Monday, August 13, 2012

Texas Retired Teachers and the Elections

         Are you ready for some hardball? OK, so hank Williams Jr. said football, not hardball but hardball may be the sport retired teachers need to play during this election season. So what do I mean by playing hardball?

         I first heard the term hardball used by Richard Nixon, who was himself  quoting Franklin Roosevelt.  Roosevelt said that in politics we must play hardball, meaning"reward our friends and punish our enemies".  In a political context that means vote for your friends. I'm a pretty consensus kind of guy and don't like to think about enemies but  I do think we need to vote for our friends: but first we have to find out who our friends are.

                                            How Do We Find Our Friends?

            The current  general election season  is the perfect time to find out who our friends are.  My suggestion is that we should go to the candidate forums and have a list of questions for the candidates. Our best friends, TRTA , may have some suggested questions on their website . I have not seen such a list though, so here are my suggested question                         

             1. Are you aware that Texas Retired  teachers do not have any  automatic cost of living adjustment and have not received any cost of living adjustment since 2001. This means that retired teachers have lost 30 per cent of their purchasing power since 2001, putting some at the poverty level
             2. If you believe that this situation should be corrected , are you willing to raise the state contribution to give the teachers some relief?

             3. What other legislation or ideas do you have to rectify the cost of living situation for Texas retired teachers?

             4. Are you aware that Texas teachers do not pay into Social Security or receive social security but  have a defined benefit retirement program . Some have suggested changing the defined
benefit plan be changed to a defined contribution plan where Texas teachers will be completely dependent on their own knowledge of investments to fund their retirement. Do you favor changing the current  defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan? 

                                                             What Do We Do With This Information?

        After we have the answers to out questions, what can we do with those answers ? Here are some suggestions:

               Write letters to your local newspapers and explain the issues concerning retired teachers and the candidates stand.

                 Work for a candidate. I have worked in many campaigns through the years and, believe me, they always look for and appreciate help. 

                   Go to your trta local meetings and share what you learned about the candidates stands and see if there are any other suggestions.

                                                                Your Turn:

                      Do you agree with the suggestions above about playing "hardball?

                     Do you have any other issues you think the candidates for office should address? 

                       Just scroll to the bottom and click on comments. a screen will appear for your comments. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.