Jon Stewart's latest anti-conservative screed included a satirical defense of top income earners and a tongue-in-cheek plea for teachers to pay their fair share, in the wake of the Wisconsin protests. On Monday's "Daily Show," the Comedy Central host offered a shallow assessment of the entire Wisconsin situation with not a single critical look at the state's public sector unions.
Stewart's simplistic take on events is that teachers are being unduly bullied by Republicans and the wealthy to help solve the budget crisis in this country. What could help, he opined, would be boosting taxes on the "top two percent" of income earners.
"Hey you know, one thing we could do – not extend the Bush tax cuts to the top two percent of the country. That would earn us $700 billion over the next ten years," Stewart remarked to applause. "Oh, oh, and maybe also we could close some corporate tax loopholes."
But after playing clips, mostly from Fox News, that were critical of the teachers unions in Wisconsin, Stewart grimaced and lamented "Really? We're going to get [the money] from teachers?" He then satirically portrayed the opposition's argument to be that teachers don't "provide a valuable service."
Rather than wonder if Wisconsin Gov. Walker is going after the unions and not out of spite for the teachers themselves, Stewart decided to frame the argument around middle-class teachers versus the wealthy. "Some people," he remarked tongue-in-cheek, "will say or do anything to get our top marginal tax rates back to what they were in the 1990s."
"So to wrap up, rather than bring the highest marginal tax rate back to what it was in the 1990s, we need to bring teachers' abilities to negotiate their own livelihood back to the 1890s," Stewart sophomorically concluded.
A partial transcript of the segment, which aired on March 1 at 11:01 a.m. EST, is as follows:
JON STEWART: Our top story remains the standoff in Wisconsin. (...) The real issue in all this is simple. The country is broke. Whose fault is it? Wall Street? Main Street? Sesame Street? (...) Hey you know, one thing we could do – not extend the Bush tax cuts to the top two percent of the country. That would earn us $700 billion over the next ten years. (Applause) Oh, oh, and maybe also we could close some corporate tax loopholes. I think that would be (...) oh, okay, so that idea is out. Where are we going to get the money? (...) Really? We're going to get it from teachers? Are you sure? (...) You know, it's funny, my mom was a teacher too and she actually worked her ass off for not a lot of money. Hey, maybe your mom was a (unintelligible) teacher. (Laughter)
And not for nothing, but maybe you're bitter because after school instead of going to play with your friends you wanted to go to Loehmann's with your mom. But point taken, sounds like you're casting aspersions on all teachers and the greed that's growing out of an unchecked system. And that that teacher's union system needs to be destroyed. I guess you probably feel the same way about Wall Street. (...) See, bankers, unlike teachers, provide a valuable service. And they don't work 'till three. Their bell doesn't ring 'till four. At which point they all head to Loehmann's to take a s*** on their way to Bloomingdale's. So don't let these teachers fool you. Don't let these teachers fool you. Unlike Wall Street and bankers, teachers are no friend to the working man. But of course some people want to change the subject. Some people will say or do anything to get our top marginal tax rates back to what they were in the 1990s. (...)
(Sarcastically) Disgusting. The Democrats have pitted the top 2 percent against the lower 98 when the Republicans know the real battle should be fought within the middle class. Preferably amongst neighbors. (...) So to wrap up, rather than bring the highest marginal tax rate back to what it was in the 1990s, we need to bring teachers' abilities to negotiate their own livelihood back to the 1890s. (Bell rings) And that – oh I'm sorry class, we're going to pick this up tomorrow.