Matt Damon went on a populist hitting streak on Saturday, giving voice to progressive frustration simmering in the nation.
Damon, as has been previously reported, spoke at the Save Our Schools March, and afterward, ripped both a reporter who challenged the notion of motivated teachers and a cameraman who insisted 10% of teachers are bad at their jobs. He also took to task Republicans, the Tea Party and what he called the lack of shared sacrifice in both the economy and the just-passed debt ceiling bill.
"I'm so disgusted," he told a reporter about the protracted negotiations. "I mean, no, I don't know what you do in the face of that kind of intransigence. So, my heart does go out to the President. He is dealing with a lot."
Still, despite any sympathy, he was furious with the negotiations' outcome, as well as the greater thrust of American economic policy.
"The wealthy are paying less than they paid at any time else, certainly in my lifetime, and probably in the last century," Damon said. "I don't know what we were paying in the roaring 20's; it's criminal that so little is asked of people who are getting so much. I don't mind paying more. I really don't mind paying more taxes. I'd rather pay for taxes than cut 'Reading is Fundamental' or Head Start or some of these programs that are really helping kids. This is the greatest country in the world; is it really that much worse if you pay 6% more in taxes? Give me a break. Look at what you get for it: you get to be American."
When asked whether he thought tax cuts helped create jobs, he was more than clear in his belief that they do not, and struck again on the inequality in the nation.
"I didn't go start a small business with my tax break, and I don't know anyone else who did. No, everybody's socking their money away," he said. "I was against those tax cuts. I thought they were ridiculous. So little is asked of the upper class anyway. I mean, what percent of them or their kids are fighting in any of these wars? What percent of their day is occupied by the fact that there are men and women in positions over the world, risking their lives. If you walk down 5th Avenue, there's no sense of shared sacrifice."
Damon has long been vocal politically; he campaigned with then-Senator Obama in 2008, though earlier this year he hit out at the President on education and economic policy.
"I really think he misinterpreted his mandate. A friend of mine said to me the other day, I thought it was a great line, 'I no longer hope for audacity,'" Damon told Piers Morgan in March. "He's doubled down on a lot of things, going back to education... the idea that we're testing kids and we're tying teachers salaries to how kids are performing on tests, that kind of mechanized thinking has nothing to do with higher order. We're training them, not teaching them."
And on economics, he told the UK's Independent, "I think he's rolled over to Wall Street completely. The economy has huge problems. We still have all these banks that are too big to fail. They're bigger and making more money than ever."
Damon has also come out in support of the recall effort against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who earlier in the year led a protracted struggle to strip state worker union members of their right to collectively bargain.
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