Ridiculously false choices and rhetoric ruled the evening when the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers hosted a closed-media conference call with Vice President Joe Biden to inform their members about the latest government school and teachers’ union bailout.
In a recording obtained exclusively by PublicSchoolSpending.com, Biden explained the administration is seeking to spend $30 billion to create a “Teacher Layoff Prevention Fund.” He also said that many schools today are “deciding whether or not to heat the school or keep a teacher.”
Like school stimuli-past, Biden said schools would not be able to bank the money, but would be required to spend it. “It’s to be able to keep you at work and even rehire teachers,” he told the unions. So the Obama administration – yet again – is setting up a situation where the problem will be the same next year and the administration will have to propose another bailout or the school sky will fall in and even more kids will graduate unable to read.
Obama’s proposal includes $10 billion for the 100 “largest, high need public school districts” to use for renovations. So just prior to the election, the administration is proposing to spend $100 million in communities that traditionally vote for Democrats. Coincidence?
It’s vitally necessary and these jobs (no really, these jobs) truly are “shovel-ready,” Biden contends. In some schools, students “must often dodge falling ceiling tiles and scattering roaches and bathrooms that are missing.” Not just missing doors, but completely gone!
In others, “raw waste spews into the halls after the sewage line burst, 29 kids squeezing into rooms built for 20, etc.” Biden said.
But there is resistance and skewed priorities, according to Biden. (You wouldn’t think a call with the Obama administration and the teachers’ unions wouldn’t be complete without a little class warfare rhetoric, would you?)
“The corporations are fat with money out there” and the reason they aren’t spending it to create jobs is because “they don’t think there are going to be customers to be there to buy because they don’t have jobs or they have stagnant incomes…”
Naturally, it’s the businesses’ fault. The reality is business owners are unsure of the tax, regulatory and ObamaCare liability environment, so they’re sitting tight. Businesses are cautious when there is instability, which the Obama administration has created.
Nevertheless, Biden, like the typical liberal, sets up false choices. “As the president’s said, you know, we have to have priorities. It’s not that we are against people getting tax breaks who are wealthy, I mean, it’s just about being fair.”
“Thirty billion dollars to hire back or keep a total of 280,000 teachers employed. We can either do that, or we can continue to give a $37 billion tax break…to the oil companies, who are doing incredibly well, don’t need our help, said they didn’t, but our Republican colleagues and a few Democrats have said they’re going to continue that tax break – that loophole – for gas and oil. It’s not needed.
“We can spend $37 billion continuing this loophole or $30 billion for 280,000 teachers in the classroom.”
The others on the leftist list of boogeymen didn’t escape unscathed.
“We can modernize our 35,000 schools or we can keep letting hedge fund managers – and they’re not bad guys – but hedge fund managers pay at 15 percent tax. You guys pay at 28 percent or higher. And it’s a $20 billion a year tax break allowing them to avoid ordinary income taxes. … It’s just not fair.
“What do you want to do? Keep that tax loophole that costs $20 billion a year or modernize 35,000 public schools and put people to work?”
Oil companies? Check. Hedge fund managers? Check. Who’s left? Oh yeah, corporate jet owners.
“We can either keep cops and firefighters on the job, which we do in this bill – there’s a total of $5 billion for them combined – or you can give corporate jet owners a special tax break. … That costs $3 billion, that one tax loophole, for corporate jet owners. They’re not bad guys, I don’t care if they have jets, but why in God’s name are we going to spend $3 billion to give them that tax break…?”
Another apparent injustice is the paltry fee for corporate jets to file a flight plan, according to Biden. It’s supposedly much cheaper than for a commercial airline to do the same. Biden contends $12 billion can be raised by increasing the fee to $100.
NEA president Dennis Van Roekel fawned all over Biden. “The NEA, we are proud to stand with this administration. We recognize the unwavering commitment you have made to working families and students,” said in response.
AFT president Ranid Weigarten assured Biden the unions would be there for the Obama administration. “…The president has put together a very granular, very concrete bill…to actually put people back to work.”
“Now it’s for us to try to get this done. Create the pressure we know educators can do to say, look – we can’t, you know – there’s an election in 14 months from now but this is an opportunity to get this done, paid for with shared sacrifice – shared responsibility – of those who happen to be more fortunate than most people on this call and this is that opportunity.
“And speaking for the AFT, Mr. Vice President, then I’ll stop, we will do whatever we can to help create the…advocacy to do this.”
So on behalf of the administration, the NEA and AFT will begin the work of selling yet another bailout for government-run schools. A bailout, of course, which would produce $35.4 million in dues for the NEA and $13.1 million for the AFT.