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Old 05-07-2011, 05:47 PM
 
2,667 posts, read 4,042,600 times
Reputation: 1210
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
About 50% of the population no longer pay any income tax now.
This reached 51% in 2009. Forty-nine percent of households paid all the federal income taxes. Thirty percent of households paid no federal income taxes but got refunds.

Going way back to an earlier comment, criticizing FCPS administration is not the same as criticizing teachers; often it is a defense of teachers who have to abide by negative policies required by the administration or the School Board.

 
Old 05-08-2011, 11:10 AM
 
19,178 posts, read 19,675,326 times
Reputation: 3902
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
First of all, I do not think teachers are over-paid.
Not to undercut your opinion of yourself, but he post was not about what you think. Rather it was about the rather dramatic reversal over the past 20-30 years from a situation of general consensus that teachers were underpaid to a situatioin where an at least noisy contingent will report them as being dropouts and lazy union thugs somehow unfairly extorting undue sums from poor beleaguered taxpayers, even though taxes are presently at their lowest level in half a century and more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Again, studies confirm that public service employees in general are paid somewhat less than equivalent private sectors workers WHILE their benefits are substantially better than the latter. I personally think that sort of evens things out. (You want high pay? Go private sector. You want security, go on the public pay.)
I can assure you that I am familiar with the data. What they reveal is static -- and at times even declining -- real incomes for everyone among the non-wealthy, plus an inability even among an ever-shrinking number of unionized workers to resist ceaseless and sometimes actually justified waves of corporate insistence upon reducing benefits for one reason or another. To provide some perspective, in post-WWII America through the 1970's, real wage increases averaged about 90% of productivity increases. In the 1980's that figure suddenly fell to around 35%. It rallied to nearly 70% in the 1990's before falling back to roughly 45% in the 2000's. Not surprisingly, the labor share of GDP has been declining, and average real wages are about unchanged over 35 years. Basically, the fat-cats have been taking for themselves a greater and greater share of what the econmy produces, and no one in labor, government, or elsewhere has come up with a way to stop them. Trends are the same in both the public and private sectors. The current pay freeze among federal workers for instance is hardly the first in recent history (and those losses are never made up), while the supposedly cushy defined-benefit federal retirement system was put off limits to new hires already in 1983. The slope of the real wage and benefit curves for both the public and private sectors has been negative, but debate of the reasons why has been deflected, principally by the rant of yahoos encouraged to complain by those who suggest that the real problem is that public sector curves haven't been declining quite as fast as private sector curves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
HOWEVER, it is not wrong to argue that in many states teachers unions do exercise political clout and agitate politically to extract benefits that are now, today, largely unavailable to private sector workers.
That would depend on your definition of "wrong". It would certainly be inaccurate to suggest that there is any state at all in which the state teachers union exerts such influence as to be able to dictate the terms of contracts, few of which are negotiated at the state level to begin with. Meanwhile, local school boards seem to have little problem in appointing a handful of professionals to represent the interests of thousands of taxpayers at the bargaining table. What pollutes the process if teachers do just the same? There are meanwhile no rules to proclaim that a teacher contract can contain only provisions already included in some number of private sector contracts. The terms are open to negotiation, especially when teachers are effectively willing to defer salary to fund a particular benefit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Many people legitimately think that there is a moral hazard in allowing such clout to be used to extract resources from tax payers (rather than corporations that can say yes or no to the pressure).
You would have to have some proof of this claimed "legitimacy". Where is the moral hazard to be found in a level playing field? What is it that gives private corporations such liberty to say no that denies it to public sector employers? If obvious corruption and bias is not transparently evident to you in claims such as that teachers contribute more to Democratic candidates, ergo more Democratic candidates get elected, and then they give sweetheart deals to teachers in order to solicit more contributions, then you are totally asleep at the wheel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Why does there not seem to be equivalent resentment against firemen or police officers?
Hmmm. How popular were those stimulus grants to preserve the jobs of first responders? Try passing a tax increase devoted to increasing their salaries and benefits. You may find that your seeming diiference is quite illusory.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Sure, part of it may be that those jobs can be very dangerous (but then again, so can being teachers in certain inner city areas). But I do agree with those who say that it's because firemen and police officers are not highly politicized as a group, do not strike or picket, do not occupy buildings to make a point or demonstrate. They don't hold the public good hostage for their own benefit nor do they throw all their dues and votes in one direction.
LOL. I thought you were from NYC. Do the letters PBA have any meaning to you? The longer your post goes on, the more evident it becomes that you've bought the manufactured hoopla, hook, line, and sinker. FYI, hundreds (if not thousands) of off-duty police and firefighters were among those exercising their rights in Madison, WI back in February.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
I know quite a few folks who vote consistently for more money for firemen and cops, but doggedly refuse more money for teachers. I don't think it's because they think teachers are over-paid while cops are under-paid.
Really? When was the last time the salaries of any of them appeared on a ballot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
You might note that where the political agitation of teachers is not strident, there is considerably less resentment against teachers. Personally, I prefer that situation. I think that's a win-win for everyone.
You might note that the stridency of teachers (or anyone else) is likely to increase when they, their contracts, and their profession are all wantonly attacked.
 
