Focus on teacher wages entirely misses the point
At the same time taxpayers were rejecting the school budget in Clarence, we also find out that Apple has legally not paid billions of dollars in taxes that could have gone to support, among other things, education in our country. But instead, we myopically focus on teacher wages and benefits, preferring to go after the working men and women of our own communities rather than corporations like Apple and General Electric that make an art of avoiding taxes.
And we begin to characterize middle-class benefits, like pensions and health care, as “a two martini lunch” (in The News’ Donne Esmonde’s words), and we attack unions for preserving benefits for their members that all working men and women should have, and most did have.
The result of our attacks on unions instead of the corporations will only further erode benefits, not just for union members, but for all workers. And that means more money in corporations’ pockets, money they will do their best not to pay taxes on, money that won’t go to education.
If taxpayers want to get out their pitchforks and start a revolution, don’t do it by going after middle-class workers and by gutting education. There is lots of money out there, but we need to make sure it goes to taxpayers and not just shareholders.