Jon Stewart Again Goes After Wall Street to Cover for Teachers Unions

The left-wing comedian Jon Stewart is at it again after ripping conservative Republicans for going after public sector collective bargaining. Stewart updated the situation in Wisconsin Thursday night on the "Daily Show," reporting on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker introducing his new budget proposals.

"He has put public sector unions on notice, and particularly teachers, that the gravy train is over – even if the gravy is actually lunchroom cafeteria-grade gravy-like rehydrated soy chips," Stewart spun, painting the comfortable pensions and benefits of Wisconsin public school teachers as dog food compared with infamous Wall Street bonuses. He also shifted the debate – instead of going after public sector unions, conservatives somehow are anti-teacher, according to Stewart's logic.
 

Playing clips from CNBC, Fox Business, and Fox News as his cannon fodder, the comedian failed to give credence to the point that the public sector union benefits might indeed be unsustainable, and that not all people working on Wall Street are money-hoarding thieves. But he descended once again into his simplistic "Robin Hood vs. Prince John" tunnel vision.

Referring to people making over $250,000 a year, who were exempted from a tax increase this past January, Stewart sarcastically joked that "they're not big-shot teachers with their... desks, and seemingly endless supply of multi-colored construction papers."

He also ignored the fact that many of the Wall Street banks that received bailout money paid it back with interest.

"Bankers are not suckling from the taxpayers teat! Except, of course, for the billions of gallons of taxpayer bailout teat milk they sucked on so voraciously," the anchor snidely remarked. "We have got to pay those bailed-out firm CEOs top-dollar! Otherwise those companies could wind up being run by a couple of jackasses who f*** things up so royally it torpedos the entire global economy," he sarcastically ranted.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on March 3 at 11:01 p.m. EST, is as follows:

JON STEWART: It is a battle to balance Wisconsin's budget. Gov. Scott Walker has finally put his proposals on the table. He is, in addition to stripping teachers and public workers of most of their collective bargaining rights, cutting 800 million dollars from the Wisconsin public schools budget over the next two years, as well as restricting local municipalities the ability to make up property taxes to make up for any shortfalls. In essence, he has put public sector unions on notice, and particularly teachers, that the gravy train is over. Even if the gravy is actually lunchroom cafeteria-grade gravy-like rehydrated soy chips. (...) We all are in it together! All of us have to sacrifice! Teachers, teachers assistants, student-teachers, retired teachers, school janitors, Everybody has to sacrifice. Why teachers? Well, as Republicans and their kin in the media know – you gots to follow the money.

(Video Clip) (...) NARRATOR: We're talking a 90,000 dollar, nine months worth of work all-in package. Boy, it sounds pretty darn good to the 14 million people out of work. (End Video Clip)

STEWART: You know what? That does sound great to someone without a job. And did you know, you're not even going to believe this. Some of these fat-cat public school kids are getting a hot breakfast free every morning. I bet starving people'd like a piece of that action, don't you think? But point taken. These folks just want teachers to give back. Because they believe that $50,000 a year in salary plus medical and dental benefits are incredibly generous, bordering on avarice. And I imagine these same people will feel the same way about couples earning more than $250,000 a year being asked to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire so that they would have to pay a slightly higher federal income tax rate.

(Video Clip) LAWRENCE KUDLOW: Is the $250,000 income level really rich in America?

BRIAN KILMEADE: How can anybody claim if you make $250,000 that you're a millionaire?

FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR: $250,000 is not rich for a family of four sending kids to college. It actually is close to poverty.

Rep. MICHELLE BACHMANN (R-Minn.): People want to think that these are millionaires sitting in leather chairs lighting their cigars with hundred dollar bills. That's not what we're talking about. (End Video Clip)

STEWART: No that is not. (Laughter) Not when it comes to the Bush tax cuts. They're not big-shot teachers with their... desks, and seemingly endless supply of multi-colored construction papers. Oh, and their no. 2 pencils. I guess no. 3 pencils aren't good enough for your majesty. And don't even try – don't e-ven try – and compare teachers to Wall Street. No contest. (...)

See the difference? Regardless of the greed-based, almost slightly socio-pathic job bankers did wrecking our economy, those people were there every single day, 12 months a year. Not that nine month bulls***. And, we the taxpayers have a right to cut teachers' salaries and benefits. They work for us! Bankers are not suckling from the taxpayers teat! Except, of course, for the billions of gallons of taxpayer bailout teat milk they sucked on so voraciously. Hey, I wonder how those same people who would have the government limit teacher pay and benefits would feel about the government limiting CEO pay at bailed-out-with-taxpayer-money firms. (...) Absolutely. We have got to pay those bailed-out firm CEOs top-dollar! Otherwise those companies could wind up being run by a couple of jackasses who f*** things up so royally it torpedos the entire global economy. Would you want that to happen? I don't think you would!

 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014