ZUCKERMAN: Let me just say I really support what Arianna has just described. I think there are huge problems in this country and a lot of it, in my judgment, stems not from capitalism but from the government.
I'll focus on the first one, which is we have done a terrible job in providing enough education for the children of this country. There's a whole mismatch in terms of the number of people coming out looking for jobs and the qualifications that people need for jobs, particularly those who are educated, particularly in the world of science and technology.
There are shortages of people, there are literally millions of open jobs because we don't train --
VELSHI: But why does the free market not solve that problem?
ZUCKERMAN: Because the education is a government function. If there ever was a public function in this country from the days it started, it's public education and we've done a lousy job. Part of it is frankly because we have lousy teachers.
Part of the reason we have lousy teachers is we have teachers union that say won't deal with those issues. So there are lots of reasons why education is not being properly handled in this country.
Where do I begin?But to me if I could think of one thing that would change it, it would be to change our system of education and make sure that our children were properly educated.
1) Although folks like Amanda Ripley try very hard to convince Mort and the rest of the country that our kids suck, the fact is we do very well compared to the rest of the world - when you take income inequity into account.
2) 95% of envied Finland's teachers belong to a union. The best public high schools in America, as ranked by Mort's own dumbass magazine, have unionized faculties. There is no scholarly evidence that teachers unions have any negative impact on student achievement.
3) Once more: only 10-15% of a student's achievement can be ascribed to teachers. The student's personal and family characteristics - including economic status - are far more important.
4) There will always be a high demand for the smartest workers. Because they are the smartest. Duh.
The Mort Zuckerman's of the world are starting to get a little nervous. They know that they have gamed the system to continue enriching themselves off of the backs of the poor and the middle class. They know our current economic system isn't even remotely related to capatalism: it's pretty much a kleptocracy. They worry that the tax gifts they've bought for themselves in our open air political market might be taken away from them (a special concern for a real estate mogul like Mort, who enjoys special capital gains tax rates for his transactions).
In short: they're worried that people are starting to wake up.
So they're casting around, looking desperately for someone - anyone - to blame. "Hey, let's say it's the teachers! Everybody thinks they suck!" Well, teachers have a 71% approval rating - good luck with that strategy, Mort.
The fact is that exploding income inequity in America has nothing to do with public school teachers, and only a con man or a fool would say so. Which are you, Mort?