I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Excellence in Teacher Bashing

Via NJ Left Behind, we have a fine specimen of yahooist teacher bashing from Jay P. Greene:
The teacher unions finally wore down the Senate and managed to get a $26 billion Edujobs bill to avoid layoffs of teachers and increase the federal share of state Medicaid costs.  $10 billion is earmarked directly for teachers and the other $16 billion frees that money in state budgets to be used elsewhere — quite likely for teachers.  This $26 billion is on top of the$100 billion that education received from the first wave of stimulus spending. 
So much for my austerity idea, where real reform can only happen once the gusher of new money runs dry.  The spigot is going to stay fully open for the foreseeable future, which will kill this opportunity for states and localities to restructure our education system and lower costs while improving outcomes. 
Your austerity idea is typical right-wing claptrap predicated on the idea that we can never, ever, EVER raise taxes on the wealthiest people in the country - people who have accumulated an amount of wealth so massive we haven't seen income inequity of this scope since the 1920s - as a way to raise needed revenue to fund excellent schools and attract and retain the best and the brightest into the teaching profession. It's predicated on keeping an insane health care system that costs us at least twice per person what the rest of the world spends with worse outcomes. It's based on championing ideas like merit pay and vouchers that are unproven at best and have been shown to be absolute failures at worst.
The fact that the feds are bailing out schools and preventing reform doesn’t come as much of a surprise.  But what is shocking is how the Senate bill proposes to pay for this extra $26 billion — cuts in food stamps.  That’s right, we are literally going to take food out of the mouths of hungry people in order to keep upper-middle class teachers fully employed with their gold-plated pensions and health benefits. 
Nothing like a false choice to warm the cockles of a 'former's heart, eh? As I've said before, cutting food stamps is despicable, but there is no reason to have to choose between both, and there is no reason to blame teachers for the fact that "centrist" deficit worry-warts have decided to push this cut to fund the bill. There are literally dozens of places in the federal budget that this money could come from.

Oh, and "upper-middle class teachers"? That's a joke, right?
And if that wasn’t outrageous enough, look at what the Milwaukee teachers union would like to do with their gold-plated health benefit.  They want to restore a prescription benefit for Viagra, which had been cut in 2005 to save some money. 
Let me get this straight — we are going to take food from poor people to keep Mr. Happy working for Milwaukee teachers.  Talk about a stimulus plan.
First of all, I guess any time we object to any spending cut anywhere in any budget, we should immediately consign teachers to impotence. I'm glad Prof. Greene has the deep insight into medical ethics to be able to make choices as to what does and doesn't constitute necessary treatment.

Second, how many stupid false choices can one guy make in a single post? We have to cut teacher health care to fund food for the poor? That's our only option?

The benefit gap between teachers and non-teachers is about 5%, which is not enough to make up for the difference in pay. But research like this is apparently not available in the refined climes of the wingnut-welfare world that Dr. Greene travels in. Or it could be he spends too much time speculating on the sex life of educators to bother with such trivialities.

What a tool.

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