MARYLAND LIKES THAT IT HAS ONE OF THE WEALTHIEST AVERAGE INCOMES.....$70,000. WHAT WE ARE SEEING IS POLICY THAT IS MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR LOWER/MIDDLE CLASS TO LIVE COMFORTABLY IN THE STATE AND THAT IS DELIBERATE.FORCED TO DOWNSIZE HOME OWNERSHIP!YOU DO NOT WANT RULERS FOR LIFE.....VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!As we look where Third Way corporate democrats want to take society we need to remember who will be poor and working class in the next generation. The 1% see the middle-class as about $200,000 right now so as they push wages to poverty for most jobs....THAT WILL BE YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN. They deliberately paint the picture of black youth and families being affected because they have no advocates and there is segregation that plays into acceptance. The reality is that poor and working class whites and Hispanics are going to the suburbs as well and the new middle-class are seeing themselves living in closet apartments/housing in the city. All of this is due to wealth inequity and power that simply needs to turn around. It is easy to do but you must get active and politically involved.....shake the apathy and RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE NEXT ELECTIONS!!!!!The politicians are releasing policy so that most people think this NEW WORLD ORDER is simply ending social programs and making small government and will affect mostly the poor and working class. THE MIDDLE CLASS MUST WAKE UP AND START TO SHOUT BECAUSE YOU ARE THE TARGET AS MUCH IF NOT MORE THAN THE POOR!!! Stop being silent because you think your property value will go up if the poor are gone......YOU WON'T BE THERE EITHER FOR GOODNESS SAKE!! Housing remains elusive for Montgomery’s middle class Friday conference to address problem by Agnes Blum Staff writer Gazette.NetDespite holding a full-time job with the federal government, Chantal Rice still can’t afford a three-bedroom apartment in Montgomery County — so that she, her daughter and her son can all have their own rooms.
She knows that if she didn’t work she would be eligible for all kinds of benefits — food, housing, child care, medical — but because she makes just enough to be solidly middle class, about $62,000 a year, Rice said she does not qualify for government help.
So for now she shares a bedroom with her daughter and keeps her eyes peeled for that elusive prize — a three-bedroom home for less than $1,200 a month.
Problems like Rice’s are set to be addressed at Friday’s 22nd annual Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County. Elected officials, housing experts and activists will meet at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center to talk housing issues and discuss solutions.
Among the guest speakers are Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Dist. 8) of Kensington, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Dist. 7) of Baltimore.
With the Cartier store on Wisconsin Avenue, multimillion-dollar mansions in Potomac and private schools that cost more than four-year colleges, one might be forgiven for thinking only the wealthy call Montgomery County home.
But as Rice and her family illustrate, that is not the case, and the toughest challenge for the struggling middle class is often housing, advocates say.
Montgomery County has grown progressively more expensive during the last decade, according to a 2012 study by the University of Washington School of Social Work.
An adult with two young children in Montgomery County must earn at least $36.90 an hour, or more than $77,000 a year, just to cover their basic needs without help from the government. That’s more than is needed in either New York City or San Francisco, and represents a 50 percent increase in the past 10 years, adjusted for inflation, according to the study.
It’s also a lot more than Rice makes.
The Great Recession has only made things worse, said Susan Yancy, of Montgomery County’s Housing Opportunities Commission, but “its especially felt at the lower income levels.”
The poverty rate in Montgomery County has risen from 5.4 percent in 2000 to 6.3 in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
More than 15,000 people are on a county waiting list for federal housing vouchers, which supplement payment for qualified renters, Yancy said. Another 10,000 are on a waiting list to get into public housing, which is run by the Housing Opportunities Commission.
In addition to operating the federal voucher and public housing programs, the commission finances, develops, and manages properties and offers mortgages for first-time home buyers.
But there is just not enough help to go around, said Lise Tracey, executive director of the Affordable Housing Conference of Montgomery County.
“It’s just tremendously expensive,” Tracey said. “The need is so great, and so many people can’t afford it. The alternative is multiple families living in homes, or living with their parents, or people living in less expensive counties and commuting to work here.”
The county has some housing programs, such as one that designates a certain percentage of any new development as Moderately Priced Dwelling Units. They’re a good start, but “not a panacea,” said Barbara Goldberg Goldman, the founder of the Affodable Housing Conference.
According to the county’s website, only a handful of moderately priced apartments are available at any given time. As of April 30, two three-bedroom apartments were available for $1,320 a month. That’s $120 more a month than what Rice can afford.
And when you’re counting every penny, Rice said, $120 is huge.
Affordable housing is not just a charitable act, but enriches all of Montgomery County, Goldman said.
“It makes for a better, a richer community as a whole,” she said.
For Rice, who moved here from Prince George’s County in 1992, Montgomery County is home.
“I love it here,” she said of her community in Germantown. “The opportunities are better here for my kids.”
But it’s not right that someone who is working full time should be forced to choose between paying the electric or the gas bill, Rice said. More programs should be aimed at people like her, those who are employed but still struggling.
“I would like the county to stop sending the message not to work,” she said. “My tax dollars help fund these programs.”
firstname.lastname@example.orgLook at this article from 1991. This is when the move towards empire and wealth inequity was just getting started and you see the beginning of that class warfare as it hit middle class as well as the poor!Housing Elusive For Middle ClassReport Shows More Than Poor Are Kept
OutSeptember 08, 1991|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff
Charles C. Feaga, R-5th, the housing plan the council received from a 13-member task force last week is not just another study awaiting the shelf.
A lifelong county resident, Feaga knows well the lament that housing here is beyond the reach of most low- and moderate-income families. But what the report cited, and what Feaga also knows,is that most Howard County homes are beyond the reach of middle-income people as well -- those with annual incomes of $60,000 or less.
"All of a sudden even middle-class people can't afford to live here," Feaga says. "Most of our children are middle class. Unless things change we will pretty much be telling them we have no place for them."
One thing that must change if the county is to "retain its young or even a significant portion of its middle-class residents," the task force said, is for a zoning change to allow development of at least 20,000 units of town houses and apartments during the next 20 years.
Although the idea of more town houses and apartments inflames many slow-growth advocates, members of the County Housing Commission and the County Housing and Community Development Board never flinchedin making their joint recommendations to the council. They expect their recommendations to be taken seriously.
"I believe we live in avery kind county where people by and large understand" the need for affordable housing, says James C. Landerkin, chairman of the housing development board.
Even if the county were to continue becoming "older and richer" faster than anywhere else in the region as the task force reports, people would still need someone to "protect them, put out their fires, deliver their mail, cook their hamburgers, teach in their schools, and nurse them," Landerkin says. "Already, many care givers cannot afford to live here unless they are in families of multiple-wage earners."
The council already has endorsed affordable housing on a limited scale, proposing in the 1990 General Plan that the county provide developer incentives that would add 267 new low- and moderate-income units to the county's housing stock each year.
The rezoning request "is obviously a concern" to people, says Shane Pendergrass, D-1st.
What she doesn't know, she says, is whether people are against town house, condominium and apartment developments, or whether they object to the increased demand for services that those developments bring.
"I have a gut feeling it's (increased) density, period," she says. "It is a question I have to talk to people about."
John W. Taylor, president of Howard County Citizens for Responsible Growth, says that while he doesn't know what the answer is, increased density is not it.
"We are in the midst of a recession and are already going to reach the general plan threshold" of 2,500 new residential units a year, he says. "What's it gonna be when the good timescome?"
Paul R. Farragut, D-4th, asks the question in a different way. Farragut says the task force has done "a good job with an ambitious plan," but would like to see detailed comparisons with general plan proposals.
Some residents are already having difficulty with the mixed-use concept proposed in the general plan, he says. The concept attempts to help provide affordable housing by allowing people to live above stores in industrial settings.
With resistance already building against the mixed-use idea, the task force proposals will be even harder to implement, Farragut says. "We'll need some innovative missionary work to help us get a good reaction."
Darrel Drown, R-2nd agrees. "I think there is a mandate from the public for both a benevolent society and to slow the growth rate," Drown says. "The proposal may be too aggressive. We need to stay with the general plan numbers. People are saying they are willing to pay a little more to slow the growth rate."
Council Chairman C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, remains optimistic. Gray thinks the addition of 700 low- to moderate-income units a year is not unrealistic and had sought to get the council to approve at least 500 in the general plan. The council voted for 267.
What it didn't do, Gray says, is make any provision for increased numbers of mobile homes, something he is attempting to change.
Meanwhile, he and County Executive Charles I. Ecker are working together to draft legislation that would make the portion of the plan relating to low- and moderate-income families -- those earning less than $35,000 a year -- a reality. Ecker said he expects that legislation to be ready in two to four months.
____________________________________________It helps the public if you speak of the goal in the transition of poor and working class from city to suburb. In the 1980s when Reagan started to implement empire-building with his buddy Margaret Thatcher it involved moving all of the West's wealth to the top income earners and preparing for empire-building wars and espionage. Hence the great migration of the elite and corporations to urban centers with the movement out of the poor and working class.....the Medieval social structure that has peasants living quiet agricultural lives with no transportation and paying much in taxes to the princely fiefdoms. This is the neo-liberal ideal of Third Way corporate democrats as well. So, this migration of the poor out of the cities is causing the swell of suburbia poor as is the plan.
What we need to remember is just who will be included in these masses moving to suburbia? Much of the middle-class has been impoverished through massive frauds yet seeing justice. Tons of immigrants are scheduled by Third Way to take ever more domestic jobs even as unemployment including those working part time reaches 40%...see who those peasants are scheduled to be? Your children and grandchildren. Look at the middle-class closets in Manhattan to see the goal for large cities. This is a future envisioned by the 1% of society so why is it the only vision you hear on media, especially public media? PUBLIC MEDIA IS CAPTURED BY CORPORATE INTERESTS AND NOW ONLY GIVE YOU THIRD WAY CORPORATE POLICY! That's what happens in Reagan/Clinton's empire....the masses have no voice.
We can easily reverse this silly policy of ending democracy in America by rejecting the DNC candidates for democratic elections and running labor and justice instead. Win the democratic primary with a candidate from the democratic base and let's get back to being a first world democracy!!!!
Advocates Struggle To Reach Growing Ranks Of Suburban Poorby This story was produced for broadcast by Marisa Penaloza.
May 20, 2013 3:07 AM 7 min 23 sec
TD Bank volunteers sort donated food into barrels at the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg in Montgomery County, Md. Poverty in the county, just outside of Washington, D.C., has grown by two-thirds since 2007.
Gabriella Demczuk/NPR Poverty has grown everywhere in the U.S. in recent years, but mostly in the suburbs. During the 2000s, it grew twice as fast in suburban areas as in cities, with more than 16 million poor people now living in the nation's suburbs — more than in urban or rural areas.
Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, says this shift in poverty can be seen in Montgomery County, Md., right outside the nation's capital.
"Montgomery County is one of the wealthiest counties in the country," she says, noting the streets lined with luxury apartments, big homes and crowded restaurants. "But it also has a rapidly growing poor population."
Kneebone, co-author with Alan Berube, of a new book from Brookings, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, says poverty in Montgomery County has grown by two-thirds since the recent recession. That means 30,000 more residents living below the federal poverty line — about $23,000 for a family of four.
That doesn't buy much in a suburban area with a high cost of living. By some estimates, a family of four in Montgomery County needs more than $80,000 a year to meet basic needs.
Suburban Poverty On The Rise Source: Brookings Institute
Credit: Danny DeBelius/NPR
Hidden Among Affluence
Kneebone says, around the country, the suburban poor live in low-income and working-class neighborhoods. "But it's also occurring in places we think of as more affluent," she says. "And, in fact, it may be even more hidden there because we don't expect to find poverty in those communities."
On a tour of Montgomery County, Kneebone stops at one place where the growth in poverty is not a surprise: Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg, where about two dozen people are lined up for food.
One of them is Polly Maxwell, 64, who walks with the help of a cane. Maxwell says she started coming here a couple of years ago. After working 38 years at a local hospital, mostly in medical records, she now lives on disability checks.
But Maxwell says things have gotten way too expensive. She spends half of her income on the $800 a month rent for her efficiency apartment.
"What you were making in two weeks when I was working, that's what I make a month," Maxwell says. "I mean, it's hard. And I just never thought it would be like that. So, you have to get used to that, you know. Some of your money lasts a month, sometimes it doesn't."
And she's hardly alone. This center, like food pantries across the country, has seen its caseload double since the recession.
Kneebone says Montgomery County is fairly typical. Suburban poverty has grown nationally because low-income families moved from cities — or other countries — in search of better schools, affordable housing and jobs. But she says it's also about people like Polly Maxwell — long-time suburbanites who have gotten poorer.
"And the Great Recession was particularly severe — widespread job losses, many of them concentrated in suburban communities hit hard by the collapse of the housing market and the loss of construction jobs and related services," Kneebone says. And even though jobs are coming back to the suburbs, she says many pay too little to make ends meet.
Kneebone says even social services and charities have been slow to recognize the shift in need. Most of their resources still go to the nation's cities, where there's a long history of serving the poor.
Shifting Focus Beyond The City
The nonprofit Mary's Center has been providing medical and other help to the poor for 25 years in the Washington, D.C. area. But until recently, all of its facilities were located in the city. That changed in 2008, when it opened a site in Montgomery County, in an area that serves many immigrants. It opened another suburban center last year.
"We were figuring out that when we were over there at the other sites that we have in D.C., there was a lot of population from Maryland who were traveling from here to there," says Zulma Aparicio, site director of the two suburban locations. "And they were paying fares for the bus, metro and all of this. And now they continue paying, but it's closer."
Brookings' Elizabeth Kneebone says that transportation is a big issue for the suburban poor. Everything is so spread out, it can be hard to get where you need to go to meet basic needs, especially if you don't own a car.
But Montgomery County is trying to take steps to address the problem. The county's Neighborhood Opportunity Network operates three one-stop shops for struggling families. Pearline Tyson, the network's program manager, says the county opened the three centers in neighborhoods it knew had been especially hard-hit by the recession.
"They knew that some people would be intimidated by going to a [bigger] regional center to apply for benefits. Especially people who had never received benefits before or who were not familiar with government services," Tyson says.
Instead, the neighborhood centers are intimate and accessible. One is located in Gaithersburg, in what looks like a typical suburban office park. But it's filled with non-profits and social service agencies, instead of businesses. People who come to the center are assigned a county worker who helps them navigate what can be a labyrinth of benefit programs and charitable services.
Fafaneva Phillip Avudufu, left and his wife Akouavi Davi with their grandson Joshua, 4, in their apartment in Gaithersburg, Md.
Gabriella Demczuk/NPR Geography Matters
For Akouavi Davi and her husband, who came here from West Africa, it's been a godsend. "I'm so happy, because I know I have someone to help me now," she says.
The family had been getting by on its own until a back injury forced Davi to give up her job at Wal-Mart. Then their daughter left their small grandson, Joshua, in their care, and now, only her husband works, as a security guard.
"We have electricity problem. We have apartment problem. I have health problem, I don't have insurance," Davi says.
And to complicate matters, she doesn't drive. The family recently moved from a neighborhood further out in the county, where there are no buses, to a place near the center, where there are plenty.
Kneebone says when you're poor, geography matters. Low-income residents can spend long hours trying to get services — time that might be better spent working, or going to school. She says at least this county is trying to adjust. Many have yet to do so.
"We're still thinking about poverty where it was in 1964 when President Johnson launched the War on Poverty. The reality on the ground today is just very different," Kneebone says.
And that reality, she says, is unlikely to change if people don't know that it's there.
This story was produced for broadcast by Marisa Penaloza.___________________________________________In Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Balke is using the small settlement we did see come to the city to bulldoze blighted houses for new affluent development. These neighborhoods are in East Baltimore and Hopkins has made sure that there is almost no low income housing in what is all low-income housing neighborhoods. So, instead of using the small mortgage fraud money to rebuild homes for those in the communities, the people defrauded are receiving almost nothing. Keep in mind, these victims are not only working class but seniors, and immigrants who placed prime value on their homes and were targeted with this fraud.
The subprime mortgage loan fraud involved trillions of dollars of fraud as much against government coffers as these low-income housing loans are subsidized by taxpayers and then against individuals. The majority of people involved were not 'irresponsible' or gaming the system. They were people who had no idea the economy was ready to collapse from massive fraud and thought they would have years to pay and refinance these loans. THEY MIGHT HAVE MANAGED HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE CRASH! THIS CRASH WAS DELIBERATE AND IT ALL INVOLVED MASSIVE FRAUD THAT HAS YET TO SEE JUSTICE!!!AG Eric Holder: Please meet with struggling homeowners about Wall Street crime Posted by nathanhj on May 14, 2013 in Blog, News, Week Of Action | 2 comments
Home » Blog » Dear AG Eric Holder: Please meet with struggling homeowners about Wall Street crime
Home Defenders going to Washington DC for the Week of Action to end Too Big to Jail are asking US Attorney General Eric Holder for a meeting. Below you can read the letter in it’s entirety and you can also download it as a PDF by clicking this link.
Here’s the letter:
May 13, 2013
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr.
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Holder,
On behalf of the Home Defenders League, a national network of struggling homeowners and community organizations working with struggling homeowners, we are writing to request a meeting on Monday, May 20th.
We know that you are extremely busy, but our visit to Washington, D.C. comes as an urgent response to years of impunity for Wall Street executives and to the widespread shock and dismay felt by many Americans at your recent remarks to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where you stated that the Justice Department has declined to press criminal charges against big banks due to concerns that doing so could damage the stability of the global economy.
We believe it is urgent and necessary for you to spend at least a few minutes hearing directly from some of the millions of Americans whose lives, communities, and economic future have been devastated by the Wall Street executives whose crimes you have declined to prosecute.
We hope to discuss what you and the Obama Administration will do to:
- Make Wall Street pay homeowners back
- Prosecute Wall Street bankers for stealing our homes, savings, and livelihoods
We have attached specific actions we seek to address these three issues. (Some of our proposals speak to actions needed across the Obama Administration and federal government, but some of the most important are directly within your power.)
- Keep people in their homes by resetting their mortgages
Wall Street’s recklessness and greed crashed the economy and created the housing crisis; the banks got bailed out, and we hoped and trusted that homeowners and Main Street would get some relief. The federal programs that were established have failed to help anywhere near the number of families promised – leaving millions behind to fend for themselves against unlawful banks.
Americans lost 40% of their household wealth, while communities of color were hit even harder – Latinos losing 66% of their household wealth and African Americans 53%. Over a quarter of homeowners with mortgages are underwater, owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. As a growing chorus of experts and leaders called for a widespread program to reduce mortgage principal, we became hopeful that this would happen. It hasn’t.
We have been patient.
Legal action against the big banks was threatened by state Attorneys General and the DOJ, a settlement was reached, and we were once again promised relief. The scale of help promised has not materialized and the banks continue to violate the terms of the settlement, meaning that all too often only those homeowners who have the time and ability to fight their way through the bureaucracy and run-around are able to access relief.
We have been patient.
In recent weeks, when we – homeowners who have been wronged – began to receive $300 checks in so-called “compensation” for the banks’ fraudulent acts, our patience ran out. When we learned of active duty military coming back to no homes, because their houses were wrongfully taken by the banks, our patience ran out.
We’ve had enough.
Is this really the kind of country we are, that we allow these big banks to do so much harm to families, communities and our entire economy and we let them get away with it? We rush to provide trillions in relief to the banks and leave hard-working families in the dust?
The U.S. public is outraged at what Wall Street has done and gotten away with, and it’s time for our elected leaders to stand with the people over Wall Street.
We are eager to meet to discuss steps that your department and other divisions of the U.S. government must take in order to provide relief to those who have been wronged by the banks, stabilize the housing market for the millions of homeowners who are still struggling, and hold Wall Street banks accountable. Please let us know when on May 20th you are able to meet by responding to our Campaign Director, Kevin Whelan, email@example.com or 612-246-3235 (Office address: 911 W. Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55411.)
Vivian Richardson, Mae Wallace, Javier Sarmiento, Reverend Gloria Swieringa,
Home Defenders League representatives,
On behalf of struggling homeowners across the United States
The Change We Need to Hold Wall Street Accountable May 2013
We call on the President Obama to take action during his second term to implement a bold and just agenda to secure his legacy as a President who respected the rule of law and helped the hardest hit, especially communities of color, stay in their homes.
The American people need the Obama Administration to use every available legal, enforcement and market tool available to keep the President’s promises by making Wall Street pay for its crimes and bringing relief and restitution to homeowners.
Prosecute Financial Crimes The Obama Administration’s record on criminal prosecutions of financial crimes is woeful. From zero indictments for securitization crimes to the more recent acknowledgement that even those banks guilty of laundering money for drug cartels and terrorists are “too big to jail,” the nation is still waiting for a measure of justice. In the first 100 days of his second term Obama should:
- Replace Lanny Breuer, who recently resigned as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, with someone committed to holding Wall Street to the rule of law, and instruct federal prosecutors to make investigation of crimes by financial institutions a top priority.
- Allocate 100 additional investigators to the RMBS Task Force established last year to investigate the crimes that led to the financial and mortgage crisis; publicly support and advocate for the task force’s requested $55 million 2013 budget allocation; and direct regulatory agencies to investigate and refer cases to the Justice Department.
Make Wall Street Pay Us Back We demand real restitution. Banks aren’t even living up to the terms of the settlements and deals they’ve cut to stay out of jail. We call on the Obama Administration to:
- Establish an investigative unit at FDIC to launch investigations under FIRREA statutes, which are among the only remaining vehicle for bringing charges relating to mortgage securitization, since so many others are now past their statutory deadlines.
- Ensure that future settlements with lenders and servicers are commensurate with the damage actually done. Thus far the Administration has settled major, systemic law-breaking with what amount to parking tickets.
- Use the power of the Treasury, regulatory agencies, and law enforcement to ensure that promised relief (HAMP, Hardest Hit Funds, National Mortgage Settlement) actually reaches families and communities in need of help, starting with the communities of color and neighborhoods targeted for the most abusive lending practices.
- End the practice of allowing the perpetrators to administer settlements, and ensure that they adhere to fair lending practices.
Keep People in their Homes by Resetting Mortgages
- Additionally, we call for Congressional hearings into use of the $26 billion settlement funds from last February, particularly the continued practice of dual tracking by lenders and a full accounting of every dollar disbursed.
- The Obama Administration and Congress must act to keep people in their homes by resetting mortgages. Through its control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal government controls some $5 trillion in mortgage assets. Yet because of FHFA resistance they have blocked the single most important tool for fixing the housing market. A new director at FHFA must have a strong mandate to reset mortgages at current market rates. Resetting mortgages to fair market value will create $71 billion in yearly economic activity and more than a million new jobs, in addition to helping America’s 14 million underwater homeowners.
- GSE practices and servicer practices as regulated by federal agencies should discourage foreclosures, placing principal correction at the top of the list of options for helping distressed homeowners.
__________________________________________________Regarding Empty Desks is made possible through a grant from the Open Society Institute--Baltimore:
- Besides resetting mortgage principal, GSEs should seek to keep families in foreclosed homes through rental or buy-back programs, and turn vacant homes into affordable housing development and community control, not sources of new speculation and profit taking by the very Wall Street speculators who caused the mortgage crash in the first place.
First, I would like to say that Open Society Baltimore Education is headed by Johns Hopkins and is complicit in this moving of children out of the city center. I have spoken at length about their failure to come clean on school retention figures that are merely a policy change in defining when a child is considered still in school:
It is the intent of School Choice and Charter School policies in cities like Baltimore to make going to school as difficult as possible for the poor and working class so as to get them to move to the suburbs....out of city center. Can you image a school policy that places large numbers of young children on city buses in order to get to school in an attempt to dislodge them from their neighborhood schools? IT TAKES COMPLETE IMMORALITY AND THAT IS THE POWER IN BALTIMORE.....JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY!
We heard on NPR/APM the mocking report about growing poor in suburbs and it did not mention that much of this is from the poor and working class being literally pushed out of city centers all illegally as Brown vs Board of Education and Equal Protection laws are all ignored....in Baltimore the ACLU-MD is actually leading this illegal process it is all so corrupted! This is yet another symptom of a depraved society where money trumps human rights and Rule of Law. What the NPR/APM report on poor in suburbs didn't tell you that it is a policy from the 1980s to push these people out and that transportation policy now being written will keep them from having the ability to get around. Privatizing public transportation and ending subsidies will have these poor and working class stranded in areas that will become farmland.....REMEMBER, WE HAVE SLAVERY RETURNING TO AMERICA IN A BIG WAY AS LABOR LAWS ARE IGNORED AND IMMIGRANTS ARE BEING EXPLOITED AS THIRD WORLD. This is the plan folks. Will your family fall victim to mass lay offs and ever lower wages sending them out to be exploited....MANY FAMILIES ARE EXPECTED TO FALL INTO THE ROLE OF PEASANT WITH THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS SEEKING A SOCIETY MODELED FROM MEDIEVAL TIMES!!!
RUN AND VOTE LABOR AND JUSTICE AND SIMPLY REVERSE THIS IMMORAL AND CRIMINAL POLICY!!!!WYPR newsroom series Empty Desks
continues with a look at city school students daily commute. More than 17,000 Baltimore students miss 20 or more days of school a year. Many of these chronically absent students and their parents say transportation is a major reason for their absences. That’s because nearly 30,000 city students use public transportation to get to school—students like 13-year-old Juwan Nobel and his 9-year-old brother Javon Nobel. http://news.wypr.org/post/getting-school-harder-you-think
Empty Desks is made possible through a grant from the Open Society Institute--Baltimore.Getting To School Is Harder Than You Think
By Gwendolyn Glenn Gwendolyn Glenn / WYPRJuwan and Javon Nobel of East Baltimore. They ride two buses together to school each day.
More than 17,000 Baltimore students miss 20 or more days of school a year. Many of these chronically absent students and their parents say transportation is a major reason for their absences. That’s because nearly 30,000 city students use public transportation to get to school—students like 13-year-old Juwan Nobel and his 9-year-old brother Javon Nobel.
- Listen 6:46 Getting To School Is Harder Than You Think
At about 7:30 a.m. each school day, the Nobel brothers walk three blocks down busy North Patterson Avenue to wait for the first of two public buses they take to school. The first bus stop is about three blocks from their apartment. They have electronic bus passes, provided by the school district, in hand as they wait for the bus.
“It takes a minute waiting for a bus,” Juwan said.
But sometimes, the wait can be much longer. “Sometimes they just pass you and it’s not a lot of people on the bus. I be mad,” says Javon. The Nobel brothers are late for school a lot, and their mother, Tyra Brown, said that they have also missed full days because they or their buses were late or they missed a transfer connection. On this particular day, the bus is on time, but it’s crowded with standing room only.
The ride down North Patterson to Old Town Mall is not that long, but it is a balancing act as the bus rumbles over potholes and bumps in the road. When the brothers exit the bus, they have to cross the street during rush hour to get to the next bus stop. They don’t go to a cross walk, but run in a break in traffic, which they say is always heavy. Juwan said he’s glad it’s sunny because many mornings and afternoons, the brothers’ bus waits have been long in the rain and snow. “It ain’t fun, but hey,” Juwan said with a shrug of his shoulders. Javon was more expressive about having to wait during bad weather. “I feel like just sad and I gotta walk in all this cold and I gotta catch that, catch this,” he said.
It’s during bad weather that some students ditch school. That’s according to Johns Hopkins researcher Robert Balfanz, who co-authored the first national study on chronic absenteeism last year. “It’s tiring when the weather is not good,” Balfanz said. “You’re in the cold and may not have the appropriate clothing for that. You may not have the good raincoat or umbrella. It gives them the opportunity to miss school.”
Senior Lonnie Hill takes three buses to get to Forest Park High School. He says bad weather and late buses are behind his numerous absences. "Third quarter, I missed 15 days,” Hill said. “I have to wait 45 minutes to an hour for a bus and longer on days when it rains.”
James Scroggins, the district’s chief operating officer, says they meet regularly with MTA officials and request route changes when they know of late buses or crowded bus stops. "At Friendship Academy students in Canton, there was an issue of not enough buses and students were waiting a long time, and the MTA took those concerns and they made adjustments and we haven’t heard any complaints since then,” Scroggins said.
Researcher Balfanz says it’s not just scheduling issues. Many chronically absent students use transfer points as an opportunity to skip school. “A parent can see the kids get on the first bus near their house but at that transfer point, the student now has the opportunity to go left and not right. The parent thinks they went to school. The school--because it’s not one bus pulling in front of the school where all the kids get off that they can watch, but kids are coming from all over--doesn’t know if the kid is coming or not and doesn’t respond right or way,” he said.
Scroggins says next year, they may be able to track students’ attendance through their electronic bus and train S-Passes. “It’s difficult at this point, but we are working with our IT division to try to capture that information in a way that allows us to report regularly to the schools to give them information that kind of helps them with respect to students in their schools. But all of that hasn’t been captured yet,” Scroggins said. Scroggins says only 8,000 students get to school on traditional yellow school buses, mainly elementary students who live more than a mile from their schools.
