Commentary

Giant raises for UNC bosses are simply wrong

UNCsystemBe sure to check out this morning’s front page Progressive Voices commentary over on the main Policy Watch site by Appalachian State professor Michael Behrent. In it, Behrent decries the massive expansion in the number of highly paid university system administrators and calls on the chancellors of the various UNC campuses to return the fat raises bestowed upon them by the Board of Governors. This is from Behrent’s essay:

“Seriously, though: as contemptuous as the Board of Governors’ decision is of faculty and students everywhere, chancellors have options. Like a handful of rare but inspiring university leaders across the country, they can resist administrative bloat and academic inequality by simply refusing the new salary hikes….

These university leaders set an example UNC chancellors should follow: they should renounce the Board of Governors pay increase. They should make it clear that they cannot be bought. And they should openly declare that a vibrant system of higher public education means investing in faculty, staff, and students. It does not mean handsome rewarding the agents entrusted with dismantling it.”

Some of the substance of Behrent’s piece is echoed in an editorial this morning in Raleigh’s News & Observer entitled “Spread the wealth to NC state workers.” As the N&O notes, the root of the flawed salary structure has much to do with the trickledown tax policies of the General Assembly:

“But the awarding of these raises at the executive level spotlights the need for the General Assembly to do more than award a one-time $750 bonus to faculty and staff and state employees. The on-the-cheap treatment of all those employees is going to cost the state valuable workers and set up a teacher shortage.

Do legislative leaders not see the irony here, that people who are already among the highest paid in the state get raises of tens of thousands of dollars retroactive to the start of the fiscal year on July 1, while regular employees get a relatively small bonus?

The problem, of course, is that Republican legislators have reduced state revenue by cutting taxes for the wealthiest North Carolinians and big business. After the rich get richer, there’s not much left for the rank and file.”

Sadly, there is little mystery about what’s going on here. As is noted in the post immediately below, the folks running North Carolina right now are employing precisely the same tactics that modern American capitalists have used to transform our once broadly middle class society into, effectively, a plutocracy. And unless caring and thinking people wake up and fight back, even our public institutions and structures will soon be poisoned and transformed by this toxic and destructive trend.

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