Las Vegas Sun

September 1, 2014

Currently: 100° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Will new economic plan work?

Conservative leaders have said more money won’t buy a better education for our kids, so we’re trying to improve education in America by the opposite approach — less money. We started by reducing funding for education and firing teachers. Then we de-motivated the ones remaining by cutting their pensions, downgrading their working conditions, and treating them and their profession with disrespect and utter contempt so more will quit on their own.

We’re saving lots of money by refusing to honor their employment contracts and reducing their pensions. We’re packing more kids into each classroom and cutting back on school lunch programs so both teachers and students will have an incentive to work harder. We are eliminating a teacher’s ability to bargain collectively, guaranteeing a fast track to the very lowest rung on the middle class ladder and proving to the class that a college education is no guarantee of a better life in America. Thus, fewer kids will choose to enter college and we will be able to cut even more money out of higher education.

Any bets on how this plan is going to work out for America’s leaders of tomorrow?

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 38 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. The Left never can spend enough on education. It's one of those things that the left craves.Never mind that there is not a positive correlation between student achievement and the amount of money spent on education, the Left just never reaches a boundary on this type of expenditure. At the bottom of this craving desire for more and more spending on education is the drive to save the "poor", and the fantasy that more money spent on education will magically erase the inequalities that exist in life. On the other hand a belief that targeted and controlled spending on education, aimed where these dollars will do the most good, is a decision which should be made at the local level by those familiar with local needs and conditions is a much wiser road to follow. But Leftists place little importance on wisdom. In their world there are no limits --infinite expenditures are fine and desirable. Eradicating inequality is worth it.

  2. Whether you're a taxpayer or an educator, we are all just collateral damage from the Wall Street greed that caused the Great Recession. Turning on each other will not solve our current economic problems. Neither will the folks standing on the sidelines cheering for more tax cuts and less regulation.

  3. Although this letter writer makes a point that it will be difficult to improve education by spending less on it, he isn't facing the fiscal reality of our times.
    Bob Jack is bang on with his posting.
    In Ontario, Canada, teachers make about $90,000.00 after ten years on the job, and their pension rakes them in well over $50,000.00 a year, fully indexed.
    All western governments are going to have to learn to adjust to spending no more than they tax in revenue, and paying teachers and administrators huge salaries and dreamland benefits hurts the rest of society.
    I am a strong believer that socialism improves a country, but Canada, Europe and even America have reached the point at which the cost of government must be substantially reduced.
    Let's face it. We're ALL in for very tough times in the not too distant future. Current and previous governments have grossly overspent.
    Trying to spend less on education is only the tip of the iceberg of what's going to be required to balance our budgets.

    Donald Desaulniers (FromBellevilleCanada)

  4. It's a simple fact. We can't pay and provide what we don't and won't have. In good economic times, people and workers thrive. In bad times, they don't. Same with unions and their unionized employees. When money runs out, so do the rewards. Refuse to believe it? Look at Europe and the governments and people there. They are all struggling, and except for the UK and Germany, bankrupt and belly up.

    CarmineD

  5. Stanley is just being Stanley in his hard leftist way. He simply wants to put his hand in your pocket and take what he thinks is appropriate to fund the things he approves of but doesn't want to pay for himself. 50 years of decline in the public school system is proof enough that money, no matter how much, is not a major factor in the education of students. No, it's Socialist/Marxist philosphy and a left wing agenda that has rotted the core of public education. Because of the "progressives" and their "indoctrination instead of education" policies over the past 5 decades, we have seen the mushrooming of functionally illiterates being "graduated" regardless of their ability or capacity to fend for themselves in the "real" world. Keeping them dumb is the goal. The dumber they are, the more apt they are to become Dumbocrats and dependent on pencil-pushing bureaucratic drones to make their decisions for them. We see it clearly in many of the posts by those of the left. "Talking points" become their only arguments. They simply haven't the education, background or ability to think for themselves and we all suffer for it.

