Opinions and Rants #31: Schooool's Out For Ever!

It seems like state after state is deciding to balance their budget by shafting the government employees, namely teachers.  While I agree there's a bloating at the top, and a lot of practices highlighted in Waiting for Superman are unbelievably inane, I still have doubts whether this the right thing to do.

Here's the deal: the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the middle class has accelerated exponentially.  There simply wasn't the magnitude of separation between rich and poor back in the sixties and seventies; this is an inarguable point, the numbers are clear.  As a consequence of the unprecedented accumulation of wealth among the top five to ten percent, the middle class has shrunk and become closer and closer aligned with the lower class.  It's something akin to France before the French Revolution, and Russia before the Bolsheviks brought down the Czars.

With this fact in mind, recall that our government spent billions upon billions of dollars bailing out these Fortune 500 companies.  We made damn sure these guys didn't suffer the loss of a nickel, and were steadfast in ensuring they got their gigantic severance packages. They were simply too big to fail; or so said Obama's advisors, all former AIG and Goldman Sachs CEOs.

Amid 563 billion taxpayer dollars being funneled to Wall Street, now we suddenly are budget conscious? NOW we suddenly are fed up with the "fat cat" teachers?

Let me get this straight.  The government tosses aside the gold standard causing our dollar to deflate.  Then we get over a TRILLION dollars in debt, much of it borrowed from China.  We spend billions upon billions waging a war which almost no one supports, and we cough up even more billions to big companies (Fannie Mae got 90 billion dollars!)..... and NOW all of a sudden we're penny pinchers and want to make teachers learn the meaning of "sacrifice"?

learn to be a secretary

It's not uncommon to hear level headed intellectuals like Glenn Beck (sarcasm alert) rail against our failing educational system.    The thing of it is, in the wealthier well-to-do districts our public schools actually outstrip Finland, the current "high water mark" in terms of education.  It's only in the mid to lower income areas, that you see a problem.  Is it the teacher's fault that these kids come from fatherless and poverty stricken homes?  Are these teachers somehow worse educators than the teachers in the uppity districts?  Hell, no.  It's just that poor districts have hurdles to overcome that Finland could never dream of.

Indeed, as the gap widens between the ultra rich and the rest of us, the more "problem" neighborhoods we're going to see.  As the distribution of wealth gets more and more uneven, the number of poverty stricken areas will increase, and thus our schools will continue their downward spiral.

And what is our solution? Slash teacher benefits.

Maybe I'm just crazy, but I think this won't solve a damn thing.  I'll wager that five years from now Wisconsin, Ohio, Alabama and any other states getting on the bandwagon will still be broke and have shitty schools.

Perhaps, just perhaps, our schools and our state budgets might improve if we focus on our economy - considering that's the root cause of both problems.  Perhaps the 563 billion bailout wasn't money well spent and we should liquidate and collect on it. Perhaps we could save billions by getting out of the Middle East.  Perhaps we could generate billions in taxable revenue by giving incentives to companies to stay in the US rather than ship operations to third world nations.... and put a tariff on certain imports.  Perhaps we could save billions by stopping this ineffective war on marijuana. Perhaps we should work on reinstating the gold standard, etc., etc., ....

Nahhh.  Let's just cut teachers' benefits.  That'll help.


  1. I agree with most of what you are saying here, but...Glen Beck being called a level headed intellectual??!!! NEVER!

  2. Perhaps. One fallacy in your argument is the Federal Gov bailing out the corporations, and the States trying to make ends meet. Not that I disagree with your points (most of them).

    I remember hearing the dollarss of the bailouts and someone figured up that if you gave that to taxpayers, each individual taxpayer would get some hundred thousand dollars, which they could then use to stimulate the economy, save the house, get by when layed-off, etc. That would have been much better use of the money in my opinion.

    Glen Beck is as level-headed as Stephen Colbert/Al Franken/Jon Stewart/etc. Just to keep things even there. I personally think none are worth my time.


  3. Gilligan for President in 2012!

  4. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was getting the working man to care about tax cuts for billionaires.

  5. I was being sarcastic about Mr. Beck. Sorry that wasn't conveyed very well.

  6. Whew! Glad to hear that was sarcasm! For a moment I was worried!

  7. You're quite right, Gilligan. This is a very troubling time. We've been through tough economic waters before; that's the nature of things. But this is the first time that the elimination of the middle class is a deliberate part of the agenda. That's what this generation of politicians, as opposed to those in the 1960s and 70s, doesn't understand: if you really want to avoid socialism, you have to make capitalism fair.

  8. I'm skeptical when I hear folks cry that their would have been another Great Depression if no bailout would have taken place. A few weeks ago, I heard someone say those financial institutions should have been allowed to fail & fall into receivership, then plucked up at auction or whatever by one of the financial entities that didn't lose the heads or hides. That sounded extremely logical to me. "Too big to fail" is a myth. The same thing could have been said about Woolworths or Montgomery Wards 50 years ago, and they're both long gone. I say let'em sink or swim!

  9. Uh, I meant "..there would have been another Great Depression..."

  10. Yeah, no-one here in Finland is fatherless or from a poverty stricken home!

    I think that the local government has recently been really similar t0 (in spending money etc) what you describe US government being.

    The way I see it the world is being turned back to an earlier era of extremely wealty and extremely poor. Just keep the masses placid as long as you can (bread & circuses -also keeping them in the dark and feeding them bs).

