Preposterous props

Here at SN&R, we’ve got no problem making major concessions for the sake of argument and/or satirical purposes. That’s why we’re willing to concede, to fiscal conservatives such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lewis Uhler and Milton Friedman, that most of California’s woes are caused by teachers, nurses, firemen, police officers and other public employees. From that point of view, supporting Propositions 74, 75 and 76 makes a lot of sense. It’s as simple as 1-2-3.

Consider the state’s 250,000 or so credentialed kindergarten-through-12th-grade teachers. These goldbricking pedagogues are expensive, last year earning an average annual salary of $56,283, the highest in the nation, according to the California Department of Education. Proposition 74, which, if passed, will increase the probation period for teachers from two years to five years and permit school districts to fire educators without a hearing before the probation is up, will take care of that in short order. As the legislative analyst notes in the official voter-information guide, the initiative will “result in salary savings by replacing higher salaried teachers toward the end of their probationary period with lower salaried teachers just beginning their probationary period.” It works for Wal-Mart, so why wouldn’t it work for California’s schools?

Perhaps you’re wondering how teachers managed to earn so much money in the first place. They’re in a union, of course! Same goes for most cops, firemen, nurses and many other employees in the public sector. Forget about the stories you keep reading about such workers not being able to afford to live in high-priced California. They’re making enough to pay their union dues, which the unions—without even asking for permission!—turn around and use to influence everything from contract negotiations to communistic social policies such as providing affordable prescription medicine to senior citizens. Proposition 75, which, if passed, will reduce the financial influence of unions and help keep these wannabe reds in their place.

Propositions 74 and 75 will help right the state’s sinking finances but by themselves won’t be able to eliminate all of the leakage caused by the state’s public employees. We need a strongman holding the purse strings, and Proposition 76 will provide just that, granting unprecedented budgeting power to the governor. Why let an outdated concept like the state constitution get in the way of cutting public-sector funding?

We’re being satirical, of course, for the sake of argument, and if you’re a high-school graduate and don’t understand satire, well, that’s part of the problem. We may pay our teachers well, but funding per student ranks among the lowest in the nation. If public-employee unions weren’t participating in politics at the current level, corporate campaign financing would more or less drown out the voices of working people. And nothing could be more frightening than granting more budgetary power to the monomaniacal Schwarzenegger. That’s why we recommend voting NO on Propositions 74, 75 and 76.