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Letters to the Editor - Jan. 9

January 07, 2011

Who is worth what in Washington County Public Schools?

To the editor:

The allocation of wages is usually a good means of describing how we value people. The most productive members of society, like engineers, doctors and businessmen, tend to make more than the norm and for good reasons. These people provide us with the latest in technology, treat the sick and supply us with goods and services that enrich our lives.  

Using wages as a measure of value can also be applied on a micro level. Take a pharmacy, for example. The pharmacist is likely going to make the most because he provides the most value. He or she has a specialized knowledge of drugs that can save someone's life. Pharmaceutical technicians are likely to make less. They do not bring the same value to the business and to customers as the pharmacist. Lastly, you have sales clerks who clean the store and operate the register. The sales clerks are not skilled and do not provide lifesaving services like the pharmacist. It makes sense to have the most valuable people make the most money because it creates an incentive structure for people to strive to be valuable.

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I would hope that Washington County Public Schools would structure its pay scale the same way. Unfortunately, after reviewing the 2011 operating budget, I question this. The top 10 annual earners in WCPS are testing and accountability programs professionals, middle school assistant principals, resource teachers, professional career and technology program employees, high school assistant principals, elementary school principals, middle school principals, Office of Instructional Supervision professional regular program employees, high school principals and last, but not least, Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan, who makes $182,905 annually.

Notice how there are no teachers in this list. The average high, middle, elementary, kindergarten, and pre-kindergarten teachers make substantially less than the administrators listed above. Pre-K teachers, who make the most out of the traditional teaching positions, make one-third as much annually as Morgan. Who is providing more value — the administrators and bureaucrats or the teachers?

What does this mean? Apparently, WCPS values administrators and bureaucrats substantially more than its teachers.

I would like to thank all WCPS teachers for the valuable service they provide, despite WCPS valuing it at a fraction of the administration services.

Andrew Joliet

 

Hagerstown

Electoral message not received by Obama

To the editor:

The November election was certainly an indication about what the majority of Americans thought of the direction of our country. Many pundits attribute the shift in political power to a desire for less government. 

As Charles Krauthammer pointed out in his Jan. 2 column, "Obama rules by regulation," it appears that President Obama's political agenda of more government intervention is on track despite his pledge of bipartisan compromise.

Krauthammer points to regulatory moves during the congressional lame-duck session on the environment, energy and health care that will escape congressional debate in favor of regulatory hearings.

On Dec. 23, the Interior Department issued Secretarial Order 3310, reversing a 2003 decision and giving itself the authority (previously the exclusive province of Congress) to designate public lands as "Wild Lands."

On Dec. 23, the Environmental Protection Agency declared that in 2011, it would begin drawing up anti-carbon regulations on oil refineries and power plants. These regulations were rejected last year in the congressional cap-and-trade legislation.

Finally, Krauthammer reports a Medicare regulation that provides for end-of-life counseling during annual wellness visits. I remember clearly the objection to this provision during the health care debate. As I recall, end-of-life counseling was eliminated from the law signed by President Obama.

After the messages sent by the American people during the last election, you would expect our elected officials to understand that they work for us. But no, it's politics as usual. If you agree that these three examples of government abuse are objectionable, write and/or call your legislators to voice your opinion. We need to keep up the pressure to remind each of them that they represent the people, not themselves.

Ronald F. Moats

 

Keedysville

How do we get our federal tax forms?

To the editor:

Can you believe, as of 2011, people owing taxes will not receive a federal tax form for their use? 

You will be compelled to locate a local IRS office, download from a computer, call for forms at 1-800-829-3676 (after being on hold for seven to 10 minutes) or download forms and directions for a filing on a computer. How can we expect senior citizens, disabled persons, etc., to find ways to obtain their forms? 

We give billions of dollars overseas to countries for all sort of reasons to be caring people in the eyes of the world and treat our own like servants. 

We work most of our lives to provide for our families and pay taxes and Social Security for our future and what do we get out of those efforts? No increase in the COLA for our Social Security, a raise in health care benefits, etc. 

Wake up, our United States of America is going into oblivion. We have athletes earning millions of dollars per year, CEOs of companies earning billions of dollars per year and many ways to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. We must change our tax structure to a simple value-added tax or sales tax. Information is available now to structure such a system. 

Some people get benefits for not working, the rich find ways to avoid paying taxes and the middle class is stuck paying the bill for all. We have some serious problems in our country and many changes are now necessary for our country to survive. 

We are becoming a society of technology, lacking of common sense, and getting fat and lazy.

Tom Wilhelm 

 

Williamsport

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