Bernie Sanders Uses Multimillion-Dollar Yankees Pitcher Deal to Push Teacher Raises

Bernie Sanders
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Saturday attempted to use the record-breaking, multimillion-dollar contract between the New York Yankees and pitcher Gerrit Cole to push for increased teacher salaries.

Cole signed a $324 million, 9-year deal with the Yankees this week, which amounts to the “biggest pitching contract in baseball history,” according to CBS Sports:

Not only is Cole’s deal the richest ever signed by a pitcher — Stephen Strasburg held those records for less than 48 hours after he re-signed with the Nationals for seven years and $245 million on Monday — but his $36 million average annual value is the highest in baseball history, topping Mike Trout ($35.5 million). In addition to being the first pitcher to ever top $300 million, Cole’s pact is also the fourth-richest in all of baseball.

Sanders, who has positioned himself as a champion of teachers and an advocate for “income equality,” attempted to use the historic deal to push for a raise in teacher salaries, despite the fact that a baseball player’s agreement with an MLB team doesn’t compare to the tax-payer funded salaries of public school teachers.

“If pitchers can make $324 million, we can pay every teacher in this country at least $60,000,” Sanders argued:

While many on social media were in agreement that public school teachers should make more, a number took issue with Sanders’ questionable comparison.

“I agree ‘we the people’ should pay teachers more but I am not tracking how that relates to the salary of someone who does not receive his pay from the government,” one user mused.

“Socialists don’t get the difference between private money and public money! Sanders thinks this country provides for athletes!” another observed.

“I agree that teacher’s should make more my G, but like that’s just not how this works and you know it,” one wrote.

“Sure Bernie, how much ticket revenue do they bring in and can they fill a stadium?” one tweeter asked.

“Make the yankees pay every teacher $60,000,” another joked.

Sanders’ call for a teacher salary of at least $60,000 per year is listed on his website as part of his broader call to “reinvest in public education.”

Sanders’ website states:

Give teachers a much-deserved raise by setting a starting salary for teachers at no less than $60,000, expanding collective bargaining rights and teacher tenure, and funding out-of-pocket expenses for classroom materials.

It also includes a call to “rebuild, modernize, and green our nation’s schools.”

According to Business Insider, the average salary for a public school teacher nationwide in the 2017-2018 school year topped Sanders’ minimum. It was $60,483 — per the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.


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