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The Ed Show for Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: John Callahan, Bert Zipperer, Courtney Johnson, David Cay Johnston,

Mark Horton, Fred Risser, Lena Taylor, Chris Larson

KENT JONES, POP CULTURIST (voice-over):  -- political issues we face, drawing out the principles of sports to the issues that have real world applications to our national life and politics.

Given his political past and ambitions for the future, here is a real world sports application for Allen to remember: know when to punt.



RACHEL MADDOW, “TRMS” HOST:  Thank you very much, Kent.  Appreciate that.

Now, it‘s time for THE ED SHOW.  Have a great night.


ED SCHULTZ, HOST:  Good evening, Americans.  And welcome to THE ED SHOW tonight from New York.

This is what‘s on the table:

If you‘re in education, this could be your show tonight.  Teachers, vital to our country, vital—vital to the future of this country but shamefully under-valued.

And Governor Scott Walker?  Well, he‘s not the only culprit.  It‘s getting worse.  It‘s got to stop.  My commentary coming up on that.

The Wisconsin 14 -- they left the state to save it.  Tonight, they‘ll respond to the new nightmare budget that could set the standard for the rest of the nation.

And Mike Huckabee says President Obama grew up in Kenya.  Breaking news: Governor Huckabee, a correction—well, it‘s just not enough.  You‘ll be in “The Takedown” tonight.

This is the story that has me fired up tonight and it‘s personal.  Governor Scott Walker has leveled the largest assault on public education in the history of the state of Wisconsin.  Late this afternoon, thousands of locked out protesters stood in the cold and chanted while Governor Walker gave his budget address inside the capitol.

“The A.P.” reports Walker‘s budget includes, well, nearly a 9 percent cut in aid to schools which would amount to a reduction of nearly $900 million.  The governor also proposed requiring school districts to reduce their property tax authority by an average of $550 per pupil.  So much for a commitment.

Here‘s how the governor put it during his speech.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER ®, WISCONSIN:  Just as we reform our entitlement programs for the 21st century, we must also reform our education system.  Clearly, we have to produce graduates who are able to compete not only with their peers from Chicago or Des Moines, but also from Shanghai or Sydney, and we want to do so while we balance a $3.6 billion deficit.  That is why even as we reduce school aids, overall, we give schools across the state the tools to make up for those reductions with even greater savings through the budget repair bill.

Again, this is why it‘s so vitally important for the Senate Democrats to come back home and do their jobs.  If they do not, our schools face massive layoffs of teachers.


SCHULTZ:  No threat there.  This is a classic Republican logical thinking by the way they see the world.

Walker is going to help Wisconsin school children.  He‘s going to help them compete by cutting nearly $1 billion from public education?  You think that‘s going to work?

Walker blames 14 Democrats for massive teacher layoffs when he‘s the one that‘s cutting the budget?  Democrats don‘t want this.

This isn‘t just about an attack on teacher unions.  This is an attack on every taxpayer in the state of Wisconsin and it seems to be contagious.

Cities would get nearly $60 million less in state aid in Walker‘s budget plan, an 8.8 percent cut.

Counties would lose over $36 million.  That‘s a 24 percent reduction.

And the legislation—get this—would outlaw local governments‘ ability, giving them the ability to increase property taxes except to account for new construction.

Now, think about that.  If they have a shortfall of money coming into their district and they say, “Well, you know, let‘s get our community together, our town together and decide what we‘re going to do”—no, can‘t do that.

This is now big brother on the scene.  This isn‘t local control anymore.  If cities can‘t raise property taxes to cover Walker‘s cuts in education, and that would be a local decision, teachers are going to get the ax and public education is going to be put on life support in many communities in Wisconsin.

And as I said, this is contagious.  This is the new Republican plan to go after budgets in America.  This is exactly what Republican governors like Walker have always dreamed of.  They‘ve been on a mission to privatize public education for years so they can make money.

Republicans can‘t stand the fact that public education isn‘t about the almighty dollar.  The demonization of public education in America—can we come it a conclusion tonight that this really has to stop?  Because we have to take a closer look at what we‘re doing to the future of our country?  And it‘s all starting with the workforce, isn‘t it?  The teachers.  We got to go after them.

Let me remind Americans tonight that nobody goes into teaching to get rich.  They do it because they love helping people.  They love the reward of seeing kids reach their potential.  It takes a special person to be a teacher.

But governors like Walker want teachers to bear the burden of shared sacrifice.  Walker refused.  He refused to raise taxes on the rich.  But he wants to stick it to the teachers who average—don‘t let me knock you off the couch tonight—folks, a whopping $51,000 a year.

