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Taxes are being raised. Draconian cuts in services are being made. Public employees are being fired. The tissue-thin national economic recovery is being undermined. And in many cases, the most vulnerable populations — the sick, the elderly, the young and the poor — are getting badly hurt.

What, you say, Obama isn't raising taxes, not even on the wealthy.

Not yet.  And that is not the issue.  Because the quote, the 2nd paragraph is  Bob Herbert's column this morning, is about state governments, and local governments, and especially schools.   Believe me, I know.

I am, after all, a school teacher.  Our system is cutting over 200 teaching jobs.  Those on 12 or 11th month contract are being furloughed for 10 days, those on 10 months (most teachers including me) for 5.  

And that was announced BEFORE we found out that further cuts are forthcoming in the state funding for our districts.

But this is not about me, or other teachers.  It is about children, about the sick and the elderly, about the least well off.  And more.

Consider some of what Herbert cites:

Arizona is scrapping its children's health insurance program, leaving an additional 47,000 with no coverage, at the same time the Governor is calling for an increase in the sales tax, a regressive tax that falls most heavily on the kind of low-income families whose children will be affected most by the loss of that insurance

New Jersey is cutting $820 million in state funding for schools, with some wealthier districts losing all state aid, while poorer districts heavily dependent upon state aid absorbing huge cuts that will heavily impact their schools

State after state after state, even those like MA an CA which have already made massive cuts.

In the first two months of this year, state and local governments across the U.S. cut 45,000 jobs. Additional layoffs are expected as states move ahead with their budgets for fiscal 2011. Increasingly these budgets, instead of helping people, are hurting them, undermining the quality of their lives, depriving them of educational opportunities, preventing them from accessing desperately needed medical care, and so on.

Two months, 45,000 jobs, and that does not include the very serious cuts that are only now beginning and being threatened.  Thousands of teachers in California are receiving layoff notices.  

Thousands upon thousands more would already have been laid off had we not had the stimulus, but the money from ARRA that helped postpone that part of the fiscal crisis is now running out.  

Health services. Education. After school programs.  Juvenile justice.  All being severely cut.  Those cuts making things more than grim for the children currently most at risk.  

Services being cut, precisely at a time when the need for those services is increasing.  A double whammy.  Falling most heavily on the most vulnerable.

There are no easy answers.  Certainly not for states and local governments, who under state constitutions are usually required to balance their budgets.  

Last year we avoided another Depression, thanks to the stimulus, ARRA. Yet we are not out of the woods.

The impact of our financial crisis is being shifted from the Federal government to states which lack the resources to respond - remember those balanced budget requirements.  Increasingly states are devolving that burden down to counties and municipalities and local school districts, which are similarly bound by balanced budget requirements.  We may not slip into a depression, but this means not only will the Recession linger, but the effects may become more severe, especially for those most in need, especially for the young.

Even absent the issue of health care, which MAY (it is not yet a done deal) be somewhat resolved by tomorrow, there are tools available to the Federal government that it is not using.  Immediate reversal of the Bush tax cuts -  both rounds of which were passed through the Senate by Reconciliation - at least those for the wealthiest (and thus most able to absorb additional taxes) is one of the few tools to generate revenue at the Federal level which can help offset the crisis faced at the lower levels.

I could describe the impact of what is happening on the middle class families who are teachers.  Some will find themselves without classrooms and income.  Others will see income cut through no fault of their own.  Some who devoted many hundreds of hours to becoming National Board Certified Teachers will lose the additional stipend that had been promised them -  I understand the financial necessity of some states doing that, but that will discourage other teachers from undertaking that arduous process, and the loss of improvement in the quality of instruction will be a further impact upon the real victims, the children.

The children.  That has to remain my focus.  Class sizes will go up.  Field trips will disappear.  Some classes will be eliminated - especially in art and music and other "soft" subjects, even though these are often the things that motivated struggling students to continue coming to school.  In other places extracurricular activities, including but not limited to sports, will be eliminated, starting with junior varsity sports.   Yes, cutting those activities further cuts income for some adults.  It is also cuts opportunity for students to learn sports and theater and the like, to burn off energy. And in our economically worst off communities there will be no other options for many children -  at the same time after school programs will be cut, and their families and communities already lack the resources to provide alternatives.

This week Secretary of Education Duncan presented the administration's Blue Print for education to the House and Senate.  He met a great deal of skepticism, especially on some of his funding priorities.  At a time when poverty and its impact may be increasing the administration wants communities to compete for funding for education, it wants to fund untried and tried and found unsuccessful approaches at the same time it either freezes or cuts other programs, some of which at a minimum provide economic stability for poorer schools.  And remember, this is at the same time those schools will see their needs increase, and their state assistance cut.

I know the importance of health care.  I see an increasing number of children missing school because they are sick, because families cannot afford in some cases even over the counter remedies, and certainly cannot afford to see a doctor when they lack the means to pay for the visit.  We must address that.

I understand the reluctance of some to increase the federal deficit.  I agree, so cut weapons systems that are redundant, and reinstate taxes on those who have gotten too much at the expense of the rest of us, thanks to the tax cut policies of Bush and his Republican allies.  Do it if necessary through reconciliation, and hammer the Blue Dogs on fiscal responsibility, while reminding them about the people in their districts who are suffering disproportionally in this recession, already, before it gets even worse.

A Ruinous Meltdown -  that is the title on Herbert's column as well as on this posting.  It will be most ruinous on the young among the least well off among us.  Continue it for several years and the impact will last a generation.  

