Longer School Day, Year: Should NJ Add Classroom Time?

Gov. Chris Christie says state's school calendar is antiquated, needs to be extended.

While he didn’t name specifics, Gov. Chris Christie made a bold statement and proposal at his state of the state address last week, calling for longer school days and shorter vacation time in New Jersey.

Christie, embroiled in the "Bridgegate" scandal and his office now accused of using Sandy funds as leverage to push through a Hoboken redevelopment project, said New Jersey needs to change its school calendar to keep pace with the rest of the country’s academic achievements.

"Our school calendar is antiquated both educationally and culturally. Life in 2014 demands something more for our students. It is time to lengthen both the school day and school year in New Jersey," he said during the address.

Of course, the change wouldn’t come easy, considering the New Jersey Education Association is one of the largest unions in the country, along with potential pushback from individual school districts around the state. 

So, what do you think? Are you on the governor’s side, and believe the school day and year should be longer? Is it fine the way it is now? Should it be shorter? Tell us in the comments section below.

Phil Brooks February 04, 2014 at 08:27 PM
Alex, Collective bargaining is a double-edged sword. Depending on the size of the business, it's actually an advantage for the business owner as he doesn't have to deal with one person at a time when it comes time for raises. And, truth be told, it might actually be a detriment to the union as a bargained contract establishes only a minimum or baseline and most employers won't go above that anyway because the incentive to do so is taken away by the collectively bargained contract. Without a union and with every man for himself, you might actually see many more people making above the minimum established in a contract. You also might see no work rules and a return to the Gilded Age that was gilded only for a precious few. // About opting out or mini-unions... What you want is the benefit of representation and collective bargaining, etc., but YOU want to determine where your dues go. To be brutally honest, that's absolutely no different than my "horrible" comparison. You and I both pay taxes. Yes, it's in the Constitution--at least the Federal Income Tax part. But, if I'm paying dues to the government in the form of taxes, why can't I say where I want the money to go, and not just to political parties but things like welfare, the military, you name it? And, then, how is that any different than you forming a union for apparently the main purpose of your determining where you want your dues to go? Answer: There is no difference. // Alex, let me be even more brutally honest. You painted yourself into a corner. Taxes is (are?) socialism. The money gets distributed out (far from efficiently, but it does) from those who can to those who can't, ostensibly for the benefit of all. That's ideally. Realistically? Not so much. Union dues are socialism. Again, it's for the benefit of the masses in that union and, more generally, for all union workers. Realistically? The money doesn't always go where you think it's best, the union hierarchy sometimes represent themselves better than they do the people who are paying them and buying politicians' influence is something I find revolting. But, seeing that you have the "every man for himself" mantra, how could you possibly support one socialistic program (taxes) and not the other (the right to unionize)? After all, if you want the right to unionize solely on your terms, that's only for the benefit of you and those who think like you. Sometimes you have work for the larger group and greater good.
Alex C February 04, 2014 at 09:13 PM
You comparison of union dues to taxes is still apples and oranges. You tax dollars are not funneled into a private political party. And no, my opt-out plan is not the same, because it gives the worker a choice. You also need to separate the public from private. I am not suggesting that we ban unions for private businesses, or even force them to be open shops. That's a completely different thing from what I am suggesting. What I am talking about has literally nothing whatsoever to do with private industry, at all, period. If you really think that New Jersey Public Schools will turn into lead filled sweat shops because the teachers are allowed to not have their money be funneled into a private political party, than I don't know what to say to you. What you are talking about is a teacher in NJ, who may be a Republican or a Libertarian, or hell, a member of the Know Nothing Party, having a mandatory donation to the Democratic Party be a condition of their employment in a public school. Do you realize how ridiculous and wrong that is?
