The “Red for Ed” movement is becoming redder by the day.
At a time when most U.S. citizens have benefited from the Trump tax cuts, the American Federation of Teachers joined up with a motley assemblage of leftwing organizations over the summer on what was billed as the “Tax the Rich Bus Tour.” The road show, which lasted 35 days and ended just last week, was replete with the usual tropes – including demands that “the rich and corporations pay their fair share” and other socialist-inspired class warfare twaddle.
What the unionistas don’t get or refuse to acknowledge is that the rich already pay their “fair share” and then some. According to the Tax Foundation, while the top 1 percent of taxpayers earned 19.7 percent of the income in 2016, they paid 37.3 percent of federal income taxes. Also, the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a 26.9 percent individual income tax rate, which is more than seven times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (3.7 percent).
In all fairness, the rich do have ways to mitigate part of their tax burden that may not be available to the rest of us. For example, AFT president Randi Weingarten, a long-time class warrior, strongly supported the Tax the Rich Bus Tour. But Weingarten talks one way and lives another. In reality, she is a card-carrying member of the dreaded “1 percent” class. Her union’s latest tax filing shows that she earned over $500,000 in total compensation in 2016. Most hypocritically, she will tell you that it’s just a coincidence that she abandoned New York City in 2012 for East Hampton, a very wealthy community on Long Island’s south shore, thus avoiding paying $30,000 in city income taxes.
Here in L.A., the United Teachers of Los Angeles is also talking socialist red. Licking its wounds after missing an opportunity to gouge the city’s taxpayers via Measure EE in June, the union is back with “The New Deal for Public Schools.” Inspired by New York socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, the UTLA plan is nothing more than a wealth-transfer gimmick which aims to “close corporate tax loopholes, provide more green space on campuses, fight the corporate charter industry’s influence in politics, and increase investments in adult education, early education, multilingual education, and special education.” In other words, tax the rich, spend tons more money, establish more programs and eliminate charter schools. Interestingly, there is no specific plan to improve on the district’s 76.6 percent graduation rate or address the fact that less than half of the 2019 Los Angeles Unified School District graduating class will be eligible to attend one of the state’s public universities.
At least they’re more upfront about their socialism in Chicago, where teacher union president Jesse Sharkey was a leading member of the revolutionary International Socialist Organization until the group’s dissolution earlier this year. Sharkey and a group of teacher union comrades decided to spend their summer vacation in Venezuela. As reported by Chicago City Wire, in the union’s name, the group met with dictator Nicolas Maduro’s henchmen, including the Ministry of Communes, Ministry of Education, Adult Education Teachers, and students, as well as on-the-ground activists, praising the Maduro regime the entire time. And needless to say, any problems with Venezuela were blamed on “U.S. and European sanctions.”
I’m sure these teachers will come back to school in two weeks and regale their students about the glories of Venezuelan socialism – where 90 percent of the people live in poverty, the inflation rate is an astonishing 282,973 percent and civil rights have been abolished. And they will stress that is the fault of the U.S., of course.
The next time you hear about the Red for Ed movement, please keep in mind that all too often this is not just a group of teachers trying to advance their profession. Oh, to be sure, some may fall into that category, but for many others, it is nothing more than a call to advance Bolshevik bushwa.
Please talk to any and every teacher you know about this, and remind them that as a result of the Janus ruling, they no longer have to fund a bunch of socialist activists masquerading as educators. Again, time to #NEA/AFTexit.
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Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network– a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.