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 What would you cut? 
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Post What would you cut?
With annual trillion dollar deficits, we all know we are in deep fiscal trouble in this country. My question is what would you cut from the federal budget to save $200+ billion dollars a year?

With a number like that, these need to be significant ideas, not just tinkering kind of ideas.


Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:40 am
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Internet sites showing where the money is going and lady Obama's unnecessary push to get kids to stop being fat...just to name a couple.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
degs wrote:
With annual trillion dollar deficits, we all know we are in deep fiscal trouble in this country. My question is what would you cut from the federal budget to save $200+ billion dollars a year?

With a number like that, these need to be significant ideas, not just tinkering kind of ideas.



There is only so much you can cut.

Just some items to throw out there, though.

Earmarks need to be eliminated. But that's a drop in the bucket.

Obamacare needs to be stopped because the end result is going to be skyrocketing healthcare costs and deficits. But that is just a preventative measure.

The duplication of Washington beauracry can be streamlined. Why do we need the FDIC if the CFPB is now going to call the shots? Why so many layers of intelligence agencies? It seems people create these agencies and keep them around just to have jobs for someone. The entire thing can be streamlined.

We need to continue looking at the social security retirement age. I'm not opposed to giving people the option to invest a small portion of their social security money in safe investments like bonds

The military should not remained untouched. No bid contracts need to be outlawed and military spending needs to be audited.

Why do we have troops all around the world where wars are not occurring?

How long is it going to take to wind down the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan completely?

Why do public sector employees make so much more and get pensions versus private sector employees?

Why are we the biggest donor to the United Nations, a body that other countries use to override the United States?

The remaining stimulus funds need to be pulled back and invested 100% in infrastructure, not in all the pet projects it has been siphoned for.

It is however going to require more than cutting spending. It is going to require considerable rethinking of our energy policy. Heavy investment in domestic oil and natural gas with an eye on sustainable energy for the future. I know many oppose oil and drilling due to the dangers it poses to the environment, but the oil we are not drilling for in international waters, someone else is and then selling it to us. So why not just get it ourselves until we have a better solution? Why buy from someone else what we can produce and even export ourselves?

Nuclear power needs to be a focus as well.

Ultimately, any successful business can only cut so much in costs and needs to produce something to generate revenue. I think that is the key for not only reducing the deficit, but eliminating the national debt.

Balancing the federal budget is not enough. You can be at $0 deficit and the national debt continues to grow on interest alone. This was documented during the Clinton years when we had budget surpluses but the national debt continued to grow anyway.

We need to become a country that manufacture's again, not that imports and consumes.

That is how we will ultimately balance our checkbook.

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Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:41 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Iowafin wrote:
Internet sites showing where the money is going and lady Obama's unnecessary push to get kids to stop being fat...just to name a couple.


Actually, obesity is one of the biggest proponents of rising healthcare costs.

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Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:42 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
Iowafin wrote:
Internet sites showing where the money is going and lady Obama's unnecessary push to get kids to stop being fat...just to name a couple.


Actually, obesity is one of the biggest proponents of rising healthcare costs.


I will comment on your previous post at a point when I have more time.

On this point, there is conflicting evidence. Obesity kills you more quickly, leaving the healthcare system to pay less in long-term age-related costs.


Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:20 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
degs wrote:
Rich wrote:
Iowafin wrote:
Internet sites showing where the money is going and lady Obama's unnecessary push to get kids to stop being fat...just to name a couple.


Actually, obesity is one of the biggest proponents of rising healthcare costs.


I will comment on your previous post at a point when I have more time.

On this point, there is conflicting evidence. Obesity kills you more quickly, leaving the healthcare system to pay less in long-term age-related costs.


While you are alive, suffering from cholesterol, heart disease, having to visit the doctor more often due to the slew of ailments you have due to not taking care of yourself, you are more of a burden on the system. That you die sooner is moot. You do more damage in a shorter amount of time. Now your premise may be correct if it pertained to a small number of people, but if you look around America, it ain't a small number of people...

