Home > Uncategorized > The LA Teachers Strike Adds to the Decline of Reaganomics

The LA Teachers Strike Adds to the Decline of Reaganomics

January 23, 2019

“Reagonomics is on the Ropes”, a post election analysis by Assistant Professor of Management for Legal and Ethical Studies at Oakland U. Michael Greiner suggests that the defeats of the GOP in Kansas and of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a repudiation of Reagonomics, a repudiation that will be reinforced as the public becomes aware of the adverse impact of the Trump tax cuts.

In the article published in Medium, Mr. Greiner offered a brief history of Reagonomics and concluded that section of his article with this paragraph:

Reagan’s personal popularity, and a pretty robust economy for much of his term, created a myth, one that became the basis for today’s Republican party. At this point, it is a reflexive matter of faith that taxes and regulations should be cut. To Republicans, there is no such thing as a good tax or a good regulation, even if the lack of them result in the problems we have today: high income inequality, huge deficits, and environmental catastrophe in the form of global warming.

Mr. Greiner then showed how this faith in deregulation and low taxes played out in Kansas and Wisconsin, where he sees the recent rebuke by the electorate as two strikes against Reaganomics. He then posits that the Trump tax cuts will be the third strike:

Billed as tax reform, (the tax cuts) fooled nobody. These were simply a give-away to the rich while the difference would be made up by cuts to social programs such as Social Security or healthcare. In this last election, people rejected that policy agenda by a wide margin.

The margin of victory WAS wide, but because the GOP still controls the Senate and the White House the wide margin will not be enough to strike down Reaganomics.

But another blow to Reaganomics AND neoliberalism just hit in Los Angeles where the teachers won a victory in their six-day strike. As reported by Diane Ravitch, the teachers union secured almost everything they sought and the price they paid in terms of public support was minimal. In a post late yesterday she wrote:

The United Teachers of Los Angeles went out on strike on January 14. The strike will end if the membership approves a new two-year contract. The union won almost everything it sought. The teachers will get a wage increase; the district will limit class sizes and eliminate a waiver that allowed class size limits to be voided for economic reasons; there will be full-time nurses in every school, a librarian, more counselors. And more.

After reading the comments, though, I had a sense that the tentative agreement is not universally seen as an unequivocal victory. Several of the commenters felt the union could have gotten more if they dug their heels in and some saw the whole exercise as a political stunt designed to give the unions leaders more clout in California politics. To those commenters, I offered this feedback:

…there is no guarantee that a protracted strike would yield a better outcome and some evidence that a longer strike might erode the good will the teachers now have. The big issue facing CA is the referendum to change Proposition 13 and as Diane notes the local school board elections are critical as well. Any voter antipathy toward teachers would undercut both of those crucial votes and any sense of good will toward teachers will help. From afar, it seems that the teachers are getting as much as they can without compromising their standing in the community.

To which I added a link to Mr. Greiner’s Medium column. It took decades for the GOP to undercut the public’s confidence in public education. It may take decades to win it back. The LA strike and the wildcat strikes across the country are bringing the privatization movement to the public’s attention without adding to the resentment toward “government schools” that the right wing of the GOP promotes. The LA strike is another log in the fire. Let’s keep the blaze going.

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