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Fat City

Thank you, Illinois taxpayers, for my cushy life.

May 30, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 35 • By DAVID RUBINSTEIN
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This circumstance has attracted the attention of public officials. Illinois, with the support of some prominent Democrats, is desperate to cut back a public employee pension system that, even with recent reforms, will go broke within 10 years. John Kasich, Republican governor of Ohio, has proposed that the teaching load of college professors be increased by one course every two years.

Such efforts at restraint are routinely met with Wisconsin-like howls of outrage. One of my colleagues, whose retirement benefits exceed the $77,900 household income average for retired government employees in Illinois, was indignant that the state had managed to require an additional $17 a month for his dental insurance. How dare they!

Protests against efforts to reform pay scales, teaching loads, and retirement benefits employ a “solidarity forever, the union makes us strong” rhetoric. What these professors and other government workers do not understand is that they are not demanding a share of the profits from the fat-cat bourgeoisie. They are squeezing taxpayers—for whom the professors purport to advocate—whose lives are in most cases far harsher than their own.

David Rubinstein is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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