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Fox News Business Panel: Let 'Em Have Fewer Teachers!

Reported by Ellen - June 20, 2010 -

Guest blogged by Brian

On Bulls & Bears last week (6/12/10), the unbalanced panel seemed more interested in making sure that no federal money went to teachers or – gasp! – anyone connected with the teachers union than they were in making sure that teachers don’t get laid off in the wake of state and municipalities’ budgetary shortfalls. I'm willing to bet that none of the unconcerned Fox News regulars have kids in public schools. Their attitude seemed to be "Let 'em have larger classes!" or, maybe, "Let 'em get homeschooled!"

According to host Brenda Buttner, House Democrats want to take $10 billion in unspent stimulus funds to pay for a White-House backed “teacher bailout,” as she put it.

Predictably, the panel of regulars was not only against the idea but belligerently against it.

Tobin Smith said, "You're insane. I'm supposed to pay taxes for Michigan or California? What are property taxes for? What are sales taxes for? These are local fees. The cities decide this… Federal taxpayers paying and bailing out failed systems of the state is not what the federal government was designed for, and it's certainly not what federal income taxes were designed for."

Professor Caroline Heldman, a News Hounds Top Dog, was the only person in favor. She came out of the gate spunky. "I can't think of a better way to spend it, Brenda, for three reasons. One, it’s going to middle class families. It's immediately going to stimulate the economy. Two, it keeps unemployment numbers low, and three, what better way to invest in our future and our competitiveness than to put money into our kids?" She added that she disagreed it’s about failed systems but “budgetary shortfalls as a result of the economic recession.”

Buttner didn’t bother to hide her opinion as she said that the measure would be a “temporary stimulus” and, speaking to regular Gary B. Smith, added, "Temporary stimulus never really gets us out of a recession, does it?"

"Absolutely, Brenda,” Gary B. said. “The things that Caroline said – I respect the heck out of her but she makes my blood boil… Over half the states over the last ten years have added teachers faster than their student enrollment has gone up… I would agree if our education system worked (but)our test scores… are falling way behind the rest of the world."

Heldman came back. "You're shifting the topic. This isn't about quality of teachers or education… We’re not talking about bad teachers. We're talking about budgetary shortfalls."

Showing a bit more bias, Buttner asked Eric Bolling a leading question: “Does this surprise you (that) this is a heavily unionized industry?”

Predictably, Bolling was not only not surprised, he used the opening to take a swipe at Democrats. "Teachers are the biggest union people on the planet. Guess who are the biggest supporters of the Dems? The unions…This is very bad policy." He said we should "give the (stimulus) money back."

Heldman got the last word. "I think it's somewhat ironic that in the same bill where the $10 billion is being added in, there’s $40 billion for war efforts. We have no issues funding war efforts, but when it comes to education, it suddenly becomes de-prioritized?"

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