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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
While you are alive, suffering from cholesterol, heart disease, having to visit the doctor more often due to the slew of ailments you have due to not taking care of yourself, you are more of a burden on the system. That you die sooner is moot. You do more damage in a shorter amount of time. Now your premise may be correct if it pertained to a small number of people, but if you look around America, it ain't a small number of people...


When you balance those costs with the sky high drug and treatment costs of old age, that is what brings the conflict on which is worse. High short term costs versus sky high long term costs.


Wed Oct 27, 2010 4:46 am
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
degs wrote:
With annual trillion dollar deficits, we all know we are in deep fiscal trouble in this country. My question is what would you cut from the federal budget to save $200+ billion dollars a year?

With a number like that, these need to be significant ideas, not just tinkering kind of ideas.



There is only so much you can cut.

Just some items to throw out there, though.

Earmarks need to be eliminated. But that's a drop in the bucket.

Obamacare needs to be stopped because the end result is going to be skyrocketing healthcare costs and deficits. But that is just a preventative measure.

The duplication of Washington beauracry can be streamlined. Why do we need the FDIC if the CFPB is now going to call the shots? Why so many layers of intelligence agencies? It seems people create these agencies and keep them around just to have jobs for someone. The entire thing can be streamlined.

We need to continue looking at the social security retirement age. I'm not opposed to giving people the option to invest a small portion of their social security money in safe investments like bonds

The military should not remained untouched. No bid contracts need to be outlawed and military spending needs to be audited.

Why do we have troops all around the world where wars are not occurring?

How long is it going to take to wind down the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan completely?

Why do public sector employees make so much more and get pensions versus private sector employees?

Why are we the biggest donor to the United Nations, a body that other countries use to override the United States?

The remaining stimulus funds need to be pulled back and invested 100% in infrastructure, not in all the pet projects it has been siphoned for.

It is however going to require more than cutting spending. It is going to require considerable rethinking of our energy policy. Heavy investment in domestic oil and natural gas with an eye on sustainable energy for the future. I know many oppose oil and drilling due to the dangers it poses to the environment, but the oil we are not drilling for in international waters, someone else is and then selling it to us. So why not just get it ourselves until we have a better solution? Why buy from someone else what we can produce and even export ourselves?

Nuclear power needs to be a focus as well.

Ultimately, any successful business can only cut so much in costs and needs to produce something to generate revenue. I think that is the key for not only reducing the deficit, but eliminating the national debt.

Balancing the federal budget is not enough. You can be at $0 deficit and the national debt continues to grow on interest alone. This was documented during the Clinton years when we had budget surpluses but the national debt continued to grow anyway.

We need to become a country that manufacture's again, not that imports and consumes.

That is how we will ultimately balance our checkbook.


Well said.


Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:00 am
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
degs wrote:
With annual trillion dollar deficits, we all know we are in deep fiscal trouble in this country. My question is what would you cut from the federal budget to save $200+ billion dollars a year?

With a number like that, these need to be significant ideas, not just tinkering kind of ideas.



There is only so much you can cut.

Just some items to throw out there, though.

Earmarks need to be eliminated. But that's a drop in the bucket.

Obamacare needs to be stopped because the end result is going to be skyrocketing healthcare costs and deficits. But that is just a preventative measure.

The duplication of Washington beauracry can be streamlined. Why do we need the FDIC if the CFPB is now going to call the shots? Why so many layers of intelligence agencies? It seems people create these agencies and keep them around just to have jobs for someone. The entire thing can be streamlined.

We need to continue looking at the social security retirement age. I'm not opposed to giving people the option to invest a small portion of their social security money in safe investments like bonds

The military should not remained untouched. No bid contracts need to be outlawed and military spending needs to be audited.

Why do we have troops all around the world where wars are not occurring?

How long is it going to take to wind down the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan completely?

Why do public sector employees make so much more and get pensions versus private sector employees?

