Thought I’d take a stab at the open thread.
I’m really trying to figure out the Republican position on sequester. This is what I’ve come up: Blame Obama for the cuts we love. Ezra Klein doesn’t understand the Republican position either.
I’ve asked some Republicans sources to explain their thinking to me. But none of the answers quite seems to add up.
One answer is that they’re hoping the sequester gives them so much leverage that the Democrats fold and accept an equivalent or larger package of spending cuts that Republicans prefer. But I can’t find any Republicans who actually believe that will happen.
Another explanation is that Republicans don’t want to cut tax deductions now — which is the key to any deal with the Democrats — because they want to use those deductions to pay for rate-lowering tax reform. But if they’re not open to new revenues, they’re not getting rate-lowering tax reform while President Obama remains in office. And if they take power after Obama leaves office, they can just lower tax rates without paying for it, as they’ve done many times before.
A third answer is that the anti-tax pledge holds that cutting deductions to reduce the deficit is a tax increase, and Republicans won’t vote for a tax increase, even if it results in a policy outcome they vastly prefer. In other words, it’s ratio-myopia.
Salon has an article on how Ed-Reformers are “Teaching Kids to Hate Democracy.” Go read the entire thing. We’ve seen the beginnings of this movement in Delaware with Voices4Delaware – the group that organized to get their members elected to our school boards, with embarrassing results.
You can see that message in myriad actions over the last few years.
For instance, at the behest of corporate education “reformers,” more and more cities are moving to eliminate the democratic process of electing school boards, effectively telling students, parents and the larger community that republican democracy cannot be trusted to manage fundamentally public institutions. Similarly, corporate “reformers” are constantly demonizing teachers’ unions, effectively telling students and parents that the major vestige of workplace democracy in schools must be crushed.
Then there is corporate “reformers’” push to replace publicly run schools with privately run charter schools, even though the charter schools typically perform worse than the public ones. That tells students that a public institution with some modicum of democratic control is inherently less ideal than a private undemocratic tyranny.
Likewise, as shown most recently in this recent <a href=”http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/16/us-usa-charters-admissions-idUSBRE91E0HF20130216“>Reuters</a> investigation, those charter schools often “screen student applicants, assessing their academic records, parental support, disciplinary history, motivation, special needs and even their citizenship” – and then hand pick only the students the school administrators want. That tells students and the community at large that the core democratic notion of equal opportunity for all shouldn’t be honored even in public education. Just as problematic, as Andrew Hartman noted in his incisive Jacobin magazine report on Teach for America, many of the most hyped charter schools force families to “sign contracts committing (their children) to a rigorous program of surveillance,” thus sending the additional message to low-income kids that to succeed in America, they must be willing to submit to “institutionalization” and give up their most personal democratic freedoms.
Taken together, the education “reform” movement is waging a comprehensive war on the most basic notions of democracy – and not a secret war, either. It is quite explicit, as evidenced by the comments of the most famous and politically renowned leader of that movement, Michelle Rhee.
As usual… the floor is yours.
Tags: Open Thread