The Government Elite Are Shielded from Economic Reality

reality seems to escape some of the folks who live in the cocoon of government

By Gabe Pressman
|  Monday, Dec 21, 2009  |  Updated 3:15 PM EDT
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The Government Elite Are Shielded from Economic Reality

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Joel Klein is a miracle worker!

It’s hard to believe that, at a time of economic adversity, top-level officials at the Education Department are getting fat raises.

The news almost slipped under the radar this snowy Saturday except for a short article in the Daily News.

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced raises of about $12 million dollars for 1,400 non-union employees, including 575 top officials already making more than $100,000 a year.

This action comes at a time when the school system, in other aspects of school life, faces an austere budget and cost-cutting.  One Brooklyn president complained it didn't make sense to give out these raises when overcrowding afflicts his school and there is a shortage of textbooks, teachers and afterschool programs.

“I think it’s inappropriate," Charles Brecher of the Citizens Budget Commission told NBCNewYork. "These are tough times. Some people don’t seem to realize it.”

Brecher said the recent action by the MTA in giving 10% pay cuts to major officials “is more in line with reality.”

Chancellor Klein said that senior officials of his department were getting smaller raises than had been expected. Instead of the 4% raises that other city employees received the department is paying nonunion employees either a 2 percent raise or $2,828, whichever is less, for the next two fiscal years.

No matter how you look at it, reality seems to escape some of the folks who live in the cocoon of government. While millions in the outside world may be suffering from pay cuts or layoffs, the people in charge of the governmental gravy train often seem to ignore this reality.

Whether the economy continues to be frail or improves, government leaders should remember we’re all in this together. To insulate the people who get government pay checks from the troubles that afflict the rest of us is unjust, They should face reality too.

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