Parent Dana Gilliam says her 11-year-old daughter was given yellow bus service, but she still missed school a lot. Gilliam says it was because she had to walk 10 blocks, through a high-crime area, to get to her assigned yellow bus pick up point. “It’s a lot of things going on in the neighborhood,” Gilliam said. “It was always a group of people on the corner and just her being a female by herself would make her uncomfortable, would make me uncomfortable with her having to come through that to get to school.”
With the help of a social services agency, Gilliam’s daughter now gets to school by cab. Scroggins says about 800 district students get cab service. “Most are homeless, who live in various areas of the city where MTA isn’t close by and it would take three or four buses to get to school or they are in various counties. We are required to pick them up and bring them to their home schools,” Scroggins said.
But it’s not just homeless students who attend schools far from where they live. Researcher Balfanz says the choice Baltimore’s middle and high school students have in selecting a school places many outside their neighborhoods and contributes to chronic absenteeism. “Choice has benefits, but you have to look at the transportation implications of that and build a system that works so kids can exercise that choice and get to their schools without making heroic efforts,” Balfanz said.
Back on the bus with the Noble brothers, as they ride along, they know they’re going to be late again. Juwan gets off the bus at his school, William C. March Middle School, leaving his young brother to take the rest of the 10-minute ride solo to his school, Montebello Elementary Junior Academy. “He knows where to get off,” Juwan said. “See y’all later.”
Looking much younger than his age, Javon sits quietly for the rest of the ride, as people of all ages talked around him. Finally, he gets off the bus in front of his school. There’s a cross guard at the corner, but he sprints across the street at a closer point because he said he’s late. Juwan will take a bus to his school at the end of each day so they can ride home together. “He picks me up right here. See ya,” he said over his shoulder as he ran the rest of the way to his school.
The Nobel brothers will repeat the routine all over tomorrow and every school day.
Empty Desks is made possible through a grant from the Open Society Institute--Baltimore.
WE ARE NOW SEEING MORE WHITE COLLAR WORKERS SEEKING TO FORM UNIONS!!!!Please take these International Trade Agreements seriously. Third Way corporate democrats have no problem ignoring labor abuses now so if these trade agreements are allowed to become law......THEY ARE ALL ILLEGAL AND NEED TO BE CHALLENGED IN COURT....WE ARE ORGANIZING AND SO SHOULD YOU!!!.....YOU WILL SEE THE CONDITIONS BELOW BECOME WIDESPREAD ACROSS ALL INDUSTRIES. This is what O'Malley's and Maryland's Driving License law was about.....they wanted to exploit the undocumented in more and more industries. Meanwhile the middle-class is seeing it harder to send their kids to college, health care benefits limiting access, and pensions continually raided by fraud and economic collapse!This is found all across America and on Maryland's Eastern Shore as we find that big agriculture enslaves both field workers and meat processors RIGHT HERE IN AMERICA. This is happening because there is no government oversight! Obama's election would have reversed this if it wasn't for the fact that he is THIRD WAY CORPORATE AND SUPPORTS DEREGULATION AND NO CORPORATE RESTRICTIONS..... EVEN ILLEGAL ACTIONS!
THERE'S SOMETHING ROTTEN IN THE U.S. TOMATO INDUSTRY
Florida’s tomato farms supply 50% of all U.S. fresh tomatoes but have also been called America’s ‘ground zero for slavery.’ Countless workers held against their will, threatened with violence and forced to haul hundreds of heavy tomato buckets a day for little to no pay.
Right now is the worst part of Florida’s tomato picking season – the days are hot and the vines have nearly been picked clean making it hard to fill quotas. In these final days of the season, there is also tremendous pressure for tomato farms to turn a profit making conditions ripe for worker exploitation.
Thankfully, a new solution called the Fair Food Program has been proven successful. The Fair Food Program is working to enforce a policy of zero tolerance for slavery on tomato farms.
But a major U.S. supermarket chain, Publix Super Markets, is refusing to support the Fair Food Program. Publix continues to buy tomatoes from growers that are not partners of the Fair Food Program and where workers still toil beyond the reach of its proven protection from modern slavery.
Will Publix Super Markets, which prides itself on making Fortune’s 'Best Companies to Work For' list, continue to turn a blind eye and give excuses, or will it leverage its vast market influence and lead the way in cleaning up slavery in the tomato supply chain once and for all?
Tell Publix to make the right decision to join the Fair Food Program and ensure our tomatoes meet the highest human rights standards in the food industry today.
________________________________________________ This is why a market-based immigration bill wants to raise the limits of immigrants at both the high and low income level.....the US is moving towards a third world level of slavery that has many people paid $2 a day. WHEN THESE PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO BE EXPLOITED, THEN THE DOMESTIC POOR ARE AS WELL AND THEN ALL WAGES UP THE INCOME LADDER FALL FURTHER AND FURTHER.Wednesday, May 8, 2013 01:22 PM EDT
Strawberry pickers fired for leaving in wildfire
United Farm Workers helped 15 ununionized workers fight back after they were fired for walking off job during fires VIDEO By Natasha Lennard SALON
A firefighter keeps watch as the wildfire burns along a hillside in Point Mugu , Calif. (Credit: AP) Last week, when wildfires broke out in California’s Camarillo Springs, strawberry pickers working nearby found themselves struggling to breathe in ash-drenched air. Fifteen laborers stopped working and went inside for their own safety. But when they returned the next day they found that their employer, Crisalida Farms, had fired them.
“The ashes were falling on top of us,” one worker told NBC LA. “[But] they told us if we leave, there would be no job to return to.”
Although the laborers themselves were without a union, they sought help from the United Farm Workers, who won the workers their positions back through negotiations. According to NBC LA, however, only one laborer has so far chosen to return to Crisalida Farms following the incident.
“No worker shall work under conditions where they feel his life or health is in danger,” said UFW’s Lauro Barrajas, citing the union rule he had impressed upon Crisalida Farms upper management in negotiations.
Via NBC LA:
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email firstname.lastname@example.org. More Natasha Lennard.
______________________________________________I WANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT THE ABUSE ON WORKERS GOES UP THE INCOME SCALE AS THE MIDDLE-CLASS DISAPPEARS AT AN ALARMING RATE. WHEN THIRD WAY SAYS IT IS WORKING FOR THE MIDDLE-CLASS.....THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE EARNING $200,000 AND ABOVE.....NOT WHAT WE HAVE NORMALLY SEEN AS THE MIDDLE-CLASS.Below you see someone coming to the defense of O'Malley sighting that an increase in pension taxes happened only to higher income pensioners....which is a good thing. This is the reality of high income pensions vs middle/class income pensions....THE MIDDLE-CLASS AND PUBLIC PENSIONERS ARE TARGETED FOR UNENDING DEFRAUDING BY FEES AND BAD INVESTMENT. I dare say that the investment firms chosen by higher income people are more diligent in their investment outcomes!
My point today is that when you have a corporate media with no limits.....and this is what we have today....they are constantly giving us information that works to benefit the corporation or the politicians they support. O'Malley is a truly corporate pol. As I showed before, people with high incomes are moving them into dynasty accounts and foundation/estate planning that do not meet these higher taxation requirements that O'Malley pushed and that is why he pushed it. So, an article that sounds like O'Malley is holding the rich accountable is not really true....not that the commenter knows this!
THIS IS MY COMMENT TO CHARLIE:Charlie Cooper not in the $150,000 tax bracket!! Welcome to the middle-class. What we do not want to do is praise policy that is fluff and not a fix. We all know that O'Malley deliberately left public sector pensions unfunded throughout his political career, first in Balt and now at the state level. He sent teacher's pensions packing so as to declare the state budget balanced at a time he knew localities could not afford them and now we are seeing these pensions being thrown in a very criminal market where they will lose 1/3 of the value just from fees..not even addressing the ever crashing market. This is no pension and retirement loving governor!
O'Malley has loaded the State and approved local credit bond deals that raised money through Wall Street complex financial instruments again creating the appearance of balancing the state budget but through more debt. We are loaded with these deals just as the economy is ready to crash from stock market malfeasance. As pensions were thrown into the stock market from the protection of the bond market in 2007 creating great losses for pensions, so to will they see huge losses with this coming crash that will be larger than before.
I don't know if Charlie's pension is private or public but I do know that while public pensions are always used the most as fodder, private pensions will tank as well. It won't matter the tax savings!
Md. retirees are lucky if they're affected by O'Malley's income tax hike 10:30 a.m. EDT, May 17, 2013 Baltimore Sun
Constance Kihm writes that she is leaving Maryland because she "can no longer afford to support fiscal and social programs with which we do not agree" ("Farewell, my Maryland, farewell to taxes, farewell to extreme liberalism," May 10). She resents that Maryland "feels it is entitled to increase the tax burden on our hard-earned retirement income."
I am a pensioner who turned 65 last year. I discovered that Maryland does not tax the first $27,100 of retirement income! This saved my wife and me about $4,000 in state and local income tax for 2012.
If Ms. Kihm is paying higher income taxes as a result of the 2012 income tax increase, it means that she and her spouse have more than $150,000 in taxable income. On the first $50,000 above $150,000, they would owe an additional $125.
Charlie Cooper, Baltimore
____________________________________________STUDENT DEBT WILL KILL THE FUTURE GENERATION AS THEY ARE SADDLED FOR LIFE WITH OUTRAGEOUS TUITION COSTS THAT ARE BASED ON CREATING A CORPORATE CAMPUS FOR CORPORATE PROFIT!!!! OBAMA'S STUDENT LOAN BILL WILL HAVE THE MIDDLE/LOWER CLASS STUDENTS PAYING OFF ALMOST ALL OF THEIR LOANS WHILE THE AFFLUENT WOULD WRITE OFF MUCH OF THEIR LOANS!!I want to point to two things...the Fed is able to lend free money to banks and corporations because it has been allowed to operate freely and fraudulently and if justice had not been delayed would not have the where-with-all to use these lending practices and all of this is happening because of Federal intervention or lack of it....so the Fed rate is controlled at will by the Federal government. I think Warren is just trying to play the game by not announcing this. Secondly, The Department of Education is run by debt collection companies and it is indeed soaking student loan people with hidden fees and rates, writing and rewriting people in and out of default each time with fees up to $3,000 added to their loans....this is pay day loan policy and that is how the Department of Education is servicing its loans....I don't know where you are getting figures that make the margin sound normal for risk. As a nation we do not have a government that preys on its citizens for profits...risk is mitigated by public policy that does not allow massive corporate fraud to crash and stagnate the economy!The article below is from Yahoo news.....this is the most corporate news media out there and it is unfortunately what many people are reading as they log on to Yahoo.
The Truth About Elizabeth Warren’s Student Loan Crusade
By Yahoo! Finance |By Jason Delisle
Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to set the interest rate on federal loans made to low-income college students at 0.75 percent. Why? Because the Federal Reserve lends to banks at that rate, while the government charges 6.8 percent on most student loans; because the government “profits” by lending to low-income students; and because students are being crushed by debt.
With that mix of populist rhetoric and subterfuge, Senator Warren stands to whip up a mob of angry students (and pundits) who will demand that the government drop the interest rate on student loans to 0.75 percent. Good luck reasoning with a mob. Nevertheless, here is what everyone should know about Senator Warren’s case for lower interest rates.
The interest rate at which the “government” lends to banks is part of an emergency loan program that the Federal Reserve uses to prevent runs on banks. The 0.75 percent rate is actually a penalty rate, about three times higher than what banks charge each other in the market. Banks rarely use it, and lose money when they do. Lastly, the Federal Reserve is not part of the government, nor is it controlled by it; it is an independent entity. Therefore, the “government” does not lend to banks at 0.75 percent.
A government cash cow?
What about Senator Warren’s claim that the government makes money off loans to low-income students? Senator Warren is not telling the whole story here either. She points to figures that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says “do not provide a comprehensive measure of what federal credit programs actually cost the government and, by extension, taxpayers.” In fact, when the budget office “accounts more fully… for the cost of the risk the government takes on when issuing loans,” it reports that Subsidized Stafford loans – those made to low-income students – cost taxpayers $12 for every $100 lent out, or $3.5 billion per year. If the loans cost $3.5 billion a year when the government charges a 6.8 percent interest rate, cutting the rate to 0.75 percent would more than triple that cost.
The claim that the government makes money on these loans is even more dubious given that the Department of Education estimates that 23 percent of the Subsidized Stafford loans it makes this year will default. That puts it among the riskiest loan programs that the federal government runs. By comparison, about 7 percent of the loans under the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program are expected to default. That program provides loans to high-risk borrowers who do not qualify for a traditional mortgage because they lack the savings, income or credit history.
To be sure, the student loan program should serve high-risk borrowers. By their nature, students generally do not have collateral, earnings or credit histories. But when nearly a quarter of the loans are expected to default, charging a 6.8 percent interest rate is hardly the usury Senator Warren suggests. A non-profit credit union would charge at least double that rate.
There is a better solution
Let’s say Senator Warren is right that students are being crushed by debt. Even so, lawmakers need not cut interest rates to alleviate that burden. The government has a solution in place.
A program available now, called Pay As You Earn, allows the same borrowers who would be eligible for Senator Warren’s proposal to have their annual loan payments set at between 0% and 10% of their incomes, depending on their earnings and family size. That is, a borrower’s income – not the interest rate – dictates the payment, and it is always an affordable share of his income, never exceeding 10 percent annually. The program also guarantees that no one has to pay beyond 20 years. No matter how much a student borrows, or the interest rate, the loans are forgiven at that point.
Too few borrowers are aware of the Pay As You Earn program, however, and others struggle to enroll due to administrative hurdles. If Senator Warren were serious about easing students’ debt burdens, her first legislative proposal would have addressed those issues. Instead, she gave students a crash course on the Federal Reserve’s discount window and false hope that they will be able to borrow from it. Those students would be much better off learning about Pay As You Earn.
Jason Delisle is Director of the Federal Education Budget Project at the New America Foundation._______________________________________________ YOU SEE WHY THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATIC STATES LIKE NEW YORK AND MARYLAND WELCOME IMMIGRANTS ......THEY TURN THEIR HEADS TO WHAT THEY KNOW EXISTS.......EXPLOITATION!!!!!!
O'MALLEY AND RAWLINGS-BLAKE AS WITH THE MARYLAND ASSEMPLY AND BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL ALL KNOW THAT WAGE THEFT IS HAPPENING BIG TIME RIGHT OUT IN THE OPEN!!!!Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:42 PM EDT
Report: 84 percent NY fast food workers report wage theft
A review of 500 restaurants found most companies fail to pay workers the wages they deserve By Natasha Lennard SALON
Demonstrators protesting low wages and the lack of union representation in the fast food industry stand outside of a McDonald's restaurant near Times Square in New York, April 4, 2013 (Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters) A report released Wednesday by activist and worker coalition Fast Food Forward states that 84 percent of New York fast food workers are subject to wage theft — a term used by labor organizers and advocates to mean that the employers withhold from the full wages workers are owed. The results hail from an Anzalone Liszt Grove research survey of 500 workers. The report’s release follows a series of one-day strikes coordinated by non-unionized fast food workers in five U.S. cities in recent months — from New York to Milwaukee – involving workers from chains including McDonald’s, Popeye’s and Wendy’s. Josh Eidelson reported for the Nation:
[The report] lands on the same day as a New York Times article reporting that New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman “is investigating whether the owners of several fast-food restaurants and a fast-food parent corporation have cheated their workers out of wages, according to a person familiar with the cases.”…
The Fast Food Forward report identifies several types of violations as prevalent in the city’s fast food industry: employees working, without pay, before or after their shift; employees working overtime without being paid time-and-a-half; employees working during their breaks or not receiving breaks; and delivery employees not being reimbursed for expenses like gasoline or safety equipment.
The report quotes McDonald’s worker Elizabeth Rene, who says she loses up to $75 a month because she isn’t paid for the time she spends counting the register before and after her shift: “I feel cheated and used and like I’m not appreciated for my hard work.” A 2008 study by the National Employment Law Project estimated that the average low-wage worker loses 15% of his or her annual income to wage theft.
Regarding legislation moving through Washington from Obama and other Third Way corporate democrats:
1) Privatizing Social Security with mandatory contribution worker retirement IRAs has been a republican policy for ending SS for decades and now is pushed by Third Way corporate democrats speaking of Chain CPI as well....lowering exiting senior SS monthly payments. Remember, over $3 trillion in payroll taxes paid between the Reagan Administration and now was sent to the Treasury and not the Trusts so that needs to come back. The COLA has been used on several occasions to lower senior's benefits. When they tell you there isn't enough money remind them that from the 1950s to the 1970s people were dying well before they received benefits....there is a huge surplus awaiting the baby boomers.
2) Student Loan Forgiveness Act or as we call it THE NEXT TRILLION DOLLAR BAILOUT OF BANKS AND THE RICH BILL! This approach to student loans is designed to move private student loans much of which is filled with fraud and much of which will see the debt forgiven go to the elite students with the $150,000 - 350,000 student loans while the middle/lower class students with the $20,000 - 30,000 student loans will pay almost all of their loans off in the 20 year period....which is the point of this bill. This mirrors the Federal Housing Relief Act that Obama and the Third Way did where mortgage modifications where made and the low mortgage interest rates all benefit mortgage loans of up to $700,000 as this was the first legislation Third Way democrats did after the 2008 elections.....widening the Federal Home Loan Insurance window from $400,000 to 700,000 just so the affluent could get out of the damages caused by the massive subprime loan fraud. Meanwhile, the middle/lower class that were devastated by the fraud and the economic crisis caused by fraud all were let to lose their homes just as this Student Loan Forgiveness Act will have them pay all of their debt while the affluent get huge write-offs.....THIS IS THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS WORKING FOR WEALTH AND PROFIT!! We are demanding the alternative bills also moving through Congress that have the student loans discharged in bankruptcy so the banks take some responsibility and the Warren bill that places the interest rate at the same 0% that banks and corporations get. These two bills work for the people not profit as Obama's bill does.
3) The Agriculture bill that SUPERSIZES agribusiness subsidy as it decreases FOOD STAMPS for the poor. THIS IS TRULY AUTHORITARIAN......IT IS UGLY, CRIMINAL, AND INHUMANE AND IT IS THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS DOING THIS.
Food stamp rules are tied to the Farm Bill for just this reason....so pols can pretend they must give Agribusiness all they want so the poor can be protected. The supermajority of democrats that had all three branches of government in 2009 would have made correcting this a priority as they knew this Farm Bill was due for renewal. As with all protections of the people.....these pols went into overdrive to protect profit and wealth knowing the people's assets would become prey. This bill is an example of this. REMEMBER, IT IS THE GOAL OF THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS TO END ALL NEW DEAL AND WAR ON POVERTY PROGRAMS,......LABOR AND JUSTICE.....SO THIS IS NOT A SURPRISE, IT IS THEIR MISSION. It has nothing to do with the democratic platform and they should not be running as democrats. We can reverse all of this simply by running and voting for labor and justice. Now, the subsidy to Agribusiness is seen in yet more insurance paid by taxpayer for crop loss. Farmers already hedge their losses in the commodities market....they get aid from FEMA from disaster relief, and now your Third Way corporate democrat has created a crop insurance for these mid-western farmers planting corn and soy right in what is to become a dust belt because of global warming. This means that it has become more profitable for farmers to lose their crops than to sell them to you and me. On top of all of this......prices at the market are manipulated up under the guise of loses from disaster even as they are profiting. YOUR THIRD WAY DEMOCRAT KNOWS THIS AND WORKS TOWARDS THIS.
4) WOOPS........we hear the Affordable Care Act is keeping more and more people from accessing health care and they say it is because of loopholes Third Way corporate democrats just didn't see. So, as almost a trillion dollars in 'savings' in Medicare comes from cuts to entitlement spending leading to limited access....medical institutions of all stripes are seeing profit margins climb and medical insurance rates are climbing. Wait they say for the policy to set in....OH YEAH!!!!! The Affordable Care Act mirrors the bank consolidations driven by Clinton as they worked to create these global banks they are working to create global health systems that will be just as greedy, predatory, and unaccountable as Wall Street. They will prey on the elderly, poor, and chronically ill not care for them! THAT IS THE THIRD WAY CORPORATE PLAN FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM!!!! That is why across the nation movements for universal care are now on the rise. We need to cap the size of these health systems to regional entities and we must cap the profit margin. Remember, the 2% administrative cap in the Affordable Care Act is already being ignored by loopholes and circumvention.
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE NEXT ELECTIONS.....80% OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS LABOR AND JUSTICE.....STOP ALLOWING CORPORATE DEMOCRATS IN THE DNC CHOOSE YOUR CANDIDATES!!!Op-Ed Contributors How Austerity Kills
By DAVID STUCKLER and SANJAY BASU Published: May 12, 2013 New York Times EARLY last month, a triple suicide was reported in the seaside town of Civitanova Marche, Italy. A married couple, Anna Maria Sopranzi, 68, and Romeo Dionisi, 62, had been struggling to live on her monthly pension of around 500 euros (about $650), and had fallen behind on rent.
Because the Italian government’s austerity budget had raised the retirement age, Mr. Dionisi, a former construction worker, became one of Italy’s esodati (exiled ones) — older workers plunged into poverty without a safety net. On April 5, he and his wife left a note on a neighbor’s car asking for forgiveness, then hanged themselves in a storage closet at home. When Ms. Sopranzi’s brother, Giuseppe Sopranzi, 73, heard the news, he drowned himself in the Adriatic.
The correlation between unemployment and suicide has been observed since the 19th century. People looking for work are about twice as likely to end their lives as those who have jobs.
In the United States, the suicide rate, which had slowly risen since 2000, jumped during and after the 2007-9 recession. In a new book, we estimate that 4,750 “excess” suicides — that is, deaths above what pre-existing trends would predict — occurred from 2007 to 2010. Rates of such suicides were significantly greater in the states that experienced the greatest job losses. Deaths from suicide overtook deaths from car crashes in 2009.
If suicides were an unavoidable consequence of economic downturns, this would just be another story about the human toll of the Great Recession. But it isn’t so. Countries that slashed health and social protection budgets, like Greece, Italy and Spain, have seen starkly worse health outcomes than nations like Germany, Iceland and Sweden, which maintained their social safety nets and opted for stimulus over austerity. (Germany preaches the virtues of austerity — for others.)
As scholars of public health and political economy, we have watched aghast as politicians endlessly debate debts and deficits with little regard for the human costs of their decisions. Over the past decade, we mined huge data sets from across the globe to understand how economic shocks — from the Great Depression to the end of the Soviet Union to the Asian financial crisis to the Great Recession — affect our health. What we’ve found is that people do not inevitably get sick or die because the economy has faltered. Fiscal policy, it turns out, can be a matter of life or death.
At one extreme is Greece, which is in the middle of a public health disaster. The national health budget has been cut by 40 percent since 2008, partly to meet deficit-reduction targets set by the so-called troika — the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank — as part of a 2010 austerity package. Some 35,000 doctors, nurses and other health workers have lost their jobs. Hospital admissions have soared after Greeks avoided getting routine and preventive treatment because of long wait times and rising drug costs. Infant mortality rose by 40 percent. New H.I.V. infections more than doubled, a result of rising intravenous drug use — as the budget for needle-exchange programs was cut. After mosquito-spraying programs were slashed in southern Greece, malaria cases were reported in significant numbers for the first time since the early 1970s.
In contrast, Iceland avoided a public health disaster even though it experienced, in 2008, the largest banking crisis in history, relative to the size of its economy. After three main commercial banks failed, total debt soared, unemployment increased ninefold, and the value of its currency, the krona, collapsed. Iceland became the first European country to seek an I.M.F. bailout since 1976. But instead of bailing out the banks and slashing budgets, as the I.M.F. demanded, Iceland’s politicians took a radical step: they put austerity to a vote. In two referendums, in 2010 and 2011, Icelanders voted overwhelmingly to pay off foreign creditors gradually, rather than all at once through austerity. Iceland’s economy has largely recovered, while Greece’s teeters on collapse. No one lost health care coverage or access to medication, even as the price of imported drugs rose. There was no significant increase in suicide. Last year, the first U.N. World Happiness Report ranked Iceland as one of the world’s happiest nations.
Skeptics will point to structural differences between Greece and Iceland. Greece’s membership in the euro zone made currency devaluation impossible, and it had less political room to reject I.M.F. calls for austerity. But the contrast supports our thesis that an economic crisis does not necessarily have to involve a public health crisis.
Somewhere between these extremes is the United States. Initially, the 2009 stimulus package shored up the safety net. But there are warning signs — beyond the higher suicide rate — that health trends are worsening. Prescriptions for antidepressants have soared. Three-quarters of a million people (particularly out-of-work young men) have turned to binge drinking. Over five million Americans lost access to health care in the recession because they lost their jobs (and either could not afford to extend their insurance under the Cobra law or exhausted their eligibility). Preventive medical visits dropped as people delayed medical care and ended up in emergency rooms. (President Obama’s health care law expands coverage, but only gradually.)
The $85 billion “sequester” that began on March 1 will cut nutrition subsidies for approximately 600,000 pregnant women, newborns and infants by year’s end. Public housing budgets will be cut by nearly $2 billion this year, even while 1.4 million homes are in foreclosure. Even the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s main defense against epidemics like last year’s fungal meningitis outbreak, is being cut, by at least $18 million.
To test our hypothesis that austerity is deadly, we’ve analyzed data from other regions and eras. After the Soviet Union dissolved, in 1991, Russia’s economy collapsed. Poverty soared and life expectancy dropped, particularly among young, working-age men. But this did not occur everywhere in the former Soviet sphere. Russia, Kazakhstan and the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) — which adopted economic “shock therapy” programs advocated by economists like Jeffrey D. Sachs and Lawrence H. Summers — experienced the worst rises in suicides, heart attacks and alcohol-related deaths.
Countries like Belarus, Poland and Slovenia took a different, gradualist approach, advocated by economists like Joseph E. Stiglitz and the former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev. These countries privatized their state-controlled economies in stages and saw much better health outcomes than nearby countries that opted for mass privatizations and layoffs, which caused severe economic and social disruptions. _____________________________________________WHAT THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS ARE DOING BY HAVING A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT AND CAPITOL HILL ADOPTING REPUBLICAN POLICY THAT KILLS THEIR VERY CONSTITUENTS IS TO CAPTURE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SO THAT IT BASICALLY ELIMINATES THE PEOPLE'S ABILITY TO AFFECT POLICY. IT ELIMINATES THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY WHEN THIRD WAY MOVE FURTHER AND FURTHER RIGHT.
If you listen to the media like NPR they pretend that it is the republican party being eliminated as democrats lead the policy issues. As Third Way move right by adopting republican policy .......Third Way becomes the only policy-making group. ALL THIS POLICY IS FREE MARKET, FREE TRADE, EMPIRE-BUILDING, AND CORPORATE RULE.....ONE PARTY = NO POLITICS......THAT IS THE GOAL OF THIRD WAY.
It is important for democrats to kick Third Way out of the party by not allowing the DNC choose your candidates.....run and vote for labor and justice next elections!!!!Reality Check: Obama Cuts Social Security and Medicare by Much More Than the GOP Obama plans to cut between $200 billion and $380 billion more from Social Security and Medicare than Republicans in the next ten years Derek Thompson Apr 11 2013, 12:52 PM ET More
The president's budget doesn't cut entitlements enough. That's been the unison response from Republicans since Obama released his plan yesterday. A brief sampling:
From these quotes, it's easy to get the impression that the president hasn't met Republicans half-way with his cuts to Medicare and Social Security, the two biggest entitlement programs. In fact, he's exceeded them. The president's budget would spend less on both Medicare and Social Security than Ryan's GOP plan over the next ten years.
- Here's Sen. Mitch McConnell: "If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there's no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes."
- Here's Sen. Mike Johanns. "I don't believe the budget proposal went far enough."
- Here's Sen. Saxby Chambliss: "It is nowhere near what we need to do."
- And here's Paul Ryan to ABC News: "I don't know if I would say that he cracked the door on entitlement reform. He has proposed to change a statistic, which saves money. That is really not entitlement reform."
On Social Security: Ryan didn't cut Social Security by a penny. The president has proposed cutting the program's spending by $130 billion, by adopting a slower-growing measure of inflation.
On Medicare: Ryan's budget kept Obamacare's Medicare cuts and added another $127 billion. His budget projects $6.74 trillion in Medicare spending between 2014 and 2023. Obama cuts even deeper with $380 billion in cuts below his baseline, and his budget projects $6.67 trillion in Medicare spending over the same period. Upshot: Obama's ten-year Medicare budget is $70 billion below the GOP, and his announced cuts are about $250 billion deeper than the GOP. (See below for brief explainer on differences.*)
In fact, as Michael Linden at the Center for American Progress (who helped me with many of these numbers), pointed out, Obama's new proposal would mean about $1 trillion in lower Medicare spending in this decade compared to projections from before he took office. That includes the effects of slowing health-care inflation after the Great Recession. That's a 13 percent reduction!
Two questions I can anticipate.
