Another letter that didn't get published in the HSO

To The Editor:

In a recent letter, Curt Weese threw out a few figures about health care costs for retired teachers. With these numbers, he tossed in a speculative dash of the conspiracy and concluded that the elected sorcerers on local school board have formed a secret pact with the group of Hell Angels known as the “teachers' union.” Their goal is to force local taxpayers to spend money on teachers’ health insurance instead of getting a Play Station 3 for their starving children this Christmas.

Weese implies that a teacher retiring at 55 gets a free ride on health insurance for the rest of their life. I don't believe this is true. The amount of health insurance covered by the school district is based on a combination of years working as a teacher and the age of the teacher. I.e., if I start my career as a rookie teacher at age 50 in the Hudson school district, I doubt I will be retiring with full health and retirement benefits at the age of 55.

Granted, retirement benefit packages have come under attack in public and private industry. Health care costs have increased, people are living longer and modern medicine is squeezing more time out of the average lifespan at a higher and higher costs.

Whenever somebody starts putting down how much something costs today, I go to my handy inflation calculator. For instance, I recently bought a small cone at the Dairy Queen. With tax, it cost $1.28. When I graduated from Hudson High School in 1973, a small cone cost 10 cents. My inflation calculator tells me that a 10 cents cone in 1973 should cost 44 cents today. There’s an 84 cents gap (1.28 - .44) is the price of my cone. What gives Dairy Queen?

When Weese says health insurance premiums are $18,532 per teacher and the district will be paying "in the neighborhood of $176,000 per teacher over the next 10 years," I say compared to what? What did the district pay in 1973? What benefits were offered then? Have the benefits packages changed that much or is Weese just batting around a couple of numbers to make people say "Gee that's a lot of money."

I believe public school teachers play an increasingly important role in our country’s future and need to have the kind of benefits and financial compensation that attract qualified, dedicated people to this important profession. I don't trust the taxpayer-supported private school agenda being pushed by Weese and the folks who continually chant "limited government, lower taxes and more individual freedoms." I think they are pushing for a "separate but equal" agenda they what financed by the taxpayers to support a religious agenda that opposes the concept of a "melting pot" that is the heart and soul of a progressive, compassionate United States.

James P. Nelson

1 comment:

CANRAC said...

If you go for the double size special for the single size, will you get accused of being a "double dipper"?