This week, ClickBack sought editorial page reader comments on the effect of rising gas prices and the image of public sector employees.
What will high gas prices do to you?
This time around I will be more isolated in that I am retired, without the need to drive to work on a daily basis. I will be making sure that when I do go to town I will have a list. With the expectant rise in the cost of heating oil I won’t fill my barrels this year and will go back to pellets.
The campgrounds will feel the hit with a lot fewer motor homes coming through. I’m sure there will be some good deals on motor homes if you have the money.
Check the Web for “pricing on crude oil” and you will be amazed what you come up with. Then blame all those corporations, the U.S. government, OPEC, the New York Mercantile traders and all making millions every year for this mess. Of course, the consumers get the hit.
The price of gasoline and oil products have to be about the $4.50 range before I decide I do not need to travel for a vacation.
Remember too, oil pricing is connected to products that are also connected to the vehicles you buy in tires, paint, internal and external plastic parts and fabrics. So price increases go everywhere!
Are public employees being unfairly targeted?
Reading the discourse on these pages over the past few weeks, it would appear that public workers are the essence of evil, being blamed for everything from high taxes to the cold winter weather.
I am one of those public employees. I have been one for six years after 35 years in the employ of the private sector. During that six years what I have done is serve the people of Maine, my neighbors. I have helped them in their time of need, addressed their concerns and helped them get back on their feet.
I have been silently sitting by while my fellow workers are savaged by know nothings, faux experts and bullies. All my colleagues have done to deserve this abuse is their jobs. They have done this silently, without any increase in wages for two years, being given shut down days so their income is reduced in the face of rising costs.
They are prevented from paying in to Social Security by an employer that said we will see to your retirement. They pay into a fund that was set aside with the idea that they could use this fund for their retirement supplemented by their employer.
The public employees did not cause the market collapse, they did not create a housing bubble that burst. All they did was serve their community. We serve with pride and dedication to our state, communities and neighbors. Sorry if we ask to be treated fairly.
It strikes me that the governor is not blaming public employees so much as previous governors and legislatures who made promises to all the public employees via their collective bargaining agreements without making sure that benefits promised were funded at the time they were given.
Public employees made their employment decisions based on the factors presented to them when they took the jobs. The problems with the pension fund are no fault of the workers, but rather the fault of the politicians who changed the rules about how to keep the funds. Now, new and different politicians want to change the rules again by reneging on the promises made to these loyal workers.
It may make financial sense to those who have nothing invested in the system, but regardless of which side you are on, it is morally and ethically wrong to change the rules in the middle of the game. It is cheating. It is fraud.
Change the rules for future hires if it passes muster, but realize that the caliber of applicant for the job declines proportionate to the benefits offered.