(1) If the GOP isn't cutting Social Security and Medicare (and they're certainly not cutting defense), what are they cutting? Everything else, really. Obamacare gets demolished, and Medicaid (which, to be fair, is considered an entitlement), income-support for the poor, and non-defense discretionary all get the guillotine.
(2) Have I forgotten about Ryan's Medicare reforms after 2023? Nope. But I don't understand why, in 2013, it's considered reasonable, brave, or admirable to propose a dramatic and radical Medicare change that won't take effect for another ten years. That's seven years after Obama has left office. It's not for another two presidential election cycles plus another midterm. I'd rather talk about what these budget plans for this year, and this decade.
And here's the bottom line: Obama preserves federal Medicaid spending, he doesn't unwind Obamacare, and he spends much more on mandatory and non-defense discretionary programs than Ryan proposed. But his cuts to Social Security and Medicare combined are somewhere between $200 billion and $380 billion deeper than the GOP budget. On these programs there is no room to "compromise." The president is already to the right of the right.
* It's hard to compare these numbers perfectly because they're operating off different baselines. The GOP budget uses the CBO baseline. The White House budget uses the OMB baseline. The baselines are close, but there are subtle differences, because not every budget analyst in Washington agrees on the exact same inflation and wage growth projection (which affects Social Security) or health-care cost growth projection, which affects Medicare._______________________________________________If you have a student loan now you know that the Department of Education is run by credit collection agencies that are preying on people with delinquent loans. Not only are they harassed and soaked with high fees, these agencies are openly committing fraud by attaching $3,000 loan processing fees at random and refusing to show any documentation of balances.
It is an open criminal enterprise and it is Arne Duncan and Obama....Third Way corporate democrats!
Obama Student Loan Policy Reaping $51 Billion Profit Posted: 05/14/2013 11:18 pm EDT | Updated: 05/15/2013 3:49 pm EDT Huffington Post
The Obama administration is forecast to turn a record $51 billion profit this year from student loan borrowers, a sum greater than the earnings of the nation's most profitable companies and roughly equal to the combined net income of the four largest U.S. banks by assets.
Figures made public Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office show that the nonpartisan agency increased its 2013 fiscal year profit forecast for the Department of Education by 43 percent to $50.6 billion from its February estimate of $35.5 billion.
Exxon Mobil Corp., the nation's most profitable company, reported $44.9 billion in net income last year. Apple Inc. recorded a $41.7 billion profit in its 2012 fiscal year, which ended in September, while Chevron Corp. reported $26.2 billion in earnings last year. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo reported a combined $51.9 billion in profit last year.
The estimated increase in the Education Department's earnings from student borrowers and their families may cause a political firestorm in Washington, where members of Congress and Obama administration officials thus far have appeared content to allow students to line government coffers.
The Education Department has generated nearly $120 billion in profit off student borrowers over the last five fiscal years, budget documents show, thanks to record relative interest rates on loans as well as the agency's aggressive efforts to collect defaulted debt. Representatives of the Education Department and Congressional Budget Office could not be reached for comment after normal business hours.
The new profit prediction comes as Washington policymakers increasingly focus on soaring student debt levels and the record relative interest rates that borrowers pay as a potential impediment to economic growth. Regulators and officials at agencies that include the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Reserve Bank of New York have all warned that student borrowing may dampen consumption, depress the economy, limit credit creation or pose a threat to financial stability.
At $1.1 trillion, student debt eclipses all other forms of household debt, except for home mortgages. It's also the only kind of consumer debt that has increased since the onset of the financial crisis, according to the New York Fed. Officials in Washington are worried that overly indebted student borrowers are unable to save enough to purchase a home, take out loans for new cars, start a business or save enough for their retirement.
Policymakers also are worried about the effect that high interest rates on outstanding student debt may have on the broader economy. Congress sets interest rates on federal student loans, with rates fixed on the majority of loans at 6.8 and 7.9 percent.
But as the Federal Reserve attempts to lower borrowing costs for everyone from households and small businesses to large corporations and Wall Street banks, student borrowers have not been able to benefit.
Compared to a benchmark interest rate -- what the U.S. government pays to borrow for 10 years -- student borrowers have never paid more, increasing the burden of their student debt as wage increases and yields on investments and bank accounts fail to keep up with the relative increase in student loan interest payments.
President Barack Obama recently asked Congress to tie federal student loan interest rates to the U.S. government's borrowing costs. In a possible sign of congressional intent, leading Democratic senators on Tuesday proposed legislation that would keep existing interest rates on some student loans for the neediest households fixed at 3.4 percent, rather than allowing them to revert back to their original 6.8 percent rate.
The legislation, dubbed the "Student Loan Affordability Act" and proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), aims to help a small subset of future student borrowers who take out loans over the next two years. The bill does nothing for existing student debtors.
"Today's figures from the CBO underscore the urgent need for Congress to prevent the July 1 interest rate hike and address the crushing debt placed on students," said Tiffany Edwards, spokeswoman for Democrats on the House Education and Workforce Committee.
Rohit Chopra, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official overseeing the regulator's student debt efforts, has warned policymakers to not focus solely on future borrowers.
“The whole student loan problem is a problem that should be of deep concern to this body,” said Richard Cordray, CFPB director, during testimony last month before the Senate Banking Committee. “These are young people that we should care a great deal about.”
“They’re the ones with the ambition, aspirations and dreams, and they're getting saddled with debt that they don't understand,” Cordray said of student borrowers. “It's holding them back and it's making them unable to rise and succeed and become leaders in our society.”
He added: “It's a significant problem and we're going to be doing everything that we can to address it at the bureau.”
The CFPB has been focusing on helping existing borrowers refinance high-rate debt or modify the terms of their loans. In a report earlier this month, the CFPB lamented that borrowers are unable to refinance their obligations after they have graduated from college and secured well-paying jobs.
"Corporate entities, homeowners, and many others have been able to refinance debt at quite low rates, and student loan borrowers are wondering why they can't do the same," Chopra said.
The CFPB suggests that increased concentration in the student loan market may inhibit refinancings and debt workouts. Lenders and the Education Department profit when borrowers pay higher rates than they otherwise would in a normally-functioning market.
Unlike traditional lenders, though, the Education Department's profits are barely dented by loan defaults. For loans made in 2013 that eventually default, the department estimates it will recover between 76 cents and 82 cents on the dollar. Bankruptcy rarely discharges student debt.
The Education Department's collection efforts are aided by loan default specialists, including NCO Group Inc., a company owned by JPMorgan.___________________________________________________Most of any savings from cutting Food Stamps will go to agriculture industry subsidies......STARVING CHILDREN AND THE POOR TO PAD PROFITS FOR THE RICH.....
THIS IS THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATIC POLICY FOLKS.......THEY CAME UP WITH THIS BEFORE THE SEQUESTER!!!Part of that savings would go toward the deficit reduction, but the rest of the money would create new programs and raise subsidies for some crops while business is booming in the agricultural sector. Farm Bill Approved By House Agriculture Committee, Includes Food Stamp Cuts By MARY CLARE JALONICK 05/15/13 11:53 PM ET EDT
WASHINGTON — The House Agriculture Committee has approved a sweeping farm bill that would trim the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program.
The panel approved the bill 46-10 late Wednesday after rebuffing Democratic efforts to keep the food stamp program whole.
The legislation would cut about $2.5 billion a year – or a little more than 3 percent – from the domestic food aid program, which is used by 1 in 7 Americans.
The cuts are part of massive legislation that costs almost $100 billion annually over five years and would set policy for farm subsidies, rural programs and the food aid. The Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version of the bill Tuesday.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
A House committee rebuffed Democratic efforts Wednesday to keep the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program whole, as debate on the farm bill turned into a theological discourse on helping the poor.
The House bill would cut about $2.5 billion a year – or a little more than 3 percent – from the food stamp program, which is used by 1 in 7 Americans.
The committee rejected an amendment by Democrats to strike the cuts 27-17, keeping them in the bill.
The legislation would achieve the cuts partly by eliminating an eligibility category that mandates automatic food stamp benefits when people sign up for certain other programs. It would also save dollars by targeting states that give people who don't have heating bills very small amounts of heating assistance so they can automatically qualify for higher food stamp benefits.
Republicans argued that the cut is small relative to the size of the program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and that people who qualify for the aid could still sign up for it, they just wouldn't be automatically enrolled. They defended the cuts after Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., quoted the Book of Matthew in opposing them: "When I was hungry you gave me food. When I was thirsty, you gave me drink."
Several Republicans talked about their Christianity and said the Bible encourages people to help each other but doesn't dictate what the federal government should do. "We should be doing this as individuals, helping the poor," said Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif.
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., offered the amendment to do away with the cuts. He said taking the hunger assistance away from people will just make the poor "more vulnerable and more miserable."
"Christians, Jews, Muslims, whatever – we're failing our brothers and sisters here," McGovern said.
The cuts are part of massive legislation that costs almost $100 billion annually over five years and would set policy for farm subsidies, rural programs and the food aid. The House panel started work on the legislation Wednesday, one day after the Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version.
Last year more than 47 million people used the SNAP program with the cost more than doubling since 2008. The rolls rose rapidly because of the economic downturn, rising food prices and expanded eligibility under President Barack Obama's 2009 economic stimulus law.
Republicans criticized Obama in last year's presidential campaign for his expansion of the program, and many House conservatives have refused to consider a farm bill without cuts to food stamps, which make up about 80 percent of the bill's cost.
The Senate approved much smaller cuts to the program, about $400 million a year. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., will have to appease all sides as he tries to push the farm bill through for the third year in a row, balancing calls from House conservatives to cut the program with Senate Democrats who are reluctant to touch it.
"I expect it to come from all directions," Lucas said last week of the food stamp debate.
The House bill would cut around $4 billion a year from food aid and farm spending, while the Senate bill would trim roughly $2.4 billion. Those reductions include more than $600 million in yearly savings from across-the-board cuts that took effect earlier this year.
Much of the savings in the House and Senate bills comes from eliminating annual direct payments, a subsidy frequently criticized because it isn't tied to production or crop prices. Part of that savings would go toward the deficit reduction, but the rest of the money would create new programs and raise subsidies for some crops while business is booming in the agricultural sector.
The Senate bill would eliminate direct payments immediately, while the House bill would phase out payments to cotton farmers, who rely on the program, over the next two years.
Like the Senate bill, the House measure also includes concessions to Southern rice and peanut growers who also depend on direct payments. The bills would lower the threshold for rice and peanut subsidies to kick in when prices drop.
There are protections for other crops as well. Both bills would boost federally subsidized crop insurance and create a new program that covers smaller losses on planted crops before crop insurance kicks in, favoring Midwestern corn and soybean farmers, who use crop insurance most often.
The committee made no changes to the subsidy programs in the bill Wednesday, and Lucas made no apologies for broadening some farm programs.
"Let's give certainty to an industry that has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal economy," he said as he opened the committee meeting.
The farm bill passed the Senate last year but the House declined to take it up after conservatives in that chamber objected to the cost and insisted on higher cuts to food stamps. This year, the full House will consider the bill.
Once again WYPR made sure the education reform of Alonzo was the only news relayed as he emphasized ever more charters opening around the city. Once the school building project is finished most of those will be chartered as well. That is what NYC did and Baltimore is copying NYC. I want people in Baltimore to know they are not alone in hating this education reform being pushed on them and I want parents to know that there are education organizations that want to help you fight this as well. Baltimore's teachers cannot start a fight until the parents and communities fight SO IT IS UP TO ALL OF US TO SHOUT OUT AT CITY HALL, AT THE SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS, OUTSIDE OF OUR SCHOOLS.VOTE YOUR THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRAT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!!
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE NEXT ELECTIONS!!!
Marylander's have watched as the state sends billions to build these corporate universities while the public fights for insufficient funds for all public schools. We will not prosper under private schools.....they are only motivated by profit and not what will be best for your child. CHARTER SCHOOLS, TEACH FOR AMERICA, THIS KIND OF TESTING AND EVALUATION......IS NOT GOOD EDUCATION POLICY!!! All of Maryland's democrats are supporting this and these private education non-profits are designed to embrace these policies. Unified Backlash to Education Mandates Grows, Spreads
“It’s always hard to tell for sure exactly when a revolution starts,” wrote John Tierny in The Atlantic recently. “I’m not an expert on revolutions,” he continued, “but even I can see that a new one is taking shape in American K-12 public education.”
Tierney pointed to a number of signs of the coming “revolution:”
Tierney linked to a blog post by yours truly, “The Inconvenient Truth of Education Reform,” explaining how the movement known as “education reform” has committed severe harm to the populations it professes to serve while spreading corruption and enriching businesses and political figures.
- Teachers refusing to give standardized tests, parents opting their kids out of tests, and students boycotting tests.
- Legislators reconsidering testing and expressing concerns about corruption in the testing industry.
- Voucher and other “choice” proposals being strongly contested and voted down in states that had been friendly to them.
Echoing Tierney, on the pages of Slate, The Nation, and elsewhere, David Kirp, education professor and author of a popular new book casting doubt on competitive driven, market-based school reform, declared that cheating scandals and parent rebellions over high stakes standardized testing were proof that much ballyhooed reform policies championed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are not “a proven – or even a promising – way to make schools better.”
Kirp declared that mounting evidence from school reform efforts in major U.S. metropolitan areas reveals “it’s a terrible time for advocates of market-driven reform in public education. For more than a decade, their strategy – which makes teachers’ careers turn on student gains in reading and math tests, and promotes competition through charter schools and vouchers – has been the dominant policy mantra. But now the cracks are showing.”
In a legislative view, the Progressive State Network, which supports left-leaning state legislators and monitors legislative policy in state houses, noticed “a backlash is brewing in many states as more and more parents and legislators alike start asking questions about corporate education reform.” The post on PSN’s website referenced Tierney’s article and highlighted a Minnesota bill that eliminates testing requirements for graduation and several states that are embroiled in battles to defeat measures known as the “parent trigger,” which enables private takeovers of public schools.
These observations are not alarmist chatter but well-reasoned, valid conclusions that anti-government collectivist actions related to public school policy are scaling up from isolated protests to a nationwide movement of unified resistance.
The movement is widespread among teachers, students, and parents. It is grassroots driven and way out in front of most journalists and political leaders. And it’s scaling up in intensity.
A Teacher-Student-Parent Movement
For quite some time now, education historian and reform opponent Diane Ravitch has written about the ever expanding discontent among teachers over the emphasis on standardized testing and test-based teacher evaluation and school rating systems.
As proof of this discontent, Ravitch has closely followed and commented on a boycott against standardized testing among teachers in Seattle, an ongoing protest among principals in New York state against new teacher evaluations, and objections to the “testing beast” among educators and parents in Texas.
In ever-greater numbers, however, students are also leading the resistance. A recent article in The Nation reported on the growing student resistance movement driven by grievances over austerity budgets and systemic racism.
From all corners of the country – North Carolina to Philadelphia to Louisiana to Chicago – students as young as eight years old are organizing and taking part in a variety of actions including zombie protests, school walkouts and sit-ins, and acts of defiance like the recent rant by a high school student in Texas that went viral over the Internet when he castigated a seemingly indifferent teacher for dispensing education in “packets” rather than engaging the class in meaningful, relevant learning.
In Chicago, youth voice is forming in grassroots groups like CSOSOS (Chicago Students Organizing To Save Our Schools) and VOYCE (Voices of Youth in Chicago Education) that have led prominent, headline-earning protests to school closures, teacher firings, and over emphasis on high-stakes testing.
In Philadelphia, a handful of students used their social media and organizing skills to whip up student resentment and send hundreds of students into the streets to protest budget cuts to their favorite education programs.
In Denver, high schoolers have formed Students4OurSchools and staged walkouts protesting the over-emphasis on standardized testing.
Students in Philadelphia, Providence, Rhode Island, Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere have formed student unions that have developed attention-getting tactics, which have spread to a national scale. These student organizations’ Facebook pages speak in unison against school closures and cutbacks, widespread teacher firings, and top-down implementations of mandated standards and high-stakes testing.
In many places, teachers and parents are supporting rebellious students and even joining in the protests. Grassroots parent groups, in fact, have been the driving force behind efforts to beat back school voucher proposals in Tennessee and parent trigger legislation in Florida.
Resistance is particularly vehement in low-income communities of color in large urban school districts where reform measures have lead to widespread teacher firings and school closings. In Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City, Cleveland, and Detroit, vocal protestors have been organizing in their own communities but also uniting in national campaigns, such as this year’s Journey for Justice effort that brought hundreds of activists in allied grassroots organizations to the White House to protest school closings.
Unlike school reform proponents who benefit from massive donations from rich foundations and politically connected funders, grassroots groups leading the resistance – like the Alliance for Educational Justice and Alliance for Quality Education – have far humbler means and few connections to the political class and deep pocketed philanthropists like Bill Gates.
Nevertheless, these groups have generated strong outpourings of popular dissent and produced important analyses of the duplicity of the reform agenda.
A Movement Getting More Recognition
Mostly, grassroots-led protests against education mandates have gotten little attention from even the few media outlets and reporters focused on education.
That changed, however, when the head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, called for a moratorium on the consequences of high-stakes testing related to the Common Core.
All of a sudden, when there was a crack in the conventional wisdom that education policy was a centrist agreement between teachers’ unions and conservative belief tanks, many education bloggers and journalists decided the school accountability movement had reached a surprising new level of intensity.
Long-time education journalist Dana Goldstein speculated on her blog that Weingarten’s moratorium call is proof that education matters that were once considered products of a “coalition” of centrist-minded – although mostly conservative – wonks and Beltway operatives are now points of strong contention.
Her conclusion was that these differences represent a “deep divide” among the political class about whether it’s a good idea to “scare us into meaningful school reform.”
Another experienced education journalist, Sam Chaltain also reflected on his blog on calls for a testing moratorium. He recalled that after Barak Obama was elected, Obama proceeded with “a series of education policies that further entrenched America’s reliance on reading and math scores as a proxy for whole-school evaluation.”
Critics of those policies “vented,” Chaltain explained, but “policymakers nodded. And absent any real noise, the tests continued.” But with this more recent backlash to education mandates, Chaltain observed, “policymakers have been unable to ignore a groundswell of noise and resistance.”
Chaltain concluded that conflicts over school policy had “reached a tipping point.”
Similarly, veteran education reporter at Education Week Michelle McNeil observed, “Not since the battles over school desegregation has the debate about public education been so intense and polarized.”
McNeil sourced the polarity to the conventional wisdom that public education is “an institution that historically is slow to change,” and now it’s being “forced to deal with so much change at once.” And she asserts that the controversy over change is mostly “about centralization or decentralization” of specific “reform” efforts.
But what Goldstein, McNeil, and others on the sidelines fail to grasp is that the pushback against the nation’s education policy is not new. The “polarization” is not “obscuring” the issues – as McNeil contends – it’s clarifying them. And the “debate” over education has broken free from being an issue confined to “fringes” and “policy elites” to take its rightful place at the center of “a growing, broader backlash.”
Indeed, just like the fight to integrate public schools was connected to the larger struggle for civil rights, fights to preserve and strengthen public schools – whether they take the form of students walking out of class to protest education cuts, parents fighting against deceptively named “empowerment” policies, or teachers boycotting standardized tests – are connected to much larger struggles over what kind of nation America is becoming.
A Leadership Out Of Touch
The growing rebellion to education mandates has been driven mostly by grassroots groups formed first among low-income communities of color, but now the movement is extending to people of greater means and social-political capacity like parent groups that worked an inside game with state legislators to thwart implementation of the Common Core standards in Indiana, block parent trigger bills in Florida, and curb the emphasis on high stakes testing in Texas.
This unification of the grassroots with the “grass tops” in education is not well understood in the media or among policy elites.
In fact, people in charge of education governance appear to be more clueless than ever about what they are intent on accomplishing and legislating.
Witness the recent confession from one of the movement’s most influential leaders, Bridgeport, Conn., school chief Paul Vallas. As Valerie Struass reported at her blog on The Washington Post, Vallas has led reform efforts in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Orleans that have become blueprints for education policy ideas across the country. Yet he admitted that the policies he has championed are resulting in a “nightmare” of complexity.
Reportedly, he characterized his efforts to enact test-based teacher evaluations as a feature of a “testing industrial complex” and “a system where you literally have binders on individual teachers with rubrics that are so complicated … that they’ll just make you suicidal.”
Vallas’ newfound doubts over what he has created reflected other confusing comments from education policy leaders. Most notable was the commentary by Bill Gates, widely acknowledged as a leader in the movement to base teacher evaluations and school ratings on student test scores, warning against the “rush to implement new teacher development and evaluation systems” based on test scores.
Even more perplexing was Secretary Duncan’s recent inability to deliver a straight answer about parent trigger bills. As Beltway gadfly Alexander Russo recently reported, “Duncan described the trigger as ‘an important tool’ for parent involvement — but not the only or even the most important one” – whatever that means.
Compared to authentic grassroots outpourings for resources, equity, and real democracy, these equivocations from education policy leaders are puny and venal to say the least.
Intensity Is Building
“Scared” or not, recalling Goldstein’s comment, activists driving protests against the nation’s prevailing education policies are ratcheting the fight to unprecedented intensity that will likely become even more forceful in future efforts.
Later this month, for instance, teachers in Chicago are planning a citywide three-day march to protest impending school closures. Education related bills in state legislatures in California, Texas, New York, North Carolina, and elsewhere will be highly visible points of contention. And actions to protest the imminent doubling of college loan debt interest rates – certainly an issue related to public education – are generating a unified response from hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Clearly, the resistance to top-down education mandates is building. The movement is propelled by forces far greater than what education journalists and policy leaders understand – widespread grievances about inequity, unfairness, and public disempowerment.
The revolt is happening. The revolt is now.
___________________________________________THE WASHINGTON BELTWAY IS WEALTH AND POWER AND THE COURTS REFLECT THIS SO IT IS NOT SURPRISING TO HAVE A JUDGE QUESTIONING THIS FIGHT FOR SCHOOLS. WE ALL KNOW THAT THE CHILDREN REPLACED ARE NOT GETTING INTO THE 'GOOD' SCHOOLS PRETENDED.
WHERE ARE THE LAWSUITS ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN CITIES HAVING FUNCTIONING JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS??!!Judge sharply questions activists seeking to block D.C. school closures
By Emma Brown,May 10, 2013
A federal judge had several sharp and skeptical questions Friday for D.C. education activists who have sued to halt the planned closure of 15 city schools.
Opponents argue that the closures would disproportionately affect poor and minority children and therefore violate a number of civil rights laws. In a packed U.S. District courtroom Friday, they pleaded for a preliminary injunction to block the closures, citing “irreparable harm” to children if the plan put forth by Chancellor Kaya Henderson is allowed to move forward.
But Judge James E. Boasberg raised concerns about that argument. Minutes after the hearing began, he referred to a sheaf of statistics demonstrating that most of the children affected by closures are slated to attend schools with higher test scores and more racial diversity than the schools they’re leaving behind.
“The whole purpose of going to school, for these kids, is to receive a good education, correct?” Boasberg said. “It seems to me that the schools they’re transferring into are a whole lot better.”
Attorney Jamie B. Raskin, arguing on behalf of five plaintiffs with the community group Empower D.C., said Boasberg’s question sidestepped the central point of the lawsuit.
“The point is that having a neighborhood school is a precious public resource and a precious public benefit that we think should not be distributed along the lines of race and class,” said Raskin, a constitutional law professor and Democratic Maryland state senator.
Thirteen schools are slated to close in June and two more in 2014.
The move will displace more than 2,700 children, almost all of whom are African American or Hispanic.
District attorneys on Friday denied that the closures are discriminatory, describing them as an effort to improve education across the city. Children have no constitutional right to a neighborhood school, they said, and having students move to a new school does not deprive them of services.
Henderson, who in January announced her intent to close the schools, has long said that the school system must close buildings left half-empty after four decades of declining enrollment. Under-enrolled schools are expensive and inefficient to operate, according to the chancellor, who was in the courtroom Friday but did not speak during the proceedings and declined to comment afterward.
Boasberg, whose brother is the superintendent of Denver Public Schools, asked the plaintiffs repeatedly to explain when a school system leader could ever legally close a school with a higher-than-average percentage of minority children.
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Raskin said the problem is not the closing of individual schools, but a historical pattern of closing schools in poor and minority neighborhoods.
Schools in affluent areas west of Rock Creek Park have been under-enrolled at times over the past several decades, he said, but remained open.
Sitting in the courtroom were many school-closure opponents who had rallied outside the courthouse before the hearing. When Boasberg asked whether the plaintiffs’ attorneys believed that Henderson — who is African American — intended to discriminate against black and Hispanic children, some in the audience responded “Yes!”
Boasberg continued, asking whether the attorneys believed that African American leaders in other cities where schools are closing, such as Philadelphia and Chicago, also intend to discriminate.
“Yes!” the audience said again before the judge quieted the courtroom.
Raskin then stepped in, saying that plaintiffs are not accusing Henderson of racial hatred but are highlighting a pattern of discrimination that grows out of the District’s history as a segregated city. That history is “now fundamentally impairing people’s ability to have an equal right to a neighborhood school,” he said.
The plaintiffs also said that the city failed to give proper notice of the closure plan to Advisory Neighborhood Commission members. Boasberg said he had concerns about whether plaintiffs had legal standing to sue on those grounds.
The judge said he would issue a decision on the preliminary injunction next week.
______________________________________________Here you see how a Department of Labor appointee who is Third Way looks at job training as opposed to a labor and justice appointee. Labor unions have apprenticeship programs that have been the best in the world for decades. No taxpayer money....the unions and businesses pay for on-the-job training. What corporate democrats are doing is handing all these costs to taxpayers and making public community college corporate job training centers. So a huge hunk of public education spending is going to subsidize corporate profits. THIS IS THIRD WAY CORPORATE POLICY COURTESY OBAMA AND CAPITOL HILL. That is why Obama chose Maryland's Perez because Maryland and O'Malley have placed all our public higher education on corporate overdrive with Perez as State Labor Secretary!!
May 14, 2013 - 3:00am By Paul Fain
Inside Higher Ed Most community colleges could easily put federal grant money to good use plugging up budget holes after years of slashing by states. But the U.S. Department of Labor’s $2 billion in workforce development funding for the sector was designed to encourage two-year colleges to make lasting, ambitious changes instead of just back-filling budgets. And that approach seems to be working.
The 15 community colleges in Massachusetts, for example, have shared $20 million from the Labor Department to create new or redesigned credentials, which are aimed at unemployed or underemployed adults.
The colleges have also used the money to sharpen their focus on career services. Rather than just trying to help students find jobs as they finish degree programs, each one has hired a full-time “career and college navigator” to lend a hand to students throughout their time on campus.
Ana Sanchez, the new navigator at Springfield Technical Community College, describes herself as a matchmaker between students and local employers, including hospitals, government agencies and local companies.
Her most important role, however, might be helping students cope with the demands of their daily lives, including childcare, managing their finances and figuring out how to commute between jobs and school. “It’s really important to help them with those challenges,” said Sanchez.
Under the program, the state’s community colleges have worked with employers to create accelerated training for students in six targeted industries: health care, advanced manufacturing, IT, biotechnology, green energy and financial services. The colleges have called the three-year program the Massachusetts Community Colleges and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda.
That grant is one of many that have gone to consortiums. But a few individual colleges also received grants. (Lists of grantees are available here and here. And see box for a few notable examples.)
Created in 2010, the package of Labor Department grants is dubbed the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Program, (TAACCCT, a long acronym even for Washington). It replaced the Obama Administration’s proposed $12 billion American Graduation Initiative that was also aimed at community colleges, but which failed to get Congressional approval.
The Labor Department last month announced the third wave of approximately $500 million in funding under the program, bringing the total so far to $1.5 billion. The last round is slated for next year.
Notable Labor Department grants
North Carolina Advanced Manufacturing Alliance: $19 million for 10 community colleges to address gaps in education and training in advanced manufacturing.
Pennsylvania Consortium of Community Colleges: $20 million for the state's 20 community colleges with an initial focus on electronic medical records technology, advanced manufacturing and renewable energy.
National STEM Consortium: $20 million for 10 community colleges in nine states, which are developing one-year certificates in five high-demand fields with industry partners.
National Information, Security and Geospatial Technology Consortium: $20 million for seven community colleges in six states with focus on advanced IT fields.
Illinois Green Economy Network Career Pathways: $19 million for 17 community colleges to develop training programs in eight green economy industries.
To land a grant, colleges need to make the case that they will quickly create career training paths for high-wage, high-skill jobs. They are also encouraged to experiment with ways to speed up the time students need to spend earning a degree or credential. As a result, the program gives a nudge to prior-learning assessment, competency-based education and stackable credentials, which offer a path for students to duck in and out of college as needed, beginning with short-term certificates earned in as little as one semester.
“This is about encouraging colleges to think more creatively,” said Kathryn Jo Mannes, senior vice president for workforce and economic development at the American Association of Community Colleges. That means building partnerships with industry that will last.
“It’s not just a proposal-writing exercise,” Mannes said of the grants. “They’re meant to survive the exhaustion of federal funds.”