It‘s not just Wisconsin.  Over in Ohio, Republicans are going after teachers—well, they‘re really over paid, they‘re making $54,000 a year.  And across the river in New Jersey, Chris Christie wants you to believe, he wants you to believe that a teacher who makes $63,000 a year is rich.

Christie and Walker, what they want to do and Kasich and other Republican governors, they‘re watching this closely across the country and how they can do it in their state, they want to crush—and I mean crush collective bargaining and pin the blame on the teachers unions.  Well—


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE ®, NEW YORK:  What I believe in is true adversarial collective bargaining.  All these rights are legislatively created.  They didn‘t come down from tablets at the top of a mountain.

The union, Bob, they protect the worst of the worst.  That‘s what they‘re there for.  They make it impossible to fire bad teachers and it‘s ruining our education system.


SCHULTZ:  Bad teachers?  Let‘s see, I give some statistics later on in this broadcast tonight to tell you just how long these young kids who go into teaching, how long they last and why they leave.  Christie hasn‘t done his home work.

I said at the top of this broadcast tonight that this is personal to me.  Every time I talk to a teacher in Wisconsin when I was on the road a couple weeks ago covering this story I thought about my mother.

My mother was a high school English teacher.  Ironically, she went to Montclair State in New Jersey, teachers college at the time.  She taught English at Granby High School in Norfolk, Virginia.  She had three accelerated classes and three regular classes.

My mother, she graded papers until the wee hours of the morning.  She got her kids off to school every day.  And when she came home in the afternoon, she was still grading papers, and then she was working on lesson plans on Saturdays.  And then she was grading papers on Sunday afternoon.

My mother was a teacher.  And I saw my mother love what she did.  She used to take tremendous pride in knowing that John Ruff (ph) went off to the University of Virginia and became a doctor, see what kids were graduating from what college and she took a tremendous amount of pride in being part of helping that student in their education.

And I know in my heart that teachers haven‘t changed over the years even though my mom died years ago and came from a different generation.  They‘re still same.  I know they‘re the same because I was in that crowd at Madison and I looked in the eyes of those teachers.  They haven‘t changed a bit.

But you know what‘s changed in America?  Our priorities and our conversation is not as serious about education as it should be.

Now, we have teachers who are nothing more than political tools, pawns.  They‘re bargaining chips in negotiations is what they are.  We don‘t value them the way they used to.

But I can guarantee you that teachers value what they do.  They care about their students the same way my mom did.  They cared about where they went after high school and they still do today.

But that story is not being told.  That story is lost in the conversation because now you see teachers are just making too much money.  And their health care package is too good.  And they‘ve got a pension that they are responsible for through compensation and collective bargaining, but governors who want to give tax breaks to the rich, they want to make those teachers pay.

And you know what they‘re doing?  This philosophy is running young teachers out of the industry.  And we don‘t have the quality teachers in the classrooms that we could have as a nation if we really straightened out our priority list in this country.

I have followed these protests closely.  And we are talking about educated professionals, people who have college degrees.

Back when I was a kid, college degree was pretty cool.  It was revered.  You kind of had to have it if you wanted to move on.  That was the standard and your teachers pushed you to go to college.

It‘s a little different world right now.  There‘s a lot of different ways to make a living.  But through the years, I‘ve seen us chip away at teachers and chip away and devalue what the they do and, of course, as Governor Christie said, there‘s a lot of lazy ones out there and so many bad ones we don‘t have a way to get rid of any of them.

Do you think that other teachers want to teach with other teachers who are not competent?  No.  They don‘t.

You see, they just don‘t have the media outlet.  They don‘t get the spotlight.  They don‘t get the microphone.  They don‘t get the editorial board space to tell America what it‘s like to be a teacher and what it means to them to see young people succeed in America and compete in the world.  That‘s their dream today.

And how many teachers out there, I‘ll ask you and you can send me an e-mail tonight at and tell me, have you ever bought any materials for your classroom because you didn‘t have enough money coming from the school district?

Back in the ‘70s when my mom did that, I couldn‘t believe she did it.  But she said the classroom needed it and she didn‘t want to hassle with the front office and it was just easier to do it this way and she knew she could help those kids.

There‘s a lot of those teachers today that sacrifice their own pay to pay for supplies in the classroom because of the under funding that‘s taking place.

