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Oklahoma Republicans Destroyed Their Economy So They Could Justify Crippling Public Education

We have to start talking about what Republicans are doing and, more importantly, why they're doing it.
Empty classrooms are like catnip for Republicans.

Empty classrooms are like catnip for Republicans.

If you still subscribe to the school of thought that "both parties are the same," first, I invite you to take a long walk off a short pier. Second, please read the following summary of how Republicans govern when they have all the power and how they use that power to devastate public education:

NEWCASTLE, Okla. — A deepening budget crisis here has forced schools across the Sooner State to make painful decisions. Class sizes have ballooned, art and foreign-language programs have shrunk or disappeared, and with no money for new textbooks, children go without. Perhaps the most significant consequence: Students in scores of districts are now going to school just four days a week.

"Only" about 20% of the counties in Oklahoma are doing this but the number grows every year as the economy continues to implode and Republicans continue to cut public education. I'm trying to remember the last time I read about a Democratically controlled state cutting an entire day off from the school week because they deliberately crashed the economy. Please feel free to post any examples you can find in the comments below.

Republican defenders will claim that I shouldn't blame the GOP and that it's actually Obama's fault somehow because he didn't create enough jobs as president. Those people should probably stop talking and keep reading:

But funding for classrooms has been shrinking for years in this deep-red state as lawmakers have cut taxes, slicing away hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue in what some Oklahomans consider a cautionary tale about the real-life consequences of the small-government approach favored by Republican majorities in Washington and statehouses nationwide.

Just for the record, Republicans have supermajorities in both the state senate and house. And a Republican governor. And the state went to Donald Trump in 2016 by 36.4 points. It's tempting to say, "Hey, they voted for this shit, fuck'em!" but children doesn't deserve to be punished for the stupidity of their parents. That how conservatives think when they deny food and medical care to children of "lazy" parents and we're supposed to be better than that. Regardless, the point is that the Democrats have zero power and that's let Republicans enact their dream agenda of trickle down on steroids.

"Trickle Down" It sounds like a good idea: Cut taxes for the rich and corporations and they will, naturally, take every last penny of that money and pour it back into the state that showered them with riches. Jobs will come tumbling from the sky like mana from the heavens and the economy will explode, repaying those tax cuts with interest. It's the only economic philosophy that Republicans have and as far as they're concerned, the fact that it has never once actually worked despite decades of disastrous experiments is absolutely no reason to not keep trying. 

After all, their kids don't go to public schools. And we have to start accepting that that's the entire point.

We have to stop pretending that Republicans actually think their economic policies are going to work as advertised. It's possible that the truly fanatical or the equally dim believe that all they need to do is cut taxes even more and the promised conservative utopia will arrive. It's possible, but unlikely. Rather, Republicans like Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas and Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma are quite aware of what their economic policy will do. I submit that they want to blow up their states' economies so they can do what Republicans always want to do: Cut public funding for anything not that does not solely benefit the rich.

This was always the point of "trickle down" economics and it's why Republicans wanted Obama to enact strict austerity measures during the recession even after seeing how it turned Europe into a depressed disaster. Now, with the absolute power granted by large scale voter suppression and extreme gerrymandering, Republicans can take their agenda of economic destruction to the very limits of human decency and well beyond. Reagan and Bush 41 had to raise taxes because they still had to answer to the public, but Republicans in states like Kansas and Oklahoma answer to no one except the 1% beneficiaries of all those millions in unnecessary tax cuts. In such an environment, defunding public education is not a byproduct of a failed economic policy so much as an intended goal.

If you question this claim, I would refer you to the current Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos. DeVos is everything Republicans could ever want in her role of shaping public education. She despises the very concept and would like nothing more than to shut it all down and replace it with for-profit charter schools that teach Creationism. What do you suppose the chances that her oft-stated disdain of public education just happens to dovetail with the ongoing public education apocalypse occurring in Republican controlled states?

Public education isn't the only target, of course. Republicans have gone after all manner of public services with a chainsaw but public education has held a special place in their bitter little hearts for as long as they realized that they needed an electorate filled with "the poorly educated" to keep them in power. Nothing is more dangerous to the GOP than the informed citizenry the Founding Fathers envisioned. Therefor, public education that cannot be turned into partisan propaganda has to be dealt with. And if that can be done by giving the rich even more money, so much the better.

Remember, their kids go to expensive private schools while they send your kids home keep them ignorant. 

There are 524 days left to the 2018 elections.

- This article kills fascists

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