Phil Brooks February 05, 2014 at 09:07 AM
Alex, "(You're) not suggesting we ban unions from private businesses yet you also said, "(T)he government has no right to tell a private business owner that he can't run a closed shop." Looks like you're attempting to ride the fence, there, Alex and your argument is straddling both sides of the same fine line. Why? Having many years experience working in a closed shop in private industry, I can safely say (and despite the propaganda a company might put out) that most want CONTROL and unions, contracts and work rules prevent that. They go through the negotiation process yet have little use for the people across the table from them. At best, they--the unions--are a necessary evil. However, without unions, we'd return to the Gilded Age with no middle class to speak of, companies operating in concert with each other to rig wages and prices (trusts) and workers and work sites with no rules. You don't think that can happen again? It's happening now, in sweatshops in places like the far east. // "If you really think that New Jersey Public Schools will turn into lead filled sweat shops because the teachers are allowed to not have their money be funneled into a private political party, than I don't know what to say to you." But I know what to say to you. You're taking your anti-union in the public sector argument and spinning it to put the most extreme example and evil face on it you can. No one has ever intimated that the lack of a teachers' union would lead to that. All I'll say to you is this: More than a fair amount of private sector money is donated by corporations to political campaigns and causes. And, since many play both sides of the aisle in their attempt to buy influence, at least some of that money is money that could have been used to expand the business, be put to R&D or PUT IN YOUR POCKET. Instead, it's used to feed the monster. That could have been your money. What do you have to say about that? // So, if you can accept that the company you work for is donating money to people and causes that you disagree with, then accept that unions will do the same thing. It's not pretty and, as I said, I think that giving money to candidates and parties, ostensibly to buy influence in the form of favorable legislation is abhorrent and repulsive. But, sadly, it's the way business is done now. Your problem isn't with the teachers' union and any public sector union (the cops, firemen, garbage collectors, whatever--at least I hope your problem is with all public sector unions and not just teachers, otherwise you're absolutely disingenuous) donating to political causes. If so, you're shooting way too low. You're problem SHOULD BE that it takes this kind of money to run our political system in the first place. Don't take it out on teachers.
Alex C February 05, 2014 at 08:21 PM
You literally have no concept of private vs public, or voluntary association, do you? I'm riding the fence? Again, I'd ask you, do you get the difference between a private business, and a public institution? Let me explain. You're company is privately owned. Now, your companies management has decided that they will not only allow their employees to unionize, but, will require employees to be part of said union. Now, for me to go and tell the government to ban private industry unions, or closed shop unions, would be me enforcing my will on someone else's property. I have no say in how your company's management/ownership runs their business. I have no right to determine how their business is run. Now, with the public sector, I get this chunk of money taken out of every pay check I get, which goes towards funding things like public schools, or really any public sector employee. Ergo, since I am paying into that operation, I do get a say in how it is run. I am one of the bosses, and so are you, of that operation. So no, I am not riding a fence, I just understand the difference between the public and private sector. As for the second part about how a lack of unions in 21st century America will lead to a return to sweatshops. No it won't. Americans will never go back to that, because even the poorest Americans are too rich to do that. If Americans were willing to go back to those conditions, then you'd see no illegal immigration, because there'd be no such thing as, "jobs Americans won't do." And yet, Americans won't even pick fruit in the fresh air, you think we're going to go back to sweat shops? Give me a break. Your comparison of the far East to 21st century America shows a massive lack of understanding of the Far East and why sweat shops even exist there as opposed to here. It has to do with so, so much more than unions. As for your last part, comparing a company donating money to political parties, money that it earned via selling a product or service, is in no way similar to people having money forcibly taken from them, and funneled into a political party. Let's say Target for example donate a bunch of money to Elizabeth Warren (most economically illiterate current Senator). I can't stand her. Her proposals are nails on an chalkboard of stupidity to me. So what can I do? I can chose not the shop at Target anymore. Then, through freedom of association, I've chosen not toe financially associate with Elizabeth Warren. Now translate that to what the teachers union does. They take away the freedom of association of the teachers, and funnel money taken from their tax payer funded salaries, into the Democratic war chest. That my friend, is money laundering. Getting money from point A to point B through a seemingly legitimate intermediary. The NJEA which is for all intents and purposes an arm of the NJ Democratic Party, takes tax payer dollars, funnels it through the public schools, into the paychecks of teachers, takes it from the teachers, and deposits it into the campaign funds of Democratic NJ politicians. Whereas if they cut out the middle man, if tomorrow the Governor got on TV and said, "I want to impose a mandatory tax on all incomes that will directly fund the NJGOP," people would understandably have a cow. But that is basically what is going on. It's money laundering, using teachers and kids as human shields. I am not getting on the teachers. I think the teachers are the victims here. The teachers, and the children of NJ are the victims of a plain old money laundering scheme carried out by the NJ Democratic Party.