You know, I‘m going to get partisan here.  The old Democratic Party would have never let this conversation get out of hand the way it has.  The new Democratic Party needs a lot of work.  They need to do a lot of patchwork and get their act together and go on the march for teachers in this country and realize that we are preparing tomorrow‘s workforce right here.

Teachers play more of a role in economic development than anybody who wants to take a chance on a stock price on Wall Street.  It‘s the infrastructure, the guts, the heart and soul, the minds of America that we are neglecting.  Why?  Well, we now have adopted the attitude in America that, why the hell should I pay for your kid to go to school?

We‘re back to that?  Yes, we are.  We really are.

You know, Governor Christie, I think it‘s great that your kids go to private school.  It‘s America.  You can do whatever you want to do, and I think there is a place for private schools in America because some people just like it that way.

But don‘t pick on the rest of us.  You know, the one thing about a private school is they can control who can come in.

But the one wonderful thing about public education in America is when the doors open up, everybody‘s welcome—the gifted, the talented, the challenged.  The socio economically challenged kid can walk in the door and have a chance to learn and his or her only hope, because that home life might not be the best, their hope is that teacher.

And now we want to cut that teacher and now we want to make the case to America that they make too much money and they‘re really not good at what they do?  Even though they‘re people with college degrees and more and more teachers today are getting higher degrees like masters degrees because they love what they do and they invest in their careers?

How about tax credits for teachers who want to expand their horizon and get maybe a PhD?  Is that a good idea?  Or is that being too liberal?

I went to the protest in Trenton, New Jersey, the other day and I ran into a teacher and I asked her a few questions about the budget.


SCHULTZ:  What if you were to tax the rich?  What if he were to add—

KATHY AILING, FORMER TEACHER:  You mean not repeal the billionaire or the millionaires‘ tax in New Jersey?

SCHULTZ:  You‘d go along with shared sacrifice?

AILING:  Yes.  Of course.

SCHULTZ:  But the way it is now?

AILING:  It‘s not shared.  It feels like it‘s not shared sacrifice.


SCHULTZ:  So, it‘s not shared sacrifice because, of course, the governor doesn‘t want to raise the taxes on the rich folks over there.  And we all know that the governor is winning this fight, right?  He‘s Mr.  Popular for the Republican Party across America?

Well, 72 percent of New Jersey voters favor restoring the millionaires‘ tax Christie vetoed.  Is that leadership, listening to the people?

And how about the income for people in New Jersey?  Hey, look.  I‘m not picking on New Jersey tonight.  Your governor is the one that‘s fronted on the national spotlight who can‘t keep his mug off the national shows because he thinks he has all the answers, although he‘s never been in a classroom as a teacher.

He comes from Wall Street.  He comes from being a lobbyist.  He comes from being an attorney.

Well, let‘s see.  New Jersey has the third highest percentage of millionaire residents in America.  Damn near 7 percent of the people that live in New Jersey are millionaires.

New Jersey millionaires, how many of them are there?  Well, there‘s 212,000 of them.

How many teachers?  A hundred and twelve thousand.

They got more millionaires in New Jersey than they do teachers, but we got to have the teachers pay for everything.  We can‘t raise the taxes on the rich folks over in New Jersey, maybe the top 2 percent maybe giving 1 more percent?  Nope, can‘t do that.

It‘s unfortunate.  And now, here we go with the attack on labor.  Headed up now, they tell Barack Obama, the president of the United States, you know, you can‘t get involved in this.  But the speaker of the House, he is willing to get involved in it.  Here he is.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  In some of these states, you‘ve got collective bargaining laws that are so weighted in favor of the public employees that there is almost no bargaining.  We‘ve given them a machine gun and put it right at the heads of the local officials and they really have had their hands tied.


SCHULTZ:  A machine gun at the head of local officials.  I mean, can we get a cartoon of that, John?  Can your office do that so we can really get the good picture of what you think about collective bargaining people in this country?

It is shameful.  It is shameful is what it is.  And you know who it is?  It‘s the Republican Party.  And it‘s the conservatives.  And it‘s these neoconservatives who don‘t want anybody to get their money and they don‘t want anything to do with shared sacrifice.  They want it all for them.

Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana—let‘s keep up the fight.  We can win this.  And it‘s a long way from over.

And, mom, this was dedicated to you tonight.

You‘re watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.


SCHULTZ:  Remember to answer tonight‘s text question: Are our nation‘s teachers getting the respect and pay they deserve?  Text “A” for yes, text “B” for no to 622639.  Or go to our new blog at  I want to know what you think.  I‘ll bring you the results later on in the show.