  6. Why can't K-12 teachers do simple math? Roughly 1/3 of Americans are government employees--if we add in active duty, reservists, federal, state, school districts, city, county. And then there are the contract employees. It is not possible to tax enough to pay government employees 2-5 times what the other 2/3 average in income. Actually, doesn't equal for even the same income as private sector--there are just TOO MANY employees for too many programs. We do need K-12 but it isn't working the way it is. And we cannot afford any more "good" ideas from "educators". Good teachers deserve a REASONABLE compensation package but not 2-3 times the average income and not 4-5 times the average retirement plan. Ditto firefighters and LEOs. Large ditto for line supervisors in the City, County, and State agencies. The voting public seems to have figured some of this out. The real question that remains is how to cut costs now--rather than for future budgets and new hires. How do we cut pack the accruing pension liabilities? San Diego and San Jose might be showing CCSD and the State what to do--but most change applies to new hires. We COULD insist that any and all "promotions" and "new contracts" be under a new pension plan....but we'd need convincing public demand.

  7. Roslenda...There are less than 20 million Federal, state and local employees with an average salary of about $50K a year. Hardly a third of the country and hardly 5 times the salary of the average worker. Lets get real.

    Bellvue....In Canada medical care is fairly cheap and universal. Here medical care alone will exceed $20,000.00 per family this year. The cost of housing on the east and west coast is also exorbitant. Wages have to reflect cost of living unless we want the entire country on some type of entitlement.

    According to the medical industry a family of four needs an income of $200K a year just to start creating savings and substantial investment. Currently that represents 3% of families and that is why 10-30,000 a day are signing up for some type of welfare.
    http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/...

  8. European countries are all bankrupt and belly up?????
    Portugal,Spain and Greece are having problems because they belong to the EU and they share the Euro. These countries are not industrialized nations and should have never been brought into the EU. They peaked as nations hundreds of years ago and have output less than Los Angeles.
    The rest of Europe is having the same issues dealing with aging populations that we are having. No difference other than the $8K a year per capita medical costs we are dealing with.
    The high cost of medical is the main driver of most of our fiscal ills.

  9. "Portugal,Spain and Greece are having problems because they belong to the EU and they share the Euro. " Zippert1

    In 2000, when European economies and countries were booming, the European countries decided to scrub the dollar as its medium of payment for foreign trade and adopt a standard currency: The Euro. After 10 years, and with the onset of the European economic tsunami, it backfired. Euro is setting record lows against the dollar and other foreign currencies. And the 10 year US Tresaury note at its lowest rate in US history at 1.6 percent is being bought up at records levels as a safety net against the failing Euro.

    Europe is one of the US's largest market for goods and services. [Recall my posts about GM and Europe]. Also you have to remember Sept 30, 2011 when former Gov Jon Corsine and head of MF Global caused the company to go belly up by investing in European gov't and bank securities. If I recall correctly, $6 Billion of investor funds disappeared and went unaccounted for by Corsine.

    Think things got better since Sept 30, 2011? Think again. Think US investors were wrong by selling off yesterday on the news that the EU will spend ANOTHER $1.2 BILLION to bail out Spain's banks. Think again.

    Think there is no worry that Greece will opt out of the Euro and print money willy nilly to pay for debts and obligations that it made and can't afford. Think again.

    Think EU countries and gov'ts, ecept UK and Germany, are ot bankrupt and belly up? Think again. The answer is self-evident. Just have to read the news.

    CarmineD.

    PS: Think the past 2 Presidents of the EU resigned because they thought things were just wonderful? Think again.

  10. zippert: add in school districts, active duty and reservists, politicians who are compensated, government contractors, military and otherwise--state of Nevada has volumes of IT contractors 'cause the legislature was hesitant to authorize employees, for years. NOMADS alone had dozens for 10-15 years. Compensation averages almost $100K when you count the benies.

  11. Carmine... I barely know where to begin. The EU is not one of America's largest trading partners. My family is from Germany and I have spent a great deal of time in Europe. You can go from one end of the European continent to the next and you will hardly find anything made in America. In addition if you look at America's top 20 trading partners only a handful of European countries are represented.

    In terms of the euro currency sitting at an all-time low. Horse manure. The all-time low on the euro was near 80. It currently sits at about 124. About 30 points off of its all-time HIGH.

    There wasn't $6 billion missing from MF global. It was about $1.6 billion. They believe these losses occurred in derivatives trading which I have been critical of since 1987. Most of the money has been found. 70% has been returned to customers and the remainder is still sitting in the UK. I have been involved in several major legal actions since 1987 over the derivatives issue.