  11. A bit surprised at this. But Glenn beck -level headed.....that's where you lose me....

  12. Guess I should have read all the com me nts. Cuz the sarcasm definitely didn't come through and there are some sorts who really do feel that beck is spot on everything. The difference between beck and Colbert and Stewart as that they're comedic satirists beck really believes his own crazy. Er rephrase...beck wants you to believe his crazy talk while he counts the cash he's made of the backs of gullible fools. Franken is a former comedian who tries to contend with the crazies from the other side.

  13. Well - I back in 1982 - mind you went in 1 day to my High School and just Quit in my Sophmore year - I'd had enough of their ignorant BS, so called education system, it wasn't the teachers fault, its was the system and the Circuleum they were teaching the students at the time that was worthless - and meaningless back in the Early 80's, when this country was in the midst of major changes as far as working and Technology went- as we were just coming into the computer age - and my school had computers, but only 1 worked at that time, the rest were broke and no money to fix em- and this was back then middle class subrubia affulent neighborhood too High School ( Shawnee Mission North High School), located in Johnson County Kansas, a very affulent suburb of Kansas City - yet there was no money to fix 5 computers and the shop class had Arc Welders but, only 1 worked, the rest were broke and needed repair, but, we were in a recession, the Auto Workers were being laid off by the thousands, The Air Traffic controllers got shit canned - the Steel Workers were seeing their steel plants shut down in the North East - Airlines were entering a different atmosphere of de-regulation - and the Rail-Roads decided to cut the Red Cabooses and lay off their Caboose Conductors and No-More Red Cabooses on the back of a train - so - the future seemed hopeless and a total waste of time to stay and learn what they were going to shove down our throats back then as far as so called education - that being a 6 week class and essay on Shakesphere / Romeo & Juliet - well that's not going to help any of us kids get a real job to support ourselves down the road doing ignorant junk like that - so- I'd had enough and went and Quit - 2 weeks later I was working Full Time for the Public Works Dept. for the city I lived in on the street maintence dept. where I worked for 5 years - Looking back now in 2011, I'm still glad I Quit back then and went to work - have you seen many of the kids today , their absolutely Clueless about anything - History, they can't spell for shit - and if it doesn't have a button on it called a computer - their totally lost on how to do anything - and knowledge of how to fix their car - useless - but they know all about X-Box & Play stations - and the way they dress anymore - its hidious and awful,,, disgusting, low slung pants - shirt down to their knees - shoes untied - rings in places of their face you wouldn't believe - and give em' a piece of machinery to operate and they have it tore up within the hour ex. Forklift - riding lawn mowers - bob cats - tractors you name it- but by God don't mess with their Blackberrys or XbOx & Playstations !! Who do I really Blame, well it ain't all the teachers faults - try Corporate America and their Phony Agendas , and if going to college and or University is such a great idea, after spending thousands for a supposed degree to MASK their ignorance & incompetence , then Why is it that today and a few years ago, we have more Corporate CEO's in trouble, in Prison etc- for SEC Violations - Fraud - Corruption etc, I'd seriously like to know, just what are they supposedly teaching these kids in those colleges / Universities , how to be corrupt & fraudulent, lie cheat & steal, even when they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar - to deny it and claim their innocent ??? Something is truly going on' out here, that's way far different than any of us know about - because it didn't use to be this way, not to this degree anyway this badd, and I'm particularly referring to ENRON - TYCO - WORLDCOM - all these big Corporate Banks that are fraudulently foreclosing on peoples homes who didn't even have loans with them - WTF ?? I don't know anymore somethings very very amiss here today, and not right, and it started somewhere - many of these Corporate CEO's didn't go to bed on wednesday a good person - and - get up on thursday a crook & con artist !!

  14. Gilligan,

    You had some points but you seemed to wander around the page a bit.

    Federal government bales out wall-street/ State governments broke and must reign in spending.

    Rich schools doing as well as Finland/ Poor schools can't seem to teach fatherless poor kids.
    True, but are you suggesting the government should buy these kids fathers? Or do you think we should take money from good schools so that they ALL do bad. We don't really need any educated kids, do we?

    Nice dig at Glenn Beck BTW. Always glad when you relax your sights at aim at low hanging fruit. Thank heavens you did not try to balance it out but listing extremists from the left. That would fair and balanced, and politically you can't do that here. Right? Be sure to shine the light of reason on only one side.

    As for education, I agree with you, however, as it consumes 49% of the state budget in California (for example), and California is broke, where do you cut? Everyone else BUT education? And given that in the LA school district there is one administrator for every six teachers, maybe more money is being spent than is really needed.

    As for Wisconsin, is it wrong to ask teachers to help defray the cost of their own health insurance? You have no objection to us (you loyal fans) paying our way, but now we must pay for public sector employees as well?

    You see. Your arguments were something that Chris, Rachel, and Kieth (god rest his soul) would approve of, but they are a little disjointed.

  15. Why pick on Beck? He has saddly been right on about everything he has said in the long run, over the last 3 years.
    The problem with having to cut budgets at the state level is that it has to be done on the backs of the teachers and such, but that is the way it has to be. Everyone must feel the pain and that is the way it has to be. There is no real way to raise taxes anymore without killing the consumer and running the remaining companies out of the USA.
    The wars are the wars, I hate to say it but keeping safe is expensive. Just wait till the war in Mexico really starts coming over into the States till you see how expensive wars really are.