SCHULTZ (voice-over):  How many ways can you be wrong about unions?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why do I have to make sure they have fabulous benefits and they have tenure and they have a great pension?

SCHULTZ:  We‘ll break down the reality no one else is telling you.

Tonight‘s “Takedown”: Mike Huckabee goes birther to explain Barack Obama‘s world view.

MIKE HUCKABEE ®, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR:  He‘s having grown up in Kenya—

SCHULTZ:  We‘ll tell you what Huckabee himself once said about birthers.

And the Wisconsin 14, still in exile—their response to Walker‘s budget announcement.




JOHN CALLAHAN, NEW JERSEY TEACHER:  I‘m a teacher in New Jersey and this is where it all started.  It‘s where Walker got his ideas from.  He got his ideas from Governor Christie in New Jersey.  In Wisconsin, he‘s going to give tax breaks to corporations but he‘s not going to have to take care of the middle class.

SCHULTZ:  But what does it mean to your pocketbook?

CALLAHAN:  Big bucks, big bucks.  And I might have to move.  Maybe, I‘ll have to move out of New Jersey.


SCHULTZ:  That was part of my conversation last week with John Callahan, an 8th grade social studies teacher in Clifton, New Jersey.  In a moment, we‘ll be hearing more from him and two other teachers from other stays.

Mr. Callahan is contemplating leaving the state because Governor Chris Christie wants all public workers to cover 30 percent of their health care premiums.  But Christie won‘t raise taxes on millionaires.  He says they already pay enough.

A Republican state assemblyman explains that logic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The people in those upper income levels, they have the ability to go other places and they do.  I‘ve had numerous folks in my district who were taxpayers in New Jersey who no longer are taxpayers in New Jersey.


SCHULTZ:  Joining me now as promised is John Callahan, 8th grade social studies teacher in Clifton, New Jersey.  Also joining us tonight is Bert Zipperer, a middle school guidance counselor in Madison, Wisconsin.  And, Courtney Johnson, a high school English teacher in Columbus, Ohio.

Thanks for all of you for spending time with us tonight on THE ED SHOW to bring this story so maybe America can capture exactly what you folks do for a living.


SCHULTZ:  You bet.

Mr. Callahan, what that Republican assemblyman is saying is that New Jersey doesn‘t care if you leave the state.  It cares if millionaires leave the state.  What‘s your response to that?

CALLAHAN:  Ed, thank you for having me on.  I think teachers are every bit as important as millionaires if not more so because we can shape the future.  I teach my kids that we are all—you know, it‘s we the people, not we the corporations.  And, unfortunately, I think the person that just spoke is a little bit misguided.

SCHULTZ:  Bert Zipperer, you‘re a middle school guidance counselor in Madison, Wisconsin, and I think you can relate to my comment a moment ago.  One thing about public education, when the doors open, everybody is welcome.  You see every problem in society and every challenged kid, every gifted kid in America, and yet we‘re making the case that your colleagues, teachers, make too much money.

What do you think of that?

BERT ZIPPERER, WISCONSIN GUIDANCE COUNSELOR:  That is completely wrong.  First of all, there is no other place in society where everybody is welcome.  If you live in the area, no matter your English ability, no matter your needs, anything—everybody is welcome.  Everybody gets full service.

And my colleagues and I and our families, you know, we‘re all together as a family.  It‘s—how do you describe it?  You know, you describe it really well.

SCHULTZ:  Well, it‘s got to be hard for professionals with degrees who have spent years going to school to be told all of a sudden that they‘re making too much money and see a different portion of society, the rich, get off scot-free.

A National Education Association study shows—

ZIPPERER:  Oh, totally.

SCHULTZ:  -- that 50 percent -- 50 percent of all new teachers are likely to quit within the first five years due to poor working conditions and low salaries.

Courtney Johnson, what do you see—what do you see happening with young teachers and also with all this publicity and the attack on teachers in public education?  Isn‘t it going to be hard to get people into this profession at one time?

JOHNSON:  Yes, it sure is.  I actually have a student who is an education major.  She‘s a freshman in college, and she was a wonderful student and she‘s an education major.  She knows what‘s going on with Senate bill 5 and she said to me yesterday, Mrs. Johnson, should I change my major?

So—and she is the best and the brightest coming out of our school district and she wants to change her major from education because of this.

SCHULTZ:  John Callahan, what do you see in your classroom?  What do you hear kids say about the future when they talk about education the way it‘s being vilified?