I fear for the downstream costs of how we are addressing the fiscal crisis.  We know about downstream medical costs if we do not cover basic health needs.  We should know about the downstream costs of health and productivity if we do not cover the nutritional needs of people.  And if we have any doubt, each time we cut another program in schools we greatly magnify future costs in criminal justice and other impacts upon our society.

I fear for the future of this nation.  I have that fear, because I am already seeing the impact upon the children who pass through the school in which I teach.

The social contract that binds us together is at risk if some can continue to profit heavily while others are abandoned by society.  That will be the real ruin.

Sobering thoughts for a Saturday morning, a morning on which I go to teach in the kind of enrichment program that will not be possible next year.  I may lose some additional income, but that is minor.  The students I teach will lose that additional support, which for some is critical.  

And the program to which I go is minor in its impact, far less important than many of the things that are being cut.

Herbert ends his piece like this:  

All states have been rocked by the Great Recession. And most have tried to cope with a reasonable mix of budget cuts and tax increases, or other revenue-raising measures. Those that rely too heavily on cuts are making guaranteed investments in human misery.

.

human misery -  what we have seen so far does not even begin to approach the level of misery some will experience.

Each child is an adventure into a better life - an opportunity to change the old pattern and make it new.    That is a hopeful statement by Hubert Humphrey which speaks loudly about why people like me dedicate our lives to young people, as teachers, social workers, coaches, and the like.

Here is another Humphrey quote, one which I have offered before:  

It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.

By that moral test, all of our governments are about to be found badly wanting if we do not address this Ruinous Meltdown before it destroys the hope and future for a generation of young people.

I wish I could be more cheerful.  I cannot.  I worry for the future of my country, because I worry for the future of too many of our young people.

What about you?

Originally posted to teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 03:35 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I hope and pray my concerns are misplaced (266+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pat K California, claude, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, Angie in WA State, Sylv, vicki, northsylvania, Chi, regularJoe, decisivemoment, melo, laurak, mimi9, importer, Raybin, tiggers thotful spot, mimi, mattman, emal, DebtorsPrison, TheGreatLeapForward, Jim W, VetGrl, frisco, RFK Lives, Bob Friend, MarkInSanFran, ricochet, Heart of the Rockies, srbaxley, bronte17, BlackSheep1, leveymg, carolina stargazer, shanikka, javelina, dchill, semiot, ctsteve, enough already, splashy, behan, scorpiorising, Barth, CitizenOfEarth, pat bunny, gmb, Drew J Jones, Kidspeak, BMarshall, Catte Nappe, Tillie630, AbsurdEyes, annetteboardman, lcrp, riverlover, barbwires, DMiller, jcrit, TexH, rapala, joanneleon, Desert Rose, tovan, historys mysteries, sandblaster, 3goldens, NoMoreLies, Jagger, Ckntfld, snstara, Heiuan, irate, PBen, Militarytracy, offred, Flint, ccasas, panicbean, citizenx, Brooke In Seattle, lennysfo, Annalize5, EdlinUser, GreyHawk, ladybug53, Burned, cassidy3, lotlizard, blue jersey mom, bmaples, bjedward, Sandino, Anna M, zinger99, FindingMyVoice, Pluto, dsteffen, the fan man, JanL, Ekaterin, hatdog, Jim R, New Deal democrat, myboo, Clytemnestra, Krush, tonyahky, Hear Our Voices, buckstop, deha, Magnifico, kck, greenearth, hideinplainsight, Lefty Coaster, blueoasis, Glorfindel, FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph, bleeding heart, Preston S, MarciaJ720, rsie, Cassiodorus, CharlieHipHop, Temmoku, One Pissed Off Liberal, rufusthedog, Noor B, DorothyT, BeninSC, dotsright, Loudoun County Dem, Margfh, Jimdotz, terabytes, DWG, puzzled, HCKAD, mudslide, millwood, jhop7, uciguy30, LWelsch, Empower Ink, jgilhousen, JaxDem, kayfromsouth, greenalley, hulagirl, Mr Stagger Lee, Involuntary Exile, LI Mike, elwior, Satyanand, theunreasonableHUman, VA gentlewoman, monkeybrainpolitics, TomFromNJ, Cassandra Waites, pickandshovel, bluesheep, mofembot, Gemina13, glendaw271, nzanne, DixieDishrag, BYw, Al Fondy, In her own Voice, statsone, squarewheel, oldliberal, Old Woman, maggiejean, SciMathGuy, multilee, J M F, aufklaerer, ARS, greengemini, divineorder, banjolele, CanyonWren, Stranded Wind, Rabbithead, maryabein, WiseFerret, h bridges, indres, Daily Activist, virginwoolf, zaka1, DClark4129, sanglug, Losty, nancat357, ohmyheck, davespicer, Leftcandid, Super Grover, catilinus, NCrissieB, parse this, ppl can fly, coppercelt, littlezen, pyegar, miss SPED, amk for obama, jethrock, GeeBee, cgirard, legalchic, AbominableAllStars, ItsSimpleSimon, Mariken, Kristina40, Earth Ling, quagmiremonkey, roystah, Floande, Onomastic, ban nock, ems97007, sabo33, implicate order, Grey Paladin, ardyess, island in alabama, asterkitty, princesspat, Billdbq, majii, Cinnamon Rollover, Santa Susanna Kid, merrily1000, CKendall, tardis10, Grandma Susie, Dixie Liberal, shekissesfrogs, Aquagranny911, curtisgrahamduff, Marihilda, bloomin, innereye, Book of Hearts, RLMiller, lol chikinburd, Regina in a Sears Kit House, MichaelNY, PrometheusUnbound, nandssmith, judyms9, OldAthena, lightshine, James Robinson, CuriousBoston, efraker, ahumbleopinion, dance you monster, radish tattoo, Princess Sunshine, Purdue219

    I worry that even these concerns do not cover the dangers for our young people.  

