I have another email from a teacher to share in response to Huge Battle Looms Over Public Pensions – Who Will (Who Should) Foot the Bill? and the followup post Pension Tsunami Recognition Phase Arrives; Emails from Readers.

Reader “PST”, a teacher at a private school wants to reply to “Bob” in the second link above. I will repost the Email from Bob followed by a reply from “PST”.

Bob wrote …

You are an idiot if you think teaching is a cherry job. Wonder why 80% of all new teachers are gone in 5 years.

Teaching is the most honorable respected and needed profession on the planet. You don’t have a clue. And if you think paying a teacher for 10 months “time” is going to fix the problem then you are stupid. And if you think teachers sit home for two month in the summer, you are really stupid. And if you think that teachers are the culprits in all this you Sir are a moron.

The “fix” is real simple: close down the Dept of Ed. Throw out the unions, Pay teachers enough so they can save/earn the $900K needed to retire….let teachers bid on pay scale they will take..and then get it through your head that Teachers are the most precious Humans on the planet! (NOT BLOGGERS!)

How about you pay the teachers what football players make and pay football players what teachers make…DUH!

See the second link above for my response to Bob as well as 6 other responses from various people.

“PST” has this reply to “Bob” …

Dear Mish,

I would like to respond to Bob and his e-mail re: teachers (more accurately teachers unions). Like Bob, I am married to a teacher… I am also a part time teacher myself so I would say I am rather well qualified to speak to the subject.

The sentiment that teachers are “the most precious people on earth” is nice and while I appreciate his support for our profession I would argue that it is the children whom we teach who are “the most precious people on earth.” Which makes me wonder: what kind of people would destroy the financial futures of these very children by leaving them mired in a legacy of debt and out of control taxes to fund their fat pensions and high salaries?! (Hint: it’s not the Sisters of Charity)

Consider this: my husband and I teach at a small private school just outside of Philadelphia. Our school pays its full time teachers on average 50K a year while the public school down the road pays its teachers on average 100K a year. So… while my husband and I (and every other “fair market salaried” worker out there) work hard and sacrifice to make ends meet for our family of 5, we have the added burden of being saddled with footing the bill to pay the UNION teachers TWICE what we make!

There’s a lot of talk out there about “corporate greed.” But the truth is that union greed makes corporate greed look like child’s play. At least I have a choice whether or not I want to “pay in” to a corporation and thus “line their pockets.” But where was my choice while over the last 4 years I saw my real estate taxes (taxes which benefit the public schools) go up nearly 50%? So much that we decided the only financially prudent thing to do was to sell our home? Who’s greedy here?

Still, the fact remains: I will do whatever it takes to succeed in life and help my family (and as many others as I can) thrive. I am savvy with our money and I am very grateful to have a job. I make half what union teachers make but you can be damn sure I will outwork, outperform and out-teach any of them… not because it means I will get paid more, I won’t. And not because I want their union job, I don’t (plus I’m not “certified” to teach in PA Public Schools… cough, cough). But because I believe in giving people the biggest bang for their buck and the only way to do that is through the private sector. Lastly, I believe in my students having a better life than mine and I believe in my subject… which just so happens to be Personal Finance.

Most sincerely,

A proud private sector teacher in PA

P.S. Can’t wait to assign some of your blogs in class. 🙂


Thanks Private-Sector-Teacher, much appreciated. Feel free to use anything from this blog in your classes if you think it will help. Good luck to you.

By the way, the question keeps coming up wondering why I have been devoting so much space to public unions. I have explained this before but here it is again.

Public sector pensions and salaries are THE #1 issue facing cities and states (not the war, not banks, not CEO salaries). I am the only financial blogger willing to discuss the issue frequently and in depth. Most won’t touch it at all except superficially (states are in trouble). Some do not even see it as a big issue. I see a $3 trillion pension hole that Krugman and other ignore.

In contrast, every hint of bank corruption is discussed in multiple places. Yet, I am not exactly shy about doing may part on that as well. Finally, pension news is finally making mainstream media so I am pleased to be leading the way.

Whether most bloggers are willing to place the blame or not, I am, in hopes of changing attitudes. Attitudes will not change unless people are aware of the problem, and my intent is to make sure as many people as possible are aware of how public unions are destroying the United States just as they destroyed Greece.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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