CALLAHAN:  Ed, I tell them they are the future and they realize it in my classroom.  When you described your mother, it could describe any number of women that I teach with.  I had a principal who when I first started in my school—I have a tremendously supportive administration and superintendent of schools and the principal I had at the time had the word “family” in his office and I said, wow.  That‘s what I have all over my classroom.

There is that sense of caring.  And students know that.  And just like, you know, your mom stayed doing lesson plans or grading, I always have to remind myself, you know, to stay grounded with my own kids.  And to make sure I, you know, share that time.

SCHULTZ:  Bert Zipperer, when you look at $900 million to be cut out of schools in Wisconsin—Madison is going to get hit just as hard as any other district.  What kind of pressure is this going to put on the school?

ZIPPERER:  Absolutely.

SCHULTZ:  What kind of pressure is this going to put from a guidance standpoint?

ZIPPERER:  Well, it‘s huge pressure.  And you have to realize for 18 years we‘ve had revenue controls.  We‘ve lost 700 staff positions, FTEs over the course of the last 18 years.  We‘ve had a slow squeezing of education for 18 years under Democrats and Republicans, and now this.

It‘s going to be—if this passes—and I believe that we can impact this governor and this capitol, but if it passes, it will be devastating beyond belief.

SCHULTZ:  Courtney Johnson, in your state of Ohio, collective bargaining is not going to be available.  The Republicans are going to vote this right out.  How do you feel about that?

JOHNSON:  Well, you know, Ed, I‘ve been asked as a teacher by my president to out-educate the rest of the world, and I just don‘t know how I‘m going to do that if I don‘t have a voice at the bargaining table where I can‘t speak up for what‘s best for my students and my classroom.

SCHULTZ:  Bert Zipperer, John Callahan, Courtney Johnson, thanks for what you do.

ZIPPERER:  Absolutely.

SCHULTZ:  And thanks for joining us tonight helping us with the story. 

Appreciate it so much.

There were big protests in Columbus, Ohio, over the state‘s union-busting bill.  That‘s coming up.

Mike Huckabee goes on right wing radio, safe haven, and says President Obama was raised in Kenya.  “The Takedown” is next.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.  Thanks for watching tonight.  It‘s time for the Takedown.  Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee wants to have his cake and eat it, too.  The only thing is he put his foot in his mouth today. 

Now, Media Matters heard his appearance with conservative radio talk show host on the low rated “Steve Malzberg Show.”  Here is Huckabee‘s response to questions about the president‘s citizenship. 


STEVE MALZBERG, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Don‘t you think we deserve to know more about this man? 

MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  I would love to know more.  What I know is troubling enough.  And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. 


SCHULTZ:  So, Mike Huckabee says President Obama grew up in Kenya, even though the president‘s own biography says he grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia.  Maybe Huckabee just misspoke. 


HUCKABEE:  His perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau revolution in Kenya is very different than ours, because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather. 


SCHULTZ:  Hum.  Hum.  Interesting.  Huckabee tried to clarify these statements on his Huck-PAC website, saying “I simply misspoke when I alluded to President Obama growing up in Kenya and meant to say Indonesia.” 

So he misspoke and meant Indonesia, even though he said Kenya twice.  You heard it.  And talked about the Mau Mau Rebellion against the British in Kenya. 

But take a look at Huckabee‘s past statements about the president of the United States.  This is the first sentence of his new book, quote, “since Barack Obama was elected, plenty of books have been written criticizing his administration and accusing him of all sorts of things—from being a Marxist to lying about his citizenship to being a Muslim.  But if you know me or if you‘re familiar with my commentaries on TV and radio, you know I don‘t like to make politics personal.” 

Well, he made similar comments about Birthers on “Good Morning America” last week.


HUCKABEE:  For Republicans to even be bringing it up I think is a waste of energy and time.  Let‘s focus on the issues with which we have disagreement, not on really the extraneous personal things that are immaterial. 


SCHULTZ:  Now, you may ask, why didn‘t Huckabee say the same thing to Steve Malzberg on right wing radio today?  Here is why: a recent poll showed 51 percent of likely Republican primary voters believe President Barack Obama was born in another country.  Of those 51 percent, Mike Huckabee is their top choice for president. 

So when you ask the non-birthers in the GOP, their choice is Mitt Romney.  Huckabee has to keep the birthers happy.  But he can‘t win the general election by pandering to them. 

He hasn‘t officially announced his candidacy.  But make no mistake about it, Mike Huckabee is already running a couple of campaigns.  And that‘s the Takedown. 

The Wisconsin 14 react to Governor Walker‘s radical budget address. 