    I will continue to teach.  If I lose my National Board stipend, which represents an additional 9% to my income, I will find a way to keep teaching.  Some of my compatriots will not be able to afford it.

    My classes will become bigger.  

    And what I see will be miniscule compared to what will happen in schools of much higher poverty than ours.

    Sorry to be such a downer at the start of the weekend.

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 03:35:06 AM PDT

    •  Naah. (60+ / 0-)

      The leading (Republican) candidate for governor in my state (CA, Meg Whitman) is promising a 10% cut in taxes, which will of course be triangulated by the Democrat (Jerry Brown), leading to even more layoffs.

      When the second crash occurs we will have revoked the child labor laws and privatized what's left of the schools.

      ""It is hardly a moral act to encourage others patiently to accept injustice which he himself does not endure." -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Cassiodorus on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:08:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  in transit to school (11+ / 0-)

      to teach my Saturday morning program.  I have to make a brief stop on the way, so will be off line for about 45 minutes.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:13:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Teacherken have you seen this interview? (7+ / 0-)

        Amy Goodman interviews Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education and counselor to Education Secretary Lamar Alexander under President George H.W. Bush and was appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board under President Clinton.  

        She’s long been known as an advocate of No Child Left Behind, charter schools, standardized testing, and using the free market to improve schools. But she’s had a radical change of heart

        TEACHERS: VIEW THIS AND PASS THIS ON!

        http://www.democracynow.org/...

        •  yes, but I think you are somewhat off (9+ / 0-)

          in your interpretation.  I know Diane fairly well, recently driving her to the airport after several events here in DC area.

          She has always been committed to public schools, towards a strong emphasis on curriculum, towards teachers and teachers unions.

          For a while she thought that charters, tests, NCLB could make a difference.  It is that which has changed, because it became clear that it was not working.  That caused her to step back and reexamine.

          Some on the educational left are still not happy with her, because she has never been a strong proponent of some of the Progressive trends in education, and still is not.

          Many on the educational right view her as a real threat because of her credibility.

          So far, most teachers who have read her book or listened to her recent round of interviews are becoming strongly supportive of what she is saying.  They feel she is becoming an ally.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:16:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •   I really wasn't interpreting anything here (0+ / 0-)

            I knew it didn't actually relate to THIS diary but more to the one you did   about Bill Maher/teachers' unions/Rhode Island/canary in the coal mine etc. I just thought this would be the quickest way to get that info to you AND I was hoping maybe a few others would check it out too.

    •  You're in NoVa, if I remember correctly. (13+ / 0-)

      Arlington, right?  My wife is a substitute in the Fairfax County system, because she hasn't been able to get a full-time job (in teaching or anywhere else) for almost three years.

      We're lucky.  I work for the feds, and I'm (knocks on wood) fairly secure.  And both Obama and Bush gave federal workers some fairly generous wage increases over the last couple of years.  But the income cuts elsewhere are going to hurt a lot of people in the region.  And I avoid thinking of what it's going to look like in places like Richmond that don't enjoy the level of wealth NoVa has.

      According to her coworkers, Fairfax teachers' full-time pay is getting cut 7%.  So, in addition to the job losses, they're putting deflationary pressures on economic activity across the board through wage cuts.  And that's a pretty huge cut in wages.

      Take into account that we're still looking at a housing market that hasn't been deflated back to sane levels yet, and that people still have a lot of debt to work off, and you get a microcosm of precisely what we've been trying to avoid the whole time with ARRA, the Fed's quantitative easing program, etc.

      Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

      by Drew J Jones on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:41:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Live in Arlington, teach in Prince George's Cnty (4+ / 0-)

        on the other side of DC.  

        Housing market in that county is depressed, as it got hit very badly by the foreclosure crisis.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:06:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But, McDam'l lets 'em hate the gays, so what (0+ / 0-)

          's the problem?

          Seriously, it has ever been thus. Every recession is balanced on the backs of the poor and vulnerable.  Mainly 'cause they don't vote.  Those who do vote, including far too many of the parents, happily vote for Hitler-light rather than give up cherished delusions, like they too may be able to benefit from Rethug governance when they win the lottery.  Its easier to scape goat than admit they are the problem.

          BTW, 'Obama' can't do squat to speed up repeal of Bush tax cuts for rich.  Congress makes the laws, as you know.  Heck, Obama can barely get the votes to (maybe) pass the party's century-long signature issue.  And I'm sure Stupak would find a way to turn a revenue-sharing bill into an anti-reproductive-freedom-screw-the-women issue too, or (insert neanderthal's name) into a (insert pet shiny political object/issue).

    •  I'm the training manager (10+ / 0-)

      for a company in Maine that provides housing and services for folks with intellectual/ developmental disabilities. With serious revenue shortfalls, the state keeps cutting, and we keep adapting. My company is starting a for-profit confidential records destruction company this year to both provide jobs and income so that we needn't rely so heavily on the state. The whole thing is nasty, but don't forget that in the Chinese character for crisis, you find both the characters for "danger" and "opportunity."

    •  Reminds me of the IMF restructuring model (21+ / 0-)

      applied under Summers, et al. to the former Soviet Union and Third-World debtor countries.  Privatization of education, cutbacks in all social services, slash public sector spending, payrolls and salaries, foreign loans to stimulate the financial sector, closure of non-exporting domestic industry, opening of all markets to imports . . . the parallels are uncanny.

