Friday, March 4, 2011

Teachers and Wall Street

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Crisis in the Dairyland - For Richer and Poorer - Teachers and Wall Street
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This is the follow-up to last night's first Crisis in the Dairyland segment (you might want to check out the Moment of Zen, too), but embedding two video clips in the same post often creates problems here. Besides, I mostly wanted to comment on this particular clip.

Republicans think that Wall Street executives need their seven-figure incomes and multimillion dollar bonuses, even when they've been bailed out with taxpayer money, because otherwise we might lose these geniuses whose mismanagement brought our country to its knees.

But they don't worry at all about a "talent exodus" when it comes to the people teaching our children. Hey, why should they make any more than the guy picking up our garbage? After all, it's not as though we value our children or anything, right? What good is an education, anyway?

This is even funnier because Republicans tend to blame all our education troubles on poor teachers. (See Jon's interview here for more on that.) If that's really true, why wouldn't we want to pay our teachers more, not less? After all, when it comes to Wall Street, Fox claims that high pay is a "good way to attract talent." So why doesn't that work with teachers, too?

(In the first clip, note that Fox compares Wisconsin teacher pay and benefits with the "average U.S. worker." But that's not the average Wisconsin worker and certainly not the average Wisconsin worker in a job requiring a college degree. Let's compare apples to apples, shall we? Even then, as I say, don't we want the best teachers? Having the best garbage man is nice, I'm sure, but it probably isn't quite as important.)

And yeah, when it comes to tax cuts, $250,000 a year in taxable income is "close to poverty," as that Fox "News" contributor claims (note that this doesn't even include benefits or tax-sheltered income). "These poor people" are just barely scraping by, I'm sure. Not like those fat-cat teachers making $51,000 a year. What a gravy train, huh?

Heh, heh. According to Republicans, public employees are the "haves" and taxpayers are the "have nots" (I'm actually quoting Gov. Walker here). So what are CEOs and investment bankers then? Or are these aristocrats not even considered the same species as the rest of us?

Then there's the matter of contracts, which Fox considers sacrosanct when it comes to investment bankers, but of no concern at all when we're talking about teachers or other public employees. That's funny, too, don't you think?

Gov. Walker is not only eliminating public employee bargaining rights - but only for Democratic-leaning unions - even after they agreed to all of his pay and benefit cuts, he's also cutting $800 million from the Wisconsin public schools budget at a time when the American educational system is already falling badly behind other nations. (This is after he cut corporate taxes, in order to manufacture this "crisis" in the first place.)

At the same time, he's prohibiting local governments from raising property taxes to make up the difference. Odd, isn't it, how Republicans seem determined to dumb down Americans, no matter what it takes?

But yes, I guess educated voters are a real threat to Republican political dominance.

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