Competencies and Stackable Credentials
By giving priority to larger clusters of colleges, the Labor Department sought to create cooperation that can be rare in higher education. But the broad scope of the grants was initially confusing to some.
For example, with six target industries, the Massachusetts program seemed a bit scattershot at first. But observers said the colleges quickly settled into niches. That means institutions have taken the lead in working with industries that are particularly strong in their backyards, like health care for Boston-area colleges.
Jennifer Freeman, the grant’s project manager, said the overarching goal is to make the state’s community colleges more of a go-to place for technical and middle-income jobs. That’s a shift, she said, because many in the state had viewed the primary purpose of community colleges as being transfer prep for four-year institutions, instead of direct training for jobs.
The presidents of the 15 Massachusetts colleges decided to apply jointly for the money.
“This is the largest thing they have ever done as a consortium,” Freeman said, adding that “it wasn’t called a transformation agenda lightly.”
One of the project’s first steps was to develop a common set of competencies for each featured industry, which were then woven into curriculums. That was hardly an easy task, particularly given the grant’s relatively compressed time frame.
For advanced manufacturing, the final product was a pyramid of competencies employees should ideally master to work at various job levels. The colleges worked with manufacturers statewide to develop those standards.
For example, in the precision machining field, entry-level jobs like assemblers or warehouse workers should have skills in five major areas: shop math, blueprint reading, metrology, problem solving and workplace readiness. But further up the pyramid, supervisors and managers should hold certificates and degrees in manufacturing technology, as well as more learned skills, such as programming, and a minimum number of hours working in the industry.
The project has led to far more than a smattering of new academic offerings. Over all, the colleges plan to create more than 85 new degree, certificate and noncredit programs in the six industry fields. About 2,000 students are currently enrolled in those programs.
Many of the new credentials are designed to be stackable. Freeman said the manufacturing and health care tracks in particular include a series of certificates and degrees for students to build upon as they progress in their jobs.
Angela Bellas, the initiative’s program manager at the Springfield campus, said the college created new short-term certificates in health care for patient care technicians and medical administrative assistants. Most of those credentials will be 16-18 credits, she said, which means they can be earned in a semester or two.
Part of the challenge the Massachusetts colleges have faced is making sure that noncredit programs match up well with credit-bearing ones. That becomes more important in a stackable pathway. Freeman said “colleges are really rolling up their sleeves” to improve articulation between programs.
The first step to a job for students, however, is probably their initial conversations with navigators. Sanchez said many students say they are interested in health care when they first enroll. “Everybody wants to be a nurse,” she said.
Part of her job, Sanchez said, is injecting a dose of reality. She typically asks aspiring nurses about their math and science skills, which are key requirements in nursing. Sanchez makes sure students know how much work it might take to land a job.
“Let’s do baby steps,” she tells them.______________________________________________In Maryland, K-12 has had to beg for funding and the cost of tuition has climbed over this decade as all education funding was earmarked to create this international system of education in our public colleges. How does this help Maryland citizens? It doesn't. It has Maryland citizens and Federal taxpayers footing the bill for what will become privatized corporate universities. Citizens will have only career community colleges to attend. RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE AND REVERSE THIS NONSENSE!!!!! WE CAN TAKE THIS BACK!!!In Baltimore, Johns Hopkins has declared 10,000 new city residents will arrive in 10 years. They are copying NYC's model of flooding the city with immigrants. That is what these policies are about and it is not good for most American citizens. Marginalized/competing with citizens of the world rather than just people living in your state for example!!!SEND ALL EDUCATION FUNDING BACK TO EDUCATING THE PEOPLE OF MARYLAND AND BALTIMORE BY GETTING RID OF THESE CORPORATE POLS....... College and Government Officials Discuss U.S.-India Partnerships
May 14, 2013 - 3:00am
Inside Higher Ed The importance of collaboration with U.S. community colleges to realize India's goal of creating 200 such institutions was a major focus of a roundtable discussion on "Advancing U.S.-India Academic Partnerships" held at the Institute of International Education's Washington office on Monday. Governmental representatives participating in the discussion with college administrators included M.M. Pallam Raju, India's minister of human resource development, and Nirupama Rao, the ambassador of India to the United States, as well as several high-level U.S. Department of State officials.
The discussion portion of the meeting was closed to media (only the opening remarks were open), but participants reported that subjects of discussion included not only community college collaboration but also the role of MOOCs (massive open online courses) in increasing India's higher education capacity and the imbalance in exchanges between American and Indian students. (While there are more than 100,000 Indian students in the U.S., only 4,345 Americans studied in India in 2010-11, according to IIE data.) The subject of long-stalled legislation permitting the establishment of foreign branch campuses in India did not come up during the 45-minute discussion.
Monday's roundtable discussion was intended to inform the ongoing, governmental U.S.-India Higher Education Dialogue, a component of a larger strategic dialogue between the two countries.____________________________________________Here is a Chicago education organization working and protesting for their children's future. Baltimore can as well!!PURE
Building powerful public school parents and communities
« PSAT for 5-7-13: Say no to 36! PSAT for 5-14-13: Sign up for the 3-day march Our City, Our Schools, Our Voices, will come together this coming weekend in the final protest push before the May 22 Board meeting where the mass school closing vote will be taken.
Here’s what the CTU says about this event:
The mayor and Board of Education want to destroy 54 school communities. This will be the largest destruction of schools in U.S. history. We need our neighborhood schools and we should all fight together to save them. Join parents, teachers, students, public school workers, clergy, activists and others in the three day citywide march across the city. They want to divide us. But this is our city, our schools, and together, we’ll use our voice to tell the mayor and the world that we intend to fight back.
The march is organized into south and west sides.
South side 10:00 a.m. Saturday Kickoffat Owens Elementary, 12450 South State Street
West Side 10:00 a.m. Saturday Kickoff at Lafayette Elementary
2714 West Augusta Avenue
Register now for updates and information.
“A local government may not, when it comes to equal access to education, treat some classes of its citizens different than it treats another class,” says the complaint, filed in March by five plaintiffs organized by the community group Empower D.C.I attended the Baltimore City Council budget public comment open meeting at City Hall and as usual it was designed to be as user unfriendly as possible. These annual budget meetings are always packed beyond capacity and yet they have them in a small chamber with people entering in shifts. This year they made things worse by only allowing people to speak for 2 minutes.....CAN YOU IMAGINE COMING FOR WHAT WILL BE MOST PEOPLE'S ONLY CHANCE TO ENGAGE THEIR POLITICIANS AND HAVE ONLY 2 MINUTES TO DO IT. You are lucky to be able to present one issue in a robust way. Remember, the point with these public meetings is to simply abide by legislative rules, not to actually hear the people's concerns.
This public session was filled with education supporters which is a good thing. The worrying thing is that they are all attached to a non-profit. There were no parents speaking about issues of funding in the classroom but issues regarding after school programs. Again, this isn't a bad thing, it just shows were the organization lies and it is not with the individual parents who hate what is happening in schools. The reason for the outpouring of education advocates was of course the threats to education funding to balance the budget while cutting property taxes.....which fund education.
I spoke about the deliberate policy to starve government coffers in order to allow private corporate and wealth donors to 'donate' to private non-profits who write education policy and fund education programs that they want.....completely taking away the parent and neighborhood's right to do that for themselves. That is what these policies surrounding tax breaks is all about. This city budget has the mayor cutting property taxes progressively more each year. Remember, property taxes are how schools are funded for the most part and also remember that in Maryland and Baltimore there has been a tremendous loss of property tax collection since the 1970-1980s. This has to do with the policy of giving corporate tax breaks and Homestead tax breaks that overwhelmingly protect the rich from taxes while lowering revenue for schools. Now, everyone would like to see Baltimore property taxes decline....they need to......but you cannot do this at the same time you are giving more and more property tax breaks to corporations and the rich.....YOU STARVE THE GOVERNMENT COFFERS THAT FUND THE SCHOOLS!
Well, this is the plan after all. The goal is to have the same corporations getting property tax breaks like Exelon and UnderArmour the opportunity to buy the right to create public policy THEY WANT by donating to private non-profits money that they will designate fund certain policy and programs. Then, they get to write that donation off their taxes so the city is starved twice of revenue that would go to the schools. What this creates is a highly inequitable funding of schools where some schools receive copious private funding and others are starved......IT VIOLATES ALL EQUAL PROTECTION LAWS.....EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EQUAL ACCESS.....not to mention the ability of citizens to control public policy. So this was my comment. You can imagine how getting all that into 2 minutes is impossible which is why these pols do that. The less said the better when on TV cameras!!!
WE MUST FIGHT AT EVERY CHANCE THIS DIRECTION THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS IN MARYLAND AND BALTIMORE ARE TAKING US.....WITH CORPORATIONS PAYING NO TAXES BUT DONATING TO CREATE THEIR PERSONAL VISION OF PUBLIC POLICY.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!
I thank the author of this piece for the insightful look at disparity in education and the ill affects of teach to the test education reform. My comments may be at odds with her opinion as a whole, but I use it as a good springboard. O'Malley did indeed tie MD to this Race To The Top education reform that requires all of what many parents, teachers, and students find a wrong-headed reform all for funding that should have come with no strings attached. In Baltimore you can go to a supermajority of schools and see curricula described in this article.....teaching to the test and high-stakes achievement pressures. All educators know this is bad policy as it does not engage and develop learning skills and a love of education needed for success in the long run. Quite the opposite and academic studies show this to be the case. It is failed education policy. So why do it? It is policy written by business people interested in making schools about efficiency, production, and data and it completely ignores the human aspects of learning and teaching. It is killing our students and teachers.
As the article points out, there are schools in Baltimore that have escaped this policy and they are in affluent communities. These community schools are thriving because they have kept the democratic, humanities based learning. Roland Park and Mt Washington for example. Why the difference? In testing-dominated system, real learning comes outside the classroom After school, extracurricular activities offer profound benefits, but usually for the privileged
By Stephanie A. Flores-Koulish and Janell Lewis 1:47 p.m. EDT, May 9, 2013 Baltimore Sun
It's Teacher Appreciation Week, the standardized testing season has mostly ended in the public schools this year — and what have we learned? Parents have learned that their first-graders are developing test anxiety. Teachers have learned that they need to tell parents to accept the fact that these high-stakes tests are not going anywhere. But perhaps most importantly, some of us have learned that some of the best kind of learning happens after school, or once the testing demands have passed.
Though some are resigned to this reality, others across the nation are not complacent. Recently, for example, John Tierney described in The Atlantic how there is a growing wave of activism around standing up against the standardized testing movement.
Still, here in Maryland, school days are filled with tight mandates for teachers and students, leaving them with less time to spend on creative, open-ended activities. Frequently, students come home with worksheets, prepping them for skills-based material that will be tested once a year on a test that does little if anything to improve their learning. Instead, these tests seem intended to determine which schools have students from wealthier families with cultural capital who will score high on these tests, as opposed to the opposite. And the cycle continues.
One of those "good" schools happens to be our school, in Baltimore City — Roland Park Elementary/Middle, where one of us is a parent and the other a teacher. Yet still, a lot of the good stuff is happening after school hours. For example, Ms. Flores-Koulish's daughter's fourth-grade team for a club called Destination Imagination (DI) recently competed on the regional and state levels with great success. Their accomplishments qualified them to compete at the Global Tournament, which is being held in Knoxville, Tenn., this month. DI is the world's largest creative thinking and problem-solving competition. They will be competing against schools from all over the world. The club is parent-led and after school, and it is fortunate that we have the capacity and the time for it.
The school's middle school National Academic League (NAL) team recently competed in the final four of the national tournament. NAL is a quiz bowl league that follows "sports like" rules for students to answer trivia questions in math, science, language arts, and social studies as well as popular culture and current events. There are four rounds of stimulating play, and the students learn a lot from it while having a great time. NAL is led by Ms. Lewis and her teacher colleague, with the games running after school and practices held before school two times a week.
Sometimes, creative learning can actually still creep into the curriculum during the school day, and thankfully, we both see that at Roland Park. For example, fourth-graders recently had an art opening at Evergreen Cafe in the city that demonstrated their understanding of the Baltimore City school construction bill that they studied in social studies and art. Importantly, it was "real" curriculum and not simulated for a standardized assessment. Students could eloquently describe the process of legislative change while it was occurring.
In another example, Ms. Lewis' sixth-grade social studies students found the time to analyze the Disney film "Mulan" after studying Ancient China to determine the ways in which Hollywood alters history to tell a seamless tale and profit from it. These same students also held a fundraiser for Native American charities during an event in which they collaboratively shared their knowledge on posters about the real history of Native Americans in the U.S., from the "Trail of Tears" to the boarding schools, which they learned about in language arts and social studies. No doubt there are other examples. Knowledge of this sort cannot be shown in robust ways on a simple Scantron.
At the recent American Educational Research Association meeting in San Francisco, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to a group of educational researchers, saying, "Ultimately, a great education involves much more than teaching children simply to read, write, add and subtract. It includes teaching them to think and write clearly, and to solve problems and work in teams. It includes teaching children to set goals, to persist in tasks, and to help them navigate the world."
Mr. Duncan needs to travel north and witness these qualities and then think about how we can have more of them, during the school day, for all students — not just the privileged. Teachers, parents, and especially children would find public school that much richer. And that would clearly show teachers the appreciation and respect they deserve this week (and every week).
Stephanie A. Flores-Koulish is an associate professor and director of the Curriculum & Instruction Program in the School of Education at Loyola University Maryland. Her email is email@example.com. Janell Lewis is a sixth-grade teacher at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School._______________________________________________
You can see by this online 'teaching school' in Maryland how cheapened our school system is being made by Third Way corporate pols like O'Malley. These online programs are by their nature providing a platform for educators that will lower quality and be less selective in students/graduates. Know where these online educators will ultimately teach? In charter schools that are being made into businesses. THIS IS MARYLAND FOR YOU.....HOME OF TIERED AND CORPORATE EDUCATION BY GOVERNOR O'MALLEY!Teaching & Education Degrees in Maryland
More than 35 percent of the people living in Maryland hold bachelor's degrees or higher. If you are interested in joining the ranks of the state's highly-educated, Maryland teaching degrees could be the path for you. Teaching programs in Maryland offer the fundamentals needed to enter this profession. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, middle school teachers employed in Maryland were some of the highest paid in the nation. The state is home to more than 60 colleges and universities, so you should be able to find many options to fit your needs. If the on-campus experience doesn't supply what you are seeking, you could find an alternative through one of the programs offering online teaching degrees in Maryland -- and even find yourself teaching online as well. Maryland teachers are qualified to teach at online elementary schools and beyond. No matter what method of study you chose, teaching programs in Maryland prepare you for teaching. Your courses should revolve around education philosophies, teaching strategies and how to identify and meet the needs of students. The 175,690 workers in Maryland's state's education, training, and library occupations earned mean annual wages of $56,460 in May of 2009, according to BLS data. Elementary school teachers earned mean annual salaries of $61,000, while middle school teachers earned mean annual salaries of $64,510. Not only do teaching degrees in Maryland offer an opportunity to enter a respected field, they could open the door to a satisfying salary.________________________________________________This is of course Alonzo's legacy with Baltimore public schools and it was his mission given to him by O'Malley who appointed him at the request of Wall Street's Bloomberg and Johns Hopkins. Running schools as businesses goes against all that is education policy for the past century. It was successful policy that was sidelined by the equally bad policies of removing textbooks from classrooms and allowing calculators in math classes. That was not a teacher's choice....it was policy from the same people giving us this current reform policy!!!Clear thinking about: Running public schools "like a business"
Submitted by Steven Norton on Wed, 05/19/2010 - 7:08pm Michigan Parents for Schools
One of the things we hear over and over are calls to run our public schools “like a business.” The basic argument is that if schools were run in a more businesslike manner, they would not have the budget problems we are seeing today. It sounds like a simple argument, and that gives it great appeal. The reality is more complex. Let’s take a look at how it plays out in the real world.
Running a school district like a business implies more than just spending carefully and operating in a rational and efficient manner. Many people who make this argument are really asking for schools to do what private sector firms theoretically do: deliver a good product at the lowest possible cost.
But this is where things get sticky: businesses and schools have profoundly different objectives. For a business, the primary goal is profit for the owners; for a school, the primary goal is a quality education. Is it any wonder, then, that the systems they use to meet those objectives would look very different?
Imagine running a company where you had to provide all prospective customers with a high quality product for free, and some other entity determined how much money you would have to make that happen, based on factors that aren’t really connected to your costs. Not so easy.
The primary objective of any private business is to generate a reasonable return on investment to the owners (proprietor or shareholders). This is a financial goal: success is measured in terms of dollars. Everything else – the cost of materials, the quality of the product, the cost of labor – is manipulated in order to generate a sustainable return on investment. (Businesses don’t actually maximize profit; maximizing anything gets harder as you go along. Instead, they aim to generate returns that are “good enough” to be competitive given other alternatives investors might choose and the relative risk of these various investments.)
One critical consequence of this is that the product – whether a good or service – is considered “good enough” if it attracts sufficient buyers to generate a profit and a reasonable amount of growth. The product is not the point of the business: the return on investment is. That return on investment is evaluated in both the short term and the long term, and these different perspectives lead businesses to balance various priorities (profit today versus growth tomorrow, and so on).
For our public schools, however, the product – a quality education – is the point. Where private businesses focus on generating a good financial return, the mission of our public schools is to provide the best education possible given resource constraints. This has a few consequences. The most important is that varying the quality of the product in order to control costs is simply not an option for school systems. In fact, many of the levers private businesses use to control their finances (product quality and price, for instance) are not available to public schools. Demand for their product (the number of children they must serve, the needs of the community for an educated populace) is mostly unrelated to the revenue they have available. This is especially true in Michigan, where local demand has little impact on the per pupil funding districts receive.
Another consequence is the disconnect between the buyers and beneficiaries of the product. If you buy a car, or a microwave, it becomes fairly clear in short order whether you got what you paid for. As a result, a business will not offer a product with features that no one is willing to pay for, but consumers will pay for products that provide direct benefit. But with schools, the “buyers” – the taxpayers of today – will not be able to see the return on their investment for many years. The total impact of a public education won’t be clear until today’s children grow into adults. We may try to measure quality indirectly, using things like standardized tests, but the results of those tests do not guarantee long term success.
In fact, it is this very disconnect that prompted the creation of publicly-financed schools in the first place. This nation was founded in part on the principle that government should be “by the people,” and to do that you need to have an educated citizenry. Unlike other nations at the time, where education was reserved for the select few, the new United States committed to making a basic education available to all. The reason this became a public, rather than private, project is because of what economists call “market failure”: the huge time gap between the purchase and the return effectively discourages most private investment. Moreover, the measure of the benefits is only indirectly financial – it comes in the form of quality of life and effective governance, both things which are hard to measure in dollars.
In short, what public education is all about is making an investment in the future, an investment that for the most part will not bring a return for 20 years or more. The amount we invest – the “cost” of a child’s education – is not driven by impersonal market forces, but by the choices we as a society make about how many resources we will give to our schools. Our willingness to invest depends on our perception of the long term importance of education.
This is where efficiency arguments get tangled up. It’s one thing to reduce duplication and take advantage of economies of scale in our schools. But it’s quite another to extend to schools the logic businesses use to evaluate the cost of production: for a business, production if efficient as long as the product actually sells and costs are sufficiently below revenue. This calculation ignores quality, since different levels of quality command different prices. But what if quality is the only thing that matters? Would wage and benefit cuts – the kinds of tools usually used to reduce costs and increase productivity – really have no effect on the quality of our schools’ “product”?
Products versus services
Another complication raised by the “run schools like a business” argument is that there are many different kinds of private business. Because of Michigan’s manufacturing history, most people who compare schools to business are unconsciously using businesses that make products for the comparison. But there are other kinds of business: service business. Providing an education is arguably more like providing accounting services than making instrument panels.
Let’s think about the characteristics of service businesses. There are some which specialize in work which requires modest skills, commands low wages and thus can be sold at low prices. On the other hand, there are services which require great skill, command high pay and cost a great deal. (Think lawyers, accountants, doctors, for instance.) Moreover, many of those high-skill service providers face a situation rather like our public schools: the quality of their work is not immediately self-evident. The quality of a doctor’s work may not be apparent until a patient has been healthy for years; the quality of an accountant’s work may not be clear until you are subjected to an audit.
In all these cases, reputation is key and it takes time to build. Your current client may not be immediately sure that your work was done well, but when the quality is tested, they are in a position to recommend you (or not) to other, new clients. In other words, the time horizon of people who run these kinds of service businesses is quite long; think of all the firms named after partners who are long dead. Investing in quality today is a reasonable business strategy if your future business depends less on your price than on your reputation for quality. This is particularly true if you provide a service where low quality has especially serious consequences.
For schools, the long term perspective is the same. Handed an educational mission by their communities, they must invest in the long term. Children will spend twelve to thirteen years in their care, and quality – or lack of it – is cumulative. Short-term cuts that reduce quality have amplified long-term effects. (It’s hard to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again, and even if you can, you’ve done a disservice to a whole cohort of children.)
Many people recognize that teaching children is a high-skill, high qualification job which should be reasonably well compensated if you want a high-quality service. Others, however, are stuck thinking of teachers more like manufacturing workers, where education requirements are modest, individuals are easily replaced, and short term layoffs don’t really have much effect on next year’s production.
Schools as a public project
Private business can teach a lot to the public sector, including our schools. Organizations which are constantly under pressure to innovate and economize on resources will have developed techniques and tools to use available resources as efficiently as possible. Those methods and tools can be useful in any large organization, regardless of how it is owned.
But the public sector, including our schools, cannot operate according to the logic of private business, nor should we try to make them do so. Every private business is driven to generate a profit that can be distributed to owners, and all decisions about the operations of the business are subordinated to that goal. Whether a high-quality product is sold for a high price, or a lower-quality product is sold for a lower price, each business tries to find the right balance between costs and revenues for the particular part of the market they are trying to serve.
The public sector, in contrast, is charged with providing goods and services that benefit the public as a whole. Higher quality, if possible, is always better. And the return on the investment of taxpayer funds is not immediate, and may not even be financial. But the benefits do accrue to all of us, now and in the future.
The public sector, including our schools, is the tool that we the people use to make sure our government “of the people” is also “for the people.” The job of the public sector is to attend to those tasks which affect the quality of life of citizens but might not attract sufficient private investment. At our direction, the public sector provides the infrastructure – everything from roads and airports to laws and schools – which allows the private sector to function effectively. When we the people direct that a quality education be provided to all without restriction, we do so because: we know that a democracy functions best when all citizens can intelligently participate in governing; we know that each mind not developed to its full potential is a dead-weight loss to society; and we know that the best way to ensure prosperity and happiness for each of us is to do our best to ensure it for all.
Our schools, in other words, are our common vehicle for investing in the future – for all of us. That investment should be made wisely, and the “investors” (all of us) have a right to participate in how that investment is directed and to ensure it is being used well. But we also have a responsibility to remember why we created public schools in the first place and to invest accordingly – with an eye to the future of our whole community._________________________________________________REMEMBER, IT IS NOT ONLY PROPERTY TAX THAT CITY COUNCIL AND THE GOVERNOR ARE DIVERTING FROM GOVERNMENT COFFERS THAT WOULD BE DESIGNED FOR SCHOOLS.....IT IS ALL OF GAMBLING PROCEEDS THAT WE WERE SOLD ON AS PRO-EDUCATION.
Can you imagine using taxpayer money to train employees for businesses? Neither can I and yet Third Way corporate democrats are throwing the kitchen sink at businesses to maximize profits using public taxpayer money and student tuition to augment the costs of doing business!
This is towards what the state and city revenue coming from gambling will go. It won't hit K-12, it will be used to boost business profits on the backs of people. A community college is now a public job training program. What about all those casino unions all having apprenticeships that have the unions and businesses paying for on-the-job training as has been the norm for almost a century? YOU CAN'T MAXIMIZE CORPORATE PROFITS THAT WAY SAYS O'MALLEY AND RAWLINGS-BLAKE, corporate pols to the end.
This is ridiculous folks. We have government coffers starved of tax revenue and corporations 'donating' money to non-profits that write public policy like this. Simply vote these corporate democrats out of office and run and vote for labor and justice next elections!!!!AACC Casino Dealer School bets on growing needs at Maryland Live By Joe Burris, The Baltimore Sun 8:03 p.m. EDT, May 9, 2013
The course is "Introduction to Casino Gambling," but upon entering the classroom, one might be tempted to place a bet at the roulette wheel, the craps table or any of the other table game layouts.
As he stared at the roulette wheel, Christopher Lamb of Elkridge, a student who has taken one week of the Anne Arundel Community College course, could scarcely contain his excitement at the thought of working in a casino.
"It is an amazing game, just on gambling and chance, and who knows where the ball is going to land? I just find that really incredible, the ball spinning in the wheel and placing your bets on the ball," he said.
Lamb is enrolled in casino dealer courses offered by AACC's Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute. Current classes began May 6. Maryland Live financed and ran an earlier AACC-certificated dealer school from January to March to train some of the 1,200 employees the casino needed when table games opened April 11.
The dealer school is housed at Marley Station mall in Glen Burnie. Many of the students have their sights on employment at Maryland Live, and the dealer school brochure points to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics that predict that employment for dealers will grow by 17 percent by 2020. Maryland Live supervisors lead training in the classes, which are conducted at least four days a week and four hours a day. Some run through October.
"The partnership between the college and Maryland Live actually preceded the casino building," said Mary Ellen Mason, director of the Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute. "We were approached by casino management to do a student-led project in which our purchasing and cost-control students developed and tested recipes for their buffet restaurant. And they didn't have facilities to do that."
Mason said AACC also provided culinary facilities for the casino's final Suisse chef testing for candidates. The current dealer school has transitioned to Anne Arundel Community College as open-enrollment classes that are no longer paid for by Maryland Live.
Dealer school offers such courses as "Introduction to Craps," "Casino Blackjack Dealer" and "Casino Mini Baccarat Dealer." Mason said the school created three noncredit courses last year.
"Being a new industry to the state, there weren't a lot of trained workers available for them," Mason said, "so it gave the college an opportunity to provide that training that allowed individuals within the county and surrounding counties to get whatever training is necessary to pursue long-term careers in a new and growing industry within the state."
She spoke just moments before the start of the "Introduction to Casino" course. The class teaches casino organization, handling money, counting odds, and working with cards and chips.
"A lot of [the students] understand the service industry and know how to meet and greet guests," said Paul Sheppard, an adjunct instructor at HCAT and a shift manager at Maryland Live. "Things that are tough are shuffling the cards, cutting of the [chips]."
Sheppard gathered up a large stack of $5 chips to show how he would give them to patrons seated around the table. Breaking down the stack to give each patron five chips, he lowered the stack with his fingers to the table and released four at a time in a matter of seconds, as if he were placing cherries atop chocolate sundaes.
"They also have to learn the element of picking [chips]," he said. "If you say, 'Three red,' dealers have to look at you and pick up the chips without looking at the chips. Everyone can cut chips after a while, but to do it neatly and effectively, it takes at least a year."
AACC student Wayne Jones of Randallstown said he has visited Maryland Live on several occasions. He has played the table games and slots, but said he has also "observed those working at the facility, to get a feel for the environment of the gaming industry."
"Having been retired for the past three years and recognizing that gaming in Maryland is growing, friends of mine that have entered into the gaming industry had encouraged me to seek training as a dealer," Jones said.
Lamb enrolled after a stint at Howard Community College, where he was working toward a degree in elementary education. But he ultimately lost interest in teaching. After playing for the first time in a cruise ship casino, he discovered what he hopes to make a career.
"I gave it some thought," he said, "and I found it more interesting than I ever thought it would be."
Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-ar-aacc-casino-20130508,0,479499.story#ixzz2SuPyooe2
GET INVOLVED WITH YOUR STATE'S UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE MOVEMENT....WE NEED NATIONAL HEALTH CARE TO CORRECT THIS PRIVATIZATION PUSH!!!Third Way democrats pushed health care reform to the front not to make it more affordable as the bill would have you believe, but to make it more profitable. That's why insurance mandates and co-pays that keep people from accessing care are front and center in the reform. Entitlements have been gutted even as you listen to your Third Way corporate democrats pretend to be fighting for them. Medicaid is gone....it is now a public health program and Medicare is heading that way as seniors become poorer because of the massive corporate fraud and ever declining Social Security. They can't afford access. THAT IS THE POINT TO HEALTH CARE REFORM.
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE NEXT ELECTIONS....WE CAN REVERSE THESE POLICIES!!Regarding health care reform in Maryland and the US:
As you read what is just this month's snapshot of health care in Maryland remember this......health care fraud, especially entitlement fraud has taken almost half of entitlement expenditures for these few decades.....trillions of dollars that need to come back to the Trusts. Payroll taxes that fund SS and entitlements have been sent to the Treasury rather than the Trusts and need to come back to the Trusts....trillions of dollars. Corporations have illegally categorized workers as 'independent contractors' to shed payroll deduction requirements for these few decades involving tens of millions of workers......losses of trillions of dollars to health care Trusts. THE RECURRING THEME.....WE NEED TO RECOVER TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS...PERHAPS TENS OF TRILLIONS BACK TO THE HEALTH CARE TRUSTS AND GOVERNMENT COFFERS TO FULLY FUND HEALTH CARE.