      We're getting a taste of our own medicine, and it's ashes in our mouths.  

      •  BINGO! The Shock Doctrine of the USA (7+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JuliaAnn, gmb, Byrnt, zinger99, tdub, Tam in CA, cgirard

        Karma sucks. And so does Summers and all the other Friedman heartless pigs.

        I pray there is reincarnation.  Summers et al will all be born starving children in Bangladesh if there is a God and justice!

        And Reptilian Beck with this Social Justice is bad bullshit.  Revolting!

        I think the goal is to frustrate and produce  anarchy in order to justify a theocratic dictatorship.  All the GOP accuse the Dems of is really a projection of their wet dream for complete power and control.

        I fear for the folks of the USA.

        Retire Grandparents!  Force the schools in your area to allow you to help in the classrooms.

      •  Yes, thank you for saying this (4+ / 0-)

        The states are in crisis, so you can certainly just attribute profoundly wrong cuts to mixed-up priorities.  But, especially within a given sector or institution, the crisis presents a golden opportunity to those "leaders" who have long wanted to slash and burn and remake the system according to their own fond plan.

        I work for an educational institution where all kinds of crazy changes are being considered that will not do much to help our financial health over the coming years--just because this is an easier time to persuade people that they have to accept unpalatable changes.

        People, wake up, just because the politicians and bosses say it's needed reform, doesn't mean it's not an interested or unprincipled grab.

    •  Two points (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Friend, gmb, elwior, boophus
      1. Short term -- We are probably at the point of maximum pain in state and local budgets.  As of December 2009, 13 states had turned the corner to YoY revenue increases.  More states have turned the corner since then (although I don't have the exact number).  YoY collections will probably turn positive for a substantial majority of states by the Third Quarter of this year.  By no means does that mean "happy days are here again," but OTOH the cuts made to get through the next few months will probably be as far as the states and localities have to go, and can begin to reinstate some thing in fiscal year 2011.
      1.  Long term -- The Federal government should assist the states and localities in times like this, but condition that assistance on establishment of "rainy day funds" by the states that are accumulated during economic expansions and require Federal authorization to spend (to prevent greedy and corrupt porkers from raiding the cookie jar).  In short, use the Federal government as both a check and a backstop for the states.  BTW, I think a similar mechanism might be possible for federal budgets, but I'm not holding my breath.

      Peace, NDD

      "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

      by New Deal democrat on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:59:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How do you propose to protect (0+ / 0-)

        these state "rainy day funds" from - let´s say - another federal "Bush administration"?

        •  Some states have had rainy day funds (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vets74

          and it has only required corrupt state officials to raid them.

          If Federal aid were conditioned as I've suggested, there would be a second layer -- federal approval -- to get to them.  Even with a Bush Administration, that might not be forthcoming.  

          No plan of checks and balances can be guaranteed not to be susceptible to circumvention, but it can be made a lot harder (just like the Courts).

          "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

          by New Deal democrat on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:15:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think you may be too optimistic (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, cassidy3, Cynic in seattle

        because we are seeing severe cuts for NEXT fiscal year.

        Right now we do not see a significant turnaround in private employment for at least another year, maybe more.

        That means personal income remains depressed, which depresses retail activity, which hurts those jurisdictions depending upon sales tax for revenue.

        The housing market is still not turned around.  That and the continuing unemployment puts downward pressure on house values, and some programs, such as the first time buyer tax credit, are expiring, and so far attempts at mortgage renegotiations have not had the impact on foreclosures some people expected.

        Credit card companies, having jacked up rates as much as they could, are now on top of that without much notice looking for excuses to cancel cards, further constricting spending.

        I am far from sure that states and localities are at the worst point in this cycle.  I think absent additional stimulus a double dip is far more likely than not.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:20:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately, your concerns are not misplaced (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greeseyparrot

      Here in the PDX/Beaverton area, people are fighting to just keep the school size AS IS.

      Why yes, I am Catholic.

      by ems97007 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:03:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Kids don't make campaign contributions (7+ / 0-)

      That is the pure and simple explanation for how they can get away with this.

      A young woman I know is in the last part of her doctorate in school psychology. It's not a highly paid occupation in the grand scheme of things, and on top of that she chose to concentrate on children in what are kindly called lower socioeconomic areas. So she knew she wasn't going to get rich. She signed up for an internship next year in a very troubled school district exactly because those kids needed her most. She wouldn't have been paid much, but enough to cover her tuition.

      This week she's heard that while she can still do the internship, the district can't pay her anything. Nada. Zippo. Zilch. They are laying off hundreds of teachers. She definitely will have her work cut out for her in that circumstance.

      How many insurance company, banking, hedge fund, pharmaceutical, or military contracting executives would work for nothing? But why not, huh?

      •  To further support your point... (8+ / 0-)

        Last year, my state university had its budget slashed by $100 million.

        The state then allowed the school to raise tuition from $4,300 to $4,950. The $650 raised per student across the SUNY system amounted to many millions.

        98% of that money was swept into the state coffers to balance the budget.

        This was larceny.

        I let my local Democratic candidate know that his vote was amoral and indefensible. In person when I ran into him at a local bicycle shop. He was pretty sheepish. What the hell could he say?

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:36:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  you, sir, are correct (0+ / 0-)

      The Automatic Earth agrees with your assessment.

      "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

      by Stranded Wind on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:44:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How Dare You . . . (9+ / 0-)

      say "there are no easy fixes."

