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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Why we need a jobs/infrastructure bill from this Congress

The last Congressional session was recently considered to be one of the least productive in the history of our nation.  This year?  This year they scheduled a whopping 97 days, total, for them to work.

Out of a total 365 day calendar year, they're only going to put in 97 days work.

It's shameful.  It's obscene.  It's immoral. It's even lazy and certainly against the best interests of the entire nation and people.

The nation needs them to first, work, and second, be productive and third, do good things for the nation--the entire nation, not just for the wealthy and corporation or against women's productive rights.  And a jobs/infrastructure bill is one hugely important, glaring, even, piece of legislation the nation needs so badly they could easily--and should, of course--give us.

From Robert Reich, today, on his Facebook page:

Our public schools are inadequate, especially for kids whose families are in the bottom two-thirds – squeezing more than 30 of them into classrooms designed for 20, with threadbare textbooks, no science labs, no after-school programs. And our roads and public transportation systems are outmoded, suffering from decades of deferred maintenance and neglect, which also burdens the bottom two-thirds in particular since they rely on housing that's usually far away from where they work. So why aren’t we investing more in schools and infrastructure? We'd also be creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs at the same time -- jobs desperately needed by a record number of Americans who have given up looking for work.

Conservatives say “we can’t afford it.” 


(1) The deficit as percent of GDP falling, and will soon be close to the average over the last thirty years. 

(2) Both the deficit and debt as percent of GDP will fall even faster if we grow faster. 

(3) Growth depends in part on public investments in education and infrastructure, which enable all of our people to be more productive. 

(4) So it makes financial sense to borrow more to finance these investments. 

(5) We can also finance them by raising taxes on the wealthy, who are richer than they’ve ever been, and are now paying a smaller percent of their incomes and wealth in taxes than at any time in the last 85 years. 

The logic is clear. Why don’t they get it? Why aren’t our elected leaders making this case?

Links:  The War on the Poor and Middle-Class Families (Video)

The Limping Middle Class

Robert Reich - Huffington Post

Robert Reich - Wikipedia

Robert Reich - Blog


Sevesteen said...

"least productive" is a good thing--change for the sake of change isn't beneficial.

And 97 days in session isn't the same as "only working 97 days"--I would hope that a congressman would spend much more time in researching what decisions to make than in actually making the decisions--in the same way I hope that the average voter spends more time learning the content of bills and laws instead of just the titles.

What sort of jobs bill isn't merely robbing Peter to pay Paul (while keeping a bit for the robber...)? Cut payroll tax, but raise other business taxes...doesn't change the cost of doing business, doesn't make it cheaper to hire someone productive. Incentives for hiring unemployed workers--doesn't change the number of people working, just changes who gets hired first. (and creates extra paperwork for those who do get hired)

We need to do something different with education--pumping more and more money to the SEIU and NEA, more federally mandated conformity isn't the answer. There is no good reason that children in New York City should have a school schedule based on the harvest schedule of a farm. We need to allow funding for private K-12 schools--in almost all cases they can run cheaper and with better results than public schools. I'm an atheist, but that includes religious schools. The majority of parents are smart enough to pick a good school, if they have a real choice. The best will prosper and expand.

In a similar argument a different liberal blogger essentially said 'we need public education so those ignorant southerners can be taught the right people to vote for'. That should frighten anyone, and it is a really good reason that we should not allow a single group to control schools.

There are a few places where government spending helps growth--but in most cases the economy would grow more with the funds left in private hands--people are more involved and make better choices with their own money for their own benefit than they are someone else's money for someone else's benefit. Trying to re-shape human nature never works, instead we need to face reality and adapt the laws to work with human nature.

And is there anything covered by the 9th and 10th amendments, or are they obsolete and no longer required to be followed if they are inconvenient?

Mo Rage said...

What are you rambling about?

"...pumping more money to the SEIU and NEA..."?

And you're serious?

Since when has government, in the last 50 years, thrown more money at a union? That makes no sense at all, frankly.

I certainly agree on our school schedules no longer needing to be tied to the planting and harvesting of crops, as they are now and have been since the beginning of the country but that's an easier change to make.

