06 March 2011

The GOP appears to be declaring war on our children.

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I do not like to segregate into D versus R because the fact is that we all sit somewhere in the middle of the extremes.  There are plenty of Republicans that disagree with the war on teachers and unions that is currently taking place.  That said, Fox News is advertising the talking points of the GOP to allow the richest Americans to keep their money while stealing the future from the working class.

Our teachers are the working class living on Main Street.  Fox News has been using all of their resources to make certain the bankers and Wall Street that got us into our financial disarray were allowed to keep their bonuses and huge salaries while the tax payer rescued them to protect Main Street from a depression.  Bush and Obama's plan ultimately worked and jobs are slowly creeping back into the economy but they were forced to take a hands-off approach to the ridiculous sums of money the rich were allowed to swim in including the organizations that are alive today thanks to our taxes.

On the opposite side of the financial picture are our educators.  We used to talk about how lucky we were to have gifted teachers that work for as little.  Not anymore.  Despite what Fox News might say, this is not a debate about unions, this is a debate about letting people earning more than two hundred thousand dollars (which are not teachers) keep as much money as possible while stealing the future from those less fortunate.

In typical "Fair and Balanced" fashion they play their stories with adjustments to reality.  They will interview people to make it sound like teachers leave at two in the afternoon and only work nine months out of the year while not actually interviewing any real teachers.  (Shocker!  Many teachers spend their summer preparing for the new year, regularly work 10 hour days during the school year and spend their "free time" continuing their personal education.)  Fox continues to run stories making it sound like tax payers pay for the unions and that they require membership which could not be further from the truth.  Public Employee Unions Don't Get One Penny from Taxpayers and Can't Require Membership

No doubt, we have a financial problem in our country and the way Obama's cabinet was trying to address it was to let the Bush tax cuts on the richest Americans expire.  This was not a war against the rich, it was a war against our national debt and leaving a two and a half trillion dollar debt to our kids.  If we had let the tax cuts disappear it would have brought in over a trillion dollars in less than three years and made a nice payment on our federal credit card. Alternatively, we could have focused on adjusting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and dramatically which would have, and still can, changed our financial situation significantly.  This was also ignored, of course, because politicians are, above all else, concerned about being re-elected and cutting money from the elderly is the kiss of death.

So now some Republicans have decided we are going to balance the budget by cutting the programs that help the most impoverished Americans.  Their war is focused on stealing the pensions of teachers because people in the private sector no longer have such a retirement "luxury".  The fact is teacher annual salaries are significantly less than they could make in the private sector but they do it because they will not need to worry about retirement.  It is a trade-off that may mean a total benefits package, that includes free dental and medical, is in the 100K range.  Keep in mind these are individuals that went to college for years to achieve a Bachelors degree, teaching certificate and many also collected a Masters and some a Doctorate.  If you compare like-educated individuals in the private sector you will find teachers are significantly under paid, but they do this job because they love helping kids shape our future.  Fox News will continue to compare their salaries to people who did not attend college for 5 or more years because their case of 100K being out of whack with reality is dependent on stories that are highly inaccurate.

At the risk of stating the obvious, educators are the individuals that work with the poorest kids in our country and give them hope for a brighter future.  Teachers are shaping the future of our country every day and there is clearly an element of our society that wants to reduce their benefits to the point that the only public teachers that will remain are undereducated goons.  After all, why do they care since they will send their kids to private school?  If the anti-teacher movement succeeds this could doom our future generations and allow only the rich children to receive a proper education.

It is not enough to force the next generation to pay for our financial stupidity but now we are going to steal their quality education, too. If your family is earning less than two hundred thousand a year you better apply for new work because, if this new direction succeeds, nothing less than private school will ensure a proper education for your children.  The GOP is engaged in class warfare and the target they are painting is centered on the middle class and poor.  Our only hope is that Americans do not allow their warped vision to become reality.