Hey Matt Damon, you can send more money to DC
During the recent Save Our Schools rally, Matt Damon made some comments about teachers being paid poorly. Guess what, he’s wrong, as Nick Gillespie points out:
According to Department of Education statistics for 2007-2008 (the most recent year listed), the average public school teacher brought in a bit over $53,000 in “total school-year and summer earned income.” That figure, which is about $13,000 more than what the average private-school teacher gets in straight salary, does not include health and retirement benefits, places where teachers almost always get better deals and bigger employer contributions than the typical private-sector worker. For more on teacher compensation, go here.
An average salary of $53,000 may not be much for a movie star such as Damon, but it’s a pretty good wage when compared to U.S. averages. Indeed, the Census Bureau reports that median household income in 2008 was $52,000. Teaching in most public schools requires a bachelor’s degree and here teachers fare less well on first glance, though still not awful. The median income for a man with a B.A. was $82,000; for a woman, it was $54,000. About three-quarters of teachers are women, so the average salaries when gender comes into play hew closely to one another.
More to the point, Bureau of Labor Statistics and other surveys that take into account the reported number of hours worked in a year consistently show that on a per-hour basis, teacher income (again, not including fringe benefits, which are typically far more robust than those offered other workers, including college-educated professionals) is extremely strong.
My mom and sister are teachers and I hear stories all the time about how tough their jobs are, and I don’t doubt them. But most of their pay comes from county and state government, not from the U.S. Department of Education or Congress. Even if it did, I wonder if Damon noticed that the federal government is running a $1.5 trillion budget deficit this year. And as we’ve seen here in Georgia, higher teacher pay doesn’t necessarily translate into higher test scores.
Damon also offered his opinion on taxes, saying that Congress should “tax the really rich, guys like me” and said that nobody, including himself and people he knows, used their tax cut to start a business:
As I pointed out a few months ago when “Patriotic Millionaires” started lobbying for higher taxes rates, there is nothing preventing “really rich” people, including Matt Damon, from paying more in taxes. You see, the United States government has been accepting donations “from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States” since 1843. There is literally nothing stopping Damon and others from sending more money to Washington.
H/T: Say Anything