Saturday, March 5, 2011

Teachers and taxes

So, people've heard that states and the federal government (i.e. we) are facing what Very Serious People (VSP) say are very worrisome levels of budget deficit in the next few years, right? That means that we'll have some money that we'll have to find some way of paying back, and given the serious tones that VSP take in these discussions, we're left to conclude that these ways of paying back are going to start awfully soon. Fine. But let's look at how Republicans, the party of fiscal responsibility if ever there was one, have handled themselves so far.

First, in abstract. There's a budget deficit. You pay your bills by raising revenues or cutting expenses. But what does raising revenues entail? It entails raising taxes. But what, really, is a tax increase? It's the state garnishing your wages, with the functional effect of your having a decreased purchasing power.

Now, consider what Republicans are willing to do to state employees and teachers. They're willing to cut teacher pay, employee pensions - in essence, garnish their wages - with the effect of raising state revenues by decreasing cost of education and pension responsibilities. So, reducing teacher pay, eliminating pensions benefits, etc. is functionally a tax increase on those people - instead of on the wealthy. Which is to say, Republicans are willing to raise taxes on teachers and state pension recipients, and they aren't willing to raise them on people making over $250,000 per year.

I hate when people talk about class warfare or whatever, but this seems like such an obvious example of it to me, that I could just puke.


  1. Let's not forget that the Governor of Wisconsin is not cutting benefits of those unions that endorsed him in the last election.

    To sum up:
    Democrats = improvident lackwits
    Republican = genuinely wicked

  2. "Wicked" is the watchword there, isn't it? It's blatant hypocrisy, with an opposition party too shambolic to say it right, and a news media too foolish to say it at all.

    Or, in the words of Danny Concannon on "The West Wing":