      Right there, saying that, you swallow the world view of the ruling class, you internalize the view of those who have no problem with America laying out $760 Billion for the Iraq War while our nation's people go without health, food, medicine, education, without a fair shot at their own potential.

      All to accomplish nothing besides profits for military contractors and Wall Street.

      Your essay indicates that swallowing this doesn't sit well on your stomach or your soul. You commiserate with us, and invite us to commiserate together. Uh huh.

      Well, hold on. None of this meltdown was an act of God. None of this ruinous was an 'economic accident' that we must now all endure by being strong and sharing our troubles. That's slave talk. It was some greedy people that managed to ruin us, and it would be better if you said so.

      Ken, if the head of any family in America were found to have mortgaged the family's property thrice over, spent all that money on gambling and high living, and then brought home to the kitchen table naught but an explanation that 'times are hard out there' -- would such heartless theft not raise your ire?

      That very crime has been done to the 300 million of us, all by the top few percentile who now clearly own and operate our government. The super wealthy and the 'corporate persons' who literally and genuinely possess the wherewithal of this nation pulled this off. Five Wall Street banks now own 63% of this nation and are growing daily. This is a rushing concentration of wealth like nothing that has ever existed on this planet. A concentration that puts a very damn few honchos and investors atop everything.

      They have what was once ours, including a fair shot at opportunity and our own potential. They did not earn it, they took it, and now they tell us that 'times are hard.'

      These damned few pulled this swindle off by revving up America's military and homeland security engines beyond the breaking point, by fraud aimed at extracting equity out of the middle class, and by speculating and gambling with not only everything our Treasury had on hand but could borrow from our future and from the other 200 nations out there.

      They did all this and now bring us an explanation that 'times are hard.'

      Don't swallow that lie from anyone, from any source. Don't accept tightening your belt because insane gamblers 'doing God's work' lost the nation's mortgage money, again. And again. And again.

      The origin of our current fiscal meltdown is not in State budgets, is not in the Federal budget, is not in a lack of revenue, is not in the luck of the draw, and is not an act of God. These are merely symptoms, these are situations left in the wake of fraud and theft.

      The origin of our ruinous economics is in elective resource wars fought for no other reason than to make more money for the few who already have most of the world's money. It is in the greed and runaway power of 'corporate persons' who carry on their shoulders no decent human restraints or responsibilities -- by law. By law it is illegal for any corporation to place human misery above quarterly profits. This makes them psychopaths for whom the whole world is not enough. When there is only one gigantic corporation remaining atop humanity, it will require more power, more profit, more of whatever can be found and turned into numbers.

      You're a good writer, Ken. Why don't you write about the people behind the curtain, about precisely who and how we 300 million got conned and cleaned out, instead of inviting us to commiserate around the kitchen table on a Saturday morning about something you cannot stomach, something you swallowed but it keeps coming back up?

      What, do you want us to swallow this line along with you?

      Few Americans grasp that our nation actually began 796 years ago, when the barons of England finally made the Magna Carta a done deal (there were several Magna Carta events in English history before the final version in 1214). By forcing King John -- literally at sword point -- to agree that England would be a nation of laws, not a nation ruled by the whims of men, they established the idea that made our Declaration and Constitution conceivable.

      In this era when America is plainly ruled by the whims of men, with inconvenient laws conveniently ignored, with free citizens held without due process, it is time to remember that what makes a serf is not his dress or illiteracy or low trade -- these can all be remedied. It is swallowing the world view of the Lords of the land, so that no remedies are sought. It is internalizing the aristocrat's view of this world and your place in it. It is accepting lies about freedom in place of justice.

      The only sure remedy for swallowing poison is not to swallow it.

      Don't internalize this 'time are hard' line.

      Internalize this instead -- we have been taken from beyond any decent measure by a select damned few with no capacity for knowing when enough is enough. Internalize what the barons of England finally knew in their hearts -- that there is no natural limit to what will be taken from us if we stand apart and allow it. That even when there is nothing left us at all that more will be sought, and more will be taken.

      What the hell are we doing around the kitchen table? Our place is on the streets, and on the rooftops.

      •  I like your (0+ / 0-)

        fighting spirit.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:26:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am right there with you.. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greeseyparrot, aliasalias, cgirard

        We (as in We The People) have painted into this corner by a few plutocrats that have been sucking at the middle class tax revenue teat for three decades, which been building to a crescendo over the lat ten years as permanent war has profited the few and finally hit rock bottom with TARP - the biggest single transfer of wealth to the super rich ruling class from the rest of us.  

        Yes those that are actually engaged in national political dialog (not that many really) blame their fellow citizens' ideology across the isle rather than focus on the aristocracy that continues to stir the pot of the masses then close the doors and make their deals to benefit only those in the room.

        I'm tired of it and have tried to raise my voice, but so many people are so beaten down right now just trying to survive that most aren't even paying attention.  We may be witnessing the last dying vines of a republic or things might get so bad that we'll have a truly angry public on our hands, which either way, it's going to get seriously ugly.

        (I think that many citizens that had previously felt disenfranchised saw the 2008 election as their chance to change the system through voting (how it's supposed to work, right?) but now feel duped and more disenfranchised than ever.)

        I wish I had an answer, but many people are just fighting to survive and keep their jobs and houses, they can't, or don't want to, equate their situation with a chance at real populist power to save themselves and their country.  

        What good is a man who won't take a stand? What good is a cynic with no better plan? - Ben Harper

        by MaryAEnglish on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:24:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It has to be in the WORKERS' (0+ / 0-)

        factories, medical "clubs", etc.