And union pensions are not being paid for by taxpayers.  Did you hear that?  They‘re not being paid for by taxpayers.  Yes, we will set the record straight, next.


SCHULTZ:  Welcome back to THE ED SHOW and thanks for watching tonight.  Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, wants you to believe that pensions—pensions for state workers in his state of Wisconsin are taxpayer funded and union members just need to contribute more.  And he is getting plenty of help spreading this junk around the country. 

The “New York Times” reported that Walker‘s plan, quote, “would raise the amount government workers pay into their pension to 5.8 percent of their pay, from less than one percent now.” 

The Associated Press, well, they reported that “Governor Walker wants state workers to contribute more to their health care and pension costs.” 

“The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s” online news service reported on “an effort by Governor Walker to get state employees to contribute more toward their health insurance and pensions.”

Heck, this was even happening when Walker was just a candidate. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Walker says if elected he will make all state employees contribute to their pension plans.  Right now, most of those workers have it paid for with taxpayer dollars.  Walker said the plan would save the state more than 180 million dollars per year. 

WALKER:  We think when most workers across the state right now, outside of state government, are making their own employee contribution to the retirement system, the least we should be asking for is something like this. 


SCHULTZ:  You know, it‘s a good thing we‘re here, because the truth is state workers fund—fund—every penny of their own pension.  Instead of getting the money as part of their salaries, they defer it to an investment fund.  It‘s already money that they have earned.  If you don‘t believe me just look at the state‘s own website which says, quote, “the fringe benefits offered to state of Wisconsin employees are significant and are a valuable part of an individual‘s compensation package.” 

Hello.  Joining me tonight is David Cay Johnston.  He‘s a columnist for, Pulitzer Prize winning author, and former tax reporter for the “New York Times.”

Mr. Johnson, I want to play this piece of tape because I visited with a lady at this rally last Friday in Trenton.  And I think she is a product of all the misinformation that‘s out there.  Here it is. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why do I have to make sure they have fabulous benefits and they have tenure and they have a great pension?  But they don‘t care that it‘s costing me money to give them that.  And it‘s taken away from me.  I don‘t have a fabulous pension.  I don‘t have—I have to pay for my health care.  It‘s not right that I make sure they get it but they‘re not making sure I get it. 


SCHULTZ:  David Cay Johnston, how do you straighten things like this out? 

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, COLUMNIST, TAX.COM:  Well, it‘s real troubling that this kind of basic economics people don‘t understand it.  Everybody who has a job who gets any kind of fringe benefits, that‘s part of their compensation.  And once you have performed the services, the money is yours. 

And how the money is divvied up, whether the workers have it direct from the paycheck or its paid directly on behalf of the employee, which is the language in the labor contracts in Wisconsin—on behalf of the employee—they earned the money.  It‘s not the taxpayers‘.  The taxpayers bought their services. 

SCHULTZ:  You‘ve gotten a lot of communication on this.  Why do you think so many media outlets have bought into this? 

JOHNSTON:  Well, they didn‘t critically question the assumption in what the governor said.  They just assumed what he said was true.  And so it sounds to people like this is a gift, like you‘re getting something extra that other people don‘t have.  The woman who was interviewed, you know, if she had a collective bargaining agreement, I suspect her union would have said we want part of this money to go to health care and part of this to go to pensions, and that‘s going to mean your paycheck is smaller. 

SCHULTZ:  You know, there is a poll out showing that cutting government worker pension benefits in the state of New Jersey, 54 percent of the people support it; 40 percent oppose.  These constant bullet points and the misinformation that‘s out there obviously is having an effect.

But shouldn‘t we point to Wall Street as some of the failure for pensions in this country, to say it bluntly? 

JOHNSTON:  You know, Ed, that 180 million dollar figure that Governor Walker mentioned as a candidate, that is just about what Wall Street gets in fees every year from the Wisconsin pension plan.  And by the way, defined benefit pension plans are economically efficient and cost taxpayers less money, because they use the money efficiently and they make sure that these public employees, in their old age, don‘t become wards of the state or welfare cases when they‘re old. 

SCHULTZ:  David Cay Johnston, thanks for joining us tonight.  Thanks so much. 

The union busting law in Ohio goes much farther than the one in Wisconsin.  Governor Kasich is using his budget deficit to break his state‘s firefighter unions.  Well, we‘ll talk to Ohio‘s bravest.  Stay with us.





SCHULTZ:  Eighty five hundred protesters were out in Columbus, Ohio today, where the state senate is about to vote on Ohio‘s union busting legislation.  The good news, the Republicans have agreed to amend the bill.  The bad news, the bill probably got worse.  And Democrats in Ohio, well, they don‘t have a prayer to kill the bill anyway. 

