2018, Donald Trump, Education, Teachers — April 7, 2018 at 12:25 pm

How Trump’s tax scam fuels the red state education revolts


If we can afford to give the Kochs $1 billion a year, maybe your kid’s teacher shouldn’t have to drive an Uber at night

Around 125 teachers and their supporters marched from Oklahoma City to Tulsa this week to demand the state restore funds to the state’s starved schools. The Guardian’s Mike Elk reported that the marchers were met with “food, water and words of encouragement” along “their grueling trek.”

And these teachers, like their colleagues West Virginia who launched a 9-day strike last month, are getting results.

After granting teachers a $6,000 raise that still left them among the most underpaid in the nation last week, state Republicans vowed to do more for Oklahoma’s schools. On Friday they relented and passed $92 million more in corporate tax increases that should go back into to education.

But this isn’t over yet.

“The teachers vowed not to end their strike until the state passed senate bill 1086, which would close a loophole in the state’s capital gains tax and raise an estimated $100 million for classroom resources,” Elk reported.

The conservative passion to incentivize earning money by playing with wealth you already have or by being born rich reached its platonic ideal with the Trump Tax Scam. While middle class families do get some tax cuts, like a $1.50 a week, that generally expire in the next decade, the bill was carefully crafted to almost exclusively benefit the rich.

The whole thing looks and feels a scheme to inflate the stock prices and dividends — because it is.

If you own stocks, this was good news — until Trump decided to maybe almost start a trade war so he could drown out the voices in his head calling him a failure. But if you own a lot of stocks, you were probably doing okay before!

Public schools, especially in GOP-led states like Oklahoma, are not.

Now we’re in the midst of what seems to be a genuine moment with a movement that has already spread to four red states.

Historian Corey Robin sees something very big happening here:

Right now, in the reddest of red states, in the places you’d least expect it, teachers are starting a movement not only to raise their salaries and improve the schools, not only to reverse the assault on public education, not only to reverse the rule of Scott Walker which was supposed to provide a national model across the country, but to confront the real governing order of the last 40 years: the Prop 13 order.

Prop 13 catalyzed the anti-tax movement that led to the chronic under-nourishing of our schools. Something now seems to have finally triggered a backlash. Maybe it was desperation. Maybe it was inevitable. Or maybe it was the sight of a party that spent the last decade insisting that famine was necessary sending their biggest pigs in to gorge off your table.

People have seen what these tax cuts look like in their paycheck and they’re not impressed. They know Trump’s hiding his tax returns because his cuts unlike theirs likely extend beyond two commas.

And when the health insurance premium increases Trump engineered become clear in September, millions will end up worse off, especially in Republican states that have done little to protect their residents.

Republicans just passed a law that allows rich kids to inherit 135 times the average American income tax-free without ever working a day in their lives. It’s pretty tough to do that and then say we can’t afford textbooks printed in this century.

Red staters are rising up for their kids and progressives need to rise up to them and start talking about actual solutions to this manufactured crisis. No, it’s not another charter school or running our education system like Uber or Lyft. It’s much bigger (and smarter) than that. This is about confronting the inequality that has been the end result of the tax revolt with something we know can work — equal funding for all school districts.

[Photo via @Teamsters.]