Teachers, Taxes and Told-You-So

As the sun sets, we turn our attention to a place getting a couple more hours of daylight–California. As we all know, this once lovely state is rotting from the inside out. One of the reasons? Well, let’s just call it betrayal of a trust:

Seen as a national leader in the classroom during the 1950s and 1960s, the country’s largest state is today a laggard, competing with the likes of Mississippi and Washington, D.C., at the bottom of national rankings. The Golden State’s education tailspin has been blamed on everything from class sizes to the property-tax restrictions enforced by Proposition 13 to an influx of Spanish-speaking students. But no portrait of the system’s downfall would be complete without a depiction of the CTA, a political behemoth that blocks meaningful education reform, protects failing and even criminal educators, and inflates teacher pay and benefits to unsustainable levels.

Now, there’s a proper usage of that squirrely term “sustainable.”

The CTA’s most important resource, however, isn’t a pool of workers ready to strike; it’s a fat bank account fed by mandatory dues that can run more than $1,000 per member. In 2009, the union’s income was more than $186 million, all of it tax-exempt.

Did you get that? $186 million in income. Do you have any idea how many thousands of businesses in the US have gross revenues below that number? And not just small businesses, we’re talking fairly substantial organizations that don’t have revenue at that level.

Go and read the entire, extensive article and consider if the modern labor unions–of which the CTA is a poster child–have not worn out their welcome in this country.