THERE IS NOT HEALTH CARE COST CRISIS.....WE ONLY HAVE CROOKED LEADERS IN OUR JUSTICE AND THIRD WAY CORPORATE POLICY AGENCIES!!!
Here are just a few disturbing facts I collect as I talk to Maryland citizens about health care:
1) Just with one hospital chain....the fastest growing Med Star and just these past few weeks I hear stories
of patients near death from after-infections from surgical procedures as cost-cutting compromises sterile environments.
patients being treated as in third world clinics when they come in with Medicaid or are uninsured. Setting serious bone fractures and dislocated joints without Xrays and suspension of blood tests so as to protect these departments from financial losses with no ability for followup at Medstar. Using surgery techniques of installing metal plates on fractures that do not meet the guidelines for surgery... (think heart stints).
patients rushed out on discharge when not stable, whether a patient is still compromised by anesthesia (get a home health care person they are told) or a new mother that dies from a botched delivery that leaves placenta in the womb sent home too early for observation.
parents distressed that the school dental program and the community child dentistry businesses are doing copious and needless procedures 'just to bill for them'. Indeed, I spent all last year writing and publicly admonishing health department officials over the presence of these national dental chains that are charged across the country for fraud and malfeasance.....but I only get the usual retort in Maryland.....THERE IS NO FRAUD AND MALFEASANCE!
patients who are now denied cancer treatment and other chronic illness treatments as a result of being sent to the Maryland Insurance Plan are dying simply from lack of access to care.
hospitals are now calling the state out on cuts to government payments to hospitals that will have labor and quality of service greatly compromised. Already hospital employees just like Federal employees and teachers are seeing their middle-class wages and benefits starved from year to year.VOTE YOUR THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRAT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!
_______________________________________________Let's remember that this policy to lessen SS payments coincides with Medicare funding cuts that move more costs to seniors who then can't afford care. It is a back-door way to end entitlements for most! AFL-CIO Now 'Chained CPI Not a Tweak: It’s a Cut to Social Security,' Alliance Members Tell Congress
After Medicare deductions, Marty Alvarado has about $950 left in her monthly Social Security check. The Alliance for Retired Americans members from Dallas told a Capitol Hill Hands Off Social Security summit of Alliance members, lawmakers, senior activists and Social Security advocates:
As you might imagine that’s very difficult to live on. I cannot afford to lose any of my benefits due to the chained CPI cut in benefits. This is especially important to me as a woman. Women represent 57% of all Social Security beneficiaries. Chained CPI would hit female beneficiaries especially hard because we tend to live longer.
Click here to see full coverage of the summit by WeActRadio DC.
Chained CPI would change the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated for Social Security, veterans and other federal benefits. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told the summit that Republicans and some Democrats have described chained CPI as “a minor tweak.” But, he said:
Let’s be clear: for millions of seniors living on fixed incomes and disabled veterans, the chained CPI is not a minor tweak. It is a significant benefit cut that will make it harder for permanently disabled veterans and the elderly to make ends meet.
Alliance Executive Director Ed Coyle said that a study by the group Social Security Works shows that under this proposal someone retiring at age 65 would lose nearly $5,000 in benefits by age 75. By age 85, they would lose almost $10,000. If they lived until 95, they would lose more than $15,000.
The average Social Security check is only slightly more than $1,000 per month. For many retirees, this is their only source of income. I can’t imagine how seniors could get by on anything less.Alliance members also spoke out against proposed changes to Medicare, including raising the eligibility age. Jody Weinrich is a 63-year-old retired garment worker who receives about $800 a month in Social Security and $105 from a small pension.Every month, I spend $500 on health insurance—well over half of my monthly income. I barely have any money to cover my other expenses. The biggest thing that gives me hope is that in a year and a half, when I turn 65, I will finally be eligible for Medicare. For me and the millions of other Americans in similar circumstances, raising the Medicare age to 67 would be a disaster.
After the summit, Alliance members visited lawmakers’ offices and urged them to support Senate and House resolutions to protect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans' benefits.
________________________________________________Make no mistake, defunding hospitals is a back-door intent of limiting access and lowering labor costs rather than funding health care with universal health care that will set health care fees and with recovery of trillions of dollars in health fraud. THESE TWO POLICIES ARE THE DEMOCRATIC APPROACH TO HEALTH CARE REFORM. THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT DOES THE OPPOSITE.
Maryland health reform is driven by Johns Hopkins and their intent is to grow global health institutions that make billions in profit at the expense of patient access. THIS IS A POLICY! Md. hospitals say rate vote means jobs cuts Decision comes after state commission votes against increasing hospital rates
- By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun 11:41 a.m. EDT, May 2, 2013
Maryland hospitals said they will need to cut jobs and patient services after a state panel voted Wednesday to keep hospital rates flat, despite a 2 percent cut in Medicare payments required by federal sequestration.
"There are significant job cuts literally on the near-term horizon," Robert A. Chrencik, CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System told commissioners during a hearing before the vote. "I think folks need to be aware of that."
The 5-1 vote by the Health Services Cost Review Commission, which sets the state's hospital rates, effectively forces the hospitals to absorb the cut in Medicare reimbursement at a time when hospital margins are razor-thin. Hospital representatives who filled a hearing room to lobby for a rate increase criticized the decision, saying it will further hurt the already financially strapped industry.
Hospitals sought a rate increase for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year, which ends June 30, to help offset the Medicare cuts. Now, the state's hospitals will collectively lose about $7 million to $8 million a month in April, May and June, the commission estimated.
The Maryland Hospital Association released a report Friday that said 1,450 Maryland jobs would be lost for every 1 percent drop in total hospital revenue. The job losses would come from hospitals and from firms related to the hospital industry. Hospitals in Maryland employ nearly 100,000 people, according to the report.
Chrencik, who said after the vote that he was "disappointed" in the decision, predicted a failure to increase rates also could affect hospitals' access to capital and hurt their ability to fund community services.
He also said access to care could be harmed. Many hospitals have already cut services because hospital rate increases have not kept pace with inflation, hospital executives said. For example, the University of Maryland system cut the obstetrics program at its Chester River Health System in eastern Maryland.
"People are now traveling a longer distance to get routine obstetrics care," Chrencik said. "The economics of that just weren't feasible."
The Medicare cuts are part of the $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending reductions known as sequestration. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services plans to cut $15.5 billion under the plan, with much of it coming from Medicare.
Medicare patients will not face reductions in benefits under sequestration. Instead, the federal government specifies that cuts should be made to payments to hospitals and doctors and to monthly payments made to private plans that administer parts of Medicare.
Commissioners said they will account for the impact of sequestration as they decide hospital rates for fiscal year 2014, starting July 1. They added a provision to their decision Wednesday requiring the commission staff to develop a proposal on new rates in the next 30 days. That provided little comfort to the hospital industry, which worried that commissioners might lose sight of the Medicare cuts as they debate new rates.
"It's possible the sequestration gets lost in the breadth of the larger discussion," said Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the state hospital association, which represents 46 acute-care hospitals in the state.
Commissioners said they sympathized with the hospitals' concerns, but felt other issues outweighed them.
Specifically, they worried how raising rates would affect the state's Medicare waiver, an agreement with the federal government unique to Maryland that allows the state to set hospital rates. Insurers, including CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and UnitedHealthcare, also favored keeping rates flat because of the waiver.
The state must pass a test to maintain the waiver. Maryland keeps the waiver if its average cost per hospital admission rises no faster than in other states. The state, which is in the process of negotiating a new waiver test with the federal government, worried that a rate increase might disrupt those talks.
"I think we should keep our eye on the bigger ball, which is retention of the waiver," said Dr. Bernadette C. Loftus, a commission member who is also associate executive director of the Permanente Medical Group.
Thomas R. Mullen, president and CEO of Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, was the only commissioner to vote against keeping rates flat. He said the option of increasing rates 0.16 percent for three months was small enough that the commission should consider implementing it, given the financial condition of hospitals.
"Putting in something for three months … would not be a deal breaker," he said.
Maintaining hospital rates was one of three options considered by the commission staff. The option supported by hospitals would have treated revenue lost from sequestration as a one-time "unusual expense," and rates would have risen to compensate. Hospital rates would have increased 0.16 percent for the last three months of the fiscal year.
Another plan would have split the impact between insurers and hospitals. Half of the sequestered revenue would have been treated as a one-time expense and hospitals would have gotten a 0.08 percent increase in rates until the end of the fiscal year._______________________________________________Here in Maryland and especially Baltimore we are seeing the same massive fraud in dental care as is happening across the country. It is happening with the schools dentistry being sent to our public schools for goodness sake. I have notified the State Health and Hygiene executives personally, I have notified Baltimore City Public health executives personally, I have sent all this information to the Attorney General Gansler and all media and yet, children and the poor are still being abused for purposes of billing fraudulently.Maryland and Baltimore, all of our democratic politicians support this abuse by their silence!!! Texas tries to crack down on dental chains that put profits ahead of patients
By David Heathemail 5:12 pm, January 7, 2013 Center for Public Integrity
Kool Smiles in the largest dental chain serving kids on Medicaid, with about 2 million patients. But the chain has been criticized by regulators in three states for allegedly doing unnecessary procedures on children. The company denies this, saying it provides quality care to children in need. Frontline Slideshow: High costs of dental care 1234567891011 There are 43 million American kids eligible for Medicaid or similar coverage, but finding a dentist willing to accept the program’s lower rates for dental care can be tough.
Dollars and Dentists Dental care can be a matter of life and death. Yet millions of Americans can’t afford a visit to the dentist. FRONTLINE and the Center for Public Integrity investigate the flaws in our dental system and nascent proposals to fix them.
A leading Republican in the Texas legislature, who says she’s outraged by allegations that corporate dental chains put profits ahead of patients, has introduced a bill that would allow the state to regulate chains and forbid them from forcing dentists to meet revenue quotas.
A joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and PBS Frontline last summer found that two of the largest dental chains owned by private-equity firms, Aspen Dental Management and Kool Smiles, put pressure on its dentists to meet production goals, prompting complaints of overbilling and unnecessary treatments.
Both companies deny this. And a coalition of dental chains in Texas contends that their dentists have total control over patient care. But the chief sponsor of the bill remains skeptical.
“Several reports, including the Frontline program, have uncovered outrageous activities involving the illegal enticement of patients, especially among our Medicaid providers and often involving dental service organizations,” said Republican Sen. Jane Nelson, who chairs the Senate’s Health & Human Services committee.
Nelson did not name a specific chain. Aspen Dental does not accept Medicaid and has no offices in Texas. But Kool Smiles has clinics throughout Texas, and public records show that the state Attorney General has been investigating Kool Smiles for Medicaid fraud.
Texas has been embroiled in a Medicaid fraud scandal for the past couple of years. The initial focus was on overbilling Medicaid for unnecessary braces on children. But the scandal has since widened. State authorities said last October that beyond braces, they’ve identified 89 dental providers they suspect of overbilling Medicaid by $154 million.
The state hasn’t identified those providers, but a spokeswoman for the state Health and Human Services Commission said that because chains bill Medicaid the most, they were more likely to be scrutinized.
Most states outlaw anyone but a dentist from owning a dental clinic. Corporate dental chains are often owned by private-equity firms, but they contend that dentists own the actual practice. The chains say they merely provide those owner dentists services under contract.
But in many cases, the chains open the clinics, own the equipment, hire the dentists, employ the staff, and control the business strategy, which might include specializing in dentures or Medicaid patients. And our investigation found that Aspen Dental and Kool Smiles set revenue targets for each clinic.
The push to boost corporate profits has led to allegations that dentists are pressured to bill more than they might otherwise. Regulators in Georgia, Connecticut and Massachusetts concluded that dentists at Kool Smiles were routinely doing unnecessary procedures, including using more expensive stainless steel crowns on cavities when a simple filling would do.
The executive director of the Texas dental board, Glenn Parker, wrote legislators last October that he had no power to monitor chains to assure that dentists were free to treat patients as they saw fit.
“The dental board and staff are aware of the many media stories concerning the allegations of Medicaid fraud and patient abuse,” Parker wrote. “We are appalled by stories indicating that some dentists have over-treated young patients by placing unnecessary crowns, fillings or braces on those children.”
Nelson’s bill would require dental chains to register with the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners and forbid them from influencing treatments or setting quotas for a particular dental procedure.
The Texas Coalition of Dental Support Organizations, recently formed by a group of dental chains, opposes new regulation, saying laws on the books are already adequate.
“It is a felony to practice dentistry without a license, including by influencing, controlling or interfering with a dentist’s professional judgment,” the group says on its Web site. “The Attorney General is specifically empowered to prosecute violators of the Texas dental statutes and bring the full force of law down on anyone who would endanger patient safety by attempting to interfere with dentists’ clinical judgment or by practicing dentistry without a license.”
But without some way to track dental chain’s behavior, the Attorney General has no way of knowing whether they may be interfering in patient care, said Dr. Richard Black, an El Paso orthodontist who handles legislative matters for the Texas Dental Association. The state dental association supports the bill.
“There’s nothing sinister about this. We’re not interested in punishing anybody,” he said. “If they feel that they are doing everything exactly right then I don’t think they should feel at all put out by registering and being part of our state system.”_____________________________________________
IF YOU LOOK AT MASSACHUSETTS, THE STATE THAT MODELED THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, THE COVERAGE FOR CITIZENS IS TIERED TO A GREAT DEGREE. MOST PEOPLE FALL INTO THE CATEGORY OF INSURED SO MINIMALLY AS TO BE FORCED TO AVOID HEALTH CARE....WHICH IS THE POINT.
Whether state insurance, medicaid, or high-deductibles 80% of people can no longer access the level of care we all did just a few years ago. You know how catastrophic auto coverage works....well, there is far less likelihood of dying from and auto accident then having a health incident.......AND CATASTROPHIC HEALTH COVERAGE IS WHAT MOST PEOPLE ARE CHOOSING BECAUSE THEY CANNOT AFFORD PRIVATE INSURANCE. All of this is why financial analysts have declared health institutions as profitable as ever......THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND THIRD WAY DEMOCRATS!!Many opt for high-deductible health plans despite risks Plans offering low monthly premiums but requiring high upfront payments when care is needed can be a poor choice for those without a lot of cash on hand. To save money, Alice Marie Francis of Burbank opted for a high-deductible plan and uses the Web to help in her care. “I self-diagnose all the time,” she said. (Lawrence K. Ho, Los Angeles Times / May 2, 2013)
By Lisa Zamosky May 5, 2013
Alice Marie Francis believes it's important to have health insurance, but finding a plan that fit her budget was no easy task. "Money is tight," says the 50-year-old Burbank mother of two, whose children are insured by their father's work-based policy.
To make sure she had coverage that didn't break the bank, she opted for a high-deductible health plan — an increasingly popular option with lower monthly premiums but high upfront costs before most insurance payments kick in.
High-deductible plans are typically recommended for younger policyholders who are in good health and have less need for doctor visits and prescription drugs, and for people with incomes high enough to cover the cost of routine medical care.
But patients like Francis opt for it anyway, despite the risks. She pays just $123 a month, but if she gets sick she'll have to shell out $3,300 to meet her deductible before insurance helps her pay the bills.
As a result, Francis says she does whatever she can to avoid the doctor. "I ensure that I take very good care of myself," she says.
For people like Francis who don't have a lot of cash on hand, these policies can be a poor choice. Often, they hesitate to seek care when they become ill or injured.
Be careful if you move to a higher-deductible plan from one with a lower deductible, says Linda Blumberg, an economist and senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank.
"You've got to be putting away money as you go along so if something bad happens you're prepared and you're not in a situation where you can't access the care you need."
For Francis — and others with high-deductible policies — experts have plenty of advice on ways to access needed medical care and manage costs. It's advice that can benefit everyone.
•Know your plan. Francis hasn't had a mammogram or a routine checkup in years. She didn't realize that despite her $3,300 deductible, she can get many preventive services at no cost.
"There is a required list of preventative services that have to be free under the Affordable Care Act," says Cheryl Fish-Parcham, deputy director of health policy for Families USA, a healthcare advocacy organization in Washington. You can see the full list of covered services at HealthCare.gov.
Blumberg of the Urban Institute also suggests taking time to understand other basics of your plan, such as what services are included and excluded from coverage, and which doctors and hospitals are in the insurer's provider network.
"Get as much information as you can about what services count toward the deductible and what counts toward out-of-pocket maximums," she says.
•Stay in network. Getting care from your insurer's network of doctors, clinics and hospitals will be less expensive than care received outside the network.
"Most of the time when you go to a physician or hospital in network, the cost of that service, while subject to a deductible, will still be at a discounted rate," says Martin Rosen, an executive vice president of Health Advocate, a patient advocacy organization based in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
•Sign up for a health savings account to set aside money for medical expenses. These HSAs are investment accounts that can be opened by anyone enrolled in a qualified health insurance plan. For 2013, a single person can sock away as much as $3,250 annually and a family can set aside as much as $6,450. If you're 55 or older, you're allowed to kick in an additional $1,000 each year.
The money you deposit goes in as a before-tax contribution and, as with a 401(k) account, accumulates tax free from year to year. The money can also be withdrawn tax free as long as it's spent on qualified healthcare costs, such as dental care, doctor and hospital visits, eyeglasses and prescription drugs. Check out IRS Publication 502 for a list of qualified expenses.
•Shop for the best price and negotiate. The prices of medical procedures vary widely from one healthcare provider to another, even among those contracted with the same insurance company. For example, a study conducted last year for Catalyst for Payment Reform, a nonprofit organization working to improve how health services are paid for, found that the price for colonoscopies varied from one provider to another by as much as 1,000%.
For that reason it pays to shop around. Though healthcare prices are notoriously hard to pin down, Rosen suggests starting with a ballpark figure and then negotiating with providers, especially for elective procedures. Most health insurers offer a price comparison tool, as do many employers. In addition, websites such as FairHealthConsumer.org enable you to estimate potential costs for medical care in your area.
Francis still relies on her own methods for maintaining her health and saving money.
"I self-diagnose all the time," she says. "The Internet is my best friend."
Zamosky writes about healthcare and health insurance.
__________________________________________________AS THIRD WAY PRETEND TO BE PROTECTING ENTITLEMENTS AND SOCIAL SECURITY EACH BILL THAT COMES FROM CONGRESS AND EACH BUDGET CUT IS SLOWLY KILLING ALL THESE PROGRAMS.The drive to dismantle Medicare
1 April 2013
Following the imposition of “sequestration” budget cuts that will amount to $1.2 trillion over the next decade, Obama and the Republicans are quickly turning their attention to slashing and ultimately dismantling Medicare, the government health insurance program for the elderly in the United States.
The New York Times published an article last week detailing ongoing closed-door negotiations between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans, pointing to broad agreement between the Democrats and Republicans on a deal to cut Medicare costs.
According to the Times, “The president told House Republicans that he was open to combining Medicare’s coverage for hospitals and doctor services. That would create a single deductible that could increase out-of-pocket costs for many future beneficiaries…”
The proposal would have devastating and almost immediate consequences for millions of people. Obama and the Republicans are proposing to merge Medicare Part A, which covers hospital care, and Part B, which covers outpatient care, such as doctor visits, tests and medical procedures.
The deductible for Part A, which is used by only 20 percent of Medicare recipients in a given year, is relatively high, at around $1,200, while the deductible for Part B is intentionally set far lower, at $147, in keeping with the mission of Medicare to enable the elderly to afford the minimum level of medical care required to stay healthy and live longer.
Combining Parts A and B would increase the amount of money that elderly people have to pay for doctor visits, a move that would sharply increase out-of-pocket costs for routine care.
For the ruling class, the structure of the Medicare system is intolerable because the elderly are not “incentivized” to limit treatments and medications. Under the terms of the program, they are able to go to the doctor as many times as they and their doctor feel is necessary, without significant additional expense. Large sections of the bourgeoisie consider this an outrage, because elderly people are spending money to maintain their health that could otherwise be funneled into the stock market portfolios and bank accounts of the financial elite.
In the anodyne words of the Times, echoing the language of the Obama administration, “The goal is to discourage people from seeking unneeded treatments, shrink health spending and offset the costs of a cap on beneficiaries’ total out-of-pocket costs.”
Who determines what treatments are needed or “unneeded,” and on the basis of what criteria? In any rational and humane system, such decisions should be made by individuals and their doctors. Obama, the Times, and both the Republicans and Democrats want such decisions to be dictated by the profit interests of the pharmaceutical and insurance companies.
Those conspiring to impose these changes are well aware that they will shorten the life span and vastly erode the economic conditions and quality of life of the majority of Americans. Medicare “reform” will send older Americans to their graves sooner and reduce the overall life expectancy of working people. That, however, is the desired outcome, as far as the financial aristocracy that really rules America is concerned. Why waste potential profits and bonuses on keeping people alive and relatively healthy who produce no surplus value for the capitalists?
The Times, the chief organ of the liberal establishment, politically and ideologically allied with the Obama administration, has been spearheading the campaign to ration health care and deny treatments to the “mob” ever since Obama took office. For years, the newspaper has been carrying politically motivated and dishonest articles arguing that much of preventative medical care, particularly that received by the elderly, is “unnecessary” and even harmful.
The aim is to create an even more heavily class-based health care system, in which the rich have access to the full panoply of treatments and tests, while workers and the vast majority of elderly people are relegated to substandard care. Obama’s 2010 health care “reform,” presented as a “progressive” measure, was, in fact, a major step in this direction.
Obama is now seeking to present his push to increase Medicare recipients’ out-of-pocket costs as a “compromise” position with the Republicans, who earlier this month put forward a budget that would transform Medicare into a voucher program for the purchase of private insurance. As always, Obama is playing a good-cop/bad-cop routine with the Republicans, seeking to present brutal cuts to vital social programs as a reasonable middle ground.
Behind this dog and pony show, the two parties are agreed on the basic strategy. In the words of Democratic Senator Mark Warner, quoted in the Times, “We don’t really like what [Republican Paul] Ryan has done—premium support—but we want systemic reform.”
The proposals currently under discussion would signal a massive retrogression in the conditions of life for the majority of people in the United States. The implementation of Medicare in 1965, along with the expansion of Social Security benefits, helped to sharply decrease poverty among the elderly, from about 30 percent in 1965 to under 10 percent now.
Even with Medicare and Medicaid (the federal-state health insurance program for the poor) in place, the lack of affordable medical care in the United States is disastrous. Some 45,000 people die every year in the US because they lack access to affordable health care, according to a 2009 study by Harvard Medical School. This is more than those killed by drunk driving and homicide combined. The more than 45 million uninsured people in the United States have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who are insured.
If the ruling class has its way, the situation will become far worse.
The creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 as part of Johnson’s Great Society program was the last gasp of American liberal reform. These reforms came in response to the mass upsurge of the working class in the 1930s and the ongoing militancy of workers through the ‘50s and ‘60s, together with the explosive upheavals associated with the civil rights movement.
At the time of its creation, progressive public opinion in the United States saw Medicare as the bare minimum in health care, to be rapidly superseded by a system of universal health care, as in Canada and Europe.
For the ruling class, these and other social programs were seen as temporary concessions to be eliminated as soon as possible. The corporate and financial elite is now using the crisis created by the 2008 economic collapse as an opportunity to radically weaken and ultimately dismantle them.
Medicare and Medicaid, far from being beneficent gifts of the US ruling class, were extracted as a result of mass struggles. These struggles, however, were kept within the framework of the profit system and aborted, primarily through their being channeled behind the Democratic Party. This is what has made the past gains of the working class vulnerable to being continually chipped away at and eventually destroyed.
A new mass movement of the working class is the only means for defending what remains of past social gains and extending them to secure the basic social right to quality health care for all. This time, however, the movement must be armed with an independent program in opposition to both parties of big business and the capitalist system they defend.
What is required is the political mobilization of the working class on the basis of a socialist perspective, including the nationalization and public ownership of the banks and corporations and the reorganization of society on the basis of social need, not private profit.
The 'New Economy' or New World Order that the Brookings Institution and Third Way corporate democrats preach eliminates national sovereignty and replaces it with corporate strongholds. The emphasis here is gaining all advantage in who you hire and that is why they are pushing this Immigration Bill that allows foreign students in larger number take US jobs. It has nothing to do with US students not having the skill.....we have large numbers of unemployed US STEM grads. They simply want strategic advantage no matter the toll it takes on American society.
What they intend to do is fill top jobs with foreign nationals to work domestically on corporate strategy while sending US workers overseas to work low level jobs as ex-pats. Your family will be torn apart in the pursuit of employment. This is why Third Way corporate democrats are keeping unemployment high.....remember, it is as high today as 40% if you consider people working part time wanting full time. They already have a record number of college grads heading to the military for work, often overseas. So, the Immigration Bill is an extension of this market-based International Trade Agreement that works simply to exploit workers of all kinds.....it has nothing to do with helping Hispanics get citizenship.
The Trans Pacific Pact or TPP is about to be unleashed.....probably this Fall and it will completely eliminate all of American citizen's rights to legislate; it will end local, state, and national sovereignty as regards the needs and wants of global corporations. AS I WAS TOLD AT A CONFERENCE OF THESE SOCIOPATHS......IT WILL REQUIRE REWRITING THE US CONSTITUTION SINCE NONE OF WHAT THE TPP DOES IS LEGAL.
This is why they have simply suspended Rule of Law.....they intend on changing all the laws. THIS IS A COUP D'ETAT....THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS ARE WORKING AS ENEMIES OF THE STATE TO UNDERMINE THE CONSTITUTION. This is not the Tea Party call to arms over Federal overreach......this is a complete dismantling of what we see as national sovereignty. It is why Reagan simply transferred all payroll taxes to the Treasury rather than sending it to the Trusts with no legal authority.....it is why Federal Reserve Greenspan was allowed to tell 50 states attorney general in 2005 that the massive mortgage fraud would continue unabated......a crime of treason.....and it is why there are almost no acts of justice regarding white collar crime today......THEY HAVE SUSPENDED RULE OF LAW AND INTEND TO REWRITE THE US CONSTITUTION.
All of this was allowed to unfold because Bill Clinton took the democratic party.....the people's party whose platform protected us from these kinds of actions....and handed it to corporations under the guise of Third Way corporate democrats. They use a few social issues to claim 'progressive' as they work as neo-liberals with republicans creating policy like this New Economy.
THE DEMOCRATIC BASE IS 80% OF THE PARTY AND SIMPLY NEEDS TO RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE RATHER THAN ALLOWING THE THIRD WAY DOMINATED DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL PARTY CHOOSE THE CANDIDATE.
We can easily turn this around if we become engaged!!!! In Maryland we will have labor and justice candidates running against Third Way incumbents at all levels!!!!
Below you see a good definition of New Economy and note that it was written in 2000.....when Bill Clinton had take control of policy to shift the country to this path. Note as well how this article written in 2000 describes just what we have today......AND IT IS NOT GOOD. DO YOU REALLY THINK GLOBAL CORPORATIONS ARE GOING TO BE BENEVOLENT DICTATORS??????? REALLY?????New Economy vs. Old Economy The term "New Economy" has become firmly entrenched in the business lingo of America and is a concept that has been so widely embraced that it has come to be seen as an established fact, much like the law of gravity. It is now popular among the financial press to distinguish between the "Old Economy" and the "New Economy" in their coverage and commentaries of the financial realm. But in their zeal to embrace a popular (not to say dubious) economic concept, the adherents of the New Economy theory have overlooked several major tenets of economics. Moreover, several important questions have gone unasked and, consequently, have remained unanswered. Our purpose, then, in writing this analysis is to examines the concept of the New Economy—its meaning, its import, its desirability, and its likelihood of succeeding. Serious discourse on this subject has been entirely lacking in the mainstream media, and we hope we have provided here a filling of this vacuum.
To begin, what exactly is the "New Economy"? A formal definition of this economic concept has never been provided, thus we are left to presume what its actual meaning may be. By "New Economy," we understand this to mean a national financial and economic infrastructure characterized chiefly by the predominance of services and technology (i.e., intangible assets), and the abolition of the former infrastructure of physical manufacturing and industrialism (i.e., tangible assets). Hence, the "virtual" economy of computers and electronic commerce replaces the "old" labor-intensive economy involving manufacturing and the movement of physical commodities. Think of it as the ascendancy of the virtual over the real.
What does this concept of New Economy imply? The implications of manifold, and we have not time here to delineate them in their entirety. We will only concern ourselves with the most obvious implications. First and foremost, a workable New Economy (which is now supposedly in place) requires the complete subordination of industrialism to service-oriented modes of commerce. It entails that within the U.S. economy, the former industrial infrastructure has been disassembled and transplanted to Third World countries whose standard of living is considerably below ours (this tacitly assumes that industrialism is not worthy of a well-developed nation but instead should be relegated to ignorant and backward peoples who are treated as mere economic slaves of the industrial barons). It further implies that whatever industrialism, or physical economy, remains is run by the Corporate State (that insidious admixture of Big Business and Big Government) and has been removed from the hands of the individual. The New Economy is ubiquitous, monolithic, all-encompassing and unstoppable; thus, the lives of the entire citizenry are made dependent upon the success and continuation of the New Economy whether they like it or not.
