Friday, May 14, 2010


After all the money that's been doled out to men in expensive suits, the word "bailout" is now toxic -- so toxic that the right is finding creative ways to use it. Here's a headline at the Fox News homepage:

That's right -- preventing mass teacher layoffs is now a bailout.

Here's the Fox story. Note the fairness and balance, evident in the very first sentence:

Despite President Obama's pledge for honest budgeting and billions of dollars in stimulus money spent to save teachers' jobs, the Education Department is asking for off-the-books emergency funding to keep local districts from laying off school teachers next school year.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent Democratic lawmakers a request Thursday to pass a $26 billion emergency supplemental to fund up to 300,000 teachers' jobs that he says will otherwise be lost in the fall.

Administration officials want to add the teacher funding to a $60 billion supplemental request sent to Congress to pay for ongoing military operations in Afghanistan as well as Haiti relief and money for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed that measure on Thursday but Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, has said he is reluctant to load the bill with additional spending goodies....

Uh-huh -- teachers' salaries are now "goodies."

The use of the word "bailout," by the way, comes not from Fox but from the GOP:

... "This latest state bailout proposal promotes the same flawed logic as the failed 'stimulus' bill that has contributed to a record $1.5 trillion deficit and left one in every 10 Americans from our workforce out of work," House Minority Leader John Boehner said in a written statement.

"Giving states another $23 billion in federal education money simply throws more money into taxpayer-funded bailouts when we should be discussing why we aren't seeing the results we need from the billions in federal dollars that are already being spent," Boehner said.

And just so we're clear on the logic of this, recall that Republicans denounce bailouts because they think the magic of the free market should correct any economic problems, up to and including crashes and depressions. Are they now arguing that free-market forces should decide whether or not your kid has a teacher at all? I know they don't like public education, but given the fact that the vast majority of American parents send their kids to public schools, would Republicans be willing to stand up and tell the public that they consider education to be not a right, but a service your town shouldn't provide if it can't afford to?

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