Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A New Deal

When the new deal was begun there were a few things that we seem to have lost sight of. First, the creation of public assistance demanded that the recipient work if they were able. Second, that unemployment compensation was a temporary fund (12 weeks). Today we let people on unemployment sit around and collect a check and we continually extend unemployment which has bankrupted the system. We have lots of stuff that can be done around the country by people in either situation that used to be done by paid public employees. Put them to work maintaining trails in the parks. Ridding public land of invasive species. Working the gulf clean up. Rehabing inner city housing. The list goes on and on.

Wisconsin education system

So, I'm reading the Cap Times today and there is an article about the maintenance spending at the schools. Again the non Madison residents had fun saying that they should take that money out of teacher and staff salaries. This got me to thinking about an idea that was immensely popular about 10 years ago, Private School Choice.

This plan lost support when it became apparent that tax money would flow to private schools. I was interested in the issue than since my children were attending private schools. But, unlike the proponents of this policy I was paying the tuition myself. See here is the problem, anyone who looks at private schools quickly realizes that it costs nearly what the per student cost of public school is and then they don't want to pay for it. If you are really against the current system you should be advocating for an entirely private system. No one except for the Paul's are for that.

Think about it. If the system went private, your property taxes would go down a lot. The State would no longer fund 2/3 of the schools (which is only true for some districts). The State deficit would disappear overnight. The parents gain the control that they feel they don't have in the public schools. The kids would either get a better education or a worse one depending on who you talk to. The homeowners and renters with children would have to spend a lot more money than their taxes went down by.

We either need to privatize the system or come together and figure out how we are going do education. By do education we need to do it by not balancing the budget at the expense of maintenance or on the backs of the employees. The current public system makes education affordable to most individuals. If we go private many will be cut out. The Paul's would say that there would be private money available to provide scholarships. The reality is that without an alumni base, which most of these newly private schools would be, you don't have wealthy donors. Currently the established private schools really don't have that much to offer in terms of scholarships unless they want you to fill some type of quota, you're athletic, or are tops academically.

People who came before valued education, it is sad that it is no longer the case.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What does the teaparty stand for?

The Wisconsin State Journal just concluded a series on how public employees get paid overtime and how it costs a lot money. Implying that this is an extra benefit that is unavailable in the private sector. True for salaried employees but not true for hourly. It was an interesting series particularily since they focused on the bus drivers while totally ignoring the police who actually got paid more in overtime. Yes, it was a series to get the tea party patriots upset that the bus drivers are overpaid and that no one takes the bus anyway and they should all be fired....

So, I'm at work while this series is running and someone wants to use one of next year's furloughs this year yet because they want to bank vacation so that they can get a week paid at the end of the year. I just looked at this individual and asked haven't you been reading the paper. They said yes but were unable to see the connection to what they were hoping to do (cashing out vacation) and the city employees getting beat up for cashing out vacation. So, next I asked aren't you a tea party member? Yes, came the answer, I look out for myself. I had an epiphany, the tea party is not about a message its about getting yours whether you deserve it or not. It is not about fairness, its about screwing the system to your advantage. This explains how you get people to protest the government that they are dependent on. How you can people to go to bat for corporations who then turn around and screw the same people. Now I know.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Third world nation

In dealing with the oil leak we have become no different than other third world nations exploited by a multi-national corporation. It is appalling that the United States is being dictated to by BP, a British company. Why can't we move to seize the assets of this company? Why can't we force them to clean up this mess? Why is our regulatory agency so corrupt? Why, why, why. The more questions you ask the more we appear to be a corrupt third world nation. I suppose the difference is that we don't have an authoritative government.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Deposit $20 in my mailbox

I was riding my bike today and came upon a sign that said: "deposit $20 in my mailbox if you agree with Obama's re-distribution of wealth". Clearly this was an individual who most would call rich, probably at least a $1 million dollar home. To be clear I'm not for re-distributing wealth forcibly and it would appear that the President isn't either. What I am for is reforming a system that rewards Mr. $20 dollars with tax breaks and tax incentives that most of us can only dream about in the interest of job creation. How's that working out? Currently we have unemployment hovering around 10% and the wealthy 1% have not suffered. They also have not created jobs or in most cases preserved jobs. We are told that if we just cut their taxes more they will be able to provide more jobs. I for one don't buy it. The expansion of US companies is occurring in China, India, Mexico, and other 3rd world countries. The jobs being created here are in the service, retail, and restaurant sector at minimum wage. Most of the owners of those companies are not in the top 1% and they did get a tax cut.

So, no I won't give you $20 dollars until you list how many jobs you have created and what those salaries are. Come on be public about it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


The cover story in Madison's Isthmus paper is titled Got Migrants and is about dairy farms hiring undocumented workers. Say it ain't so. The great American, generally conservative, dairy farmer hiring workers that are illegal residents. Isn't there something a little ironic about this? The article does point out what I have been saying all along, the vast majority of illegals HAVE JOBS! The article contends that if they were deported the dairy industry would collapse. If it is a problem of this magnitude in Wisconsin, think of the problem in Arizona (where the majority want to deport) where they grow more labor intensive crops. Also, when I have been in Arizona the construction workers are majority Hispanic as are the hotel employees. You would think that with the unemployment rate what it is these employers wouldn't have to resort to hiring illegal immigrants. The problem is that us Americans find these jobs to be beneath us. I believe that if you are unemployed or if you don't have any skills no job is beneath you.

Michele Bachmann is schizophrenic!

The latest from the Queen of the Tea Party is that the Obama Administration should have taken ships to use in the Gulf. WHAT!!!! Wouldn't this be a big government takeover? Doesn't this go against everything that she stands for? She is saying that President Obama should have stepped in and told a private company how to manage what is essentially their problem. She goes further saying that the government should have confiscated private property for public use. I wonder how she will spin this so that Tea party nation thinks that she is still for smaller less intrusive government.

Once again you have a misguided partisan attack on President Obama. From my point of view this is BP's responsibility. But, there are things that I would like to see the Federal Government do. The first is to cancel BP's leases in this country and take away their management of the Alaska oil pipeline and port operations. I would also like to see the President invite BP's competitors in to salvage the oil and quite possibly try to cap that well. I look at the oil floating in the gulf as fair game, kind of like a ship wreck. I would also have liked the President to outlaw the use of dispersants. What they are doing is creating an even more toxic mess and possibly killing off more sea life. Instead since we want to federalize oil spills/ leaks is for the Government to purchase Kevin Costner's oil separator devices for use on all spills. I also want to see an end to all waivers in the permiting process, and for the government to cancel the recently approved wells until we can get the regulatory process reformed.