Friday, February 18, 2011
Should teachers be paid more than NBA stars?
With all the petulant, misbehaving union teachers in Wisconsin and other places agitating to retain their lavish salary and benefits packages, we regularly hear the question from the media, "Why should pro athletes make so much money for playing a game when teachers are far more valuable to society?"
The short answer is that unless the government sets salaries of all people the way communist governments do, then the labor market dictates how much each person is paid for their work. Nobody is paid according to his value to society. We are worth only how much our employer is willing to pay us.
There are only about 150 starters in the NBA. That's a pretty exclusive club and only a certain number of people are capable of doing what they do. There are 150 people capable of being teachers in practically every neighborhood in America. I'm not saying teachers aren't valuable to society, but if a teacher quits, there are hundreds of people who would be willing to take her place. It's based on the dynamics of supply, demand, and price.
The average salary of Madison, WI teachers is $100,000. That's because the unions and collective bargaining extorted these absurd salary contracts from city councils and school boards. If the free labor market were allowed to function, they would be making a more reasonable $50,000 a year, contributing to their own retirement, and paying a portion of their own health care, the same as everybody else. Public sector unions and their thug tactics are why most states are going bankrupt and it's why governors are trying to reign them in.