    •  great diary, teacherken (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cgirard

      ... but I must take exception to one line:

      Last year we avoided another Depression, thanks to the stimulus, ARRA.

      No, we didn't avoid another Depression.  During the Depression, most people still had jobs.  It wasn't like everyone was starving.  It just sucked for an awful lot of people.  Read your diary to see how it's pretty much the same today.

      This Depression just looks different thanks to the automobile-centered culture of today.  

      •  sorry, but even w/U6 unemployment much lower (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mimi9, ladybug53

        now than in the heart of the Great Depression.  Now if U3 + U6 were hitting 25% I might agree with you.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:43:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Duncan/Obama's plan is still punitive..... (6+ / 0-)

      Instead of bolstering neighborhood schools, we continue down this road of bussing kids to other areas, closing schools not performing to expectation and firing teachers for same.

      Duncan's drive is to a "charter" system, which is completely out of sync with a "public" education.

      You cannot expect teachers and schools to perform to some expectation if their kids aren't prepared to learn, speak English or have a desire to be educated.  Many areas are dealing with kids who not only don't speak English, but don't read or write in their native tongue.  How is a school supposed to overcome these kinds of obstacles without Herculean help?  Add to that the "mainstreaming" of children with disabilities and it is almost impossible for the average teacher to cope.  

      Another child was stomped half to death in the same school where three kids set a fellow student on fire.  

      The real answer to education is to deal with the ignorance and poverty that blights many of our schools and sends children to school wholely unequipped or inspired to learn.  Obama is the one person who could actually change much of this simply by being who he is, but they would rather continue to close schools and create more transportation problems for those who can least deal with them.

      •  except for the fourth paragraph, I feel like you (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        importer, ladybug53, Cassandra Waites

        have visited where I work...I don't think many people realize that mainstreaming and least restrictive envronment often means putting as many special needs students as possible into classrooms  that have a helping teacher. My classes range from 25% to nearly 90% sped - general education science classes. Four of the five classes are content taught by a new teacher.
        It's a Sisyphusian task even with Herculean help.

    •  small but significant typo (0+ / 0-)

      right at the end

      By that moral test, all of our governments are about to be found badly wanting if we do address this Ruinous Meltdown before it destroys the hope and future for a generation of young people.

      when I believe you meant (see bold change)

      By that moral test, all of our governments are about to be found badly wanting if we do not address this Ruinous Meltdown before it destroys the hope and future for a generation of young people.

      Otherwise, spot-on analysis.  I am fairly certain that I and my immediate family will survive the coming decade or two fairly intact - but I fear for my children and grandchildren's future, in a way that I simply cannot put into  words.

      It's visceral, this fear.

      Nothing like I've ever felt before in my life, and as I speak to many in my sphere of influence, I find that it is not just me that has this feeling, it is pretty wide-spread in my community.

  •  Do students know who is giving them the shaft? (29+ / 0-)

    I'm wondering if students who are directly impacted by the program cuts and larger class sizes know it doesn't have to be like this?

    There's money out there, but the tax rate on those with high incomes is so low that these students are subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and infamous though the funding cuts to education?

  •  Something is deeply wrong in America (30+ / 0-)

    its time to invest in and not to divest the next generation.

    Oh no, the dead have risen and they're voting Republican. - Lisa Simpson

    by LaFeminista on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 03:53:03 AM PDT

  •  Your concerns are NOT misplaced (31+ / 0-)

    Let me use Illinois as an example. In Illinois, the state is drowning in debt. The governor has been trying to raise taxes for two years to prevent having to cut state services at a time when many people are having to rely on them. The Republicans are unified in their opposition to raising the state income tax by 1 percent. The Democrats understand the need to increase revenues because the deficits are requiring borrowing that will eventually cripple state government for a generation.  However, many Democrats are afraid of taking action without a single Republican vote because it may cost them their majority. The alternative to raising taxes is to gut spending on education, health care, job training, senior services, regulatory inspections, and other vital services. Such cuts would hurt the economically disadvantaged and most vulnerable. The pigs in my state will risk insolvency and gladly see the suffering of the poor as long as they do not have to pay another 1% in state income taxes.

    Please help the people of Haiti

    by DWG on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 03:53:13 AM PDT

    •  We're facing the exact same scenario (9+ / 0-)

      in Georgia.  The Gold Dome here have their collective heads up their asses.  The governor has already furloughed ALL state employees, including educators, for 7 to 10 days with another 3 days to come before June.  

      School districts have already given layoff notices to tens of thousands of teachers and support personnel. Lest you think that is exaggeration, DeKalb County (south Atlanta) just announced that it will be closing 21 elementary schools.  Fulton County will be laying off more than 1000 educators and support personnel.  These are just two counties in the metro Atlanta area; there are similar horror stories around the rest of the state.

      Unfortunately, there is no collective will of the people in this state.  Many have drunk deeply of the "government has no place in education" kool-aid and really don't care. Many of these people have only a high school education themselves, if that.  It's all "I didn't go to college, and I did fine" and other dreck like that.  You're damned near tarred and feathered if you mention raising taxes.  At least until the NIMBY syndrome hits.  By then however, it will be way too late to stop the train.

      I'm finishing up my Junior year as an ece-general /special ed major.  I've got three semesters after this one.  I'm praying that something eases before my cohort hits the streets, but I'm not counting on it.