    With the exception of Germany European economies have never bloomed. Their growth rates have been much lower than the United States. Populations have been stagnant. Germany only has a few million more people now than they did when Hitler was in power.

    For economies to really boom you need strong population growth, in industrial base and strong pro-business climate. Class warfare is alive and well in Europe. It always has been and always will be. They are not overly pro-business.
    http://trendandvalue.blogspot.com/2009/0...

  12. http://peterfaur.com/2011/07/05/think-yo...
    The above is a list of trading partners and trading volumes.

  13. we spend a lot of time talking about people who we believe are making too much money. The problem is the 64% of the people in this country they cannot lay their hands on a couple of grand. Wages and benefits need to explode just to allow people to make ends meet.
    http://moneyland.time.com/2011/06/01/nea...

  14. http://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/2012/...
    Median net worth is at 1992 levels and people are stuck paying 2012 prices. A couple of days in the hospital cost more than the average price house and a halfway decent school is $50,000 a year. That's not a formula that works.

  15. I'm on the fence in terms of the whole education thing. I don't think teachers should be held responsible for their students. Many of today's kids are just plain lazy and would rather play with their electronic gadgets than study hard in school.

    I came from very humble beginnings. I worked very hard in school and studied economics and mathematics and UCLA. I got my degree in economics.

    My son was a lousy student. I doubt that he has read a book in his life. I couldn't motivate him to be a great student. I can hardly blame his teachers.I spoiled my son providing him with a very good life and in turn it robbed him of his motivation.

    This is one of the reasons I am in favor of a huge wealth tax. As wealth gets passed from generation to generation people just keep getting lazier.

  16. "Carmine... I barely know where to begin. " Zippert1

    Well, if you would go back to my post and change the $1.25 Billion bailout to $125 Billion that would be a good start. Mea culpa.

    $6 Billion may have been the total loss that put MF Global in bankruptcy with $1.6 Billion of investors' funds as unaccounted for.

    CarmineD.

  17. Here's an excerpt from MF Global article on the nature of the $6 Billion loss: All Eurozone debt:

    "MF Global collapsed last Monday after customers and trading partners lost confidence in the company, a "run on the bank" that began when it revealed it had bet $6.3bn on eurozone sovereign debt."

    Jon Corzine, the finance expert that Obama and Biden always consulted before making any financial moves, betted heavily on the Euro zone bank and sovereign debt to make a turnaround. He bet wrong. Company went belly up and bankrupt.

    I'll get you the facts on Europe and its trading status with the US and post here later/tomorrow for you. You may recall President Obama blamed the Euro crisis for the drag on the US economy last week when he said our private sector was doing just fine. His house of cards is falling down around him and he is in denial.

    Have some pressing business to attend to now. Not the least of which is my Deutsch Frau getting ready to visit her Mutti tomorrow on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

    CarmineD

  18. "In terms of the euro currency sitting at an all-time low. Horse manure. The all-time low on the euro was near 80. It currently sits at about 124. About 30 points off of its all-time HIGH." Zippert1

    So why is the EU pouring $125 Billion into Spain's banks to sure them up and Greece getting ready to bail out of the Euro?

    That 124 can go down to 80 and less in seconds on the world markets. So quick it would make your head spin trying to keep up.

    CarmineD

  19. Since we are talking about education, I have a stupid question. I admit that I have not read every article on CCSC. What I have seen is that 400 teachers are have been laid off. I have not seen any numbers for admin staff. Can someone help me here? I am just curious. Surly there must be a large number.

  20. John, all the admin staff took hits already because they didn't have contracts. So with the expiration of the teacher contract, we can change their PERS plan--right after the Legislature gets its act together. Right now the teachers are in the firefighters retirement plan--full retirement after 25 years of part-time attendance. This WILL change real soon.