Old 05-08-2011, 12:49 PM
 
19,178 posts, read 19,675,326 times
Reputation: 3902
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
That's disingenuous.
It isn't disingenuous at all. It's simple fact. The top 1% of 1040 filers by AGI for example saw massive increases in their aggregate income over the first decade of this century, but the share of each such dollar that went to federal income tax sharply declined.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
About 50% of the population no longer pay any income tax now.
That number has more than doubled since 2000. The tax cuts and general economic debacle associated with our 43rd President are to thank for that.

And it's important to remember that the underlying data are from the IRS and represent the number of 1040's filed that report positive AGI but no net tax owed. The typical no-tax-owed filer would be under age 35, white, female, unmarried (including single, divorced, and widowed), and would have worked at a full-time job during the year, though not necessarily for all of it. Roughly 20% of no-tax-owed filers are simply students who filed a 1040 just to get back the taxes that were withheld from their paychecks when they worked summer or other part-time jobs. Otherwise, the most common occupational classes associated with no-tax-owed filers are sales clerk, admin support staff, precision production worker, and other services worker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
The top 5% income earners now pay for most of the income tax burden.
They have every year since 1996. But in that time, their share of all income rose from 31% to 39%. Should their share of taxes DECLINED as their share of income rose?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Since almost all tax cuts in the recent years were targeted for the lower and middle classes, the relative tax burden for "the rich" has gone up significantly, including, yes, during the GW Bush years.
Oh dear. Yes, the tax cuts contained in the stimulus bill were properly targeted to the lower and middle classes in order to maximize their stimulus bang-for-the-buck. The tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 did -- and still do -- work inordinately to the benefit of the wealthy. Those who needed it least were given the most, and they are still reaping the benefits of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Moreover, high income does not necessarily equate to wealth. Remember during several campaigns ago, it turned out John Kerry only paid about 15% effective tax rate? He is super wealthy through marriage, but earns relatively modest government income.
Um, Kerry's is the opposite of the case you were trying to illustrate. The average income among the top 1% of earners is about $1.5 million per year. Find some of those who have not managed to become wealthy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
A lot of young high income earners (young lawyers, doctors, IT execs, whatever) have high wage income, but have zero or negative wealth (due to debt accumulated for schooling). They are TRYING to be wealthy, but are not yet and maybe won't be as wealthy if income taxes rise and their disposable income for savings and investment decline.
I am god-parent to a young doctor (currently at Columbia-Presbyterian), and her income is less than 10% of mine. I work with a passel of energetic young lawyers, and their incomes are typically less than hers. These are not yet
members of the investor-class, and it may be time for a reminder that capital markets do not much distinguish between a single investment of $100K and a hundred of $1K.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
I don't recall anyone referring to teachers as leeches here.
Perhaps you were slower than the mods.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
It's also not accurate to simply compare salary figures. Public workers have benefits that are generally much better than those available to higher paid private sector workers. When you combine the two and then compare, there really isn't that much difference, I think.
At any given time, roughly 50% of the US workforce is employed in small businesses. Governments at no level are comparable to small businesses. They are comparable to large corporations. Apples-to-apples, anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaLimaDelta View Post
Personally I home school, but if I had to pick a public school system to educate my children, one in NoVA would be my pick. I do think the system is great here, but I attribute much of that to the peers -- high quality students with highly involved parents. I will add, however, that teachers seem to be more competent, qualified and accountable here than in many other jurisdictions where they seem to be more politically protected.
The reputation of FCPS and other area systems does help them attract well-qualified teacher candidates. The now oft-repeated claim that 5-18 year- olds in these parts are somehow a relative breeze to instruct has not been documented and is quite open to question. The best predictors of student academic success are the income and education levels of his or her parents, but with all those well-educated and highly-paid folks we have around here come a lot of folks who do the yards and trees and dust the diplomas. Their kids are in our public school systems as well.
 