Liberty February 06, 2014 at 09:03 AM
Well, Phil, you do speak in cliches, don't you. I was reading this thread when it was interesting, but now it's become the Alex & Phil show with a hint of Jon--tedious & repetitious. And I do get to express my opinion every bit as much as you or anybody else. But I will gladly "take a hike" and not waste any more time on this thread, it appears everybody else has chosen to do so also, and the three of you can continue the dance.
Phil Brooks February 06, 2014 at 09:35 AM
Liberty, Fine by me. And, yes, you're entitled to your opinion. But, maybe it's best that you keep it to yourself. After all, yours wasn't really an opinion but, rather, a complaint. And, if you have a complaint, please feel free to call my complaint department. It's 1-800-382-5968.
Phil Brooks February 06, 2014 at 09:39 AM
Alex, I'll get to you later today. My response is going to take some time and I have little of it at the moment. Enough to respond to Liberty :-) -- but that's about it.
Phil Brooks February 06, 2014 at 01:10 PM
Alex, So, what seems to be your problem (and, no, it's not the smug version of the question, 'Hey, what's your problem, pal?')? Please read all the scenarios through and consider all before responding. // (A) That there are public sector unions at all. (B) That public sector unions, like their private sector counterparts, donate money to politicians. (C) That public sector unions donate largely to Democrats because they're thought to be more responsive to union needs. (D) That private sector unions donate to politicians and causes you might not agree with. (E) That corporations donate their own money, some of which might have ended up in your pocket, to politicians and causes, some of which you may not agree with. (F) That anyone, union or corporate, donates anything to any politician or political cause because the idea of donating to get a politician to be responsive to your needs is revolting and abhorrent. // Which of any (or all) of the six scenarios above do you agree or disagree with? If it's "F," then you have no problem with the teachers (and cops, firemen and garbage collectors), you're just unfairly singling them out, kind of like that Christie fellow has been wont to do. Looking forward to your response.
Alex C February 06, 2014 at 11:28 PM
You clearly don't understand what I am saying if you could possibly think that any of those scenarios are my problem. Like honestly, how far over your head are my points going? My problem is that public sector unions force teachers to pay dues, and then donate that money that they took, regardless of whether the teachers wanted to pay them or not, into a private political party. That is my issue. But I'll respond to each scenario. A) I don't have a problem with public sector unions. I have a problem with closed shop public sector unions. B) I have a problem with closed shop public sector unions donating to political candidates, as many of the members who do not have a choice in paying dues, are in effect, forced to donate to politicians they do not agree with. C) Again, it's all about the closed shop unions. D) Who private sector unions donate too, or whether they are closed or open shop is none of my business. E) I pretty clearly explained why I have no problem with corporations donating money. I'll give a brief summary again. Let's say Target donates to Elizabeth Warren, whom I do not agree with. Well, no one forced me to shop at target. Unlike the public sector unions, which forced their members to donate to the Democratic Party as a condition of their employment. F) I have a problem with public institutions forcing their employees to donate to a political party or cause as a condition of employment. None of anything I've said has one thing to do with the private sector. You may as well stop bringing it up, because my arguments are completely uninvolved with the private sector, as I have no business telling a private company how to operate, as I do not involuntarily supply their funding.
Phil Brooks February 07, 2014 at 02:16 PM
Alex, We're talking past each other as you're missing my point entirely. You said, "My problem is that public sector unions force teachers to pay dues, and then donate that money..." I get your premise; I really do--people are seeing their dues money going to people and causes they don't agree with. But, yet, you're singling out teachers. How about cops, firemen and garbage collectors? // In addition, I don't care whether you shop at Target (or any other place). If it's shopping only, you can take your money and go anywhere. I'm talking about if you WORK at Target. Are you offended that they might be using what could be going into the paychecks of the workers, you being one, and spending it on people and causes with which you disagree? // Private sector unions do the same thing. No, it's not tax dollars paying the salaries which, in turn, get funneled back so the unions can donate. But, if a percentage of a percentage of my salary is going to the union so they can buy influence, and all while, the union might be representing themselves and their business interests before they get around to my needs, yeah, I have a problem. I had that problem when I worked in a private sector union. But, I already told you about that. Actually, my problem is with the whole system which allows this sort of baksheesh thing to occur. // Though, in fairness, you mentioned that you don't care how private sector unions donate their money, it boggles my mind how you could have absolutely no problem with where corporate "marks their territory," so to speak but, if a union wants to level the playing field and play the same game, you seem to have a problem with that. // Alex, I've understood you all along and I've heard your argument countless times before. The reason why I presented the six scenarios above is to see exactly where you stood because, so far, your main bitch appears to be with teachers, when cops, firemen, etc., are in the same boat. The funny thing is that Christie never went after the cops, who get paid well, have great benefits, including retiring young, and get great raises when the rest of us don't, because he wanted to keep law enforcement on his side. So, he singled out an enemy. And, to me, you're doing the same thing. // I'm a union man. You already know that. But I find the whole idea of donating even a minuscule amount of my salary (a very small fraction of my union dues) to buy politicians as be abhorrent. So, the teachers do it? That's the way the game is played. Don't get mad at the teachers or their union, even if their salary comes from your and my tax dollars. Be mad at the game and its screwed up unwritten rules.
