Chicago – Not My Kind Of Town

It appears that the city of Chicago and its teachers have come to an agreement. The union was bargaining for a 30% raise, but the agreement has ensured that teachers will receive 16% raises, over three years. This is to offset the new teacher-evaluation system. The teacher’s union is concerned with the ability of its teachers to pass the evaluation. I wonder if they are just as concerned with the degenerating skills of our primary and secondary students?

Chicago teachers have been reported as receiving raises between 19% and 46% over the past five years. Don’t get me wrong, teachers work very hard and earn every penny they receive, but is this another promise that the city will not be able to pay in the long run? I don’t think we are getting it, we are in debt to our eyeballs and we are acting like we have a lot of money.

Yesterday on NPR there was are program discussing a new economic model recently developed that will use a computer to analyze the effects of various events on our level of unemployment. The bottom-line of the report was that we are going to live with higher levels of unemployment for a long period of time. This means lower tax revenue, and tighter civic budgets.

Three California cities have declared bankruptcy because they cannot pay their bills. Mammoth Lake, San Bernardino, and Stockton have all sought protection from their bills, employee pay and pensions. These cities have made promises that they cannot keep, and we will probably see more of this over the next decade.

The fact is, civically, we have been living above our means, and the piper is coming due. Because of short-term thinking the management decisions made to buy off the work force are going to take a long-term toll on people.  Right now I am listening to my dog cry because we put her in her crate. She had a little accident on the carpet when she had just been outside. She got into trouble for (as the Monks of Skete call it) eliminating on the carpet. I want to go let her out but she has to learn to eliminate outside not in the house. It is a long-term decision.

Management can be notoriously short sighted, which is what has happened with cities and their unions. Now we are going to go down a very difficult road, especially if we are going to be fiscally responsible.

And that is my thought for the day!

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