  21. Thanks Roberta. Do you have any numbers? I am curious.

  22. As requested and as I promised I would post:

    Euro-American relations are primarily concerned with trade policy. The EU is a near-fully unified trade bloc and this, together with competition policy, are the primary matters of substance currently between the EU and the USA. The two together represent 60% of global GDP, 33% of world trade in goods and 42% of world trade in services. The growth of the EU's economic power has led to a number of trade conflicts between the two powers; although both are dependent upon the other's economic market and disputes affect only 2% of trade. See below for details of trade flows:

    Direction of trade

    Goods

    Services

    Investment

    Total

    EU to US

    260 billion

    139.0 billion

    112.6 billion

    511.6 billion

    US to EU

    127.9 billion

    180 billion

    144.5 billion

    452.4 billion

    Note the part that says both US and EU markets are dependent on the other's markets. Add up the amounts for Goods, Services and Investments going in both directions for the totals per year [or take the lazy approach ans use the total provided].

    As the October 1987 market crash indicated, US and European markets are coupled and interdependent. More so now than ever before.

    CarmineD

  23. BTW, Miele and SEBO vacuums, made in Germany, and priced usually at about 4 to 5 times the average cost of vacuums sold in the USA stores are used among other places in the White House. Lindhaus vacuums, made in Italy, are sold exclusively by high end vacuum independent stores in the USA to wealthy clientele. Noted most for their filtration. They are priced even higher than the Mieles and SEBO's. Just to mention one sector of goods that have been marketed in the US for about 30 years and continually sell well year over year despite economic trends. BUT, and its a big one, as the Euro has struggled in recent years the quality of the Mieles, once the premier in its class, has been degraded significantly. Leading more US customers to buy Japan made [panasonic sourced] Sears Kenmore vacuums at substantially less prices than the German counterparts.

    CarmineD

  24. "America's top 20 trading partners " Zippert1

    The flaw in your thinking is isolating the 17 EU countries as separate trading partners. Add these together, since they all use the Euro and are part of the EU, at least now. The combined total overshadows all the other individual countries the US trades with yearly.

    CarmineD

  25. BTW, the totals above for annual trade between the US and EU are in euros.

    CarmineD

  26. "carmen; you're wasting our time with nickels and dimes"

    A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money!

    CarmineD

  27. WRT vacuums even UK inventor James Dyson, noted for the dyson bagless vacuums and homegrown in Malmesbury, England, outsourced his vacuum production. In 2002, he shipped production of the dyson vacuums to a plant in Malaysia, and hired contractors to build, rather than continue to produce in the UK with UK employees. Cheaper labor costs were one big reason. James Dyson, now a multi-billionaire, estimated in 2002 when he made the move that labor costs would be at least 30 percent less in Malaysia.

    UK gov't, not because of Dyson, upped the tax rates in UK on businesses forcing many owners like Jame Dyson to pull out the retained earnings in their companies' treasuries before the tax rate hikes went into effect. In fact, the decision was made by the Dyson Board, which he chaired, on the 11th hour the day before the UK tax rate went onto effect. I read other businesses in the UK did the same.

    CarmineD

  28. BTW, when Dyson provides his financial statements, since his headquarters is in the UK, and his company is privately owned, he reports in euros.

    I believe the same is true with the other high end vacuum companies I mentioned in my post above.

    CarmineD

  29. "Any bets on how this plan is going to work out for America's leaders of tomorrow?"

    If this is a good idea, then advertise these cuts on the Nevada Development Authority Web Page and see how much commerce it attracts, see how many businesses move here.

    If down sizing education is the new trend in America, then Nevada will take the lead in new businesses moving here, experiencing enlarged classes for the children of employees.

    Lets advertise how many short sales and bankruptcies are produced in the downsizing and how much money the banks loose in the process.

    Do it!! If the NDA doesn't want the link, then build a special Web Page for the world about the Nevada Experience in Education. If we are proud of this, flaunt it! Tell the World how great it feels to downsize education. The reaction will be immediate.

  30. "Buy Oreck !!! They're GREAT vacuums. Mines 7 years old and will still suck a golfball through a grden hose." Tea

    And Orecks are USA made, now in Tennessee, at least all the uprights. And exported by Oreck to Europe for sale.

    BTW, I own 2 Oreck uprights.