Old 05-08-2011, 01:31 PM
 
2,002 posts, read 2,291,920 times
Reputation: 1187
Great posts, Saganista. Also, there are at least two studies posted on the web (anyone interested can easily find them - one focused on Maine workers and another on Wisconsin workers, because of debates going on there) that compared total compensation (pay and benefits) for public sector workers vs. private sector workers. The researchers controlled for all the factors that they could, that contribute to pay levels, e.g., education, experience. Both studies concluded that the total compensation levels were higher for the private sector workers than for their comparable public sector counterparts.

on edit - here's a story about one of them:

http://www.sunjournal.com/state/story/1017976
 
Old 05-08-2011, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Expatriate Philadelphian in Northern Virginia
7,723 posts, read 11,629,058 times
Reputation: 2207
Let's return to discussing Fairfax County Public Schools.
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:09 AM
 
4,283 posts, read 1,918,656 times
Reputation: 4548
I don't know if they are the best in the nation, but Fairfax county schools are a lot more demanding and have higher standards than the schools I went to. I am surprised how much first graders need to know. My daughter is behind in reading (she is the youngest in her class and we were told it's probably developmental). I've tried everything I can think of from Hooked on Phonics, to nightly readings and flash cards, to a reading specialist just to work with my daughter and it's just not happening.

That said, she can read books that I couldn't read in first grade. I was told she needs to be at a DRA level 16 at the end of first grade... some places expect that of second graders.

Last edited by jillabean; 05-09-2011 at 06:32 AM..
 
Old 05-09-2011, 07:31 AM
 
2,509 posts, read 4,769,648 times
Reputation: 1724
jillabean - I am having the same mad dash to improve my younger sons (1st graders) DRA - I cant believe he is reading so well for a 6 yr old but yet he is below FCPS standards -
Lately he has really taken off - one day reading just "clicked" and he is now reading like crazy - I think that is what happens with most children - I bet it happens with your daughter. Good luck
 
Old 05-09-2011, 07:37 AM
 
4,283 posts, read 1,918,656 times
Reputation: 4548
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairfax Mom View Post
jillabean - I am having the same mad dash to improve my younger sons (1st graders) DRA - I cant believe he is reading so well for a 6 yr old but yet he is below FCPS standards -
Lately he has really taken off - one day reading just "clicked" and he is now reading like crazy - I think that is what happens with most children - I bet it happens with your daughter. Good luck
I think maybe you and I are in the same boat. My daughter is the only 6-year-old in her class. All the other students are now 7-years-old (some started off as 7-year-olds at the beginning of the year). For kids that young, that little bit of age is a big difference. That's why they told me it was most likely developmental. I just hope there is time to get my daughter caught up (of course, I've been trying all year--at least since October when they first told me she was behind).

By the way, there is a reading program this summer hosted by George Washington University. I signed my daughter up in the hopes to get her caught up some more before she starts second grade (if she starts second grade, not sure if they will hold her back. I am not sure why they will do. The rest of her grades are great, but she's still lagging in DRA level).

Good luck to you and your son too!
 
Old 05-09-2011, 07:40 AM
 
2,439 posts, read 5,892,610 times
Reputation: 903
"I suspect that a sizable majority here was not so much as aware of the existence of Public Service Recognition Week, much less that we were currently celebrating it."

Public servants are recognized on a regular basis -- every time they cash their paychecks, and especially when they retire and enjoy their defined-benefit pensions that most taxpayers no longer receive.
I lost my blind respect for the teaching profession in the 7th grade, when a prolonged teachers' strike kept us out of the classroom for the better part of two months. Many teachers are wonderful, but many are not, and are earning considerably more in the classroom than they could ever hope to earn elsewhere, considering their skill sets, work ethic, and attitude. No one forces an individual to become a teacher, and those who consider the salary and working conditions to be sub-par should not enter the profession in the first place.
 
Old 05-09-2011, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
1,421 posts, read 1,478,388 times
Reputation: 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by jillabean View Post
I think maybe you and I are in the same boat. My daughter is the only 6-year-old in her class. All the other students are now 7-years-old (some started off as 7-year-olds at the beginning of the year). For kids that young, that little bit of age is a big difference. That's why they told me it was most likely developmental. I just hope there is time to get my daughter caught up (of course, I've been trying all year--at least since October when they first told me she was behind).

By the way, there is a reading program this summer hosted by George Washington University. I signed my daughter up in the hopes to get her caught up some more before she starts second grade (if she starts second grade, not sure if they will hold her back. I am not sure why they will do. The rest of her grades are great, but she's still lagging in DRA level).

Good luck to you and your son too!
and this is why I think redshirting is so ridiculous. Sorry, jillabean - that kind of pressure must make you want to be ill!
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