Alex C February 07, 2014 at 08:31 PM
I'm only talking about the NJEA because this article is about education. That's the premise we began on. But I said, public sector unions in general. And it doesn't bother me that the unions donate to political causes. It bothers me that closed shop public sector unions do. You allow the teachers, or cops, or fire fighters, to sanitation workers, or whichever public sector worker you choose, opt out of the union, then I have no problem with it. As for your Target scenario, I don't work at Target, but I'll just say, if my boss wants to use company funds to donate to a cause with which I disagree, I have no problem with that. Do you know why? Because it's not my money. Just because I work there does not give me any ownership over the company. Yes, any amount of company money could in theory be my money if my boss decided to give me a raise, but it's still not my money. If my boss forced me to donate part of my salary to a political cause with which I disagreed with, or really anything as a condition of my employment, I wouldn't work there. But, as public sector jobs are funded by tax payers, then we are tax payers have a say in whether they operate closed or open shop unions, or really any unions at all. We are the boss. You me, every one at Patch, every one reading this article. We are in part the bosses of public sector workers in our state and our towns, as we pay their salaries. I am saying, as a tax payer, that I no longer want the NJ Democratic Party to be able to launder money through the NJEA and the paychecks of hard working state and municipal employees, against those employee's will. I am being pro-choice about this. I am pro-choice about every thing. Employment with the state of NJ, or any of it's municipalities should not be contingent on your financial loyalty to a private political party.
Phil Brooks February 07, 2014 at 09:27 PM
Alex, As I said, I understand, generally, where you're coming from. As I've heard your argument from others many times before, I wanted to narrow it down to EXACTLY where you're coming from. And, now I know. You're mind is clouded by bias. Despite what you're convinced of, it's not the Democrats. IT JUST HAPPENS TO BE THE DEMOCRATS. Many union people think the Democrats are more responsive to their needs. If they thought it was Republicans, the money would be going there. And, what would you say then? My guess is that you'd probably be a contrarian Democrat. :-) Me? I think the whole damned system is corrupt. Democrats? Republicans? Doesn't matter much to me, as they entrench themselves in their beliefs and can neither see the other side nor work with them. That unions--that anyone--feel the need to donate their money so a person can campaign for a job or otherwise buy influence is revolting. After all, when you or I go looking for work, we don't have war chests donated to by others. It all comes out of our own pockets. Maybe I should try Kickstarter. :-) // Please tell me that your issue is not with the Democrats but with the system in general and I'll believe you. Tell me it's teachers funneling and laundering their taxpayer salaries to the Democrats through union dues and I'll tell you that you're a man with an ax to grind and a bias. Yes, that last sentence is a statement of fact as this is exactly what's going on. But saying that is the problem is being myopic; the problem is far bigger and isn't limited to a single political party. // Finally, "private political party?" No, no, no, no, no. It's all public. That it's run like a country club for the benefit of a relative few is another story. But, they're run that way because we've allowed those relative few to run them that way. It's time we changed that. But this country has been a plutocracy since probably some time after the Civil War as industry began to be built up and the Carnegies and Rockefellers of this world began to emerge. Sadly, it might have to be done at the point of a gun. And I find that repulsive too.
