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Jobs pay what the employer can afford.

Seems like a simple concept, but I keep seeing posts on social media about how teachers/nurses/first responders/etc. should be paid a lot more than they already are.  Which sounds like a good idea if you don’t think about where the money is going to come from.  The latest one I saw involved the question of why a major league ball player should make millions of dollars for throwing a ball around (and occasionally hitting one, or tossing one in a hoop or some such) and nurses get paid squat for saving lives.

Well, shoot, folks.  If you’re willing to pay big bucks to go to the ballpark, you and maybe 20,000 of your best friends, and they get TV money and radio money and all that, the team can afford to pay a pitcher (say) the big bucks. And the pitcher is going to be able to pitch for maybe 10 years. Some last longer, some don’t. And they’re always an injury away from selling used cars in a bad suit, no matter what position or sport they play. If they’re going to have to retire in their mid-30’s, they’d better hope they put away enough money to keep their family going for the rest of their life, or that they actually got a college degree that’s worth something and can get a decent job after sportsball using that.

On the other hand, hospitals generally don’t see the big bucks. Yeah, it’s horrifically expensive to get anything done in a hospital, but you don’t see the overhead for operations, insurance, and everything else that makes the hospital run. Believe me, I’ve sat in hospitals, and I have no idea how they come up with that much money to keep the place running. Hospitals are unbelievably complex and massively expensive operations, from basic infrastructure right down to the scalpel the surgeon is using to operate or the cold washcloth the nurse uses to wake you up in the morning. (Sorry.) And in the end, hospitals pay nurses what they can afford to pay. It sucks, but it is what it is, and you can’t tell me you didn’t know the job paid what it does before you decided to do it for a career. But you’ll do that career until you retire, more than likely, and where the pitcher can pitch for maybe 10 years, you’ll be helping people for 40 or more. Will you ever make parity with the pitcher? No. But you’ll have a steady income that you don’t have to worry too much about.

Teachers are perhaps the most annoying of the “we don’t make enough money” bunch, because most of them ARE public employees, and they get paid by your local municipality or county or state taxing you to pay them. They work at schools that are also paid for on the backs of the taxpayer. And there’s a point at which the taxpayer isn’t going to stand to be taxed any more. But teachers insist that they are worth more than they are paid, constantly, to the point where you want to punch their lights out when they start threatening to go on strike, and tell them they should have picked another damn career if they wanted to make more money. It’s enough to make a man home school his children. If he had children. But I digress.

But again, a teacher has got a much more secure career and income than that pitcher we were talking about does.

Now me, I haven’t had a raise in five years, and what I got five years ago was a COLA raise. In the past five years I’ve been handed more responsibility than ever before. Five years ago, nobody worked for me. Today I have six engineers working for me. But I don’t complain (much), even though I feel I’m underpaid, because I would not make the kind of money I make today if I worked for someone else. And you can’t beat the Cadillac health insurance policy I don’t pay for and for which we pay a pittance for my wife’s coverage. But I chose wisely 23 years ago without realizing it, even if I do want to kill my boss on a regular basis. (Kidding. Mostly.)

In an ideal world, everyone would have everything they need and more. But it’s not an ideal world, and nothing anyone can say or do is ever going to make it one. And teachers and nurses and police and firemen and EMTs and paramedics and medtechs are always going to be underpaid, even as vital as they are to our modern society, because there just isn’t enough money out there to do more for them.

I’m sorry about that. If I were king of the world, and wealth was unlimited, I’d do something about it. Meantime, the government robs me every chance it gets and wastes half of what it takes on the undeserving and on gratuitous boondoggles they hope we never notice. If we want to pay folks what they’re really worth, the first thing we need to do is stop the grand theft called income taxation.

And to be honest with you, the first people I’d give a fat raise to would be the military.  Because without the military protecting our freedom, nobody is going to make big bucks doing much of anything.

Unless maybe they’re a collaborator.

So until you’re willing to take an honest look at why middle-class wages and salaries are insufficient, and admit that it’s because the government takes nearly half (or maybe more than half) of your paycheck in taxes, fees, and suchlike (and please don’t forget that, at least in Indiana, the governor* adds 7% to your purchases — and 9% if you eat in a restaurant anywhere in Marion County, 8% in the “doughnut” counties), then frankly, I’m not interested in your pissing and moaning about how it’s not fair that you work so hard for so little.

Especially teachers.  You fuckers (most of you) are unionized.  Maybe you should take an honest look at how your unions are spending your dues money.  You probably won’t like what you see.

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* Yeah, we joke about “7% for the governor”, but the fact is, it’s the legislature that imposes taxes on us, including the 1%/2% “dining taxes” to pay for a football stadium that was torn down before a dollar of the principal on its loans and bonds was paid off, and the billion-dollar boondoggle that took its place (and that Jimmy Irsay now owns in all but fee simple).  The governor just signs off on their work (and his veto can be overridden if the legislature feels strongly enough about it).  So before you go hanging the Gov off of Oliver Morton’s statue, you might want to consider finding 150 lampposts along Capitol Avenue to string up our state legiscritters, first.

1 comment

  1. Joe

    Many people have the intelligence or ability to become a nurse or cop or EMT, should they choose. Only a few thousand people in the whole world can hit a major league pitch. Even fewer can throw that pitch with the skill required to play MLB. Even fewer are the very best who get the millions. That is why a pro athlete is paid so much and the cashier at Target isn’t. Supply and demand is an immutable law.

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