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Teachers have been doing more than their share to help economy Print
Letters to the editor
Thursday, May. 26, 2011 -- 12:00 AM

To the editor:

Back in the February 24, 2011, issue of the Catholic Herald, you had a guest columnist by the name of Constance Nielsen whose article, I felt, was very offensive to the public workers of Wisconsin. I remember quite clearly how I was feeling at that time because the media had been doing a fairly good job of promoting the misconception that public workers, especially teachers, had cushy jobs and were grossly overpaid.

Considering the difficulties that many of us are experiencing financially at this time, I found it deplorable that suddenly public workers, many of whom had been taking pay cuts or pay freezes for several years, suddenly were the “cause” of the budget deficit in Wisconsin.

It was obvious after reading Nielsen’s article that she neglected to find out whether any of the rhetoric that Scott Walker was using to slam-dunk public workers was even true. Speaking for those of us who have given our time to help educate children, we have been doing our share.

Since 1993, when the QEO was first put in place in Wisconsin, public school teachers have had their salaries capped at 3.8 percent for the combination of salary and benefits. This means that we have been going backwards in pay since 1993 since the cost of health care, housing, and automotive expenses have been well above 3.8 percent over that same time frame.

What people like Nielsen seem to miss in this whole situation is that, if we continue to expect the middle class to continue to go backwards in pay, other businesses will be negatively impacted as well. I, for one, will not be hiring local contractors this summer to do some needed maintenance on my home because of the uncertainty of my financial future. So, the contractor that I would have used will have one less job this summer. That’s kind of how the world works.

I think what Nielsen needs to remind herself is that we, as people, are all interdependent on each other. I can help children with their speech or language difficulties very well, but don’t ask me to guard a prison, or plow the snow, or put out a fire. We all need to do our best at our jobs, and we all need to pay our fair share of taxes.

The very rich and corporations have not been doing their fair share for several years, and this has created a great loss of revenue for our state and for our country. As long as we continue to try to please the wealthy, we will have this revenue shortage. It’s all about social justice.

Theresa Krusko, Baraboo