion.
And the medical profession is covered in shit.
And we have to wallow in it.
But they smell of roses because they did something 'good' for 'others'(BAD for EVERYBODY).
In England it's called the NHS.

MapMaster said...

Despite the need to be hip that overrides every other human requirement, we were unfortunately engaged at the time in pushing needles through our eyeballs.

Gordon Pasha said...

If you have kids, your only real choice is to abandon your taxes to them and use what you have left over to put them in private school. You won't have any winter vacations in Cuba, but your kids will be educated. It's a fair trade. The greatest thing that could possibly happen for education would be that thousands of private schools would spring up, creating competition that would make them affordable to the middle class. The second best thing would be private universities in Canada. As if.

Gordon Pasha said...

"abandon your taxes to them", to the gubmint, not to your kids. Obviously.