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Note to Union:
Don't Mess With Success...

By Jay Mathews

Critique By Punkerslut

From RadicalGraphics.org
Image: By Punkerslut,
Made with Graphics From Unionists

Date: July 2, 2009

[Published in a column titled "Class Struggle," by Jay Mathews, Washington Post, June 29, 2009.]

Sometime last year, while negotiating a teacher contract for the KIPP Ujima Village charter middle school in Baltimore, founder Jason Botel pointed out that his students, mostly from low- income families, had earned the city's highest public school test scores three years in a row. If the union insisted on increasing overtime pay, he said, the school could not afford the extra instruction time that was a key to its success, and student achievement would suffer.

Botel says a union official replied: "That's not our problem."

Such stories heat the blood of union critics. It is, they contend, a sign of how unions dumb down public education by focusing on salaries, not learning. [...]

The article continues here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/28/AR2009062802327.html

[Response by Punkerslut.]

     By all means, Jay Matthews, feel free to pick up an economics book.

"In reality high profits tend much more to raise the price of work than high wages. If in the linen manufacture, for example, the wages of the different working people, the flax-dressers, the spinners, the weavers, etc., should, all of them, be advanced twopence a day; it would be necessary to heighten the price of a piece of linen only by a number of twopences equal to the number of people that had been employed about it, multiplied by the number of days during which they had been so employed. That part of the price of the commodity which resolved itself into wages would, through all the different stages of the manufacture, rise only in arithmetical proportion to this rise of wages.

"...Our merchants and master-manufacturers complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price, and thereby lessening the sale of their goods both at home and abroad. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people." -- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 9.

     You are complaining about the teachers of this country fighting for themselves and their students. Ultimately, the higher wages means that the children are going to grow up in a social environment that better rewards labor. It is the most important lesson of all, and you want the teachers to be submissive, obedient little creatures of the state. Here's an idea: get rid of all the wasteful military bases on third world countries. Wait, what's that? You own stock in companies that are exploiting and oppressing those third world nations? You own stock from Bechtel, Halliburton, and others who live off of corporate subsidies? Well, it looks like you don't mind pulling in 40 million dollars for an annual salary, most of it paid by taxpayers. (Houston Chronicle, Robert M. Delvin, of the American General Corporation.)

     So, the wealthy class receives millions of dollars from taxpayers, but now you complain about teachers asking for $0.45 more per hour? Sounds like you want to complain about unions, but you're taking more out of the public commonwealth than they are. Their wages pay for them to live; taxes that pay for military dictatorships in third worlds makes you millions.

     Adam Smith was right on the mark when talking about the evils of the Capitalist class: "They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits."

     After you've read some elementary literature in economics, by all means, I'm interested in a debate on this very much.

Andy Carloff

[The dignified Jay Mathews has not responded to either e-mails or posts I have made in comment to his article.]

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