Alex C February 08, 2014 at 11:04 AM
If it were the Republicans I'd have a problem too. As I said, if the Governor proposed a law that a tax would be taken out of our paychecks and the money given to the NJGOP, people would UNDERSTANDABLY have a cow. So would I. That's basically what is going on right now though with the teacher's unions. I am not sure how the other public sector unions donate, but either way. Basically, being a public employee in NJ (and other states), includes a donation from your paycheck to a private political party as a condition of employment. I do not believe that America is a plutocracy as you do. First off I am in favor of anyone from George Soros to the Koch brothers being allowed to donate as much money as they please to campaigns and PAC's, as we live in a free country with free speech. But that's a larger issue. My problem is money being taken from public employees and funneled into a political party as a condition of public employment, regardless party is benefitting Stop taking money from the teachers (or any public employee) against their will is my point. This was never about going after teachers. As I have said, I consider teachers, as well as the students, and as well as every NJ tax payer to be victims of the NJEA.
Phil Brooks February 08, 2014 at 02:11 PM
Alex, So, you don't believe as I do that SCOTUS screwed up on Citizens United? // People who donate more money to campaigns and parties which, invariably, are the very rich, because average folks such as you and me don't have that much disposable income to dispense in that way, get listened to and dealt with more and better. As a side benefit, some even get to buy elections (see: Bloomberg and Corzine). Think about this for a moment while you ponder why you think the US isn't a plutocracy: Why do these people donate all that money in the first place? If there was no quid pro quo, they wouldn't do it, right? Read your history, starting with people like the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Carnegies of this country. Though many of the trusts have been busted--at least on the surface, many companies still operate in at least de facto cahoots with each other. Take a look at the airlines, for instance. When one raises prices or institutes fees, many of the rest follow suit. And they get to do that because they donate generously. // Finally, I'm going to play semantics with you. Money taken from public employees and funneled into a political party as a "condition" of employment is BS. Now, if someone came around every week and said, "Donate $5 to the Democrats, or else," that would be a condition of employment. And, sadly, that kind of stuff has been done before. But that a percentage of person's union dues goes to one party or the other isn't illegal in the current way of doing business. And, as the people who could change that are the ones benefiting now, it's unlikely to change anytime soon. But I feel that anyone who donates, either wholly voluntarily, as in making a donation, or involuntarily, as in what's done among many unions (not just the NJEA), though legal, is highly unethical, for reasons already noted. But, to call taxpayers the "victims" of the NJEA is to turn a blind eye. A- It's not just the NJEA and, though this thread is about teachers, to single out the NJEA is unfair, and, B- the NJEA, themselves, are a victim of the current political landscape. If they don't play this sick game, the one where you're forced to pony up some baksheesh just to be able to have an attempt to advocate for yourself, they'll get nothing. And, if you were a member of the NJEA or were ever a union member, you'd understand it a bit better. You need people at the legislative level to advocate for you and, as it has been for the past century and a quarter (at least), money talks and bullshit walks.
Old School February 10, 2014 at 10:42 AM
The NJEA has no interest in inproving education or making it more efficient. It only exists to siphon above market pay and benefits packages for its members. Needless to say it has been wildly succesful in its mission. Unfortunatly, their gains have come at the expense of NJ homeowners who pay outragous property taxes to fund an education system that is no better than it was 30 years ago.
Phil Brooks February 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM
Old School, You're not thinking. // NJ has 615 school districts with 615 sets of administrators. Unlike many other states which have regional school systems and far fewer administrators, NJ operates 615 little fiefdoms. If you want to cut the fat, that's the place to start--not the teachers. // And to say that the NJEA has "no interest in improving education," is pure BS. Where did the un- and under-funded mandates (like Common Core and No Child Left Behind) and the resultant "teach to the test" mantra come from? The NJEA? Or was it the state and Federal government? And who botched that $400 million Race to the Top Grant? Was it the NJEA? Or was it that fat load in the state house who immediately threw his education commissioner (Schundler) under the bus? // Let's see what you have to say now, Mr. Old School.
Alex C February 10, 2014 at 09:43 PM
Of course I agree with Citizens United. Money is speech. You can't limit someone's freedom of speech just because they have a louder voice than you. If you don't like politicians who take corporate money, or money from wealthy people, don't vote for them. And don't say they don't exist either, because they do. One fine example is my current favorite member of the U.S. Congress, Justin Amash, R-MI-3. Congressman Amash raises all of his money from small donations, using a crowd funding type model. Of Congressman Amash, a bank lobbyist once said, baffled, "It's as if he doesn't want Bank of America's money." I am not prepared to start curbing freedom of speech because Americans are too lazy to pay attention to who they vote for.