But giving money to private schools?

Oh hell no.

If it's a religious school, there is no way government money should go to them. No way in the world. Separation of church and state applies there, as well. It should apply at least as much there, if not more so.

We need public education so a) we get education and b) it's truly equal. We tried "separate but equal" as relates to race and that was wisely ruled deeply wrong. To apply that same logic to wealth, as private schools would do would only end up being separate, better and better-funded schools for the wealthy and crappy schools and equipment and teachers for everyone else, middle- and lower-class both. No, let's not go back to "separate but equal", no thank you. (I'm sure you'll disagree with that since you're always for the wealthy and their advantage and advantages and for the corporations, time and again. Please, by all means, for once, prove me wrong. I'd be grateful).

You have so bought off on the Republican/Right Wing, really sicko "trickle down" theory, you still espouse it.

We've been doing that since Ron the Raygun in the 80's and with dismal, really dismal results. It's time to move on. It's time to try something else. The only thing that leave the money "in private hands" has gotten us is a top 11% who keep getting richer and richer, to the rest of the nation's expense.

Sevesteen said...

Since when has government, in the last 50 years, thrown more money at a union?

Public sector unions are the only place where union membership is growing--that's giving money to unions. It's almost impossible to be a teacher without being in a union. The GM bailout was a huge handout to unions, above other creditors. But I suppose union member's inflated pensions should come before rule of law.

Schedules are trivial compared to the rest of the problems with public education--a symptom of a larger problem. We need universal education, and that is much more important than public education.

I understand and pretty much agree that public money shouldn't go directly to churches. An important distinction here would be if most alternate funding was tax credits rather than direct payments.

But "no tax money to private schools" means that if a local district is failing to provide a meaningful education (as many of them are, especially in inner cities) caring, low income parents have no alternatives except to move. I'm certain that if for instance 2/3 of the money that would be spent on a child in public school were available to be spent privately (without crippling red tape) it would take no time at all for private schools to appear that would do a better job for less money. And this would happen first in inner cities where the need is greatest.

It certainly is time to try something else with universal education--what we have now is hardly different than what we had when my parents were in school.

...or is your goal to forbid unapproved education?

Mo Rage said...

But that's people's private money going to Unions.

So now you're against that, too? People giving their own money to organizations of their own choosing?

You really don't like true, small government, do you?


Sevesteen said...

But that's people's private money going to Unions.

So now you're against that, too? People giving their own money to organizations of their own choosing?

What are you talking about here? If you want to join a union and the union will have you, you should be able to under most circumstances. You should not be required to pay union dues to work for the government.

Mo Rage said...

Your statement:

"Schedules are trivial compared to the rest of the problems with public education..."

Agreed. You brought up schedules. I was responding to your claim and emphasis.

Handing government money over to private companies for education would only have the effect, eventually but in short order, of cutting more and more expenses so it could funnel more and more profit to the corporation, results and our children's education be damned. It's the same thing that's occurring now and that has been occurring for the past 5 decades, at least, so that health care and good health outcomes are no longer the goal. The goal becomes first, that the corporation remains successful and second, that it takes in more and more profit every year.

Again, people be damned.

Sevesteen said...

If you're talking about hiring a company to run the monopoly public schools, that would indeed be a disaster.

But if parents could take most of the per-pupil funds with the pupil, there would soon be a wide variety of school choices in a city the size of Kansas City, from corporate classrooms to individual tutors in their living rooms. In general a private school can give a superior education for a fraction of the per-pupil cost. Quality of these schools would range from excellent to abysmal--but if KC parents could choose, anything worse than the Kansas City Public Schools would die off immediately (although that appears to be a very low hurdle...) so the average education would get better.

Bad schools can only survive when better alternatives aren't available--only in the public system. And no matter the quality, private can't compete with fully subsidized--Until it is the students rather than the schools that are subsidized, only the rich will be able to afford the best schools.

Rather than public education, universal education--focus on giving as many students the best education practical, instead of in the public status quo.

Focus on the kids, not the school district.