Chris has the most beautiful garden in the city. He has a gardener who has been working on it for years, carefully cultivating special plants, and creating special features that are the envy of people who come from all over the world to admire the garden. The gardener is paid a fair salary for his expertise and years of training, so he is happy.
Years pass. The gardener hasn’t had a raise in years, and things are getting more expensive. Gas for his car now costs double what it did when he started working.
Chris asks the gardener to put in a fancy water feature, and several fruit trees. “I’ll cover the bill when rents are paid,” he says. That’s fine, the gardener makes a good wage, and he loves the garden.
Chris goes around to his tenants to collect the rents. To the small houses, he says, “The view improved now the neighbour’s tree is down. You owe more.”
To the really huge houses, he says, “Never mind. You don’t have to pay your rent.”
Then he pays all his bills, but because he didn’t make the big houses pay their rent, he doesn’t have enough to pay the gardener all he’s owed.
Chris tells the gardener he still expects the fancy water feature and the fruit trees, as well as the lawn to be mowed, the beds weeded, and the shrubs pruned.
The gardener loves his garden: the new water feature is going to be stunning when he’s finished with it, and the fruit trees are amazing, blooming gloriously, but some fungus is creeping onto the petals, and then insects are bothering the fruit. He can’t quite figure out how to stop that, but he’s read about a great fungicide that should work. He just needs to test to see exactly what the problem is.
“I don’t have any extra money for this!” Chris declares. “I pay you enough! Your demands are ridiculous!”
The gardener wants his garden to be perfect, so he does his best, working in the evenings and bringing things from home. He can’t afford to subsidize the proper fertilizer, tests, and fungicide, and when the mower runs out of gas, he can’t get more fuel since he no longer can afford a car himself, so he can’t drive to get some. He asks for an increase in his wages, and a budget that covers the demands Chris as made.
“This is not in line with what other gardeners are paid!” Chris shouts, though the gardener knows he is not asking for anything more than every other gardener in the city gets for the same kind of garden.
He begs Chris to please provide him with the budget necessary to do what he’s been asked, but Chris glowers and tells the gardener he’s being greedy and lazy.
The gardener tries repeatedly, feeling guilty about the way the fruit trees are dying, and he is frustrated because he knows if he could just get the proper funding for what is required, he could produce the kind of show garden Chris he wants.
With so much work, no extra staff, no supplies and not enough money to buy them, the garden inevitably falls into ruin.
“What a terrible gardener!” Chris says. “I’m going to take back pay because he’s not working hard enough!”
“What a terrible gardener!” his golf club cronies in their rent free big houses agree, adding. “It’s so hard to get good help cheaply any more.” Then they shout, “FORE!” as their golf ball sails over the artificial turf and the plastic flowers of their golf course.
In case you missed it:
Chris is Premier Christy Clark, the garden is the education system, and the gardener is the teachers.