      If you're interested, here's a link to the AJC's education blog written by Maureen Downey.  Get Schooled

      No PO, no $$$, no kidding. (kerplunk) No rights, no $$$. You want some fiscal lovin', then pony up some *&##ing equality!!! (earicicle)

      by Heiuan on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:44:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Georgia already dropping Natl Board stipends (6+ / 0-)

        from what I have heard from brethren among teachers in that state.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:21:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep. Those are gone. (6+ / 0-)

          Stipends for higher degrees are also gone.

          As an additional problem, they're really trying to implement merit pay.  It made it into our RttT application.  So far, it's going to be implemented in selected school districts as of next year, I believe.  It won't be state-wide, as our legislators took their heads out of their keisters long enough to realize that they don't have any empirical evidence on how it can be implemented and whether it works.  Instead, they've formed a "study group" instead, to explore how it.  ::sigh::

          I read one great retort to those who favor merit pay because it works in the "rest of the working world."  The person stated, and I'm paraphrasing, "your merit pay system works because it is dependent on YOUR work, not whether the guy in the next cubicle feels like demonstrating something you taught him."

          No PO, no $$$, no kidding. (kerplunk) No rights, no $$$. You want some fiscal lovin', then pony up some *&##ing equality!!! (earicicle)

          by Heiuan on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:19:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  My admin has asked me to begin the National (6+ / 0-)

          Boards process, next year.  

          I already have a $20,000 student loan for the 3rd degree I had to complete to get certified, and KY is considering shortening the school year (with resulting loss of salary).  My hubby has been severely under-employed for two years, now, and we've been told to expect that our health insurance costs may rise by 15-20% next year.  

          I'd like to go through the process, but I don't see how we can possibly afford it.  We're just barely scraping by what with having to help my Mother out after she had a near death, cardiac episode last fall due to a prescription med mistake on the part of her doctor ... aagh, but I digress.  We are paying out-of-pocket for the health aide's help needed to keep her living in her assisted living community instead of having to have her lose her independence and move in with us.  

          I hope this doesn't come off as just whining, because I do recognize that we are actually better off than the many who are facing long furloughs and lay-offs.  

          But, to the diarist's point, how in the hell can I consider doing as my administration wants me to regarding starting the National Boards process?  We looked at our finances, and we're down to cutting out the broadband internet, and/or our son's trumpet rental payments (our last two luxuries) or taking on more debt that we can't see how we could pay back.

          I want to do National Boards! I also want to go back to school at night to pursue my PHD in my favorite content area!  I just don't see any way I can do either and still care for my family.  And, that is frankly breaking my heart, because I think both efforts would make me a better teacher for my students.

          Medicare for ALL, now! Join the Movement Grayson's March 27th Money Bomb

          by bkamr on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:49:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  In all fairness, that 1 point increase translates (0+ / 0-)

      into a 33.3% increase in taxes.  The tragic part is that the deficit is so huge that even if they get the increase, they will still have to slash spending.  If they don't get the increase...well the state might just have to hold a going out of business sale. (The thought of this has conservative Republicans salivating.)

      Many people in Illinois just don't understand how things could have gotten so bad without gross mismanagement. (Governor Quinn, having just taken office, of course, had nothing to do with running up all that deficit spending, but I fear he may end up taking the fall for it.)

      •  Gross mismanagement (0+ / 0-)

        LIke the tax concessions given to businesses even though Illinois has the lowest corporate tax rate in the region? LIke having to absorb higher costs for Medicare because the Bush scum cut payments to states?

        The tax increase will not erase the deficit but would allow breathing room until the economy recovers. The state tax rate has been kept artificially low and fees raised instead of adopting sound fiscal policy.

        The conservatives better not salivate. With unemployment this high, cutting services will bring social unrest. Conservatives are genuinely stupid and short-sighted people blinded by their own greed.

        Please help the people of Haiti

        by DWG on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:04:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tax receipts (14+ / 0-)

    My little community passed a small tax levy for the schools in Nov. 2008, yet tax receipts are down $15 million due to layoffs, foreclosures, etc. I rather expect cuts coming to our district, but it's going to get even closer to the bone. We long ago stripped stipends for Nat'l. Board teachers - there is zero assistance from the district or the state at this point for those that wish to earn it going forward, not sure about those already certified. We do not transport our high school students nor help them pay for bus passes on the county bus service. I have 26 students in my 2nd grade class, which is average. One of our kindergarten teachers has 28. These are just a few signs of the misery, and we have been in a Great Recession for over a decade as GM and other industries have closed down.
    I don't know the answer as there seems to be no political will to tax higher income earners. I guess once the damage is done, we'll figure out something but I can't think what, exactly.
    A little discouraging to say the least. We can't do much but "hang in there". Take care.  (I guess I missed it but I presume you found your wayward kitten?)  

    Think what you are doing today. -Fred Rogers

    by JanL on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 03:54:24 AM PDT

  •  A request.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error

    Can you post your diaries on huffingtonpost where they will get more readers?
    FDL too, if you are so inclined.
    You can just paste the same ones, no need to rewrite.
    The message you are trying to share is so important.
    Thanks

    •  not inclined to post at either place (14+ / 0-)

      at Huffington they would simply be lost in the volume

      and while there are some things about FDL I respect, I prefer not to have a direct association.

      Thanks for the thought.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:01:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for not lowering yourself... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kestrel9000, JaxDem, bluezen

        tk on HP imho would be like Dick Vitale hawking Hooters - not a good fit.

        •  lol...excellent... (3+ / 0-)

          As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

          by JaxDem on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:58:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  These comments make me sad (11+ / 0-)

            If we aren’t willing to work together with those who share our goals then how we will get anything accomplished at all?  Yes, it’s much more fun to throw verbal darts at the people at HuffPo and FireDogLake than it is to actually swallow our pride and say “let’s see what we can do to fix this horrendous problem together.”  

