Why schools matter more than Wall Street

And what we can do to make sure the country takes education seriously

By Robert Reich

Published May 3, 2010 12:04PM (EDT)

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.

Please watch this video, and pass it on.

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."

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Bank Reform Education Wall Street