The Ohio proposal already goes farther than the one in Wisconsin.  In Ohio, police and firefighters will lose their collective bargaining rights along with teachers and every other public employee.  Today‘s amendment would restore a few collective bargaining rights.  Not many. 

But it would ban—it would ban all public employees from ever striking.  And it would allow for all current public employee contracts to be reopened as if the state was under a fiscal emergency. 

Well, Governor Kasich wants to sign the bill by March 15th.  You can believe he‘s watching what‘s happening in Wisconsin.  Democrats literally can‘t stop it.  They don‘t have the numbers like they do in Wisconsin. 

Today, Kasich said the union busting bill was a jobs creator?  But don‘t quote him.  Last weekend he told “Newsweek” “if the jobs come in 2013, then God bless them.” 

Meanwhile, all the Democrats can do is wonder what happened.  Here‘s Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan on the floor of the House today. 


REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO:  The issue is, are we going to respect work in the United States of America?  Are we going to respect the workers in the United States of America?  While all these fat cats have gotten off Scott free and we turn around and tell the workers in Ohio and Wisconsin and Indiana and the Big Ten Conference, you got to take the hit.  It‘s unfair and it‘s disrespectful.  And it is not an American value. 


SCHULTZ:  Joining me now is Mark Horton, a retired firefighter and secretary treasury of the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters. 

Mr. Horton, good evening.  Good to have you with us tonight.  Do you think this is what Ohio voted for?  What‘s coming down? 

MARK HORTON, OHIO ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS:  This is not what the Ohio voters are looking for.  There was a system in place for 28 years that kept Ohio safe, allowed the unions to bargain, allowed unions to give the concessions needed to get the cities through their financial crisis.  And it‘s being taken away. 

SCHULTZ:  Your governor is acting like the state is in a fiscal crisis.  Would you say it is or it isn‘t? 

HORTON:  Well, the state, itself, has many issues.  The governor is looking to take away the money that he gives back to the cities and transfer those financial crises on to the municipalities.  And that‘s where the problem begins. 

SCHULTZ:  In Wisconsin, the police and firefighters, they may get to keep their collective bargaining.  You don‘t.  How do you feel about that?  What is this going to mean to your profession in the state of Ohio that as you say over the decades has been so productive for the people? 

HORTON:  This is a devastating bill for Ohio.  It‘s 510 pages long.  And it decimates the firefighters‘ ability to bargain in matters of safety, in matters of staffing, in matters of keeping the citizens safe, keeping ourselves safe, let alone gut the few perks that we do have. 

It keeps getting—it goes after all of the things that we hold dear.

SCHULTZ:  Have fought for all along.  Finally, we just talked about pensions with our last guest in the last segment.  Do you think it‘s right for Republicans in your state to go after pension money that you‘ve earned and put away? 

HORTON:  You made an excellent point in that last segment.  That is our money that we‘re paying.  We already contribute a good deal.  And we have a good pension system.  There is nothing wrong with our pension system. 

But the governor is determined to undermine it and take our benefits from us. 

SCHULTZ:  Mark Horton, thanks for fighting the good fight.  Good to be with you tonight.  Thanks so much. 

Scott Walker can‘t find them, but we can.  The Wisconsin 14 tells us how long they plan to stay on the lamb.  And they respond to the latest budget talk from the governor.  Stay with us.



WALKER:  It‘s true.  We are reducing aid to local governments by just over 1.25 billion dollars.  But we‘re also providing almost 1.5 billion dollars in savings through our budget repair bill. 

If the 14 Senate Democrats do not come home, their local communities will be forced to manage these reductions in aid without the benefit of the tools provided in the repair bill. 


SCHULTZ:  And finally tonight on THE ED SHOW, that was Governor Scott Walker‘s jab at the Wisconsin 14 during his budget address today.  Here are three members of the run away Senate Democrats watching Walker‘s speech from an undisclosed location in Illinois. 

The chamber was full except for 14 empty seats the senators usually sit in.  Walker used the opportunity to blame them for the upcoming teacher layoffs. 


WALKER:  Just as we reform our entitlement programs for the 21st century, we must also reform our education system.  And we must do so while we balance a 3.6 billion dollar deficit.  That is why even as we reduce school aids, overall we give schools across the state the tools to make up for those reductions with even greater savings through the budget repair bill. 

