When Michael Bloomberg was Mayor of New York, the city unions asked for a pay raise. He said they deserved it, he wanted to do it, but they had to work with him to figure out where the money was going to come from. He wasn’t antagonistic. He didn’t portray public employees as the enemy. And he showed respect. They worked it out.
In Kentucky, the teachers are on strike. But instead of learning from the Bloomberg example — and a self-made man worth $50B is an example that should be heeded — Kentucky’s Governor, Matt Bevin, used the standard conservative playbook to denigrate his ’opponents’. He suggested that the teachers’ work stoppage had exposed kids to sexual abuse and promoted drug use.
“I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them,” the Republican governor told reporters Friday afternoon, according to CNN affiliate WDRB.

He wasn’t done.

“I guarantee you somewhere today, a child was physically harmed or ingested poison because they were home alone because a single parent didn’t have any money to take care of them.” Bevin went on to say that “some were introduced to drugs for the first time because they were vulnerable and left alone

Matt Bevin and Mary Fallin. Neophyte negotiators.

Beyond the mind-numbing absurdity of the remarks — is there any proof? —  it defies common sense. Teachers are not social workers or cops. Their mandate does not cover what happens in a kid’s home.

If Bevin was genuinely concerned he would have taken action. Open the school gyms and have government employees babysit. Hire outside contractors. Call for parent volunteers. Something. But Bevin’s aim is alarmism and cheap political points — not ensuring the welfare of poor kids. If he cared he would do something — he is the Governor after all.

Bevins isn’t the only conservative Governor who views teachers as the enemy. Oklahoma’s Mary Fallin reacted to the teachers’ walkout in her state with a dismissive comparison. She said of them that they were like:

“a teenager wanting a better car”

Comparing hard-working Americans, teaching the next generation, often with children of their own, to callow youth not only reaffirms the lack of empathy common in conservatives, it is also a dismal and counter-productive negotiating tactic. It was not something Michael Bloomberg would have ever said.


How Red State Tax Strategies Are Killing America’s Future.

April 5, 2018

Conservatives sneer at high-tax, blue states while they continue to slash their budgets back home. But the real measure of economic vitality is take-home pay — and there the blue states do so much better. Which raises this question for the rational economist: How can people who pay higher taxes have more money in their paycheck? The […]

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Really? – 2.7.17 – Education Takes a Beating. And Trump keeps Lying – Plus More

February 7, 2017

Al Franken said of Betsy DeVos – “During her hearing, Ms. DeVos proved beyond a shadow of a doubt not only that her ideology is fundamentally incompatible with the mission of the Department of Education, but that she is fundamentally incompetent to be its leader.” Election winners get to pick their nominees. They will choose […]

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Christianity and Unplanned Pregnancy.

May 25, 2015

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” ― Martin Luther King Jr. You want to raise your kids as good Christians – particularly your daughters. So you demand that your children ‘save it’ for marriage. To promote this, you create such monstrosities as ‘purity balls’ – where daughters pledge […]

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Handicapping the GOP Field, Before We Even Know the Final Line Up.

May 3, 2015

“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career” ― George Bernard Shaw. Some candidates are in. Some candidates have promised to be in. And some putative candidates will demur. Regardless let’s handicap the GOP field. (Note: I have broken the field down into various categories. Where the […]

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Are We Mom, the Flag, and Apple Pie – Or More Like the Guy at Applebee’s in the Wife Beater.

December 11, 2014

“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville. We consider ourselves to be a decent people. Our heroes are stalwart sorts – who can be relied upon to the right thing. Cary Cooper, John Wayne and the Marlboro Man. We […]

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Capitalism’s Casualties – 6 Things That Are Stupidly Expensive in the US.

November 19, 2014

“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” ― Dorothy Parker American capitalists tell us the magic of the US market is that it will always give us the best goods at the best value. The real magic is that people still believe it. […]

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Religion Is a Poor Guide for Running a Country.

November 9, 2014

Religion rarely leads to good decision making. In that way, it is like alcohol. The more you consume, the dumber you act. I am not talking about God mind you. Nor the worship of him. Instead I refer to the soul-crushing ignorance and stupidity attendant on those who blindly use the old books to find […]

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Tear It Down – The Republican Plan for America

October 28, 2014

The GOP hates the Affordable Care Act (aka the ACA, aka Obamacare). It’s hate is hypocritical, as it mirrors a health initiative proposed by the GOP in 1994 to forestall talk of a possible Democraticsingle payer plan. But as it is today closely identified with its eponymous promoter – the President, whose name is now mud […]

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