Phil Brooks February 10, 2014 at 10:11 PM
Alex, Congratulations! You found an honest politician. Actually, he's not that honest, as he's still taking donations, albeit small ones. It's like he's working for tips. Except he's not getting paid waitress wages and shouldn't need a tip jar. // Let me ask you a question, Alex. Do you really enjoy being out-shouted and, therefore, out-maneuvered at every turn? If you do, then you agree with Citizens United. And, I hate to tell you, money is not speech. To say 'money is speech' is like some dog-lovers saying 'dogs are people.' Dogs are dogs and people are people. And money is money and speech is speech. And the only way money became speech is because, like junkies, politicians couldn't function without it. // If everyone in Congress was like Amash, Citizens United would be rendered moot. Alas, it's not. And, given that, I'm sorry to say that your thought process--that you, as a lone citizen and not a large corporation, agree with Citizens United--is severely flawed and poorly thought out. // And, except for Joe Allegedly Honest in Michigan, they're all kowtowing for the almighty buck. That's the way the game is played and there's no one in Congress with the balls to stand up and bite the hand that feeds them. That's why campaign finance reform routinely goes nowhere. And the Supremes legalized the behavior. // Everyone is entitled to his opinion, Alex. But yours disgusts me.
Ridgewood Mom February 12, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Say, why not 24/7 public boarding school? Current public school teachers could just adjust their schedules accordingly without any additional pay. For that matter, they could simultaneously take pay cuts, forfeit their pensions, pay more for their own healthcare and meet higher expectations for student achievement.
Alex C February 12, 2014 at 08:58 PM
I have two things to say to you Phil. First, to quote Romney on one of the only pro-liberty things he ever said, "Corporations are people my friend." It's a bunch of people using their private funds to push political policies. That is speech. Two, you live in a closed minded world.
Phil Brooks February 12, 2014 at 09:54 PM
Alex, As I said, money is money and speech is speech. Money isn't speech. And corporations are entities. They may be run by people, but they're not people. Citizens United legitimized people using money to shout down others who either don't have as much money or refuse to spend it to buy their local politicians. // If you're a CEO or other higher up in a corporation, please tell me now and I'll understand your thought process. Absent of that, you have no clue. // Finally, I hope you didn't vote for Romney. Because, if he said only one or a small handful of pro-liberty things, I'd be curious as to why you voted for such a man. And, if you didn't, I'd wonder why you quoted one the few things he said that you thought to be sensible.
Alex C February 14, 2014 at 07:39 PM
I voted for Gary Johnson, but I actually do know Mitt Romney. Corporations are entities composed of people, ergo, those people have the same rights together as they have individually. If the people who own the company agree that they wish to use their money to push and agenda, that's really none of our business. If they aren't people, then we should get rid of corporate taxes as well, since you can't tax a thing. And money is speech because you are using money to get an idea out there. You can't just go on TV and run a commercial, it costs money. And when you run an ad in support of a candidate or cause, that's speech. I have a clue because I actually understand the legal reasoning behind CU and what it was based on, and I actually understand the First Amendment, and the meaning of freedom of speech in both the literal and the abstract. The problem with most modern Americans and the Constitution is that it was written by children of the English Enlightenment, for children of the English Enlightenment. Unless you study the reasons behind the Bill of Rights, you wind up doing what you are doing, which is trying to take it literally. Freedom of speech isn't just about talking, it's about the freedom to put and idea out into the world, no matter how unpopular, and the First Amendment protects the ideas the avenues they take, including money and the campaign advertising it pays for. Just because someone has a louder voice than you doesn't mean you get to take away their free speech.
Alex C February 14, 2014 at 07:41 PM
To bring it all home, sort of, that is why it is so wrong that an agency of the government (public education), would set as a condition of employment, the support of ideas with which you do not agree.