Under the New Economy, even agricultural production, the staff of life in any country, has been transferred into the hands of the Corporate State to the exclusion of the independent farmer. Furthermore, foreign (often hostile to United States interests) are given preferred status in matters pertaining to trade and commerce (agricultural or otherwise) and are allowed liberal access to our markets, while we are greatly inhibited in our ability to access theirs. In trade disputes, foreign nations more often than not are allowed to prevail over U.S. interests.
This leads us to our next observation of the New Economy—it is global in nature. It is predicated upon the economic interdependence among nations, even those nations that are politically, religiously and ideologically antithetical to one another. In many ways, the New Economy represents a revival of the Tower of Babel, only instead of bricks and mortar, it is bound by a reticular web of technology and transportation. The subsistence and success of this brave new Tower of Babel (which P.Q. Wall styles the "Church of American Technology") depends on international cooperation, with the U.S. serving in the role of chief financial facilitator and political mediator among nations. It was created largely by the U.S. and is being held together almost entirely by the U.S. The United States is thus the epicenter of the global New Economy. For the first time in U.S. history, national prejudices and questions of sovereignty and national interest have been laid aside at the altar of mammon. Trade with virulently anti-U.S. nations such as China and the Former Soviet Union is allowed and even actively sought in the New Economy since the profit motive is the impelling force—concerns over political and ideological differences (including the murder of innocent civilians in the foreign nations we do business with) do not even merit consideration. In the New Economy, money is everything.
Since the New Economy assumes the dominance of the profit motive, it can be further assumed that the motives that used to govern men's actions, including religious, patriotic and moral considerations, have been cast aside in a state of desuetude. Every paradigm must have an internal appeal (i.e., spiritual anchor) and the religion of the New Economy is that of consumerism. The New Economy presumes that men are inherently economic animals who have no higher purpose in life than to seek happiness and satisfaction for their wants and needs in a purely material manner. The New Economy trumpets the triumph of free-market capitalism over communism, yet it has this much in common communism: that it is inherently materialistic and purely economic to the exclusion of all other considerations. In this sense, the "New Economy" really isn't new at all.
Another common feature that the New Economy shares with old-line communism is the predominance of the Corporate State above the individual and independent business enterprise. Under communism and its sister, socialism, the State was exalted above the individual, especially in matters dealing with production and finance. The New Economy, due to its vast size, is successful only insofar as it is able to achieve economies of scale. It attempts at catering to a worldwide mass consumer market and must therefore treat the peoples of the world as a gigantic lump, which they call a "mass." Old concepts such as niche markets and specialty markets are cast by the wayside since they can't possibly turn over a big enough profit to satisfy the voracious appetite for fast profit that a monolithic structure such as this possesses. Small, independent business is the backbone of the economic strength of the U.S. economy. It is what, from a financial point of view, made America great. And small business survived largely because of its willingness and ability to target small, regional and specialty markets. It did not cater to some nebulous mass whose tastes were uniform and therefore demanded mass manufacturing. It was not forced to cater to the lowest common denominator of consumer preference. It was free to target its own markets and at its own leisure. That is no longer the case under the New Economy. Small businesses are swept aside by the tentacles of the leviathan that is the Corporate State. This is achieved through such measures as onerous levels of taxation, superfluous regulations and laws governing business, super-saturation marketing (often funded with federal tax dollars) designed at encroaching on the markets of small business and eventually stealing them away, and a variety of other methods. It is nothing less than a concentrated effort on the part of the State/Big Business axis (which we will call the "New Axis") to annihilate all forms of independent enterprise and of making every living soul dependent upon the government and corporations which constitute the New Economy.
The money question itself is of paramount importance in our analysis of the New Economy. Free and unrestrained production of money (albeit, fiat money) is the established policy and backbone of the New Economy. Fluid liquidity is the very lifeblood of global commerce and the New Economy aims at facilitating this through a fiat money policy. Old Economy staples like gold are dismissed and even demonized as a "barbarous relic;" silver as an antiquated "industrial metal." Of course, such denunciations are made because they remove power out of the hands of the New Axis and place it into the hands of the individual. Thus, a gold standard and gold ownership are passionately discouraged (and even fought against) in the New Economy.
Yet another aspect of the New Economy is blurring of national and cultural. This is yet another attempt at resuming the task the builders of Babel left unfinished. Unification and concord at any cost is the mantra of the New Economy adherents. They freely gloss over any national, ethnic, economic and ideological boundaries that stand in the way of global commerce. This is one element of the immigration debate that has gone largely unnoticed. It has been suggested that one reason for the open immigration policy in the U.S. is to facilitate the movement of Third World peoples into America and to integrate them into the economic infrastructure. This is predicated on the belief that Third World peoples are more docile, less independent, less educated and less likely to question and rebel against the New Economic Establishment. In other words, Third World immigrants can be more easily controlled by the Corporate State; thus, Old Economy jobs are shipped overseas to them while at the same time many are invited to descend upon the U.S. in order to facilitate them into our economic infrastructure so that they can fill the servile capacities that remain.
On a more pernicious note, we observe that even the military is redefined under a global New Economy. Our forefathers created this great nation of ours in large part due to the military aspects of the tyranny of Great Britain. A strong, citizen-controlled military was always seen as the underlying safeguard of liberty and of protection from enemies both foreign and domestic (including the government itself). Military has historically served a patriotic obligation to its citizens; now that has given way—like virtually everything else—to financial considerations. The military of today has degenerated into the role of the official protector of Big Business. Consider the strategic placement of U.S. troops in various parts of the world—invariably they are placed only in those areas in which a significant U.S. economic interest must be safeguarded, not so much a human interest. The U.S. military skirmishes of the past decade, without exception, have been fought over an economic interest of some sort (whether oil, minerals, access to foreign markets, etc.). The U.S. military, like U.S. business itself, has been integrated with foreign interests, including those who are antipathetic to U.S. political and military interests (witness the merger of the U.S. military into the U.N. "peacekeeping" forces). So even the military has a role to serve in the New Economy, although it is a considerably altered role than the one it served in the Old Economy.
The New Economy concept assumes that the Old Economy has been firmly replaced and will eventually die off completely. But is this true, and if so, what will be the consequences? We have already established that the Old Economy is composed chiefly of physical manufacturing and industrialism. In this light, the New Economy is frequently presented as just another stage in the economic development of the U.S.—the agrarian economy of the early years gave rise to the Industrial Revolution, which in turn is in the process of being replaced by the New Economy. But is it possible to live in a post-industrial world and still retain the quality of life we have grown accustomed to? Can an intangible, electronically-based economy ever fully replace the bricks-and-mortar economy? Here are some serious questions the New Economy advocates should ponder before diving headlong into the sea of the great unknown: since the U.S. has relinquished her role as the chief industrial economy, for how long are we willing to rely on foreign economies for our physical subsistence? Who manufactures the clothes on our backs and what happens when they, for whatever reason, stop manufacturing them? It is a known fact that American textile manufacturing has largely gone the way of the dinosaur and most of our clothing comes from overseas. What of our food production? Are we willing to relinquish control of our all-important food supply to a monolithic Corporate State, and to be dependent upon the whims of foreign countries and their ability (or inability) to meet payment for our exports? What of our machine tools (the backbone of any capitalistic economy)? Who is making them now, and what guarantee do we have that we will always be able to have unfettered access to them at any time? What of our national borders? How can we be sure they will be duly protected in time of foreign aggression when our troops are integrated into the army of the New Axis? What of our financial systems? How can we safeguard our savings when the U.S. banking structure is tied inextricably to the banking and financial systems of a hundred other countries and economies, many varying greatly with ours? And what of off-shore money havens? What assurance do we have that they will always remain open and free under the New Economy? With the unification of global governments, it isn't too difficult to envision a scenario in which a safe-haven country like, say Switzerland, is persuaded to cooperate with the invasive schemes of another government, such as that of the U.S. These questions are only a handful of a panoply of possible questions that could, and should, be asked concerning the New Economy. We have only brushed the surface.
Of immediate concern to us in our examination of the New Economy is what is likely to happen this Fall when the U.S. stock market is expected to collapse under the combined forces of several major cycles due to turn down at that time. Of course, when the U.S. financial structure collapses, so too will the financial structures of most other major nations around the world; thus, we will get our first true test of the resiliency of the New Economy. The ultimate question remains, "What will happen when/if the New Economy fails to pass the test—what will take its place?" The answer may arrive sooner than we think.
16 March 2000 Clif Droke is editor of the weekly Leading Indicators newsletter, covering the U.S. equities market outlook from a technical perspective as well as the general economic outlook. He is the author of the recently published book, Technical Analysis Simplified. For a free sample issue of Leading Indicators, send name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to: Leading Indicators, 816 Easely St., #411, Silver Spring, MD 20910_______________________________________________AS I SHOWED LAST BLOG MARYLAND LEADS THE PACK IN USING TAXPAYER MONEY TO DO CORPORATE JOB TRAINING AND INDEED THAT IS PART OF WHY UNEMPLOYMENT REMAINS SO HIGH. CORPORATIONS ARE HOLDING US HOSTAGE TO SHOULDERING EVER MORE COST SIMPLY TO HIRE. THE BANKS ARE WITHHOLDING BANK LOANS FOR THE SAME REASONS.
THIS IS NOT A GAME PLAN FOLKS. WE CANNOT BE HELD TO THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR JUST TO HAVE JOBS! STOP ALLOWING THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS FRAME THE SITUATION THIS WAY!
WE SIMPLY NEED TO RETURN TO THE SMALL/REGIONAL BUSINESS MODEL WITH SMALL BUSINESSES IN COMMUNITIES, NOT ALLOWING THIS BEHEMOTHS TO GOBBLE THEM UP!!! This is why Governor O'Malley has taken tons of higher education funding to create these job training certification programs......IT IS RIDICULOUS!!!The Skills Gap Myth: Why Companies Can’t Find Good People By Peter CappelliJune 04, 2012 Time Magazine
Last week’s disappointing unemployment report has refocused attention on the question of why, despite modest signs of economic recovery in recent months, American companies aren’t hiring.
Indeed, some of the most puzzling stories to come out of the Great Recession are the many claims by employers that they cannot find qualified applicants to fill their jobs, despite the millions of unemployed who are seeking work. Beyond the anecdotes themselves is survey evidence, most recently from Manpower, which finds roughly half of employers reporting trouble filling their vacancies.
The first thing that makes me wonder about the supposed “skill gap” is that, when pressed for more evidence, roughly 10% of employers admit that the problem is really that the candidates they want won’t accept the positions at the wage level being offered. That’s not a skill shortage, it’s simply being unwilling to pay the going price.
But the heart of the real story about employer difficulties in hiring can be seen in the Manpower data showing that only 15% of employers who say they see a skill shortage say that the issue is a lack of candidate knowledge, which is what we’d normally think of as skill. Instead, by far the most important shortfall they see in candidates is a lack of experience doing similar jobs. Employers are not looking to hire entry-level applicants right out of school. They want experienced candidates who can contribute immediately with no training or start-up time. That’s certainly understandable, but the only people who can do that are those who have done virtually the same job before, and that often requires a skill set that, in a rapidly changing world, may die out soon after it is perfected.
One of my favorite examples of the absurdity of this requirement was a job advertisement for a cotton candy machine operator – not a high-skill job – which required that applicants “demonstrate prior success in operating cotton candy machines.” The most perverse manifestation of this approach is the many employers who now refuse to take applicants from unemployed candidates, the rationale being that their skills must be getting rusty.
Another way to describe the above situation is that employers don’t want to provide any training for new hires — or even any time for candidates to get up to speed. A 2011 Accenture survey found that only 21% of U.S. employees had received any employer-provided formal training in the past five years. Does it make sense to keep vacancies unfilled for months to avoid having to give new hires with less-than-perfect skills time to get up to speed?
Employers further complicated the hiring process by piling on more and more job requirements, expecting that in a down market a perfect candidate will turn up if they just keep looking. One job seeker I interviewed in my own research described her experience trying to land “one post that has gone unfilled for nearly a year, asking the candidate to not only be the human resources expert but the marketing, publishing, project manager, accounting and finance expert. When I asked the employer if it was difficult to fill the position, the response was ‘yes but we want the right fit.’”
(MORE: The Wimpy Economic Recovery: Is it Turning into a Recession?)
Another factor that contributes to the perception of a skills gap is that most employers now use software to handle job applications, adding rigidity to the process that screens out all but the theoretically perfect candidate. Most systems, for example, now ask potential applicants what wage they are seeking — and toss out those who put down a figure higher than the employer wants. That’s hardly a skill problem. Meanwhile, applicants are typically assessed almost entirely on prior experience and credentials, and a failure to meet any one of the requirements leads to elimination. One manager told me that in his company 25,000 applicants had applied for a standard engineering job, yet none were rated as qualified. How could that be? Just put in enough of these yes/no requirements and it becomes mathematically unlikely that anyone will get through.
What do we do about this situation, where jobs are going unfilled while good candidates are out there? For starters, employers should ask themselves whether their current practices are truly working for them. Then they need to ask: Wouldn’t we be better off helping good candidates complete the requirements to be a perfect fit rather than keeping positions open indefinitely?
A generation ago, employers routinely hired people right out of school and were willing to provide almost all their skills. Apprenticeships and similar programs provided ways for the employees to essentially pay for the training themselves. Employers — and especially those who expect colleges to provide most of their skills — should also work more closely with educational institutions to develop the candidates they need.
It makes no sense to expect that a supplier will produce what you want if you give it no advanced warning of what that might be and no help developing it. But the first step is to recognize that this problem is self-inflicted.____________________________________________________
THIS IS ONE OF MANY MANIFESTATIONS OF THIS NEW ECONOMY......WE ARE LOSING OUR ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE AS CORPORATIONS ARE ALLOWED TO SHED HEALTH PLANS AND PAYROLL TAX CONTRIBUTIONS AND HEALTH FRAUD EMPTIES GOVERNMENT TRUSTS AND COFFERS.....ALL FOR CORPORATE PROFIT.
The Affordable Care Act was always designed to allow corporations to shed health benefits and send workers into government insurance systems that will give a very basic level of care.....keep in mind.....over 80% of Americans will fall into this substandard care. THIS IS THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS WORKING FOR WEALTH AND PROFIT.....RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE NEXT ELECTIONS!!!Union Health Plans Will Suffer under Obamacare March 18, 2013 / James McGee Members of Service Employees 32BJ demonstrated for Obamacare outside the Supreme Court—but now it looks like the health care law will harm multiemployer benefit funds like theirs. Photo: David Sachs, SEIU International.
“From each according to his ability, and to each according to his need”: does this sound like a model for health care reform?
At a January meeting of the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, a French unionist used these words to describe how health care works in France. But you don’t have to travel to France to see the principle in action. It’s at work right here within the U.S. labor movement.
That model is “multiemployer health care plans,” bargained by unions and jointly administered with employers, that provide continuous coverage even for part-time and seasonal workers through periods of unemployment (see box below).
WHAT’S A HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE? The new “exchanges” are the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act. They will open for business January 1, 2014. Ideally they will offer one-stop shopping for people and small employers who want to buy health insurance.
An individual or small business can go to the exchange website in their state, or in some cases a storefront, and determine eligibility for Medicaid or for subsidies to buy insurance, and then compare plans.
Plans must offer “essential health benefits” that meet minimum federal standards. Plans will be designed to cover different percentages of medical expenses: Platinum 90%, Gold 80%, Silver 70%, Bronze 60%.
Subsidies are available for individuals earning up to 400 percent of poverty, but only if the plan is purchased on the exchange.
Yet what should have been a model for health care reform now faces an uncertain future. Because the Affordable Care Act (ACA) tilts the playing field to disadvantage multiemployer plans, this decades-old gain of the labor movement may be irreparably damaged.
FUNDS HAVE BEEN GENEROUS In a health care market that thrives on exclusion, multiemployer funds cover members and families not just while they are working intermittently but through periods of unemployment and even during retirement. They provide the same coverage for everyone, regardless of age, family status, or health status.
This means that to the employer, they cost more, per member, than traditional single-employer plans. The increased cost puts member employers, 90 percent of them small, at a competitive disadvantage.
As health care costs have become unsustainable, so has the funds’ generosity—and their ability to subsidize periods of low employment. Unions hoped that the ACA, with its requirement that more employers provide health insurance, would level the playing field by bringing more small employers into the system.
Instead the ACA appears to disadvantage multiemployer funds by permitting competitor employers access to the new health care exchanges while denying the funds the same access. The result is that employers will have every incentive to get out of the funds when union contracts expire.
ADVANTAGES OF LEAVING As it is now, Jim’s (unionized) Plumbing Shop pays into a fund per hour for all his employees, full- and part-time. But Jim competes against Joe’s non-union Plumbing Shop. Joe probably covers only his full-time permanent workers, with a traditional insurance plan.
In the new exchange world, Joe will be eligible for tax credits to make it easier for him to cover his employees. He will have access to a more stable insurance market through the exchange that will likely lower his costs. Or he may decide to stop offering coverage and just give his employees money to buy coverage on the exchange.
HOW DO TAFT-HARTLEY PLANS WORK? Multiemployer health care plans, sometimes called Taft-Hartley plans, are benefit funds administered by a joint board representing both union and management. Employers, usually small ones, in the same industry and geographic location pool their health care contributions to create a single fund.
Such funds are found in industries with temporary or seasonal employment: construction, theater, longshore, transportation, hotel workers, food service workers. Whereas the Auto Workers or Steelworkers will negotiate that an employer provides benefits itself, the Ironworkers, UNITE HERE, or Teamsters often negotiate for bargaining units to participate in multiemployer funds.
The advantage for workers is obvious. They maintain continuous coverage as they work for multiple employers in an industry, and even during periods of unemployment. Eligibility is determined by the fund, not by the employer.
The funds have found innovative ways to provide health care for low-income and part-time employees. For example, hotel workers in Las Vegas and Atlantic City have established primary care clinics. Thus these funds become useful in organizing efforts, since the chance to belong to the fund is a persuasive attraction for potential members.
There is also an advantage to the employer, who can tap into a skilled labor pool that has access to health care. Employers can hire a stagehand or a steamfitter for a weekend, a week, or a year. The employers’ only obligation is to write a check. They do not have to deal with insurance carriers or handling insurance complaints from their employees.
For the employer, participating in a multiemployer fund is like a defined-contribution plan. He pays a certain amount per hour worked into the fund. In the construction industry, for example, the rate may be more than $10 per hour.
When the employer hires a worker for a week, he doesn’t know whether that worker has established eligibility under the rules of the fund; that’s up to the fund. He doesn’t know whether the worker is single or covering a family. His contribution goes into a pool that the fund determines how to use.
A fund may set a rule such as “150 hours per month are needed for eligibility.” The hours worked may come from one employer or from many. Funds sometimes have “hour banks” that let workers accumulate hours one month and use them later.
Thus the “steady Eddies”—those who work year-round—subsidize the costs for those who can only get work intermittently.
Jim will not have access to any of these options—unless he manages to defeat the union and opt out of the plan altogether.
If Jim left the multiemployer plan, he could lower his health care expense by taking advantage of subsidies available in the exchanges. Subsidies can go to those earning less than 400 percent of poverty ($90,000 for a family of four, $60,000 for a family of two). Jim could pay his workers to purchase health care on the exchanges, and save money.
Even employers of 50 or more, who are subject to the “free rider” penalty if they don’t offer insurance, can come out ahead. The lobbying group for multi-employer plans offers this example: A family at 200 percent of poverty purchases a $10,000 plan on the exchange. With subsidy, that coverage would cost only $2,778.
The employer could give the employee the $2,778, throw in say $600 for the worker’s increased taxes, pay the $2,000 penalty—and still save almost half.
Many experts argue that the exchanges will encourage employers in general, especially in low-wage industries, to abandon coverage. Where Obamacare was first tried, in Massachusetts (where it was called Romneycare), employers did not drop their insurance in big numbers. But Massachusetts does not offer the level of subsidies that the ACA does.
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION? Several national unions are working with the administration to see if multiemployer plans could be allowed to use the subsidies. But so far the administration has not been very open to such fixes, which would be complicated in any case.
If multiemployer plans are decimated by the ACA, it will be doubly a tragedy, because these plans offer a model for health care reform that already addresses many of the issues the ACA was supposed to address. They offer small employers coverage with minimal overhead. They do not exclude people by using their medical information to evaluate them. And they address one of the recognized problems with the ACA—“churn.”
“Churn” is how health policy wonks describe people who will move between Medicaid, subsidies on the exchange, and coverage from a job. At each of those stops, the patient/employee experiences different benefit designs, provider networks, reimbursement levels, and cost sharing. Plus an application process, and more delays.
As the policy wonks fret, the model was there all the time. Follow the example of the multiemployer plans.
The regulations to implement the ACA are not yet settled. But it’s clear: failure to level the playing field could cause employers to stop participating and many plans to go under.
It’s not surprising that policymakers ignored the model of the multiemployer plan. The ACA was designed by insurance executives, who only understand a model where insurance is paid for in full, one month at a time, by a single individual, family, or business.
The other reason the multiemployer plan escaped the comprehension of policymakers is the logical extension of the model. If you expanded the concept to a national or regional level, you would have to replace the current, sometimes cumbersome, eligibility rules with universal eligibility. Then it would look like—France.
James McGee is executive director of the Transit Employees Health & Welfare Fund, which provides benefits to workers in the Metro system in Washington, D.C. He is also a member of Plumbers Local 520. Twitter @Jimmy1920.
A version of this article appeared in Labor Notes #408, March 2013. Don't miss an issue, subscribe today.
PLEASE TAKE TIME TO LOOK AT THE NUMEROUS RESOURCES OFFERED IN THIS ARTICLE. WE ARE GEARING UP FOR A FIGHT AS SOCIAL UNREST WILL BE INEVITABLE ONCE THIS PLAN IS UNVEILED. KNOW WHAT IS COMING, HOW IT WILL AFFECT YOUR FAMILY, AND WHAT RESOURCES AND ORGANIZATIONS ARE ALREADY IN PLACE TO FIGHT THIS MOVEMENT.MOST IMPORTANT.......RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE NEXT ELECTIONS....GET RID OF THIRD WAY CORPORATE INCUMBENTS
TPP: Corporate Power Tool of the 1%
Have you heard? The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” agreement is a stealthy policy being pressed by corporate America, a dream of the 1 percent, that in one blow could:
- offshore millions of American jobs,
- free the banksters from oversight,
- ban Buy America policies needed to create green jobs and rebuild our economy,
- decrease access to medicine,
- flood the U.S. with unsafe food and products,
- and empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards.
Closed-door talks are on-going between the U.S. and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam; with countries like Japan and China potentially joining later. 600 corporate advisors have access to the text, while the public, Members of Congress, journalists, and civil society are excluded. And so far what we know about what's in there is very scary!
Get informed - Threats Posed by TPP More Power to Corporations to Attack Nations Read how foreign corporations would be empowered to attack our health, environmental and other laws before foreign tribunals to demand taxpayer compensation for policies they think undermine their expected future profits.
Threats to Public Health U.S. negotiators are pushing the agenda of Big PhaRMA – longer monopoly control on drugs for the big firms. This would mean millions in developing countries are cut off from life-saving medicines & higher prices for the rest of us.
Bye Buy America & Jobs
Read how special investor protections incentivize offshoring by providing special benefits for companies that leave. Plus, TPP would impose limits on how our elected officials can use tax dollars – banning Buy America or Buy Local preferences.
Undermining Food Safety
TPP would require us to import food that does not meet U.S. safety standards. It would limit food labeling.
Son of SOPA: Curtailing Internet Freedom Thought SOPA was bad? Read how TPP would require internet service providers to "police" user-activity and treat individual violators as large-scale for-profit violators. Plus, TPP would stifle innovation.
Financial Deregulation: Banksters' Delight TPP would rollback reregulation of Wall Street. It would prohibit bans on risky financial services and undermine "too big to fail" regulations.
What's the Big Secret?
Worldwide Campaign to Release the Text Read more letters from international civil-society: Expand List
Members of Congress & Others Speak Out
Other ResourcesRead more in our TPP Resource Archive
When you hear Maryland is ranked #1 in education by Education Week.....a Bill Gates education journal.....you know that O'Malley is tops in taking Maryland's school system and making it tied to corporate profit in every way. It is creation of all of these online programs that have taken the bulk of public education spending as K-12 kept seeing cuts. Whether UMUC or these cheap and useless job training courses O'Malley is ranked #1 for Wall Street goon.
What is rolling out after I'm sure a few years of 'consultants' is simply job training programs that should be in-house corporate Human Resources training but instead are now being paid for by taxpayers. The student is left with a cheapened program certification that cannot be used anywhere else and will have to return to similar training every time she/he starts a new job again at taxpayer expense. IT IS YET ANOTHER RACKET DESIGNED FOR CORPORATE PROFIT AT TAXPAYER AND STUDENT EXPENSE. Meanwhile O'Malley is cutting the financial aid to state universities because after paying for all this job training the state can't afford financial aid for middle/lower class students to attend an actual university. The Federal financial aid program under Obama will do the same thing. JOB TRAINING PAID FOR BY YOU AND ME IS IN YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE COURTESY OF THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS!!!!VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE AND RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE!!!We know that Alonzo in Baltimore was charged with establishing a charter platform with similar ties to corporations and vocational training at the K-12 level. That is what O'Malley did as well as he appointed not only Alonzo but his business sector Baltimore City school board. Below you see the quality of teachers these Third Way corporate democrats intend to stick in our schools. Keep in mind......these charter schools will spread across the state and will be education for all middle/lower class families.You can see by this online 'teaching school' in Maryland how cheapened our school system is being made by Third Way corporate pols like O'Malley. These online programs are by there nature providing a platform for educators that will lower quality and be less selective in students/graduates. Know where these online educators will ultimately teach? In charter schools that are being made into businesses. THIS IS MARYLAND FOR YOU.....HOME OF TIERED AND CORPORATE EDUCATION BY GOVERNOR O'MALLEYTeaching Degrees (click here)teaching.onlinecolleges2013.com
Teaching & Education Degrees in Maryland
More than 35 percent of the people living in Maryland hold bachelor's degrees or higher. If you are interested in joining the ranks of the state's highly-educated, Maryland teaching degrees could be the path for you. Teaching programs in Maryland offer the fundamentals needed to enter this profession. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, middle school teachers employed in Maryland were some of the highest paid in the nation. The state is home to more than 60 colleges and universities, so you should be able to find many options to fit your needs. If the on-campus experience doesn't supply what you are seeking, you could find an alternative through one of the programs offering online teaching degrees in Maryland -- and even find yourself teaching online as well. Maryland teachers are qualified to teach at online elementary schools and beyond. No matter what method of study you chose, teaching programs in Maryland prepare you for teaching. Your courses should revolve around education philosophies, teaching strategies and how to identify and meet the needs of students. The 175,690 workers in Maryland's state's education, training, and library occupations earned mean annual wages of $56,460 in May of 2009, according to BLS data. Elementary school teachers earned mean annual salaries of $61,000, while middle school teachers earned mean annual salaries of $64,510. Not only do teaching degrees in Maryland offer an opportunity to enter a respected field, they could open the door to a satisfying salary.
You can get this same quality education if you live in a cave in Kenya or in the jungles of Columbia. That is for what these online classes may be helpful but for the US citizens it is an attempt to dumb down even further our education system for the 'masses'. That is middle/lower classes. Maryland is ground zero for this Wall Street-style online push! Look to what our taxpayer money in financial aid will go....just as with the for-profit career colleges these are taking from financial aid for students that should be attending 4 year public universities like University of Maryland. Maryland's Governor O'Malley actively travels overseas to recruit military to these online programs keeping them from quality 4 year universities. But wait....the 4 year universities are recruiting for wealth foreign students. SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING IS STINKING IN DENMARK!If you look you see this is a program for a legal assistant...it is a certification not a degree. What is supposed to be job training by the business hiring an employee is now training paid for by taxpayer money and the certification leaves you with no other job opportunities. IT IS A LOSE LOSE FOR TAXPAYERS AND STUDENTS!!!! You Can Take Your Career One Step Further with Paralegal Courses in Baltimore
I wanted to share with you what one Third Way corporate democratic state....Illinois....is doing to protect labor and justice. These policies always make their way to Maryland so you will no doubt see this soon. I showed this to illustrate how unions are working together and shouting loudly for all labor in states across the country. In Maryland, they are silent and compliant. You only hear them come out to support the policies pushed by Third Way corporate democratic incumbents....even if it hurts the union members in the long run. WE NEED TO BUILD UNION STRENGTH IN MARYLAND!!!!!I would add that in Maryland public pensions are simply continuing to be defunded and thrown into a collapsing stock market.We are One Illinois is an unprecedented labor coalition working on behalf of over 1 million statewide members to protect public employee pensions. We Are One Illinois coalition members include the Illinois AFL-CIO, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, AFSCME Council 31, Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Service Employees International Union, Laborers International Union of North America Midwest Region, Illinois Public Pension Fund Association, National Pension Coalition, United Transportation Union, Laborers International Union of North America - Chicago District Council, AFSCME International Union, National Education Association, Fraternal Order of Police - Lodge 7 Chicago, Fireman's Association of Chicago - Local 2, Illinois Nurses Association and Teamsters Local Union #700. October 24, 2012
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Vote NO on the pension amendment to the Constitution!
