Our readers write …

Our readers write …

From the email inbox, a reader comments about this past Wednesday’s “At Large” post regarding proposed legislation in Harrisburg to bail out the nuclear power industry:

“In the past few years I have been approached by young men wearing polo shirts with the Solar City and then the Tesla logo while shopping at Home Depot who wanted to know if I was a Duquesne Light customer.

“They were interested in installing solar panels on my roof. I told them that I was not interested in producing energy that, under optimal conditions, costs (more than most other forms electricity generation).

“This is one of the cloudiest cities in the nation, so the chances of this deal ever breaking even is a farce.

“I grew up here in coal country where we are standing on three layers of shale gas deposits. This is also the home of Westinghouse. Yet I am being forced to subsidize this economic stupidity, both through my taxes and my electric bill.

“I don’t know if you have noticed, but my electric bill has doubled over the past decade, in part, to pay for this nonsense. The nuclear industry would not be shutting down if these green energy boondoggles were eliminated.”

With all due respect to the writer, that’s likely a stretch. But his overriding point is spot-on and jibes with the point of Wednesday last’s “At Large”: The marketplace, not taxpayer subsidies, should determine the success or failure of any business.

Subsidizing one over another only perverts the competitive nature of the market, a nature required to maintain market functionality.

Another correspondent agreed with the Allegheny Institute’s casting of a wary eye on Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to establish a $45,000 annual wage floor for Pennsylvania teachers and support personnel:

“I agree with the position … and I am a retired teacher!” she said in her email.

“After working in the ‘public’ sector for most of my life, I entered the teaching field at 45 years old.  My starting salary in 1999 was $32,700 with a Master’s degree.

“College does not prepare anyone for the actual classroom.  The first three years are extremely difficult because it’s on-the-job training.  It is my experience that no one directly out of college deserves a huge salary.

“You know nothing.

“One of the districts I considered offered the state minimum of $18,500 for the first year, then, after (a) review, your salary increased incrementally until you received your permanent Instructional II teaching certificate.

“It was only after you proved yourself that you were afforded the salary you deserved.  The state minimum salary is below the United States poverty level for a family of two and should be reconsidered.

“However, for what amounts to a ‘teacher in training,’ not much more should be offered.

“After all, besides the salary, teachers are afforded excellent health care, savings options, life insurance and a favorable work schedule, especially in relation to (other) ‘public’ sector jobs.

“Not all, but the majority of, teachers, need constant critical reviews to keep them productive.  Instead, these teachers are insulted by any administrative scrutiny and expect more money simply for their years of service. The norm is for teachers to ‘take the money and run.’  A review of our nation’s academic standing on the world stage speaks volumes.

“Teacher unions are the culprit here.  They protect people who should not be protected and turn their back on those they should help. … Until the unions are held in check, this will continue to be the norm.”

Unions are, after all, cartels. And nothing good ever has come from cartels.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitue.org).