The Oregonian writer Steve Duin wrote a nice piece about teacher cutbacks at Franklin High School coming in the next few months. He only told the effects, and I asked him to write about what has caused these cutbacks. Below is a link to his well written column, and below that is my response.
Dear Steve Duin,
I appreciate your nice, but short-sighted, story titled, “At Franklin, the bell tolls for…them.” You quote teacher Portia Hall as saying, “’I’ve been teaching for fifteen years, and I’ve never had a year when we didn’t cut. Even when times were good.’”
Why don’t you tell the whole story about school funding and teacher cut backs? Why don’t you write about how free trade treaties have shipped jobs and much of the tax base overseas? Why don’t you write about how those treaties make it more profitable for American businesses to create jobs in other nations rather than here? Why don’t you write about how the difference between the old higher wages in the US and the new lower wages over there go into the pockets of Wall Street fat cats and other rich people via higher corporate profits, enhanced dividends and rising share prices? The people that lose those jobs wind up searching for work. That’s not a very good trade. This leads to a good question.
What are the federal government and the American economy for? Is it to redistribute more income to the already rich at the expense of working people? That’s been happening for the last thirty years.
These agreements are the primary reason why the rich are getting richer. They’re why the one percent received 93 percent of total US income growth from 2009 to 2010.
Why is the tax base crumbling? Why are teachers being laid off three years after the official end of the recession? Why can’t the economy create over 12 million jobs with rising real wages nowadays, like it did when Jimmy Carter was president and the economy and the population were only about 60 percent the size of what they are now? Why have only 4 million jobs with declining real wages and salaries been created in the twelve years since George W. Bush took office? Why is the economy so weak?
Free trade “income redistribution” agreements are the greatest reasons the one percent receive nearly 25 percent of the total US income nowadays compared with about 8 percent under Carter. The result has been devastating to the 99 percent in lost jobs, declining real income, demand too weak to create jobs in the US at previous levels, evaporating tax bases, teachers voting to strike in Gresham-Barlow and the Parkrose districts. These agreements are also the primary reasons why Portia Hall has never seen “a year we didn’t cut.”
Just open your eyes and look at those free trade treaties and ask yourself what the upcoming Trans Pacific Free Trade Agreement is going to do to 99 percent of Americans. If it’s implemented, the agreement is going to redistribute even more income to the one percent from the 99 percent, leading to more jobs shipped overseas, jobs created in other nations rather than here, shrinking tax bases, cutbacks in education, police, firefighters and all kinds of government positions and programs that the 99 percent rely upon. Are these the results we want from our federal government and our economy? I don’t think so, but that’s what we’ve got.
So I ask you again, Why don’t you write about the causes, as well as the effects? Why don’t you tell the whole story?