In this fall's election, candidates aren't the only people on the ballot. So are teachers, police officers, fire fighters, nurses and tens of thousands more Illinois public employees and retirees whose pensions are under attack by politicians in Springfield.
You'll be asked to vote on a measure to change the Illinois Constitution to require a three-fifths majority of any public body to improve public-employee pensions. While the measure would do nothing to fix the state's pension debt, it would strip local control from school boards and city councils, lead to more political gridlock and wasteful court battles, and weaken the collective bargaining rights of workers.
VOTE NO on the pension amendment to the Constitution.
NO TO THE POWER GRAB. Put on the ballot by Springfield politicians, the amendment would deny local school boards, county boards and city councils their right to reach agreement with their employees as they see fit and to enact those agreements with a simple majority.
NO TO POLITICAL GRIDLOCK. The amendment would allow the minority party of any governing body to block or obstruct approval of any measure requiring a supermajority for any reason at all. That goes against the basic values of our democracy.
NO TO COSTLY LITIGATION. The amendment is confusing, vague and poorly written. Because no one can tell what type of measures might require supermajority approval, and because hundreds of cities, counties and school districts statewide might be affected, the ballot measure practically ensures that money and time will be wasted on court battles instead of working together to solve problems.
NO TO ATTACKS ON WORKERS. The millionaires and billionaires behind this amendment and other attacks on Illinois workers have carved out special treatment for themselves--they pay a state tax rate just half what most working folks pay! Rather than doing their fair share, the CEO crowd wants to shift the blame where it doesn't belong: To middle-class public employees like teachers and fire fighters who serve our communities.
In reality, politicians caused the pension debt by shorting or outright skipping their required contributions for decades. All that time public employees worked hard and paid faithfully toward their retirement from every check. They earn modest pensions--just $32,000 a year on average--and some 80% of them are not eligible for Social Security.
It's wrong for the politicians who caused the problem to shift blame with this foolish change to the Constitution.
Look who else is voting NO!
Illinois League of Women Voters: "Some people mistakenly assume that the higher the vote required to take an action, the greater the protection of the members. Instead the opposite is true. Whenever a vote of more than a majority is required to take action, control is taken from the majority and given to a minority."
Chicago Tribune: "The proposed pension amendment is a misleading gesture ... please give [it] your enthusiastic vote: 'No.'"
Chicago Sun-Times: "[U]surpation of local control and a violation of basic democratic principles, just one of many reasons why voters should say 'No' to the proposed amendment. ... The amendment also is harmful because it gives campaigning politicians cover."
Bloomington Pantagraph and Decatur Herald & Review: "[C]hanges to the basic frame of government should be well-reasoned and solidly outlined with facts, and this proposed change to the constitution contains neither. ... We strongly recommend a 'no' vote on this misguided attempt to change the state constitution."
Protestants for the Common Good: "Let us not be confused. This amendment does nothing, not one jot, towards solving the public pension problems of our state [but] could have serious unintended consequences. ... To protect recent and future public employees and the quality of public services, vote NO".
NEW! Citizen Action/Illinois: The state's largest public-interest organization "has taken a position to oppose the pension amendment to the constitution. Please vote NO when you are asked to vote on a measure to change the Illinois Constitution to require a three-fifths majority of any public body to improve public-employee pensions."
NEW!Peoria Journal-Star: "The full text of the abysmally written and probably purposely indecipherable amendment - leave it to the lawyers - will not appear on the ballot, so this is the equivalent of signing a contract you haven't read. ... It's a virtual invitation to legal challenge and even greater expenditures of your tax money. You know a measure is flawed when liberal labor groups and some conservative organizations alike oppose it ... Constitutional amendments are big deals. Nothing about this one feels right. Vote no."
NEW! Southern Illinoisan: "It’s a smoke-and-mirrors, feel-good measure to make it appear the General Assembly is doing something about the problem. ... This amendment is unnecessary, confusing and could have unintended consequences. Sink it."
NEW! Better Government Association: "In addition to doing nothing to address Illinois’ growing unfunded pension liability ... the amendment presents several technical problems. It uses new terms found nowhere in the pension code or in the regulations governing pension funds, making it impossible to understand the practical implications of the proposed language."__________________________________________________
Maryland has a Fair Student Funding as well because Maryland embraces all that is Wall Street and Bloomberg. It is basically a tiered per student funding formula that values underserved students less than performing students and then special needs students even less. Meanwhile, schools and students are selected by private donors for all kinds of private funding making the entire funding system not only unfair......but illegal. This is Maryland's O'Malley. You won't find this report in Maryland because all research data is released by the same institutions creating this policy!!!
WHEN YOU ARE USING EDUCATION FUNDING TO PAY FOR JOB TRAINING THERE REALLY ISN'T ENOUGH TO USE FOR ACTUAL STUDENTS!!!Budget Office Finds Fair Student Funding Not So Fair Apr. 12, 2013
by Maisie McAdoo
2 Comments Filed under: Education Funding
The Independent Budget Office, in a report released on April 10, finds that the Bloomberg-era school allocation formula, known as Fair Student Funding, actually underfunds 94 percent of schools and “has a ways to go” towards creating a readily-understood and transparent formula.
The IBO report says the formula, which gives schools per-student funding weighted for need levels (extra dollars for an English language learner, for example) has more closely tied school funding with student needs. For example, middle school students, who were historically short-changed, now get an amount closer to their actual formula needs. But overall, schools are coming up short, the budget office writes.
“Effective per-capita [per student] funding is below per capita funding under the FSF formula in each year,” according to the report, which means that actual per-student funding in schools is generally below what the DOE’s own formula says they need — “a reflection of both the limited funding available and how available funds were distributed.”
Students funded below what the formula called for last year and at least two more out of the last five years were 1) middle school students below academic standards; 2) elementary and high school ELLs; and 3) high school collaborative team teaching students.
So as a budget strategy to direct money to students with the highest needs, Fair Student Funding doesn’t appear to have worked so well.
The UFT’s issue with Fair Student Funding was its potential effect on a school that had more senior teachers. Waving the banner of equity, the DOE began funding schools for their average teacher salary rather than the system wide average. This amounted to charging schools for the actual cost of salaries at their schools. The idea was to equalize funding for poor and wealthier schools. But the effect was to penalize some schools, forcing them to leave vacancies unfilled, raise class sizes and avoid hiring experienced teachers in order to meet budget.
But a 2007 IBO report found that teacher salaries were not even close to the main cause of inequities in school budgets. The main reason for disparities in spending was the numbers of students per teacher, it found, not teacher salary. That argument is not made in the new report. In fact, the new report perpetuates the idea that teacher salaries cause the inequities in school funding, a myth the IBO previously disproved.
The report is a major contribution on an important issue. If Fair Student Funding isn’t succeeding in creating fairness or sufficient funding, what is it actually accomplishing? Of course, the final irony is that Bloomberg’s insistence on principal empowerment means that when all the formulas have gone to bed, principals spend their budgets however they want, with little oversight of which students are getting extra help.________________________________________________AS YOU SEE CITIES ACROSS AMERICA HAVE FOUND ALL OF THIS 'EDUCATION REFORM' TO BE A BUNCH OF HUEY AND ARE STARTING TO PUSH AGAINST THE CURRENT PLANS AND GO WITH REAL POLICY TO STRENGTHEN EXISTING PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
HERE IN MARYLAND THEY JUST KEEP PUSHING TRASH POLICY BECAUSE JOHNS HOPKINS HAS ALL POLICY CAPTURED!!Market-Oriented Reforms Really Don’t Work. What Should We Do Instead?
May. 3, 2013
by Elaine Weiss
[Editor's note: Guest blogger Elaine Weiss is the national coordinator of the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education.]
As many of us have long suspected, the impacts of popular market-oriented reforms are not as positive as their proponents would have us believe. Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, and then-CEO and now-Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who ran the school systems in New York, Washington, DC and Chicago, respectively, along with the mayors who controlled the school systems they led, all exaggerated their successes. In fact, the report I recently co-authored as National Coordinator of the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education, “Market-Oriented Reforms’ Rhetoric Trumps Reality,” discovers that using student test scores to make high-stakes decisions did little good and more than a little harm.
We found that across all three cities, student NAEP test scores rose less than they did in comparable high-poverty urban districts. In Chicago, reading scores, already below average, fell further. New York City students achieved the second-lowest average test score growth across fourth and eighth grade reading and math of the ten districts studied, beating only Cleveland. And Washington, DC students, who had been gaining ground in both subjects, saw that growth stop or even begin to fall. Moreover, what small gains did accrue went heavily to white and higher-income students, so many achievement gaps grew rather than narrowed. Closing schools neither helped students nor saved money, and drove teacher turnover, not teacher quality.
These would be terrible findings for any districts. They are particularly troubling, however, given these districts’ power (mayoral control), money (NYCDOE increased spending far more than other large urban districts, and DC Public School spending rose throughout the post-recession years), and the fact that they are held up as models by their own leaders and by philanthropists, policymakers, and organized advocates who advance their agenda.
The question, then, is not just how these three districts should change course, but how we can derive lessons from the findings that other districts, states, and the federal government can use to advance smarter policies.
We would say, first, look to the districts’ own small, less visible successes, which tell the flip side of the quick-fix reform story. New York City’s small schools delivered their best results by focusing on strong, sustained teacher-student relationships and hands-on learning experiences. Chicago’s multifaceted college-and-career readiness strategy contrasts sharply with test preparation that deprives students of real knowledge and skills. DCPS’ high-quality universal pre-kindergarten program nurtures all of children’s developmental domains and increases the diversity of the early childhood education setting.
Second, listen to teachers and principals. Stripping teachers of their morale and professionalism, and the teacher pool of the expertise that principals need to build strong teams, is a recipe for disaster. Montgomery County, Maryland’s Peer Assisted Review system, which leverages excellent teachers to assess and mentor novices, builds trust and promotes continuous improvement, not churn.
Third, pay attention to poverty. In urban, rural and, increasingly, suburban districts, student and community poverty pose impediments that, unaddressed, stymie even the best reform efforts. New York City and Chicago both house large clusters of full-service community schools that acknowledge, tackle and alleviate the effects of poverty. If the next mayor advances this supports-based approach, outcomes could look more like those in Cincinnati — more engaged, higher-achieving students, taught by satisfied and motivated educators.
Achievement gaps are driven by opportunity gaps: in kindergarten readiness, access to health care, qualified teachers, the capacity to navigate the college application process, and others. Only reforms that address those gaps in opportunity can deliver real change._________________________________________________THEY ARE FAILING AT THE HIGHER EDUCATION SIDE AND THEY ARE FAILING AT THE K-12.......
They will tell you that they have all kinds of foreign students filling these public university slots and that is the goal, so no failure to a corporate democrat.
They will tell you that we are trying to weed students that can't achieve as fast out of the system .....that is what these high-stakes policies are all about.
We all understand that all of this education reform could have taken place over time and allowed for transition and identifying what works and what does not work. That would have been the policy if the goal were child/student oriented. THIS EDUCATION REFORM IS ONLY ABOUT WHAT IS BEST FOR CORPORATIONS AND PROFITS!VOTE YOUR THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRAT OUT OF OFFICE AND RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE!!!!!Fear, Frustration, Failure and State Tests
Apr. 18, 2013
by Mr. Thompson
This will be the fourth year that my students and I have suffered through the New York State high-stakes elementary school tests. Although the mayor and the chancellor tell us this year’s tests are all new, my stories from the classroom are similar to years past.
As a new teacher and New York City transplant, I was astonished to discover 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-grade students were held over based on their scores from a series of limited assessments. After that realization, I was much less surprised to see the effect of these tests in the classroom. Both schools I have worked at ended regular instruction in early February to opt for test prep units designed to milk a few extra points on the state exams. Students’ and teachers’ health began to slowly decline around the same time of year, and behavioral incidents began to rise.
In my own classroom, I have fought to ameliorate the stresses of testing season by reminding my students how hard they have worked and telling them that their only job on state testing days is to try their best. But my efforts have been less than successful. One year a 9-year-old 4th grader asked me if it was okay to put the classroom trash can near her desk in case she got sick to her stomach during her English language arts exam. The next year a mental block caused a little boy to flip his desk over in a moment of panic and frustration while trying to craft an extended-response essay. Just last week, Natashi, a girl in my 5th-grade class who has only been in the country for two years and is still transitioning to English, asked me whether I would be disappointed in her if she tried her best and still wasn’t able to pass. “What if I just need another year in 5th grade to keep practicing, Mr. Thompson?” she said to me with tears in her eyes.
With a broken heart and tears in my own eyes, I turned to Natashi and told her I would always be proud of her. “You have fought so hard this year! I will be proud of you no matter what score you get!” Natashi feigned a smile and asked to go to the bathroom to wash the tears off her cheeks.
My students, Natashi included, have been attending an extended-day program on Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school all year long. We have spent the last few months keeping students late on Mondays and Fridays for an hour and a half of extra instruction focused on test sophistication. For the past two months, we have asked students to come to school from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays for extra help to boost scores on their state tests.
Still, all the Common Core-aligned data I collect are telling me that my students are not showing mastery on the vast majority of Common Core standards. Many of the “grade level” reading passages and math problems I share with my students are far beyond their ability levels. The confusion these tasks generate leads to an overwhelming sense of failure among my students. And, of course, when my students feel like they are failing, I feel like a failure myself.
Should it surprise any of us that high-stakes tests, coupled with new standards, little-to-no teacher training, and no citywide curricula are a recipe for disaster? Should cheating scandals, state test boycotts, low teacher retention rates, and teary-eyed students come as a shock to the American educational system? Should I be surprised that my students score 30 percent lower than last year, as predicted by many educational experts? No!
The only surprising part about this whole process is the process itself. We have created a demoralizing atmosphere of fear, frustration and failure for teachers and students. I will always be proud of the hard work my students put into their education, and I sincerely believe they will succeed regardless of what their state test scores suggest. But if the mayor or the chancellor were ever to come up to me like Natashi did to ask whether I was proud of the reforms they had made to education, my answer to them would be quite different from my answer to her.
Mr. Thompson is the pseudonym of a fourth-year elementary school teacher in Brooklyn. A version of this post first appeared on the UFT blog edwize.org, where “New Teacher Diaries” is a regular feature. If you’re interested in writing a New Teacher Diary entry for edwize, send an email to email@example.com.
SHAKE THE CORPORATE CRONY OUT OF THE RUG.....IN BALTIMORE THAT IS JOHNS HOPKINS:I listened to the local public media tell us that our local global corporation, Johns Hopkins, wants to raise funds to develop the Homewood area and to buy water rights in developing countries. Hopkins is like the mother-in-law that comes to visit a couple's home and never leaves, taking over the housekeeping decisions from one and controlling the purse of the other. The story almost always ends with the couple having to PUSH the mother-in-law out regardless of feelings. This is the state of the city in Baltimore. As we try to rebuild the city and make it healthy the first thing that must change is the crony company town image. Baltimore is run by Hopkins and all money runs through Hopkins. This constitutes Banana Republic and we are trying to become a thriving city. The two do not blend. We hear reports of communities protesting development plans from one side of the city to another and believe me, only a .001% of complaints make the news. We know that many of the contracts entered with Hopkins involves fraud as terms are not meant and bidding laws overlooked. Everyone in the city hates the development plans and resent Hopkins involvement. So if simply telling Hopkins to back off doesn't work what is a city to do?
The answer lies with electing a Mayor and City Council that works for the citizens and not Hopkins because then we can reverse this silly emphasis of corporate rule and return to democratic principles.
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE NEXT ELECTIONS....IF YOUR LABOR AND JUSTICE ORGANIZATION IS NOT RUNNING A CANDIDATE AGAINST INCUMBENTS......THEY ARE WORKING FOR CORPORATE RULE!!!
Hopkins has a few billion dollars in its endowment much of it gained by building its global empire on taxpayer money, so we simply need to get it back. That 2-3 billion needs to move into government coffers and to Baltimore communities so each community can decide how it wants to grow. This means a corporation that is Hopkins will pay taxes......property taxes will in and of itself fund development. There is also a need to design income tax policy for the Hopkins corporation as it is moving towards patenting it medical and security research. Now, just assessing a property tax on Hopkins will push them into reevaluating the land grab of city property and cause them to downsize their real estate portfolio. Closing up shop will free the communities of Hopkins' dominance and allow democratic principles to return.
If that does not make for good corporate citizens we simply need to raise the Hopkins' tax rate to 70% and get them to move out of Baltimore along with the national corporations Hopkins development is bringing to the city.
THIS IS H0W A HEALTHY DEMOCRACY WORKS. THE PEOPLE DESIGN POLICY TO KEEP ALL ELEMENTS OF SOCIETY ON EQUAL POWER LEVELS.
Let me end my Hopkins' strategy by saying this about their need to fund raise to buy overseas rights to water. That is exactly what we do not want them to do. It is immoral and unethical, and it is being done for profit. Whether Harvard or Stanford.....we are seeing university corporations using their endowments to buy prime water sources around the world even as they are raking in profits from FRACKING the heck out of the American landscape. The reason they know water will be a valuable commodity other than the global warming issue? THEY ARE DESTROYING ALL OF AMERICA'S AQUIFERS WITH THIS DRILLING FOR OIL AND NATURAL GAS. So, the plan is make copious profit destroying US water supplies and then sell water collected overseas back to Americans at market value.
THESE ARE EVIL DUDES!!!!! IT IS BETTER TO SHAKE THE BUGS OUT OF THE RUG!!!
Below you see a movement that removes the public from this captured and crony criminal system. It is vital that the public develop its own protective systems!!!!!!PLEASE FOLLOW THIS MOVEMENT AND BRING IT TO YOUR STATE.....WE MUST BUILD A SYSTEM FOR THE PUBLIC TO PROTECT PUBLIC INTEREST. ANY POLITICIAN YOU ELECT SHOULD BE SHOUTING FOR PUBLIC BANKING!!!!Public Banking Conference: June 2-4, 2013 – Public mortgages, credit pays all our state taxes By Carl_Herman on May 6, 2013 1:50 am
Public Banking Institute is having our 2013 conference in San Rafael (Northern California) on June 2, 3, 4 to publicly present solutions in banking and money worth tens of trillions of dollars to Americans.
You literally have nothing more valuable to attend to (registration info here).
Among public banking’s available benefits:
State taxes are entirely paid with ~5% public mortgages and credit: I took a quick look at California average household debt with mortgages (~$315,000) cars, college, and credit cards (here, here, here, and 15-year mortgages would also greatly save taxpayers). A 5% interest charge for California’s ~12 million households would generate ~$150 billion each year. California’s state budget is ~$100 billion/year.
This prima facie cost-benefit analysis seems to show state taxes could entirely be paid with public credit, and demands public consideration. Governor Brown knows of this option; he vetoed the bill to document the benefits of a state-owned bank. Therefore, public demand such as through our Public Banking Conference seems vital to create credit and money for the public’s good.
In context of the above bullet points:
Each of the bullet-point topics will have its own article to explain in detail within the context of public banking, along with an open letter to economics teachers/professors, and a final call to the public for their action. Those links will be added at my hub articles at Washington’s Blog and Examiner.com as I complete them.
- Florida economist and Governor candidate Farid Khavari documents that 2% mortgages, 6% credit cards, and 3-4% commercial and vehicle loans would replace all state taxes. A floating interest rate could also cover state budget deficits.
- California’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) shows ~$100 billion in surplus taxpayer accounts that dwarf the $16 billion budget deficit. California also has ~$500 billion in claimed “investments” for pension costs. But the state received only $1 billion net from $500 billion “invested” (one-fifth of one percent) while Wall Street investors received over $2 billion in fees. The entire state has ~14,000 different government entities with CAFR taxpayer surplus totals conservatively data-sampled at the game-changing sum of $8 trillion ($650,000 surplus assets per California household). The idea of a state budget deficit in light of this sum is tragic-comic!
- Monetary reform creates debt-free money to directly pay for public goods and services. Because infrastructure returns more economic benefits than costs, we have astounding triple benefits: government could become employer of last resort for infrastructure investment (creating full employment), falling prices because economic output increases more than infrastructure investment cost, and the best infrastructure we can imagine. Creating debt-free money is certainly another tool to end state budget deficits (documentation here, here, here).
- Being on a roll for Truth also frees other money: unlawful US wars can end, poverty can end that also increases productivity, and trillions of more dollars returned in the broader economy from other areas of parasitic oligarchic behaviors “covered” from public understanding by corporate media.
___________________________________________________There are three concepts on which this policy is based.....maximizing wealth, shareholder profits, and suspension of Rule of Law.
Everyone sees how sending the cost of operations and infrastructure to the taxpayer and that of profit to the corporation would be a win-win for corporate wealth and profits. It has you and I simply placing our tax payments right into the pockets of corporate executives rather than sending them into government coffers. This in turn pays dividends to shareholders. So, the fundamental principle behind these partnerships is to make those who are wealthiest more wealthy. Maximizing profits.
Who are the shareholder class? Right now it includes about 5% of the US population.....approximately $200,000 a year and above. But a super-majority of shareholders are the 1%. This policy seeks to move ever more of the monetary assets in America to the same 1% if that is possible. Now remember, since all the wealth is at the top and the top are paying very little tax....corporations with business tax breaks may be listing taxes on the income side of the ledger, this policy is moving towards a time when the 1% expect not to be paying anything in taxes. Trimming public spending becomes a must. You notice than almost all of the new revenue O'Malley and your Maryland Assembly placed on citizens went to fees and taxes that hit the middle/lower class the most. With the massive wealthy inequity comes a move to have you and I support all public cost.
That leads to suspension of Rule of Law. As contracting public work to private contractors increases so too does fraud, waste, and corruption. The US lost tens of trillions of dollars to corporate fraud over these few decades driven mostly be private contractor access to public contracts. To complement this privatization the policy of dismantling almost all oversight agencies for white collar activities....regulatory and justice rapidly expanded. Bush used 9-11 to completely reassign most of the FBI white collar criminal agency staff to Homeland security and Obama is continuing that policy, not reversing it. This is why Americans are astounded that this massive corporate fraud is being left unaddressed. It all centers on public private partnerships. Quasi-governmental agencies or NGOs are given the protection of being out of sight as regards public transparency and States Attorney's General and the Maryland General Assembly have received rankings from government watchdogs and academics as 'failing' on fraud, corruption, and lack of transparency.....all having to do with the fungibility of Maryland's public revenue. If contractors know there is no oversight, if they are allowed to amend contract bids over and again, when they can apply for grants and tax credits with no oversight.....they abuse it. AND THEY DO.
This is how downsizing the public sector will continue to look. These pols can tell us that it saves money all the want......we all know that it is a money-laundering operation that impoverishes government coffers and our communities!!!THESE QUASI-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS CONTROLLING DEVELOPMENT......LED BY JOHNS HOPKINS CORPORATION MUST END.......THEY CAPTURE DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES!!!!Public-private partnership bill stirs debate
Posted: 03/24/2012 ABC News
A measure to create a state policy for public-private partnerships on large infrastructure projects has moved forward in the House of Delegates. The House gave the bill initial approval on Saturday after a heated debate over a change that would allow legal appeals to be heard on an expedited track before the Court of Special Appeals, the state's intermediate appellate court. Delegate Luiz Simmons, D-Montgomery, argued that the provision confers special legal benefits on a "special group of fat cats" that would be part of a public-private partnership. But supporters of the change say time is money, and companies that want to take part in large partnerships with the state to build expensive infrastructure should have speedy legal review of matters of law.
Read more: http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/state/public-private-partnership-bill-stirs-debate#ixzz2Kt9IJPyS___________________________________________________Look at what we have now. As they remove all tax responsibility from the rich and corporations it now becomes necessary for the government to prey on citizens. That is how we have public private partnerships that have citizens working for ever lower wages to the profit of government and it is how prison labor becomes private profit in conjunction with government.
Below you see where private profits are soaring as people who have the most to lose will become the gambling addicts and as with cigarettes and alcohol end up being the ones who pay high taxes on bad habits. WE ALL KNEW AT-RISK PEOPLE WOULD FALL INTO THIS TRAP.....THAT IS WHY DEMOCRATS ALWAYS FOUGHT AGAINST GAMBLING.
IT IS THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS WHO ARE PUSHING ALL REVENUE COLLECTION TO MIDDLE/LOWER CLASS. RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES NEXT ELECTIONS AND SEND THESE CORPORATE POLS PACKING!!!!Compulsive gambling funds off pace of new casinos
Rash of new casinos boosts state coffers, but funds treating compulsive gamblers still small
By Stephen Singer, AP Business Writer | Associated Press – 8 hrs ago
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Tom Leksan lost nearly everything when gambling became an addiction with easy access to casinos.
Once an Ohio lawyer, Leksan lost his job and marriage because of gambling, specifically blackjack. He had been gambling for years, he said, but did not become a problem gambler until he became hooked on riverboat casinos in nearby Indiana.
"I think the casinos thrive off the compulsive gambler," said Leksan, now a car salesman in northern California. "They pay lip service to treating problem gambling, but that's their bread and butter."
The unrelenting spread of casino gambling across America is reaping billions of dollars for the industry and government coffers but is also creating more compulsive gamblers. Addiction experts say the sums spent by states for treatment and counseling are too little to keep pace.
Even after the worst recession in decades and during a weak economic recovery, developers are building new casinos and adjoining attractions with the blessings of cash-hungry states. Ohio opened its first casinos last year, casino developers are vying for permission to build three casinos in Massachusetts, and New York City's new Resorts World Casino at the Aqueduct racetrack is also shaking up casino gambling in the Northeast.
Advocates for an expansion of treatment services point to enormous gaps between the money states are taking in and what they are spending on compulsive gambling. For example, casinos and card rooms in Pennsylvania generated about $2.3 billion in revenue in 2010 and the state transferred $17.5 million in casino revenue into its Problem Gambling Treatment Fund between 2007 and last year.
Connecticut's casinos, off-track betting and the state lottery generated nearly $659 million in state revenue in 2012 while problem gambling services that include counseling, treatment and a toll-free phone number for gamblers received $1.9 million.
"Even as you see an expansion of gambling you're not seeing a level playing field in treatment," said Mark Vander Linden, president of the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators.
Linden's organization, in a 2010 report, found that 37 states were providing public funding for gambling programs — at a combined total level of just over $58 million. Nevada alone reported casino and card room gambling revenue that year of $10.4 billion, according to Casino City's North American Gaming Almanac.
About 2.6 million gamblers characterized as pathological, or unable to resist the impulse to gamble, are estimated to need treatment each year, the Association of Problem Gambling Service Administrators says.
Problem gambling is defined as behavior that causes physical, psychological, social or job disruptions. It is progressively addictive as gamblers become preoccupied with betting and require more frequent bets with more money. It can be as mild as spending too much at a slot machine, card table or convenience store selling lottery tickets or taken to the extreme, compulsive gambling results in overwhelming debt, divorce and sometimes crime such as embezzlement to raise money to pay off gambling debts.
Ray Pineault, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, said Mohegan Sun and neighboring Foxwoods Resort Casino contribute plenty — nearly $326 million last year as required by their agreement with the state — but the state spends too little to treat problem gambling.
"I don't think the state does significant funding," he said.
Rep. Stephen Dargan, the House chairman of the Connecticut legislature's public safety committee, which oversees the two casinos, said finding money is always a struggle.
"There's only so many dollars out there," he said.
In addition, without an expansion in gambling in Connecticut and no Internet gambling, no one is clamoring for more funding. "Everything is pretty much status quo," he said.
Donald Weinbaum, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, where gambling has been legal for decades, said the state's Internet gambling law signed by Gov. Chris Christie in February will lead to a big boost in financing problem gambling programs. Each casino that wins state approval to operate Internet betting will be required to pay $250,000 a year.
It's the first time casinos are being forced to pitch in to help finance such services, he said, and will boost current funding of $850,000 a year for treatment, prevention, education and other services that has held steady for about three years.
Massachusetts state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, a principal architect of legislation in 2011 allowing up to three resort casinos and a slot machine parlor, said gamblers from his state are spending money in casinos in neighboring states, leaving Massachusetts to treat problems related to their gambling troubles.
"If they're addicted, they leave their money and come home with their problems," he said.
Massachusetts nearly doubled its annual problem gambling budget from $1 million, to $1.8 million — even before opening the doors to their first gambling hall — but Gov. Deval Patrick cut funding to about $1.3 million as part of spending reductions across state government.