Phil Brooks February 14, 2014 at 08:13 PM
Alex, We're at loggerheads and we'll never see each other's side on this. // It's one thing to shout someone down. It's another to outspend them. And I hope you see the difference between flooding the market with advertising because advertising, by its nature, is embellishment, at best and many people can see through it, and using the same money, or even more and different money to try and influence a politician. I have zero problem with the former and every problem with the latter. // As far as corporate taxes, many inanimate objects are taxed, even amorphous ones such as tariffs. So, I see no problem with taxing a corporation. After all, a corporation earns money. Why shouldn't it be taxed? // As far as your final comment, using your logic, unions are people, too. Your problem seems to be with public sector unions. I get it. But, hey, I have a problem with some (much?) of my tax money spent on various government programs that I either disagree with or don't use. Let me ask you this before I go: If the Teachers Union donated to causes and ideas that you agreed with, would you have a problem? If your answer is 'no,' you're a hypocrite as entities that represent large groups of people won't represent 100% of the people 100% of the time. If your answer is 'yes,' the solution is a union member being allowed to apportion his/her dues so that the political/lobbying portion gets spent somewhere else. Would you agree to that? And get off the idea that the NJEA spending dues money is a condition of employment. It's a condition of representation. There are closed shop states and NJ is one of them. If you don't like the setup, there are plenty of Right to Work states which you might find more pleasant. My guess is that you'd love to have someone advocate for you and you reap all the benefits of representation but you're unwilling to handle what you think is some of the useless baggage that goes with it. In NJ, the answer to that is 'tough shit.' In Florida, they'll welcome you with open arms.
Alex C February 15, 2014 at 11:51 AM
I already said I would have a problem if they were donating to causes I agree with. As for the corporate tax thing, they already are taxed without corporate taxes. The money is first taxed as profit, then taxed again after it's paid out to shareholders and employees. It's double dipping. And I know that unions are people too. You'e absolutely right. And I have no problem with public sector unions donating to causes I can't stand. I have a problem with public sector workers being forced to donate to causes they don't like as a condition of their employment. And yes it is a condition of employment. And your guess is wrong. As i have stated, I do not, never have, and never want to be part of a union. And it is highly unlikely that I ever will just because I am not in the line of work that has unions.
Alex C February 15, 2014 at 11:51 AM
Oh and saying just leave, is BS. This is my state too and I have every right to try and change it, just as you do.
Phil Brooks February 15, 2014 at 01:52 PM
It's not BS, Alex. The way things are now, there is no room for compromising as everyone wants their way. You probably want NJ to be a "right to work" state because it's what YOU want. // Even after that, I'll grant you this: I have no objection if people want their dues money going to some place other than for lobbying, the point being is that you'll pay your full dues, just that all of it will go, within reason, to where you want (negotiating, educating, training, whatever). // One thing I will never grant you is seeing NJ become "right to work." No way. No how. You sound reasonably educated. My guess is, then, that you know what this country was like when there were trusts and no unions and when there were. And, if you think the former is better, then you should re-think your position. As I said, if everyone could trust everyone else, we wouldn't need unions. But, human nature being what it is with people constantly trying to influence others and otherwise inflict themselves on others, that "trust" thing isn't going to happen.
Alex C February 17, 2014 at 12:15 PM
I don't want NJ to be a full on right to work. I am actually against full on right to work as I see it as meddling in private business, which I am just as opposed too as I am public sector unions. I believe it should be right to work for the public sector. That's it. Also, I am educated enough in economics and history to know that unions alone did not lead to better working conditions in the U.S., and that if you eliminated all unions tomorrow, we would not return to the dangerous factories, and long hours, because we are at a point culturally that would never allow that. The unions have by and large outlived their usefulness. But again, whatever a private company wants to do is literally their business. My only issue is with public sector unions.
Phil Brooks February 18, 2014 at 01:32 PM
Alex, No, we won't return to the days of Triangle Shirtwaist as there are myriad OHSA rules to take care of that. But, eliminate collective bargaining and other agreed upon contractual terms and we will definitely take a step back. Sorry, but I feel big business alone won't take care of their employees, as it's profits first. They need a checks and balances system that unions provide. // Public sector unions? I see your point but, as there are so many people doing the same jobs (are you going to negotiate with every teacher, policeman, fireman and DPW worker individually?), collective bargaining is probably the way to go. But there should be provisions in place as to where every dollar of dues goes and you can check off where (or not) you want your dues money to go. How does that sound?
Liberty February 19, 2014 at 09:44 AM


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