Why are we the biggest donor to the United Nations, a body that other countries use to override the United States?

The remaining stimulus funds need to be pulled back and invested 100% in infrastructure, not in all the pet projects it has been siphoned for.

It is however going to require more than cutting spending. It is going to require considerable rethinking of our energy policy. Heavy investment in domestic oil and natural gas with an eye on sustainable energy for the future. I know many oppose oil and drilling due to the dangers it poses to the environment, but the oil we are not drilling for in international waters, someone else is and then selling it to us. So why not just get it ourselves until we have a better solution? Why buy from someone else what we can produce and even export ourselves?

Nuclear power needs to be a focus as well.

Ultimately, any successful business can only cut so much in costs and needs to produce something to generate revenue. I think that is the key for not only reducing the deficit, but eliminating the national debt.

Balancing the federal budget is not enough. You can be at $0 deficit and the national debt continues to grow on interest alone. This was documented during the Clinton years when we had budget surpluses but the national debt continued to grow anyway.

We need to become a country that manufacture's again, not that imports and consumes.

That is how we will ultimately balance our checkbook.



I agree on a lot of it. And while I especially agree with this point:

Quote:
We need to become a country that manufacture's again, not that imports and consumes.


It is offline from the question. The base of the question is: what difficult cuts would you make if you had to make major changes.

I'll start with two of my own:
1) I'd slash the department of education to a tiny fraction of what it currently is. Over the past 40 years the spending here has skyrockets. More than doubled in inflation-adjusted per-student dollars, with absolutely no measurable results.
2) I'd cut the military by bringing home our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and most of the troops in Western Europe too. The EU spends half of what we do on their militaries, both in actual dollars and as a percent of GDP. Why do we spend billions protecting them when they aren't willing to spend to that same level? I wouldn't reduce troop levels by much, just eliminate the transportation and the administration. And by bringing the troops home, the money the soldiers spend will help our economy, not the economy of a foreign country.

Even that is not $200b, but it's a heck of a start.


Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:39 am
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Post Re: What would you cut?
I'd also look at the Federal Reserve.

What exactly is the purpose of this institution? Why does it exist?

It seems to me it's purpose is to print money with no value backing it and to decide who gets the golden parachute.

I'm sure we could find several government institutions that may no longer serve their purpose. I agree 100% on the Department of Education.

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Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:42 am
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
I'd also look at the Federal Reserve.

What exactly is the purpose of this institution? Why does it exist?

It seems to me it's purpose is to print money with no value backing it and to decide who gets the golden parachute.

I'm sure we could find several government institutions that may no longer serve their purpose. I agree 100% on the Department of Education.


We can get into a huge discussion just on the fed. And yes, I think that the Federal government has overstepped it's bounds by far. There are definately a few departments that could go away and never be missed.


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Post Re: What would you cut?
degs wrote:
The base of the question is: what difficult cuts would you make if you had to make major changes.


Entitlements. They have to be rolled back. There is a lot of fraud, but entitlements create a dependency, that I believe, on some levels prevent people from getting back on their own two feet.

I know people who are collecting unemployment without looking for work, as an example. These people are defrauding you and me. It's as simple as that.

It's one thing if the are busting their butt to get a job... but a lot aren't. What incentive do they have to do so? They get free money and don't have to do anything for it....

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Post Re: What would you cut?
My state (MA) has one of the best education systems in the country. We've spent millions over the last twenty years to achieve that. Just recently our governor, Deval Patrick, in all of his wisdom has decided to shirk everything the state worked for and jump on board with Obama's national program. So yes, the DOE needs to be DOA.


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Post Re: What would you cut?
All elected officals salaries. Even put them on an incentive based pay .... but then they would owe more than they earn.

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Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:50 am
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Here are some good ideas from Milton Friedman:
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Welfare, food stamps, IRS, DOE, just to name a few.


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Post Re: What would you cut?
Much of what has been proposed to be cut here are departments and agencies that are disliked and/or inefficient. If you actually had to balance the budget including servicing out current debt there are only two relevant budgets: Entitlements and Defense.

