Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Tale Of Twinned Cities

There has been many comparisons between Minnesota and the once and future great state of Wisconsin.  But I don't think any can be clearer than when one compares the difference for families in Duluth and Superior, as Monica Davey did  in this New York Times article.

The whole article is a must read, but here is one part that I found the most compelling:
Few places reveal the chasm like Duluth and Superior, where life along the border has come to look like a jarring, real-time experiment in which neighbors’ lives are suddenly heading along separate trajectories.

In Duluth, where Mr. and Ms. Smith live on a quiet cul-de-sac on a hill, there are signs of labor expansion. Minnesota lawmakers last year voted to grant in-home child care workers and personal attendants permission to form unions. But in Superior, where the Smiths have taught at the city’s high school for nearly two decades, labor’s power diminished precipitously after a decision by Wisconsin lawmakers, parts of which are still being contested in the courts, to solve a budget crunch by slashing bargaining rights for public-sector union workers and raising their shares of health and pension costs.

For the Smiths, the effects were instant. With more than $6,000 less in an already-lean annual family budget, Ms. Smith, a Spanish teacher who had worked part time to spend mornings with her children, had no choice but to move to full-time hours. “We just weren’t going to be able to make it,” she said.

Supervising their two children, Will, 12, and Ilee, 10, before and after school has become a juggling act. And with the union losing much of its ability to negotiate, Ms. Smith at one point even considered stopping her dues, even though her husband is on the union’s labor management committee. “I got to wondering,” Ms. Smith said, “what am I paying for?”

Mr. Smith, who teaches history, said that he adored his work and his students, but that he could not shake the sense that the rug had been pulled from under him. This month, he will start teaching students at a local university one night a week to make extra money and to get a glimpse at what else may be out there.

“It wasn’t until the last two and a half years where I really started wondering: Is this what I’m going to do?” Mr. Smith said. “Can I keep doing it? What else could I do?”

Back home in Duluth, the schools have wrestled with their own uncertainties in recent years — financial struggles, crowded classrooms and teacher layoffs. But school officials say they now feel optimistic about the year ahead, given an added levy approved in November by local voters, as well as about $4 million in new state funds expected.

“Up until just a very short time ago, these places were always way more similar than they were different,” Mr. Smith said. “Then this all came down, and they’ve gone their own ways.”
Overall, Minnesota is kicking our butts. The only naysayer was one businessman, but even he admitted that the taxes are not the only thing or even the biggest thing in his considerations of where to be in business.

Can anyone tell me why we should put up for getting the short end of the stick on every measurement?

1 comment:

  1. friedman's chicago school of thievery requires thatscott walker destroy Wisconsin's economy. its not the result of bad luck or unintended consequence. in order to steel all the money they must 1st start the "shock treatment" of economic panic and if possible, massive inflation