Keith Whyte, executive director, of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said prevention and education programs have succeeded in reducing problem gambling and keeping the number fairly stable.
"With expansion, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to knock it back down," he said. "This is an addiction where state government is intimately involved and quite complicit," Whyte said.
Part of the challenge in getting funding to treat gambling addiction is its invisibility, advocates say.
"It's a very hidden disease," said Arnie Wexler, a onetime gambling addict and former head of the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling. "You can't see it. You can't smell it. There are no track marks, no dilated pupils."
Treatment options in various states include phone or in-person counseling and public education in schools and churches.
In Connecticut, gamblers can find help at more than a dozen outpatient clinics and in one 20-bed facility where they can stay for up to two weeks for individual and group counseling.
"It's a respite for someone who needs to get out of their environment for a period of time," said Jim Crean, director of outreach and community relations at the Midwest Connecticut Council on Alcoholism.
Gamblers also may have their names included on lists to be kept from entering casinos. In Pennsylvania, 5,111 people have asked to be on the list over the past six years, said Doug Harbach, spokesman for the state Gaming Control Board. Gamblers who are listed and are caught gambling when they try to cash out their winnings are charged with summary trespass, Harbach said. About 875 violations have been issued.
Another concern is that a rising number of problem gamblers are young. Industry leaders, law enforcement and New Jersey officials gathered in Trenton recently to consider new preventive and treatment ideas to expand services to young at-risk problem gamblers. They emphasized the need to use social media promoting preventive measures at grade school and high school levels.
Gambling therapist Stephen Garbarini said he sees more young people requiring treatment and expects that trend to continue with online betting.
The expansion in gambling in Massachusetts will come with some innovative steps to deal with addiction. One requirement calls for intervention treatment centers at the casinos, a first in the nation, according to Marlene Warner, executive director of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling. Gamblers will be able to stop in for advice or referrals.
Casinos also will be required to pay 5 percent of their proceeds from the state's 25 percent tax on gross gaming revenue into a trust fund for programs to prevent and treat addiction and other gambling problems.
"We took advantage of the opportunity to address problem gambling while everybody was paying attention to gambling," Warner said. "There's a lot of prevention work to be done." _______________________________________________THE ELITE INSTITUTIONS ARE WALL STREET'S LAP DOGS AND THE POLS ATTACHED TO THESE INSTITUTIONS ARE WORKING FOR WALL STREET.
Hopkins operates just as the Wall Street banks do....NYC Bloomberg is directly attached to Baltimore so as we look for change we must see that change coming from reversing the power structures these institutions have built......it is possible.....
JUST START BY RUNNING AND VOTING FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES NEXT ELECTIONS!!! Suicides Now America's Leading Cause Of Death By Injury: Study Posted: 09/24/2012 1:11 pm Updated: 09/24/2012 1:11 pm Huffington Post
Around the time of recession rocked the United States, its population experienced a disturbing shift: Today, suicide takes more American lives than any other form of injury.
Between 2000 and 2008 motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death by injury, but suicide surpassed car crashes in 2009, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health. The switch is the culmination of a decade-long trend; the rate of death by suicide increased by 15 percent over the past ten years, while the unintentional motor vehicle crash death rate dropped by 25 percent during that same period.
The study didn’t specifically factor in economic conditions, but many have speculated that the downturn may be responsible for a boost in suicides in America and around the world. In Greece, the suicide rate for men rose by 24 percent between 2007 and 2009, according to The New York Times. Suicides motivated by economic crisis grew by 52 percent in Italy in 2010.
In England, unemployment may be tied to more than 1,000 suicides, according to a recent paper in the British Medical Journal.
In the U.S. the correlation between the boost in suicides the current economic downturn hasn’t been definitively established, but the rate of suicides in America did increase during past periods of economic crisis, like the Great Depression, the 1970s oil crisis and the recession in the 1980s, according to data from the Center for Disease Control cited by the Washington Post.
Tragically, there are plenty of anecdotal examples of “economic suicide” in the country. A Tennessee man lit himself on fire earlier this year after finding out he wouldn’t be getting financial help from a private organization. And in May, a California man shot and killed himself in the midst of a legal battle with Wells Fargo, while he faced the prospect of foreclosure.
THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS OFFER POLICY THAT MOVES SOCIAL SECURITY INTO IRA SAVINGS ACCOUNTS IN THE MARKET!!THEY'VE DONE THIS ALL BEFORE....LOOK AT REAGAN!!
VOTE YOUR THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRAT OUT OF OFFICE!!! RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE!!You don't hear corporate media or MSNBC telling you that Obama has placed in his budget what is a required payroll withdraw of 3% to be placed in an IRA as retirement savings. Republicans have been trying to do this for decades to end Social Security and place all the Trusts in the stock market. What this does, as with Affordable Care Act, it encourages companies that do offer retirement packages to end their obligated contribution and just allow the worker's money be taken from the pay check. It is the same as health systems that will insure people leading to companies dropping health benefits. IT IS ALL DESIGNED TO GET CORPORATIONS OUT OF ALL BENEFIT OBLIGATIONS AND HAVE WORKERS PAY IT ALL.....even as wages are so low as to make that impossible.
The most worrying aspect is that this is not just an additional retirement fund.....it is being built to take the place of the Social Security Trust. Remember, Wall Street feeds on these retirement/pension funds but cannot get at the Trusts....unless pols raid them and hand it to the banks which also happens.
I want to emphasize that there is a second piece to this IRA legislation that makes it seem as though it is a 'making the rich pay' plan. Capping the size of these IRA accounts would be good as the rich have used them as estate planning holding all their money tax free. Guess what? Dynasty accounts are now being used that set up these estate planning shell accounts and send them offshore.....the cap on the IRA is fluff!!!Breaking Down the Obama IRA By Lisa Scherzer SmartMoney Tucked into President Obama's financial regulatory reform legislation still being debated in Congress is a proposal to get more workers saving for retirement. The plan calls for employers to set up mandatory automatic-enrollment IRAs, retirement accounts that allow for tax-deductible contributions.
If the measure passes, companies that don't currently offer a tax-deferred retirement-savings plan would funnel employee contributions into IRA accounts through direct payroll deposits. It would also represent the biggest increase in new retirement savers since the creation of the 401(k) in 1980.
Still, for as long as it's been, the concept is hardly new. Some form of automatic retirement savings has been kicking around the legislature for a couple of years. The model's roots are in the science of behavioral finance, a field whose findings routinely suggest that people tend to put off doing what they know they should do. For example, rather than choosing a retirement fund from the myriad options available – a daunting task – many people do nothing. They become victims of their own inertia and ultimately come up short when they retire. The Obama initiative is meant to make decisions on workers' behalf.
Reuters President Barack Obama
Early estimates predict that the plan could direct roughly $100 billion into IRAs over five years and give some of the 75 million workers who don't have access to an employer plan an opportunity to save, says David John, one of the plan's designers, the principal of The Retirement Security Project and a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. John says he hopes to have a draft of the legislation introduced to Congress within a month.
Many of the details about the automatic IRA have yet to be fleshed out, but here's a look at how it would work and some of the early benefits and drawbacks.
How it would workCompanies that don't currently offer a retirement plan, employ 10 or more workers, and have been in business for at least two years would be required to enroll their employees in an IRA. The accounts would automatically deduct money from employees' paychecks starting with a default deduction of 3%. Employees can choose a higher or lower withdrawal rate or opt out of the plan altogether.
The default IRA portfolio would likely include a basket of conservative holdings. Those assets include I bonds (inflation-indexed savings bonds), money-market mutual funds or stable value funds, John says. "The goal here is to build up a certain amount, say $3,000 to $5,000," he says, at which point the account would automatically roll over and new contributions would go into a target-date fund, a popular 401(k) investment option. Workers would retain control over their accounts, but the plan would make adjustments over time -- even if the workers did nothing.
Pros More companies will cover workers. If passed, the legislation would cover roughly 40 million of the 75 million workers who do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, John says. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group for small businesses, estimates that 27% of small businesses with fewer than 250 employees do not offer a retirement plan. For businesses with 10 to 19 employees, that number jumps to 50%.
Improved retirement prospects. Any measure to nudge workers into saving for retirement is a positive one, says Brigitte Madrian, a professor of public policy and corporate management at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Data from automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans suggest this plan would broadly lift employee savings rates. Nearly 5% of workers with 401(k) plans dropped out in 2008, but the participation rate remained flat that year at 74% as many new hires were automatically enrolled in comparable plans, according to a May report by Hewitt Associates, a human resources and outsourcing consultancy that studied more than 2.7 employees who were eligible for 401(k) plans during the last few months of 2008.
Cons Pushback from small businesses. Small businesses stand to be impacted the most by this reform. Their biggest concern: the administrative burden associated with these plans. Many small businesses don't have in-house human resource departments, and a proposal like this would require some owners to hire an accountant or third-party payroll service to handle the new IRAs. "It's a new expense," says Bill Rys, a spokesman for NFIB.
John says the costs imposed on businesses would be minimal and would depend on how they process their payrolls. If a business uses an automatic payroll service provider like ADP, the cost could be as low as $6 to $8 per payroll period, he says. Initially, the IRA mandate would affect only firms with more than 10 employees, he says. Later, once the details are ironed out and businesses and officials watch the plan underway, the threshold could be lowered.
Not aggressive enough. Given the market turbulence that has washed out millions of Americans' 401(k)s over the past year, the conservative investment approach pegged for the automatic IRAs is understandable. However, caution might not be the best investing tactic, especially for younger workers who have a longer-term horizon. "I'd be more in favor of getting more aggressive investments in there sooner rather than later," particularly for younger employees, says Ron Rough, the director of portfolio management at Financial Services Advisory, an investment advisory firm in Rockville, Md. "I think if you're dollar-cost averaging into your portfolio, you want to take advantage of market volatility."
A more stock-heavy investment option might eventually become available, John says.
_______________________________________________In this debate about Social Security and entitlements we are having Third Way corporate democrats always telling us there isn't enough money in the Trusts to do what these Trusts are to do.....thus the need to 'fix' them. Remember, Third Way Clinton is just a Reagan Liberal.....same deal only he wanted to capture the democratic party so he ran as a democrat. That is why we have corporate rule today. Reagan is worshipped by Third Way for balancing the budget while the economy expanded. What this article shows is that Reagan cut taxes on the rich from 70% down to the ridiculously low rate we have today....Bush did lower it a bit more. So you have all that money that should have been coming to government coffers being spent. We know the 'trickling down' that made all this OK never happened. What people don't understand is that he greatly increased payroll taxes.....tripled them.....under the guise that the funds would not have enough funds.....and he made independent workers responsible for both the business and worker contribution. ALL THAT MONEY NEVER MADE IT TO THE TRUST FUNDS.....IT WAS SENT TO THE TREASURY AND SPENT. SO HE LOOKED AS THOUGH HE WAS 'FIXING' THE TRUSTS WHILE HE WAS SPENDING ALL THE MONEY COMING IN.....GIVING IT BACK TO CORPORATIONS.
This is what they are doing now for the same reasons. They raised payroll tax rates....they are lowering SS with chain CPI and they are still using this money for bank bailouts.How Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan Pulled off the Greatest Fraud Ever Perpetrated against the American People
by Allen W. Smith / April 14th, 2010
David Leonhardt’s article, “Yes, 47% of Households Owe No Taxes. Look Closer,” in Tuesday’s New York Times was excellent, but it just scratches the tip of the iceberg of how the rich have gained at the expense of the working class during the past three decades. When Ronald Reagan became President in 1981, he abandoned the traditional economic policies, under which the United States had operated for the previous 40 years, and launched the nation in a dangerous new direction. As Newsweek magazine put it in its March 2, 1981 issue, “Reagan thus gambled the future — his own, his party’s, and in some measure the nation’s—on a perilous and largely untested new course called supply-side economics.”
Essentially, Reagan switched the federal government from what he critically called, a “tax and spend” policy, to a “borrow and spend” policy, where the government continued its heavy spending, but used borrowed money instead of tax revenue to pay the bills. The results were catastrophic. Although it had taken the United States more than 200 years to accumulate the first $1 trillion of national debt, it took only five years under Reagan to add the second one trillion dollars to the debt. By the end of the 12 years of the Reagan-Bush administrations, the national debt had quadrupled to $4 trillion!
Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan pulled off one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated against the American people in the history of this great nation, and the underlying scam is still alive and well, more than a quarter century later. It represents the very foundation upon which the economic malpractice that led the nation to the great economic collapse of 2008 was built. Ronald Reagan was a cunning politician, but he didn’t know much about economics. Alan Greenspan was an economist, who had no reluctance to work with a politician on a plan that would further the cause of the right-wing goals that both he and President Reagan shared.
Both Reagan and Greenspan saw big government as an evil, and they saw big business as a virtue. They both had despised the progressive policies of Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson, and they wanted to turn back the pages of time. They came up with the perfect strategy for the redistribution of income and wealth from the working class to the rich. Since we don’t know the nature of the private conversations that took place between Reagan and Greenspan, as well as between their aides, we cannot be sure whether the events that would follow over the next three decades were specifically planned by Reagan and Greenspan, or whether they were just the natural result of the actions the two men played such a big role in. Either way, both Reagan and Greenspan are revered by most conservatives and hated by most liberals.
If Reagan had campaigned for the presidency by promising big tax cuts for the rich and pledging to make up for the lost revenue by imposing substantial tax increases on the working class, he would probably not have been elected. But that is exactly what Reagan did, with the help of Alan Greenspan. Consider the following sequence of events:
1) President Reagan appointed Greenspan as chairman of the 1982 National Commission on Social Security Reform (aka The Greenspan Commission)
2) The Greenspan Commission recommended a major payroll tax hike to generate Social Security surpluses for the next 30 years, in order to build up a large reserve in the trust fund that could be drawn down during the years after Social Security began running deficits.
3) The 1983 Social Security amendments enacted hefty increases in the payroll tax in order to generate large future surpluses.
4) As soon as the first surpluses began to role in, in 1985, the money was put into the general revenue fund and spent on other government programs. None of the surplus was saved or invested in anything. The surplus Social Security revenue, that was paid by working Americans, was used to replace the lost revenue from Reagan’s big income tax cuts that went primarily to the rich.
5) In 1987, President Reagan nominated Greenspan as the successor to Paul Volker as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Greenspan continued as Fed Chairman until January 31, 2006. (One can only speculate on whether the coveted Fed Chairmanship represented, at least in part, a payback for Greenspan’s role in initiating the Social Security surplus revenue.)
6) In 1990, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, a member of the Greenspan Commission, and one of the strongest advocates the the 1983 legislation, became outraged when he learned that first Reagan, and then President George H.W. Bush used the surplus Social Security revenue to pay for other government programs instead of saving and investing it for the baby boomers. Moynihan locked horns with President Bush and proposed repealing the 1983 payroll tax hike. Moynihan’s view was that if the government could not keep its hands out of the Social Security cookie jar, the cookie jar should be emptied, so there would be no surplus Social Security revenue for the government to loot. President Bush would have no part of repealing the payroll tax hike. The “read-my-lips-no-new-taxes” president was not about to give up his huge slush fund.
The practice of using every dollar of the surplus Social Security revenue for general government spending continues to this day. The 1983 payroll tax hike has generated approximately $2.5 trillion in surplus Social Security revenue which is supposed to be in the trust fund for use in paying for the retirement benefits of the baby boomers. But the trust fund is empty! It contains no real assets. As a result, the government will soon be unable to pay full benefits without a tax increase. Money can be spent or it can be saved. But you can’t do both. Absolutely none of the $2.5 trillion was saved or invested in anything. I have been laboring for more than a decade to expose the great Social Security scam. For more information, please visit my website or contact me.
Dr. Allen W. Smith is a Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at Eastern Illinois University. He is the author of seven books and has been researching and writing about Social Security financing for the past ten years. Read other articles by Allen, or visit Allen's website.
Taxes: What people forget about Reagan
By Jeanne Sahadi, senior writerSeptember 12, 2010: 8:21 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Those who oppose higher taxes and are fed up with record levels of U.S. debt may pine for Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of lower taxes and smaller government.
But it's worth considering just what Reagan did -- and didn't do -- as lawmakers grapple with many of the same issues that their 1980s counterparts faced: a deep recession, high deficits and a rip-roaring political divide over taxes.
- 1Soon after taking office in 1981, Reagan signed into law one of the largest tax cuts in the postwar period.
That legislation -- phased in over three years -- pushed through a 23% across-the-board cut of individual income tax rates. It also called for tax brackets, the standard deduction and personal exemptions to be adjusted for inflation starting in 1984. That would reduce "bracket creep" since the high inflation of the 1970s and early 1980s meant incomes rose very fast, pushing taxpayers into ever higher brackets even though the real value of their income hadn't changed.The 1981 bill also made certain business deductions more generous.
In 1986, Reagan lowered individual income tax rates again, this time in landmark tax reform legislation.
As a result of the 1981 and 1986 bills, the top income tax rate was slashed from 70% to 28%.Despite the aggressive tax cutting, Reagan couldn't ignore the budget deficit, which was burgeoning.
After Reagan's first year in office, the annual deficit was 2.6% of gross domestic product. But it hit a high of 6% in 1983, stayed in the 5% range for the next three years, and fell to 3.1% by 1988. (By comparison, this year it's projected to be 9% but is expected to drop considerably thereafter.)
So, despite his public opposition to higher taxes, Reagan ended up signing off on several measures intended to raise more revenue.
"Reagan was certainly a tax cutter legislatively, emotionally and ideologically. But for a variety of political reasons, it was hard for him to ignore the cost of his tax cuts," said tax historian Joseph Thorndike.
Two bills passed in 1982 and 1984 together "constituted the biggest tax increase ever enacted during peacetime," Thorndike said.
The bills didn't raise more revenue by hiking individual income tax rates though. Instead they did it largely through making it tougher to evade taxes, and through "base broadening" -- that is, reducing various federal tax breaks and closing tax loopholes.
For instance, more asset sales became taxable and tax-advantaged contributions and benefits under pension plans were further limited.
"What people forget about Ronald Reagan was that he very much converted to base broadening as a means of reducing deficits and as a means of tax reform," said Eugene Steuerle, an Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute who had helped lay the groundwork for tax reform in 1986 and served as a deputy assistant Treasury secretary during Reagan's second term.
There were other notable tax increases under Reagan.
In 1983, for example, he signed off on Social Security reform legislation that, among other things, accelerated an increase in the payroll tax rate, required that higher-income beneficiaries pay income tax on part of their benefits, and required the self-employed to pay the full payroll tax rate, rather than just the portion normally paid by employees.The tax reform of 1986, meanwhile, wasn't designed to increase federal tax revenue. But that didn't mean that no one's taxes went up. Because the reform bill eliminated or reduced many tax breaks and shelters, high-income tax filers who previously paid little ended up with bigger tax bills.
"Some of these taxpayers were substantial contributors to the Republican Party and to the president's re-election campaign, and had direct access to the White House. Reagan rebuffed their pleas," wrote J. Roger Mentz, the Treasury assistant secretary for tax policy in 1986, in a Tax Notes commentary last year.
All told, the tax increases Reagan approved ended up canceling out much of the reduction in tax revenue that resulted from his 1981 legislation.
Annual federal tax receipts during his presidency averaged 18.2% of GDP, a smidge below the average under President Carter -- and a smidge above the 40-year average today.
How might Reagan fare today?Reagan's behavior might not pass muster with those voters today who insist their Congressmen treat every proposed tax increase as poisonous to the republic.
"By today's standards, the Gipper would easily qualify for status as a back-stabbing, treacherous RINO [Republican in Name Only]," wrote Tax Analysts contributing editor Martin Sullivan, in an article for Tax Notes in May.
Thanks in part to the increases in defense spending during his administration, Reagan also didn't really reduce the size of government. Annual spending averaged 22.4% of GDP on his watch, which is above today's 40-year average of 20.7%, and above the 20.8% average under Carter.
Indeed, in one very symbolic respect he enlarged it. While in the early years of his presidency Reagan tried to shrink the IRS, by the end, the number of IRS employees hit an all-time high, according to Steuerle in his book Contemporary U.S. Tax Policy.
The reason was two-fold, Steuerle said. The first was a desire to crack down on the proliferation of tax shelters. But the point of cracking down was to boost tax revenue. That, in turn, could reduce the need to impose other tax increases to combat budget deficits.
_________________________________________________REMEMBER, THIS SCHEME OF REAGAN'S WAS THE BRAINCHILD OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE'S GREENSPAN. BELOW YOU HEAR A SPEECH BY A FED BOARD MEMBER TELLING TEXANS HOW THERE JUST ISN'T ENOUGH MONEY IN THOSE TRUSTS AND THE DIFFERENCE CANNOT BE MADE UP. NOW YOU CAN SEE WHY THE SOUTH IN PARTICULAR.......FEELS THAT THESE TRUSTS ARE NOT WORTH SAVING.
Richard W. Fisher, May 2008 see entire speech here:
Storms on the Horizon - Richard Fisher Speeches - News & Events - FRB Dallas (http://www.dallasfed.org/news/speeches/fisher/2008/fs080528.cfm)
"I want to remind you that I am only talking about the unfunded portions of Social Security and Medicare. It is what the current payment scheme of Social Security payroll taxes, Medicare payroll taxes, membership fees for Medicare B, copays, deductibles and all other revenue currently channeled to our entitlement system will not cover under current rules. These existing revenue streams must remain in place in perpetuity to handle the “funded” entitlement liabilities. Reduce or eliminate this income and the unfunded liability grows. Increase benefits and the liability grows as well.
Let’s say you and I and Bruce Ericson and every U.S. citizen who is alive today decided to fully address this unfunded liability through lump-sum payments from our own pocketbooks, so that all of us and all future generations could be secure in the knowledge that we and they would receive promised benefits in perpetuity. How much would we have to pay if we split the tab? Again, the math is painful. With a total population of 304 million, from infants to the elderly, the per-person payment to the federal treasury would come to $330,000. This comes to $1.3 million per family of four—over 25 times the average household’s income.
Clearly, once-and-for-all contributions would be an unbearable burden. Alternatively, we could address the entitlement shortfall through policy changes that would affect ourselves and future generations. For example, a permanent 68 percent increase in federal income tax revenue—from individual and corporate taxpayers—would suffice to fully fund our entitlement programs. Or we could instead divert 68 percent of current income-tax revenues from their intended uses to the entitlement system, which would accomplish the same thing.
Suppose we decided to tackle the issue solely on the spending side. It turns out that total discretionary spending in the federal budget, if maintained at its current share of GDP in perpetuity, is 3 percent larger than the entitlement shortfall. So all we would have to do to fully fund our nation’s entitlement programs would be to cut discretionary spending by 97 percent. But hold on. That discretionary spending includes defense and national security, education, the environment and many other areas, not just those controversial earmarks that make the evening news. All of them would have to be cut—almost eliminated, really—to tackle this problem through discretionary spending.
I hope that gives you some idea of just how large the problem is. And just to drive an important point home, these spending cuts or tax increases would need to be made immediately and maintained in perpetuity to solve the entitlement deficit problem. Discretionary spending would have to be reduced by 97 percent not only for our generation, but for our children and their children and every generation of children to come. And similarly on the taxation side, income tax revenue would have to rise 68 percent and remain that high forever. Remember, though, I said tax revenue, not tax rates. Who knows how much individual and corporate tax rates would have to change to increase revenue by 68 percent?
If these possible solutions to the unfunded-liability problem seem draconian, it’s because they are draconian. But they do serve to give you a sense of the severity of the problem. To be sure, there are ways to lessen the reliance on any single policy and the burden borne by any particular set of citizens. Most proposals to address long-term entitlement debt, for example, rely on a combination of tax increases, benefit reductions and eligibility changes to find the trillions necessary to safeguard the system over the long term.
No combination of tax hikes and spending cuts, though, will change the total burden borne by current and future generations. For the existing unfunded liabilities to be covered in the end, someone must pay $99.2 trillion more or receive $99.2 trillion less than they have been currently promised. This is a cold, hard fact. The decision we must make is whether to shoulder a substantial portion of that burden today or compel future generations to bear its full weight."
_______________________________________________We understand every time corporate media say the unemployment rate is 7.6% or that the poverty rate in America is 17%......none of that is true. They are pushing America to second and third world status and they are mitigating social unrest by making sure the figures are not made public. Most independent researchers place unemployment at around 25% with the numbers reaching 40% for those working part time. THAT IS HALF THE COUNTRY UNDER EMPLOYMENT DISTRESS. We know many of those are student graduates, people of color, and senior workers forced to retire early.There may be millions more poor people in the US than you thinkBy Erin McClam, Staff Writer, NBC News - Fri May 3, 2013 4:16 AM EDT 135 Keystone / Getty Images
How one poor neighborhood in Chicago looked in 1963, the year the federal poverty line was determined.
It is responsible for an estimated half-trillion dollars in federal spending every year, is hated by nearly everyone who studies it and is based on an American lifestyle older than the space program.
Yet the figure known as the “poverty line” is almost certainly here to stay. That’s partly because a more accurate measure of who is poor could add millions of Americans to the rolls — something few lawmakers want to have happen on their watch.
“People (are) talking about eliminating poverty in this country,” said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., whose proposal to change the measure died in Congress five years ago. “You’re not going to eliminate poverty in this country with the definition we have. You can make yourself feel good, but you’re not going to eliminate poverty.”
The poverty line was conceived by a civil servant named Mollie Orshansky who worked for the Social Security Administration and was herself the daughter of poor Ukrainian immigrants. She totaled up the cost of the cheapest three-meals-a-day plan that the federal government considered nutritionally adequate in 1963.
A decade earlier, the Eisenhower administration had calculated that the typical family spent a third of its money on food. So Orshansky multiplied by three. It was that simple. The poverty line was born.
The problem, as social scientists and at least some legislators see it, is that measuring poverty that way is not just outdated but simplistic:
“There are better ways to measure,” said Robert Haveman, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Wisconsin and an expert on poverty. “Nearly any one of them is a better indicator of true poverty than the one we use.”
- The federal poverty line — $11,945 in cash income for a single adult, $23,283 for a couple with two kids — is the same whether you are poor in New York, the most expensive city in the United States, or poor in a small town in Nebraska.
- It is the same whether you take transit to work or are hostage to the whims of gas prices. It is the same whether Medicaid helps you with medical expenses or you pay out of pocket. It is the same whether you receive food stamps or pay for child care.
- It is the same regardless of how poor you are. For the purposes of some federal benefits, someone making a dollar below the poverty line is treated the same is someone making virtually nothing.
The federal measure is linked to about half a trillion dollars in federal spending every year, according to a paper published last year by two professors, Bruce D. Meyer of the University of Chicago and James X. Sullivan of the University of Notre Dame, in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
Among them: Food stamps, anti-poverty block grants for cities, heating and air-conditioning aid, AIDS drug subsidies, family planning services, Head Start and job-finding assistance.
The Census Bureau, which is responsible for updating the poverty line every year to account for inflation, makes no secret of its flaws as a way to determine who qualifies as poor.
Two years ago, the bureau and the Labor Department agreed on a different way — a poverty line that accounts for medical expenses, geographic differences, the cost of shelter and clothing and other factors.
SSA History Archives
Mollie Orshansky, the civil servant who developed the poverty line, pictured in 1967. She died in 2006.
It’s called the Supplemental Poverty Measure. But it exists only for federal number-crunchers. It has no teeth.
Look into the numbers and it’s easy to see why: Using the existing poverty line, there are 45.8 million poor people in the United States, or about 15 percent of the population. Using the supplemental measure, there are 2.6 million more.
West Virginia’s poverty rate would fall about four percentage points if the supplemental measure were updated — meaning fewer federal dollars for its people. California’s poverty rate would soar, from 16 percent to 23 percent.
“Some states would get gored, and some states would be happy,” Haveman said. “You get all sorts of political opposition. It’s a gridlock.”
Because of what analysts have called a historical accident, any change to the poverty measure has to come from the Office of Management and Budget, under the president. And no president wants to suddenly have millions more poor people on his watch.
All the other major economic statistics are controlled by federal statistical agencies, which have to review and update them regularly, Rebecca Blank, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Congress in 2008.
“There is no other economic statistic in use today that relies on 1955 data and methods developed in the early 1960s,” she said. Blank is now the acting commerce secretary and declined an interview request through a spokeswoman.
Frustrated by the federal poverty measure, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg adopted his own in 2008. The city took into account the higher local cost of living, among other expenses, and set the line about $8,000 higher for a family of four.
The result was a higher poverty rate — 21 percent in 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, compared with 19 percent using the federal line.
But because the New York measure also accounts for help for the poor, like tax credits and food stamps, it also led the city to conclude that Bush administration tax cuts and the Obama stimulus package had helped keep poverty from going even higher.
McDermott, the Washington congressman, introduced a similar nationwide bill in 2008. It would have taken into account modern costs of living and benefits for the poor. It never came up for a vote.
“One can only speculate about why,” he said in an interview. “Except the fact that you’re much more likely to find a lot of people poor.”_________________________________________________