Personally I'd peg our military spending to no more than 3X the next largest military budget. Right now that's China around $100B while were more than six times that size. That alone slashed $300B in costs. I think we can defend ourselves with 3X the next largest military.

Entitlements would need to be slashed too but I'm not sure what is the most legal way to accomplish that.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
Let me explain a bit of govt spending that may shock you. It's called use or lose. If you don't use all the money you get budgeted, then you lose it in the next budget. So what happens every September in a govt agency? PLASMA SCREENS FOR ALL THE WALLS! You think I'm kidding, I'm not.

The biggest cut in govt spending isn't even a cut, it's a policy change. Rather then allotting so much money for a year per account per agency, simply set up revolving accounts. Meaning, if you have a budget of $100, you spend $50, then the govt will simply top off your acct back to $100. Under the old system, you would either spend the extra $50 or only get a $50 budget (which you still have so you get nothing new).

As for actual cuts, earmark spending accounts for most of the fluff. The biggest individual ticket items are Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security and the Military. Now if you impose the above policy, military budgets will go down by a good 25%. As will the overhead for every single dept of govt. That's where you start.

Next is a major reorganization of the cabinet agencies. Slim and trim. Reduce and consolidate the the cabinet. Do we really need a Dept of Homeland Security and a Dept of Defense? See what I mean? Dept of Interior would absorb almost every domestic fluff job. Less top heavy, less money.

Then you can get nit picky about who is spending what and where. $50 hammers do exist.


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Post Re: What would you cut?
Ski_Money wrote:
$50 hammers do exist.


http://hardwareaisle.thisoldhouse.com/2 ... or-50.html

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Post Re: What would you cut?
See


Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:48 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
The use or lose system really does cost an amazing amount of money though. The waste the comes from that... would blow your minds man.


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Post Re: What would you cut?
I think this sums up how we are completely screwed unless we do something about the entitlement programs...

http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/21/news/economy/spending_taxes_debt/index.htm


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Post Re: What would you cut?
The government affords so many people the opportunity to live beyond their means without any consequence. Why should we expect the government to be any different in its behavior?


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Post Re: What would you cut?
Makchell wrote:
Welfare, food stamps,

Food stamps, family support assistance (AFDC), supplemental security income (SSI), child nutrition programs, refundable portions of earned income tax credits (EITC and HITC) and child tax credit, welfare contingency fund, child care entitlement to States, temporary assistance to needy families, foster care and adoption assistance, State children's health insurance and veterans pensions, come to 0.89 % of GDP, or $117 billion (2006). I'd say that is a drop in the bucket compared to corporate welfare, which nobody seems to bat an eye over. I know that there are people who definitely abuse the system, but the idea that they are crippling this country and costing you lots of money is a misnomer. How much do we spend on bailing out banks and bad loans? Frankly I'm proud of our country for supporting the needy. Im not for leaving people on these programs indefinitely, and I do think they need to be retooled and streamlined, but it is good that we take care of our poor. I'd actually like to see an increase in welfare spending for helping the poor to educate themselves for better jobs. We'd get them off the system, educate our workforce, and give people a chance to pull themselves out of poverty and do something with their lives.


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Post Re: What would you cut?
I had mentioned the Dept of Ed earlier. Here's a great stat on how well it is working...

U.S. ranking on OECD PISA test given to 15-year-olds
2000:14th in science, 19th in math
2009:23rd in science, 31st in math

That "no child left behind" law, which costs tens of billions of dollars a year is working real well, isn't it?


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Post Re: What would you cut?
degs wrote:
I had mentioned the Dept of Ed earlier. Here's a great stat on how well it is working...

U.S. ranking on OECD PISA test given to 15-year-olds
2000:14th in science, 19th in math
2009:23rd in science, 31st in math

That "no child left behind" law, which costs tens of billions of dollars a year is working real well, isn't it?


