Letter: ‘Squeaky wheels’ label brings reply

From: Robert Jordan


The Business section of this past Sunday’s Republic made for some interesting reading, I must say. On the front page were articles concerning upcoming rate increases for health insurance premiums for both employers and employees and economist Morton Marcus’ piece on rethinking the definition of Indiana’s so called economic success story. And on the inside of same section, we were treated to Kristen Brown’s latest diatribe on wasteful spending by city and county officials and a not-so-thinly veiled attack on the working men and women of both city and county.

First, the part that caught my attention in Marcus’s enlightening piece was the paragraph where he pointed out that Indiana has dropped from 25th (in average pay per job) to 48th in the nation. Not included was the fact that in 2015 the average salary for a CEO for a S&P 500 company was 335 times ($12.4 million) more than the average hourly worker nationwide ($37,000 annual salary). Adjusted for inflation, that amount for hourly workers has remained stagnant for the last 50 years. So much for trickle-down economics.

I should point out at this time that I’ve been employed by the city for over 27 years and that I am acquainted with many other city and county employees. City employees have certainly not enjoyed “across the board 3 percent raises” for many years. During the nation’s economic recession, we went without raises for several years. Since then, if we received raises at all, it has been 1.5 or 2 percent cost-of-living raises usually with an increase in health insurance premiums (which is again the case for the upcoming year). City and county employees work long and hard hours for little pay. To resent them for a raise in taxes is short-sighted and misdirected.

Columbus is a perfect example of what has been happening in this country since the late 1970s early 1980s: We are the envy of every city our size in the nation. We enjoy full employment with factories adding both physical size and employees seemingly every week. Yet those same employees are not the ones reaping the benefits. They work for pay that in real life has gone up little for decades while top executives (which Kristen Brown once was before retiring from private industry) make millions. Someone is getting rich in this town (and country), but it’s not the workers in the factories and it’s certainly not the men and women who repair our local streets, pick up our trash, keep our streets safe from crime, treat our sick and wounded and put out our fires.

In closing, to call city and county workers “squeaky wheels” is incredibly insulting.