A homeowner in Waukesha for 20 years, Steve is president of the Waukesha Dog Parks Organization and enjoys motorcycling, fishing and staying on top of politics.
Many years ago I realized the power of percentages. In an early job that I had, people started at different pay levels based on the particular needs at the time rather than some structured pay scale such as unions might command. Pay raises were usually, actually always, hush hush and we were told not to tell anyone what we got. We did, however. When one thinks that they are getting paid unfairly, they will usually exchange what their pay is and what their raise was. It was then that we found that usually a fixed percent was given as a raise. This would mean that anyone making more than another, would get a bigger raise. At the time the going pay was in the $3 to $4 an hour range and over time the spread between people doing the same work widened. Things such as this are one of the things that make workers begin thinking union.
There was a saying that covered this situation. It is, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer". By it's very mathematics, percentages will cause an ever-widening gap between people's finances. To be fair, when there are investments concerned, people can also lose more when they have more.
Fast forward to today. The reason that I bring this up is a local news item that city administrator Lori Luther got a raise. It was a about 3%, an amount that Mayor Nelson said was typical for city employees. She's making over $100,000 a year and her raise amounted to around $3,300. So, some other worker making $50,000 a year receiving the same percentage raise would have gotten half that amount, or around $1,650. So Joe or Jill the employee could be told that "you got the same raise as the city administrator"!
Well congratulations to everyone who got a raise at the expense of us taxpayers. In my case, my property taxes went up but because I'm working for a company which is floating in the same boat as most free-enterprise businesses are these days, my income has decreased.
So, in order for Lori Luther and who knows what other public employees to get a raise and for me to pay for it with reduced income of my own:
We don't eat out as often so local restaurants and waitresses make less money
We don't drive as much so local gas stations don't have us coming inside to buy impulse items as often
Home maintenance is deferred so local contractors don't have as much work and they in turn don't go to the restaurants and gas stations as often
Car maintenance is deferred so same goes for the local auto mechanics
There's no money to donate to worthy charities so people that they help now look to the government for help which raises taxes to cover that which private donations used to cover.
Cable TV is now a luxury that must be cut back. I guess that helps Dish and Direct TV though.
If we drank and caroused on Friday nights and Saturdays, we'd be doing less of that too, but we don't so can't cut back there.
And the trickle down effects continues affecting others. It's Reagan economics in reverse, though the Democrats called it Voodoo economics. There's nothing Voodoo about it. It's reality.
All this so Lori Luther can get a raise.