Again, this is why it‘s so vitally important for the Senate Democrats to come back home and do their jobs.  If they do not, our schools face massive layoffs of teachers. 


SCHULTZ:  And the truth is that Walker can‘t pass anything in his budget until the Wisconsin 14 come home. 

Joining us tonight from an undisclosed location in Illinois are Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor.  Also Senator Chris Larson and the longest serving legislator in the United States, Senator Fred Risser. 

Fred, I‘ll ask you first, how radical is this budget?  What was your response to the governor‘s numbers today of 900 million dollars being taken out of education? 

FRED RISSER, WISCONSIN STATE SENATOR:  You know, Wisconsin has always been proud of its support for its public education.  What the governor is attempting to do would devastate our educational system.  He is proposing to take, as you pointed out, close to a billion dollars of funds away.

And how is he going to make it up?  Well, he figures—the tools he talks about is busting the union and letting local school boards turn around and unilaterally write these contracts.  It is just outrageous. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Taylor, how do you feel about the governor blaming you that there will labor offs if you don‘t go back? 

LENA TAYLOR, WISCONSIN STATE SENATOR:  I think it‘s ridiculous.  The governor knows it is.  The governor knows that the amount of money he is taking out of our education system is going to devastate each of the districts.  And the fact that we‘re gone is not the reason why.  And the repair bill does not provide them with, quote-unquote, tools that will make up for the amount of dollars that he‘s taking out. 

And one other thing, Ed.  When you look at the fact that in Milwaukee, in particular, that our children who are African-American are lead in the nation for the fourth grade and 8th grade for the lowest reading scores we‘re already devastated.

So, you know, how are we going to be prepared for the jobs that he says he wants to create or be able to compete globally?  This is really a sad moment in Wisconsin history. 

SCHULTZ:  Lena, what will it do to the Milwaukee school district? 

TAYLOR:  At least 59 million dollars will be out of the Milwaukee school system, not to mention when you consider the eligibility requirements and the voucher schools and the caps that he‘s taking off of that.  For every dollar that MPS gets, there is a certain percentage of those dollars that will go to the voucher schools because of the formula. 

SCHULTZ:  And Senator Larson, this really restricts local control to do anything about a shortfall, doesn‘t it? 

CHRIS LARSON, WISCONSIN STATE SENATOR:  Right.  I mean, he‘s really handing the gun over to them and saying, you‘re welcome.  Now you get to make the choice of whether you‘re going to slash your employees, increase class sizes, or restrict worker rights.  So he‘s really passing the buck on to them.  And judging from his speech, he almost expects a thank you out of them. 

This is not anything that the five school districts I have are looking

for.  In fact, they‘re dreading the changes of what‘s going to happen.  You

make a small change and it has a ripple effect throughout the entire

education system in each of these small cities.  So when he is making these

drastic, million dollar changes through school districts, I shudder to see

to think of what it‘s going to look like next year. 

SCHULTZ:  Senator Risser, is there a deal in the works?  I understand that some of the 14 met on the border are with Republican leadership.  Can you tell us about that? 

RISSER:  Well, there‘s no deal yet. 


RISSER:  We obviously are keeping communication with our colleagues in the Senate, but no deal is reached. 

SCHULTZ:  And Lena Taylor, Senator Taylor, can you tell us about the resolve of the 14, now that the governor has laid the—well, he put the budget down.  He put the hard numbers right in front of you.  Where‘s the resolve of the group today? 

TAYLOR:  I will tell you that we are still standing strong for workers‘ rights.  And we‘re still standing for the people of Wisconsin.  But we are going to be sitting down looking at the budget.  The problem is the governor hasn‘t quite released the budget.  So the little bit that we are able to figure out of what‘s in it, you know, we will have to talk amongst each other and determine how we move forward. 

But, you know, we‘re seeing that it‘s going to devastate our state. 

SCHULTZ:  Well, America is still watching the Wisconsin 14.  You are brave Americans.  You‘re leading the way.  And I think that other states and other governors are somewhat intimidated by seeing the power of your leadership.  Keep it going.  God bless you for what you‘re doing.  Thanks so much. 

Wisconsin state senators Lena Taylor, Chris Larson, and Fred Risser with us tonight. 

Tonight in our text survey question I asked, are our nation‘s teachers getting the respect and pay they deserve?  Seven percent of you said yes;

93 percent of you said no. 

That‘s THE ED SHOW.  I‘m Ed Schultz.  Be sure to check out our new blog at  “THE LAST WORD” with Lawrence O‘Donnell starts right now.  We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night here on THE ED SHOW on MSNBC. 



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