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Country needs to get its priorities in order

My heart always breaks when I read or hear about the death of a firefighter or police officer in the line of duty, as just happened in Boston.

My common sense is challenged when I hear the attacks on our hard-working and necessary public sector employees, such as teachers, sanitation workers, maintenance workers, city, town and state workers, court personnel, etc. Incredulously, I listen to attacks on public sector unions, collective-bargaining rights and public employee pensions.

But what amazes me the most is that the tea party movement and a rising majority overlook the millions and millions of dollars paid to Wall Street executives, investment bankers, corporate CEOs, etc., and place the blame for our economic malaise on the struggling middle class, while simultaneously attacking public sector unions.

Is there enough compensation in police and fire jobs to pay these dedicated public employees to risk their lives each day for the benefit of all, including the 1 percent? Public sector employees are struggling to maintain a middle-class standard of living. Is there enough compensation to pay the wives and children of the two Boston firemen who died fighting a fire for all of us?

It is time that the middle class stops turning on itself and realizes that public sector employees have the right to bargain for a better life. Do not forget that we should “pay police and firefighters as if our lives depended on it.”

And remember, “children are always the only future the human race has; teach them well.” Are teachers not entitled to a decent wage, health care benefits and a good pension?

As I look at the bloated salaries and benefits of Wall Street executives and the continued attacks on America’s middle class, I wonder how it got that way. It’s time for a change.

John F. Collins

Buffalo