    CarmineD

  31. Posters are asking what's with the vacuums for an example of trade partners between USA and Europe.

    Simple answer. Americans buy 20 Million new full size vacuums every year and have for the most part since the late 1990's through good times and bad. [Does not count rebuilt vacuums and hand and stick vacuums]. Every US household owns usually more than one vacuum. Vacuums are made on both sides of the pond and imported and exported for trade. Prices range from $50 to $2000. Price and model for all budgets.

    CarmineD

  32. Feral animals and "civilized" humans will breed themselves into competing for survival. Perhaps not breeding right into extinction, just to the point that they must fight each other for survival. The economics of "civilization" can be manipulated TO SOME EXTENT, by the federal reserve, by policies, by forcing social welfare programs BUT manipulations cannot exceed the slack or discretionary portion of one's income. Confiscating all or most of the discretionary income would result in riots as people will not give up their survival so someone else can sit it out. The extent that "educators" demand more and more of our income is approaching that point and for what? We don't get the promised results of prosperity for the educated. We don't get a diversified economy--Governors 20 years ago greatly increased education spending and we're still going backwards. Only recently, with a new SD Superintendent have we seen some progress in the right direction but there is so much more--not "to be done" but to be reversed. All those expensive decisions and policies have to be dismantled and allow teachers to teach IN THE CLASS ROOMS. This should cost much less than we already pay.

  33. What Roslenda says about school district administrators not having a contract is false. They have a union, with a contract.

    http://www.ccasa.net/

  34. Dip:

    More like a vacuum expert is probably correct.

    CarmineD

  35. Educators demand more and more of our income??? They just want to pay their bills and get a return on years of expensive education. I paid $600 a quarter at UCLA in the 70s. Today $50K a year.
    Carmine...The EU and the USA put out about $32 trillion in GDP combined. Gross World GDP equals about $71 trillion. Not even close to 60% of world output. The EU is our forth largest trading partner if you look at the continent as one country.
    My family has had 3 Kirby vacuums since they arrived at the end of WW2. They work great and last forever.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_...

  36. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/opinio...
    How many teachers will enter the profession when they are spending $200K for an education that has a starting salary of $39K a year.
    Within 10 years $39K won't buy a family health insurance plan. The Blucross plan I had in California is approaching $25K NOW.

  37. Zippert1

    IMO for two markets to have 60 percent is huge. So you and I will have to disagree.

    WRT Kirby: One of the best. Actually around since 1930's. Have a wonderful reconditioning guarantee. For a fixed fee, determined at point of sale, Kirby Co. will completely refurbish your vacuum at any time during its lifetime. And I think, correct me if wrong, pay for the shipping and handling costs too and from its production plant in Cleveland, Ohio. Kirby will completely restore your old Kirby vacuum, even if completely destroyed in a fire or flood, to its original new vacuum conditiom. Made in the USA.

    CarmineD

  38. High success districts consistently spent more per-pupil than moderate or low success districts on instruction, instructional resources, school leadership, general administration, co-curricular activities, and total operating expenditures.

    High success districts consistently spend significantly more per-pupil than level moderate or low success districts in regular education and career & technology education. Expenditures for special populations (G & T, sp. ed., compensatory ed., bilingual ed) were not positively related to overall performance levels.

    High success districts focus more on finding ways to serve all students and achieve higher academic performance levels.
    They accomplish this by using data to identify needs, plan collaboratively within the district, allocate resource to campuses in a manner dictated by student needs rather than allocation formulas, and make efforts to address past financial inequities among campuses.
    They are more willing to reallocate funds if there is data based evidence that a change would yield positive results.
    Financial personnel in high success districts view their role as integral part of the larger system and practice student-centered administrative practices, such as needs-based budgeting.

    Policy implications
    Hire/retain teachers with experience. Neither school environment nor teacher's highest degree affected student achievement.
    Hire/retain good district level administrators and strong, committed finance directors (foster a team approach).
    Create/preserve low teacher to student ratios (for various reasons). Funding lower teacher-student ratios did not directly affect student gains, but improved teacher-student ratios that first affect school environments, which in turn directly raises student performance levels. The benefit of a low ratio promotes social cohesion, teachers can be more attentive, higher morale, maintain order and discipline, and forge better relationships with students.

    What were all the Republican party loyalists and anti-tax lobbyists saying about student success not being linked to increased spending? They're WRONG.