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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Letter: Public, private sector debate

  • Blaming the private or public sector for our problems is like blaming your right hand for what your left hand did.
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  • To the editor:
    Blaming the private or public sector for our problems is like blaming your right hand for what your left hand did. We are both and the same. The only difference is employment condition. As one criticizes the other the other can criticize, likewise. Most of the time, I venture, it is in jealousy, selfishness or ignorance.
    Private citizens vote public citizens into their service, who manage their budgets which stipulate the wages and conditions for workers hired to do that service. This monetary emolument must be high enough to attract and keep amenable employees.
    The public worker can look at the private sector business owners mostly and see the "grass is greener:" public contracts, stupendous salaries without a boss overseeing, loan guarantees (SBA), tax breaks (no business tax in Kan.), subsidies (oil billions, jet and yacht owners, carried interest-capital gains paying 15 v 35 percent), money enough to off-shore and employ CPAs to find the ways.
    These benefits are expenditures from our public sector to the private sector just as that teacher's salary. Let's calculate: In 2006 Stanley O'Neal, CEO Merrill Lynch, made $50 million with a $50 million bonus. Just on salary, 35 percent x $50m = $17.5m; 15 percent x $50m = $7.5m, a $10m tax aversion. Ten million is 565 students ($17.7K@), 198 teachers ($50.597K@) or 50 superintendents ($100K@).
    One hedge-fund manager (Kraus, Citigroup, I think) was purported to have made $138 million last year. How many public sector workers does it take to support one private sector person? It takes tens of thousands per soldier (a public worker) to train. Do we begrudge that money spent?
    In all, no matter private or public, it is the return on investment that matters! Those $17K students will become that Eisenhower or Gates of the future. They will pay for that public sector that made it possible. Don't be jealous of others for personal choices made. Most every citizen has the choice of which sector, and many choose both (senators, representatives, VA doctors for example). I presume critics could not or did not test the water. If you haven't been there don't demean it.
    I tried substitute teaching and you could not pay me enough to teach full-time (I was not trained as an educator). As a private-sector person on a privately paid-in public provided retirement (Social Security), I think education costs are a deal at any price!
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