02 April 2018 – 3 Things: Teachers, Wealth, Kids

Oklahoma governor about to learn a lesson

Teachers all over the country are following  the strike by West Virginia’s teachers  and are standing up to their state legislators.  Oklahoma hasn’t raised taxes since 1990.  Teachers who have been teaching for 10 years have never seen a single pay raise.  Many have to work a near full-time second job just to get by.

Gov. Mary Fallin just signed a bill that would increase taxes in the state and would give teachers a $6,000/yr raise but it’s too little too late and the teachers and their union, the Oklahoma Education Association are planning to walk out of their classrooms today.

Oklahoma teachers are ranked at or near the bottom in the nation in salaries.  The state in general has been suffering from the failure to keep revenues at sufficient levels for critical things like education and infrastructure.  What’s not being reported is the money for the raises was going to come from core funds from education.  Students are already suffering, having to use 50 year old text books and be crammed into classes with 50-60 students.  It’s  the same story  as neighboring Kansas where years of fiscal hanky-panky giving breaks particularly to the energy sector have taken a toll that can no longer be ignored.

Meanwhile in Kentucky teachers are also expected to walk out today and show up at Frankfort to protest unpopular changes to their pension plan.  The changes, which were voted in along party lines in a bait and switch move, where provisions for the pension bill were snuck into a wastewater bill, lock cost of living adjustments at 1.5%, puts new hires into a hybrid system and limist the number of sick days teachers can put towards their retirement.   This is yet another case of Republicans gone wild on cutting taxes to the detriment of their state.

Ten years after…

…the financial crisis, America is heading right in the wrong direction.   While the stock market has rebounded on to record levels and Wall Street salaries have recovered, median household income is only up 5.3% and that number is skewed  by the upper incomes skyrocketing  while low wage jobs have grown at the bottom.  In other words, the rising tide doesn’t  lift all boats.

Most depressing is the inequality of the distribution of wealth has gotten worse.  Now the top 1% holds 39% of the nation’s wealth.  The next 9%, rounding out the top 10 holds  another 38% of all the nations wealth.  That leaves just 23% to the bottom 90% or about 292 million people have 23% while the other 32 million are just getting by with 77% of America’s wealth.

Youth is not being wasted on the young

Parkland Florida high school students are not relenting despite gross attempts from conservatives.  Laura Ingraham’s tasteless attack on student David Hogg continues to backfire.  The other major named brand sponsor, as in “..brought to you by..” Bayer has pulled ads from the show and said they have no intention of returning.  Bayer joined Hulu, Johnson and Johnson, Expedia, Wayfair, Trip Advisor and Nestle who had already dumped the show.

Ingraham tweeted an apology behind an excuse that it was Holy Week, has taken a week off hoping things will blow over.   Her too little, too late apology didn’t match the gravity of her sin prompting David Hogg to tweet: “I 100%
agree an apology in an effort just to save your advertisers is not enough. I will only accept your apology only if you denounce the way your network has treated my friends and I in this fight. It’s time to love thy neighbor, not
mudsling at children.”

I can’t help but editorialize a bit here. How many more times can Fox News get away with using conspiracy theories, attacks on black athletes in particular and young black men in general, fan the flames of xenophobia, legitimize Trump’s fake news facts by reporting them as serious stories and then not report any news not favorable to Trump or his administration? Why would any advertiser want to support this endless repetition of what can only be called propaganda that has softened former social taboos and has polarized the nation by distorting reality?

What we’re learning from these kids who exhibit more tolerance, are technologically sophisticated, politically engaged, and have more concern for the environment than their elders is they are not going to be silenced by a racist President who is dishonest and mentally incapable of running the White House or by the politicians and media hacks who do most of his dirty work.

The future is not certain but knowing these kids are more tolerant of minorities, are sympathetic to the plight of immigrants and their children, believe in rights for LBGT’s and Muslims, believe in healthcare for all and think the government is responsible for protecting the environment, bodes well for a currently very troubled country.

5 thoughts on “02 April 2018 – 3 Things: Teachers, Wealth, Kids

  1. @Jmach1P: Thanks for the comment, you should be good to go now. Sorry for the administrative mumbo-jumbo. Also sorry about your job, I didn’t know.

    I agree the red states that have experimented and failed with tax cuts (as everyone knew they would) are in deep trouble, but I don’t see any of them as being fatal.

    The bottom line is everyone of those states has a potential revenue/tax stream if they choose to tap it. Until they tax correctly they are going to continue to fail and the people can only take so much losing. The teacher strikes in WV, OK, KY and soon AZ are proof of that. Other public employees will follow suit and then it will bleed into the private sector, or maybe the private sector will revolt.

    You’re right about income disparity. I talked about that in the podcast. I was hoping the recovery from 2008 would restore some parity in wages but Obama and the Democrats failed. They campaign on it but it vaporizes once they take the oath and start to serve. Not all, of course, but too damn many.

    Education is one of the foundations we need to get out of this mess and public education is the best way to do it. Charter schools are failing left and right. Here in Ohio the largest charter school turned into a corruption scheme and had to be shut down. More will follow and it’s no secret as to why they will fail. You can’t deliver a proper education with a system that has to turn a profit. The profit from education should only be the benefit learning does to make all our lives better.

    Great points JP! Glad you’re back.

  2. Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi and others may be too far gone. Kansas may recover, if the damage done by Brownback can be reversed.

    Wages may be up a little from a year ago, however still down 35% from levels of 5 – 10 years ago.
    I lost my job of 29 years in 2014 and am still down by about 34%
    After an hourly wage that peeked in 2008 and held to mid 2014,
    I am back to my wages of the mid 1990’s : (

    The only people who are not hurting financially may be those who still hold their job positions from the early – mid 2000’s.

    The Parkland FL students are lucky that they have been well educated, so far, in the way they have been able to think for themselves, and not “go with the flow” toward fascism.

    The rise of the charter schools is a big negative, but I hope the Parkland students are more representative of the actual young people, and future voters of the country. : )

    Power to the people! Teachers & Students.

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