Friday, March 11, 2011

I am a fat cat

Clearly, I am: I am a professor at a public college, where I teach an impractical liberal arts discipline, which generates no income via patents, but nevertheless has contributed countless insights into human experience that in fact we draw upon daily. Today, I am earning a salary that is equal to what I earned more than 10 years ago (in journalism), before I returned to graduate school and earned a PhD in anthropology. (BTW, I can expect never to earn six figures.) Thanks to my union card, I have a contract (which means that the conditions and requirements of my work are known clearly), and I am entitled to health benefits (which can we agree everyone ought to have access to?), and a retirement plan (BTW, not a pension). Not to mention that I have my summers "off" (to engage in the research and writing that contribute not only to my own standing and my ability to teach students, but also to the prestige and status of the department and the college where I work).

Wait. I thought that the financial problems today were rooted in, say, "AIG" and "Wall Street" and "speculation." Since when are they about "public sector employees" and "unions" and "collective bargaining"?

I find it troubling to see where "greed" is being shifted - from bankers who worked with relatively little regulation to government workers who take for granted that their work will undergo a great deal of scrutiny. Even more troubling is that too many of us are falling into line with that line of discourse.

I refuse to buy it.

1 comment:

  1. As a local public school teacher, I am disheartened to hear all the bash talk about teacher salary and unions. Or, my favorite, how much is next year's budget going to be spent of contractual obligations to teachers? I understand the hard economic times are getting to everyone. Last year, several teachers, desperate to try and save colleagues jobs, went as far as to offer to give up pay raises next year. That is pretty big. How many Wall Street execs or big bankers refuse their bonuses? Just some food for thought...