Not sure it is fair or objective to attribute it to NCLB.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

More progress was made by nine-year-olds in reading in the last five years than in the previous 28 years combined.

America's nine-year-olds posted the best scores in reading (since 1971) and math (since 1973) in the history of the report. America's 13-year-olds earned the highest math scores the test ever recorded.

Reading and math scores for black and Hispanic nine-year-olds reached an all-time high.
Achievement gaps in reading and math between white and black nine-year-olds and between white and Hispanic nine-year-olds are at an all-time low.

Forty-three states and the District of Columbia either improved academically or held steady in all categories (fourth- and eighth-grade reading and fourth- and eighth-grade math).

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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
Not sure it is fair or objective to attribute it to NCLB.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

More progress was made by nine-year-olds in reading in the last five years than in the previous 28 years combined.

America's nine-year-olds posted the best scores in reading (since 1971) and math (since 1973) in the history of the report. America's 13-year-olds earned the highest math scores the test ever recorded.

Reading and math scores for black and Hispanic nine-year-olds reached an all-time high.
Achievement gaps in reading and math between white and black nine-year-olds and between white and Hispanic nine-year-olds are at an all-time low.

Forty-three states and the District of Columbia either improved academically or held steady in all categories (fourth- and eighth-grade reading and fourth- and eighth-grade math).



I don't mean to specifically pick on that one, but it is an overpriced, underfunded concept. My earlier point was the the Dept of Ed hasn't shown that it makes a difference in education yet costs us $100b+ a year. You can't just throw money at this problem and think it will be solved.

Maybe 4th graders are improving, but by the time they get to 10th grade, they are falling behind again.


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Post Re: What would you cut?
I think the teachers unions are a bigger hinderance to education than anything else.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rand Paul has some good ideas (a simplified version of Rand Paul's budget cut ideas) http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/bel ... nding-bill

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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
I think the teachers unions are a bigger hinderance to education than anything else.


lol

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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
I think the teachers unions are a bigger hinderance to education than anything else.



I don't mean to offend, Rich. But this is a typical comment from someone who really doesn't have first hand knowledge of education.

Are you a teacher?
If you do happen to be a teacher, I would like to hear why you make that statement.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
In order to improve education, it takes efforts from three people/groups:
Teachers: Grade school and high school teachers are overpaid for the amount of work they do.
Parents: Far too many are not involved in their kids education. They seem to have the opinion it is all the teachers job.
The kids: Hard to motivate a lot of them when their parents don't care, their peers don't care and they don't see opportunity in front of them.

Everyone points to the teachers, and they do deserve their share of criticism, but it's not all their fault.


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Post Re: What would you cut?
1984phins wrote:
Are you a teacher?
If you do happen to be a teacher, I would like to hear why you make that statement.


I'm not a teacher and I don't need to be to have an opinion. One of my close friends has been a teacher for over 30 years and a high school principal for 5.

He has been paying union dues his entire career and now that he is on the side of the fence in which he cannot remove people who are not doing their job, or if he does remove them they get paid anyway, he feels like he has wasted his entire career giving a good portion of his check to the unions and all he has to show for it is a nice dinner every year and little control over personnel and the quality of the teaching in his school.

There are thankfully many teachers who care and do a good job, but there are also many who don't, but because they are union members they are afforded certain protections, paid furlows and suspensions, etc.

The school I personally volunteer at has more substitute teachers than they need and they have to pay them despite them not actually doing any work. They cannot get rid of the ones they don't need because they are union members.

What incentive is there for people to perform highly at their jobs if they have a low risk of losing that job if they do not?

That is the problems with unions across the board.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
degs wrote:
Everyone points to the teachers, and they do deserve their share of criticism, but it's not all their fault.


I'm not pointing to the teachers, but the protection they get from the teachers unions, which de-incentivizes them from doing the best job they can do in the classroom.

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Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:56 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
degs wrote:
Everyone points to the teachers, and they do deserve their share of criticism, but it's not all their fault.


