Rahm Emanuel Channels Scott Walker

Imagine if a big city mayor - ie, a Democrat - became the new Scott Walker...

In Chicago, Mayor Emanuel—President Obama’s former chief of staff—is trying to convince the teachers to go along with a lengthening of the school day at the same time as he revoked a 4 percent pay raise that the teachers had already gotten. He is also pushing for more charter schools, which teachers unions across the country traditionally oppose because they take money out of the traditional schools.

The average Chicago teacher makes $76,450, nearly 30% more than the typical private sector worker in Cook County—and teachers work two months less a year. Their last five-year contract called for 4% annual raises. However, the district rescinded teachers' raises last year because its deficit ballooned to $700 million. Its deficit is projected to grow to more than $1 billion in the next two years due to soaring pension costs.

But teachers voted overwhelmingly last week to authorize a strike, so what are the chances that Rahm won't cave in and compromise in order to protect Obama from backlash in November?

Teachers can retire at age 60 with an annuity equal to 75% of their highest average salary, meaning that teachers earn more in retirement than most Chicagoans do on the job.