ROBERT B. REICH, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock" and “The Work of Nations." His latest, "Beyond Outrage," is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.
“Why Public Education is More Important Than Wall Street, and What We Must Do”
All over America right now, public education is in crisis. Teachers are being fired as next year’s school budgets shrink. Next fall’s classrooms will be far more crowded. Some districts are going to four-day weeks. And the nation’s public universities are in deep trouble.
The answer is for the federal government to bail out public education until state and local revenues return as the economy strengthens.
After all, the government bailed out Wall Street. What our kids learn — America’s human capital — is more important to our economy than Wall Street’s financial capital.
In addition, we should rebalance the economy away from finance and toward people. Congress should enact a small one-half of one percent transfer tax on all financial deals. This might slow down Wall Street a bit but generate $200 billion a year for our public schools and universities.
Last year, America’s top 25 hedge fund managers earned an average of $1 billion each — enough to pay for 20,000 teachers.