In another laughable effort to attack legislators who might support job-creating, health-enhancing Medicaid expansion in Montana, Americans for Prosperity has issued another campaign: a grammatically-challenged Facebook ad blitz preceding the hearing on expansion this week.
It seems a lot of Montanans received this advertisement (or one like it today) suggesting that expansion of Medicaid threatens public education funding.
Let’s put aside the delight I felt when I read the ad text defending education reading “Montanans Deserves Better.” As rich as that irony was, it hardly compares with the hypocrisy of AFP-Montana pretending to support education funding. On their web page, readers are treated not only to a full-throated defense of school privatization, but an attack on public education funding. Former state Senator Joe Balyeat, who used to claim to be a three time National Merit Scholar, wrote in 2013:
Of course it is the entrenched special interests such as government union bosses and bureaucrats who block any and all attempts at true reform, insisting that the only answer is to throw more money at a system that al-ready spends $11,530 per student statewide. This means the average Montana worker’s entire annual salary is devoured educating just 3 kids for nine months. This tired “increase spending” non-solution is repeated despite the fact that there are at least 138 studies nationwide which prove that level of funding bears no statistical correlation to quality of education.
The assertion that funding for schools is not correlated to the quality of educational outcomes is laughable, but even more absurd is the rest of the AFP campaign, which argues that Medicaid expansion threatens “schools, roads, and basic government services.” AFP’s raison d’etre, other than filling the pockets of political operatives who can’t cut it in the business world they pretend to be a part of, is to strangle government services, from highway construction to adequate staffing of state offices that provide critical services.
Governor Schweitzer best summed up AFP’s approach:
But they don’t want to start saving in the massive military budget, not the perks to Washington politicians, not to highway contractors or foreign governments or even subsidies to agriculture millionaires. The Koch brothers didn’t question health care provided to seniors, veterans or to Medicaid in other states representing two-thirds of the U.S. population. Nope, the Koch brothers have decided that the No. 1 place to start saving money is right here in Montana with the health of our poorest people.
If you care about education or highways or a functioning government, you certainly shouldn’t be persuaded by the thuggish tactics of people who are committed to reducing funding for all of those critical services while enriching themselves. Let your Montana legislator know that we know in our state that healthy Montanans are more productive and that adequate health care will pay for itself in improved lives, better workers, and stronger communities.
Hell, with the money we generate, we can even buy Americans for Prosperity a book. Or some one-way tickets out of the state.