The California Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO, officially released an animated cartoon video on Tuesday, December 4, narrated by Ed Asner, that lays out the case for fair taxation. The union video urges Congress to repeal Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
CFT President Joshua Pechthalt:
Following the decisive victory of Prop 30 in California, this video promotes a fair tax system to fund America’s priorities. The best way to build a better American education system and protect the social safety net is by asking those who can most afford it to pay their fair share in taxes, so that educators will be better positioned to help our students achieve their dreams.
Tax the rich: An animated fairy tale, with animation by award-winning artist Mike Konopacki, was written and directed by yours truly. The eight-minute cartoon shows how we arrived at this moment of poorly funded public services and widening economic inequality. Things go downhill in a happy and prosperous land after the rich decide they don’t want to pay taxes anymore. They tell the people that there is no alternative, but the people aren’t so sure.
According to Pechthalt:
This video launches the next phase of our campaign to restore fair tax rates on the wealthy, so that we may once more enjoy properly funded public services. Congress should immediately approve the President’s plan to preserve lower tax rates for the overwhelming majority of American households, while restoring higher tax rates on those who have benefited most from our society.
The video, which has had more than 60,000 views in just a few days, was posted on YouTube three days before its official launch, and immediately began to draw interest. Not all of it was friendly. Right-wing “push” websites began a campaign focusing on a few seconds depicting a visual metaphor of “trickle down” economics, Fox News ran a distortion-ridden story, and the YouTube site was then flooded with hostile commentary.
The conservative attack media tried to make it seem like this video was meant to be shown to children in the classroom, despite the explicit message on the CFT website that it was an educational tool for citizens engaging in political debate.
Clearly the problem for the right wing is the effectiveness of the cartoon in conveying its main points: that Americans have suffered growing economic inequality as the wealthy have refused to pay appropriate levels of taxes, and the rich need to pay their fair share so that we might fund our public services adequately. And the One Percent and its wholly-owned media subsidiaries will do and say anything to obscure that reality.
Scroll up to watch the video, and then send a message to your congressperson to vote for rescinding Bush’s tax cuts on the rich so that the Federal government stays solvent.
Fred Glass is the communications director of the California Federation of Teachers. This post first appeared on Labor’s Edge and is republished with permission.