We’re not gonna take it; we ain’t gonna take it

I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more.”

TV infotainment/news anchor Howard Beale—portrayed by Peter Finch in the 1976 film Network—raged against modern times with that “mad as hell” lament. Reality, however, demonstrates 33 years later that being mad as hell makes no difference if we continue to take it.

I’m outraged by big pay for bigwigs in the private sector nationally and bigwigs in the public sector at the local/state level—at least in certain circumstances.

One case in point: Wall Street bigwig pay is outsized even as taxpayers provide bailouts. If businesses that helped get us in this fix pay the bailouts back with interest, fine, but until then executives at large firms that got tax money should put on a happy face and live with restricted pay as ordered by the so-called pay czar.

And anyone in a large financial services firm with half a brain should forego the arrogance of insulting Americans via piggish pay packages for already well-off hotshots.

This is written by as big a private enterprise advocate as you will find. Despite my praise of capitalism, however, I decry capitalists when their greed undercuts common sense. Each such executive numbskull exhibits the PR grace of a rhinoceros in a tutu.

I’m even angrier when over-compensation in the (now semi-)private sector nationally is mirrored in local/state government—albeit with smaller yet overly generous pay packages—and too many tax dollars are spent.

My second case in point: the Washoe County School District advertised this month for a director of government/intergovernmental affairs, public policy and strategic planning. The listed salary range is $83,452 to $128,625 annually. Yes, you read that right.

This is an inappropriate use of tax money to lobby for a particular point of view (say, as one district among many or to tap the treasury, etc.).

Yet I’ll forego belaboring that argument in Cornucopia Nation, a place where tax dollars are used to bail out banks and car companies, to entice folks to trade in clunkers or buy homes, and to bribe geezer guys like me with $250 because there won’t be COLA hikes in Social Security checks due to disinflation.

Let’s just forget the argument that using tax dollars to lobby for a point of view with which any old (or even young) taxpayer might disagree is questionable. Valid or not, this standard was breached long ago.

Let’s also forget that paying top dollar in hard times would only occur to a big bank exec or government, in this case robbing Peter Taxpayer to over-pay Paul Lobbyist.

Let’s focus instead on this question: Must we pay this lobbyist (and manifold administrators for that matter) scads more than classroom teachers?

The Washoe County School District pay classification provides a 10-year teaching veteran with a bachelor’s degree $45,312 a year. Someone with a master’s degree and a decade of experience gets $51,710. A teacher with a doctorate in philosophy or education and 21 years classroom experience tops out at $70,697 a year.

Yet a PR schmoozer with policy wonk skills who knows legislation—or, better yet, legislators—will out-earn all such veteran teachers from the git-go in this new job that Reno area school administrators want taxpayers to fund.

Of course it’s all for the students, right? Yes, but let’s not forget that includes future tax burdens at the national, state and local levels.

I don’t know about you, but I’m hotter than Hades. We shouldn’t take this in Nevada or our nation. Ever.