I'm not pointing to the teachers, but the protection they get from the teachers unions, which de-incentivizes them from doing the best job they can do in the classroom.


Unions do have their place. But when they become too powerful, they are a big negative. That's just my opinion.


Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:38 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:

The school I personally volunteer at has more substitute teachers than they need and they have to pay them despite them not actually doing any work. They cannot get rid of the ones they don't need because they are union members.

What incentive is there for people to perform highly at their jobs if they have a low risk of losing that job if they do not?

That is the problems with unions across the board.



I don't really know how that is possible. In Palm Beach, substitute teachers are part time workers who need a regular teacher to be out in order to work for the day. They are not part of the teacher's union at all. I don't know why it would be different for other Florida counties.

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Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:37 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
I'm with Rich and against the Unions on this point. Not that I need a credential for my opinion to matter but both of my parents are teachers as is my brother. I graduated from a town with good schools and bad schools. I was an average student at a good school and score in the low 30s on my ACT. My friend Adrian had a 4.0, was valedictorian, and two time all state trumpet player (big deal in Louisiana) at a bad school. His first ACT was a 14. He bombed the science and math portions. I tutored him for a few weeks and he made a 26 the next time. He had never been exposed to basic concepts like the Pythagorean theory or bar graphs. His school failed him.

I asked why and it turns out his school was one of the schools that gets the bad teachers. These teachers don't teach, don't try, don't care. But they can't be fired either. They literally can screw over entire generations of kids and can't be fired because of their union.

DC has(had) one of the worst school systems in the country. They hired a new superintendent who slashed every budget that didn't directly help students achieve. She fired her own staff and sold her own office. She also offered the teachers an option when it came time to renegotiate their union contract. Option one was to take the money she had saved and pay teachers no less than $100,000 each provided they would give up tenure so teachers could be removed with cause thus making room for better teachers - in particular the best teachers in the country. Option two was the status quo: a modest cost of living raise and they keep tenure. The union was so threatened by the offer they wouldn't allow it to come to a vote and imposed option two upon their membership.

Unions make education about the teachers when it should be about the students.

If you even remotely care about this issue watch "waiting for superman".

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Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:08 am
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Post Re: What would you cut?
1984phins wrote:
I don't really know how that is possible. In Palm Beach, substitute teachers are part time workers who need a regular teacher to be out in order to work for the day. They are not part of the teacher's union at all. I don't know why it would be different for other Florida counties.


Because it school district has it's own union chapter and makes its own agreements.

Funny how you were telling me earlier that my opinion was that of a person that doesn't understand how education works.

Might be time to look in the mirror on that one.

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Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:52 am
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
1984phins wrote:
I don't really know how that is possible. In Palm Beach, substitute teachers are part time workers who need a regular teacher to be out in order to work for the day. They are not part of the teacher's union at all. I don't know why it would be different for other Florida counties.


Because it school district has it's own union chapter and makes its own agreements.

Funny how you were telling me earlier that my opinion was that of a person that doesn't understand how education works.

Might be time to look in the mirror on that one.



As for "looking in the mirror" thanks for the offer. I have been teaching at a low performing school for 6 years now. Until you stand in a classroom and teach these kids, you cannot possibly fully understand what needs to be done to improve education. Simple as that. This is not directed just at you, Rich, but others who think they know exactly what needs to be done because they saw a misleading film.

My information posted above is accurate with respect to my county. I don't need to know all the ins and outs of substitute teachers and what little union representation they have in order to do my job effectively. I simply don't believe the situation you laid out. So, let's make sure we are on the same page. You have subs who show up to a school even if there is not a teacher who requested a sub for his or her classroom? These subs get paid to sit around and they don't cover any classes? Your school can't tell a sub who doesn't have a classroom to cover to go home? What county is this?

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Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:27 am
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Regardless of how bad a teacher's union is, the statement that "teacher's unions are a bigger hindrance to education than anything else" is just laughable.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:37 pm
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