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Thursday, June 3, 2010

What about the children?

That was former GOP Congressman and Clinton impeachment meeister Henry Hyde's rhetorical question about the delicate question of why the president was being impeached. The true answer was a lot simpler. "We tried for five years to get the fucker until we hit paydirt when he couldn't keep his pants on."

These days the GOP answer to that question is very different It's "Sorry kids but you're shit out of luck." States and cities have seen the recession decimate their income particularly through declining property values translating into lower tax revenue so the scissors are coming out to cut everything they can. The two areas being hardest hit are education and health care for children. They can't afford to pay lobbyists so no one is going to bat for them and calling for tax increases these days is regarded as the moral equivalent of matricide.

Congress has been trying to pass a $23 billion bill to help states avoid education cuts. Republicans have stood firm in opposing this bill despite the fact that at least 300,000 teachers will be laid off in 2010.

We just got a dose of this in Los Angeles. The LAUSD is cutting over 200 special ed classes, closing an entire special ed school, virtually eliminating all music and arts studies and laying off over 1,000 employees.

Contrast this attitude with the immediate post World War II era. Despite the deficit from the war being over 100% of GDP at the end of the war, the government passed by a huge margin GI bill which gave all returning GIs a free college education. It created a pool of educated people that catapulted America into the position it precariously hangs on to currently. It turned going to college from being an exception to being the expected.

Instead we are depriving today's children of the most valuable asset they can have entering adulthood all because deficit hawks think that nothing else matters other than reducing the deficit without increasing taxes which, by the way, are at their lowest level since 1950. It does not bode well for the future if our next generation are not getting the best education possible.

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