Sunday, April 30, 2006

Boss Kerr at CTA Says Something Good

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, assuming it's a clock with hands. Well, CTA President Barbara "Boss" Kerr, she of the tobacco-and-whiskey-voice, also has hands, and in her column in the April 2006 union rag actually says something I support. In one paragraph out of nine.

I've written several times about the Windfall Elimination Provision, a piece of federal law that will severely limit how much Social Security I'll draw in retirement because I'm currently covered by state teachers' retirement. The idea is to stop "double-dipping" as far as pensions go, but it's a killer for us mid-career changers. Put simply, I paid into Social Security from the time I was 18 until I was 32 years old, at which time I became a teacher and stopped paying into Social Security. Because I now have a pension plan, Social Security won't pay but a small fraction of what it would pay if I had completely stopped working!!! It's an injustice, especially when you consider that for 7 years of the time I paid into Social Security, I was in the Army. That time is now discounted as far as my retirement benefits are concerned.

I've written before that CTA and NEA should concern themselves only with the pay, benefits, and working conditions of teachers. When they do so directly--and not indirectly by backing Democrats for almost all political offices--I generally support them. In fact, if that's all they concerned themselves with, I'd be a member again. Anyway, according to Boss Kerr:

CTA and NEA are supporting the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 147 and S. 619) which would eliminate both of these provisions [Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset].

Unfortunately, I see no chance that this concept will ever pass, no matter which party runs Congress or the White House. I've even been told so by a lobbyist. Of course the Republicans won't pass it--why should they do anything to help the NEA? And the Democrats will never pass it because they already get money from the teachers unions and are going to continue getting it no matter what, so there's no need to give those union members additional money from the Social Security fund. Apparently, it's always the minority party in Congress that raises this issue, just to make some political hay out of it. Neither sides expects, or wants, elimination of the WEP and GPO to pass.


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