A report from the College Board Advocacy and Policy Center shows that the United States is now ranked 12th internationally in the number of college graduates. Canada is ranked number one. We’re actually outranked by South Korea.
Florida is ranked 47th in average graduation rates for public high schools, and 32 in the estimated rate of high school graduates entering college.
Republicans in Congress, including those from Florida, apparently think those numbers are just fine. They consider passing a bill to save jobs for teachers a “bailout.” They say there’s no money and that we can’t afford to “spend, spend, spend” for things like education. Never mind that they bailed out Wall Street without batting an eye, and for good reason. Sizable contributions to the GOP from Wall Street are growing every day. But Republicans blame THAT bailout on the “people over-spending on homes they couldn’t afford,” NOT the banks. People like, oh I don’t know, maybe teachers or emergency workers who’ve lost their jobs? Maybe even you or someone you know?
“Spending another $10 billion we do not have will not improve public education or protect the very best teachers.”
While you’re scratching your head over that one, remember Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)? He’s the guy who apologized to poor old BP when President Obama’s proposed cleanup bill got in the way of their perfectly good oil disaster that threatens Florida’s economy along with several other states. Before he voted against the bill he apologized yet again for more ungrateful victims:
“I’m sorry that we have to be here today to spend money that the taxpayers don’t have and Congress can’t afford for an economic stimulus program that doesn’t work.”
Barton and his colleagues could solve some of the problem by putting people back to work right away. They could use a little economics tutoring. Maybe hiring an acting coach while they’re at it? To pass this bill, they say we’re spending another $10 billion the taxpayer doesn’t have!
They think you’ll believe all this just because they say so, loudly in front of cameras from C-Span (Watch here for some of the highlights, from Media Matters.) They think you’re stupid. They voted against you AND that bill, perhaps hoping to keep it that way: Stupid.
On Tuesday, House Democrats passed the bill that will save over 300,000 jobs for teachers and emergency workers. A bill that will bring more than $700 million to Florida to prevent cuts in Medicaid and will save 9,200 teaching jobs. A bill that is paid for by closing tax loopholes for multinational corporations. No wonder Joe Barton is so indignant!
The bill passed by a vote of 247-161 and split on party lines. Republicans from Florida naturally joined the rest of their party and voted no. Four of the Republicans didn’t even bother to show up to vote.
No to those “bailouts” for teachers and their students. The GOP now defines education as a “special interest.” Unfortunately that’s one “special interest” that just can’t compete with Wall Street.
Republicans ARE however in favor of extending those Bush tax cuts for incomes of $250,000 or more a year. The ones that add a hefty chunk to the deficit and aren’t paid for. Not to worry though. They plan to let the middle class foot the bill, problem solved! Now there’s a bailout they can get behind!
Try to see it from a Republican millionaire’s point of view: any money that comes out of his/her pocket from those tax cuts they so desperately want to keep, and instead goes to funding things like health care, police departments, fire departments, emergency first responders, unemployment benefits, Medicaid, social security before age 70, just to name a few, well that’s just simply unaffordable! Even the smallest fraction taken from the paycheck of, say a GOP House member who can’t even bother to show up and physically vote against a bill to do so. Any amount of that expired tax cut that could put a teacher back to work, a student back in school five days a week instead of four, or maybe just give us a shot of catching up to college graduates in South Korea. In a perfect GOP world money spent on education would be a terrible thing to waste!
In Florida all “yes” votes for the bill came from Democrats. All Republicans listed below voted “no” or didn’t bother to vote, period. Maybe we should be asking THEM why anyone in Florida should bother to vote for them next time around?
- Bilirakis, Gus M.,
- Brown-Waite, Virginia
- Crenshaw, Ander
- Diaz-Balart, Mario
- Mack, Connie
- Mica, John
- Miller, Jeff
- Posey, Bill
- Putnam, Adam
- Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana
- Stearns, Cliff