During the campaign, many people expressed outrage over Mitt Romney’s statement concerning the fact that almost fifty percent of the public do not pay pay income taxes. I well understood the anger, but I am a bit surprised that a video by the California Federation of Teachers has not produced the same outrage over its unfairness and frankly crudeness. The video shows a wealthy person urinating on the poor as part of a “Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale.” I readily admit that I am in the minority on our blog in opposing some of the tax increase proposals in this country and abroad as economically unwise. However, the demonization of the wealthy in this country has gone a bit far when a video of this kind is released by a major organization.
Real Clear Politics and a few sites ran a story on the urination scene, but the video below has the sound but not the image of actual urination. It is not clear if someone added the yellow image to the video or the producers removed the image. When you now hit on various sites that showed what they said was the image of the urination, a sign pops up that this is now a “private video.” I am unsure of what that means since the union reportedly put the video out to the public. However, there is no mention of the controversy that I could find on the union site.
The eight-minute video was written and directed by California Federation of Teachers’ communications director Fred Glass with voice over by Ed Asner. The mythical land describes rich evading taxes by investing in “Wall Street” — not quite mythical. “Don’t worry. This is good for you, too. Because it will trickle down from us to you.” You can still hear the sound of the rich man “trickling down” on the poor.
Viewers are urged to email their elected representatives to tell them to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to fund public services.
I happen to agree with the premise of raising revenues (though I oppose some of the tax proposals in this country and abroad). I am a long and vocal supporter for increasing funding for schools and teachers. However, I view this video as unfair and hyperbolic even without the yellow stream. The wealthy do pay considerable taxes and many support public programs and public causes. They also do pay the vast majority of taxes. Should they pay more in this economy. Yes, but it is grossly unfair to engage in this type of vilification. The video for example states that after the housing market crash the government printed money for “rich people” but they didn’t give any to “ordinary people whose houses and jobs were broken by the crash.” The video also states that after the collapse that rich people “love their money more than anything in the world.” That is simply outrageous. What would be the reaction to a business group releasing a video stating poor people do not care for other people and do not want to work? There would be justified anger and outrage, but the reaction to this video seems to be muted from the left. It is not enough to simply shrug and again blame the other side triggering such responses. Whatever the excesses of the other side of this debate, it does not relieve adults of being the obligations of accuracy and decency. As an educator myself, I am embarrassed to see any teacher’s organization engage in such attacks.
I am interested in whether the union did include the even more offensive image and removed it or whether it is claiming that conservative groups hacked their video. If it is the former, I do not believe that they have served the interests of teachers who generally strive to engage in reasoned and respectful debate. If it is the latter, I would love to know who added the yellow image and left the appearance that it was in the original video. The union itself has thus far said little on the controversy. [UPDATE: the original video is posted here and shows the yellow image. It would appear that the union has altered its own video though I cannot find any statement from it on this controversy].
The current video is shown below.