            Instead we have created classes of progressives who won’t work with each other due to hard feelings and never-ending wars of words.  In the meantime the red state governors and legislatures are taking full advantage of the economic crisis to pass draconian legislation that will begin the process of ending public education once and for all in the United States.  But at least we can stay pure in our ideologies and fiddle while the school system burns down!

            Here is FL we have been introduced to Senate Bill 6 which requires every single teacher in the state to give up collective bargaining, due process, seniority, and guts the National Board program entirely.  Another bill on its way will allow the state to ignore the Class Size Amendment (which was passed by an overwhelming majority of voters) the very year it is supposed to go into full effect.  

            From now on teacher salaries must have at least 50% or more of compensation tied to test score results.  Districts who do not comply will lose all state funding.  Teachers will not be able to renew their teaching certificates without satisfactory test score results, despite the checkered history of the state testing program which has produced many anomalies and mistakes over the years.

            My own district has cut $44 million from its budget in the last 2 years.  We are expecting another $6 to $15 million in cuts next year.  We have endured three years of pay cuts and increases in insurance copays.  The National Board bonus is a lifeline for me, Ken, and not a luxury. Yet the state, while cutting its already too-low spending on schools (while refusing to even talk about fixing the corporate tax loopholes that allow big box stores and other multinational corporations to pay little or no taxes in the state) is widely expanding charter schools and testing mandates, which will be paid for with the few dollars we are allocated now.

            We do have a parent/teacher grassroots initiative that shows some promise:

            Fund Education Now

            Perhaps other states can take a look and see about either forming such groups themselves.  I personally can’t afford to pinch my face about allies like HuffPo and FDL; we need all the help we can get at this point.

            If things continue as they are public education will be gone in Florida in a generation.  New Jersey, Arizona, and other states governed by Republicans have similar language in their anti-teacher legislation, pointing to a national effort that has long been the dream of republicans: end public education as a subsidy forever.

            •  I find too much of FDL counterproductive (9+ / 0-)

              sorry, but when they bleat about primarying Sen. Sanders as not pure enough for them, they've lost me.

              do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

              by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:22:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I’m sorry (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                aliasalias

                that we can’t be allies in this fight teacherken.  I hope that individually we can do something to help each other.  I’m a Firepup and a Kossack and I don’t apologize for either.  Peace to you and good luck.

                •  each of us chooses venues w/which (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  miss SPED

                  we can feel comfortable.  Again, I respect some of what FDL does, but promoting primarying Sanders was too much for me.

                  do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

                  by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:48:45 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  i am confused... you just said how you want (0+ / 0-)

                  to work together but now you tell tk you can't be "allies" - why not?

                  that he doesn't choose to post on fdl doesn't mean you can't read his work and act on it here, does it?

                  it isn't all or nothing.

                  it is a big, wide web out there - information flows from many sources.  writers aren't required to post on ALL sources to be heard.  

                  and, imho, it makes better informed those who DO go to multiple venues - each offers (or doesn't) different material, different views.  

                  i don't WANT a single duplicated regurgitation of the same information on multiple sites - i want diversity... and i want to pick where to find it and let those sites with whom i don't agree find their own readers - i'll look elsewhere for information.

                  then, on a third (or fourth or fifth) neutral site, differences in opinion gets cross posted, ideas get shared, views get discussed.

                  that's the way we come to consensus.  the same is NOT better - we need cherish our differences and allow people to disagree.

                  we are the future. no one else. WE are the ones who make change happen in every little detail we do. make it count. we only get one go-round.

                  by edrie on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 11:35:47 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Since I spend far more time (0+ / 0-)

                    at FDL and find the blogging there to be more in line with my own politics I doubt that we will cross paths much.  Slamming Jane Hamsher and Arianna Huffington are too much for me.  

                    When asked to crosspost and spread the word to a wider audience, it was teacherken who said he didn’t care to reach those audiences.  Well, I am those audiences.  I accept that I am too much for him and many other Kossacks.  

                    I wish you both well.

                    •  you misinterpret (0+ / 0-)

                      I said I did not wish to be associated with Fire Dog Lake.  My sense is that most of the people who would be interested in what I have to say who read FDL already read me here.

                      As for Huffington, I sincerely doubt that many people would even find me were I to post over there.  

                      And again, if you find what I say of such interest to audiences over there there is nothing stopping you from writing your own piece and linking to me.

                      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

                      by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 01:41:49 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I have no desire (0+ / 0-)

                        to argue with you but neither do I consider you an ally.  

                        I come here on occasion and I read your diaries when I see them.  Some I agree with, some I don’t.  I write my own diaries already on FDL and may or may not link to you, as the occasion merits.

                        You’ve made your position perfectly clear regarding me and my friends at FDL, whom I do consider allies, as have I regarding your statements about us, which I feel mischaracterize us and apply a far different standard than is applied here.  

                        The craziest diaries posted on Kos don’t seem call into question the loyalty of one’s membership in this community and certainly don’t seem to apply to all Kossacks but a diary at FDL is enough to call into question the entire membership of that site and their bonafides in the progressive spectrum for some here.  Ok.

                        It doesn’t really matter to me where you do or don’t post.  You are free to do as you choose as are we all.  I thought the request you received to post this diary on other sites to enlarge your audience was complimentary and kind and spoke well of your message.  Your response was surprising to me and seemed less gracious.

                        Perhaps I am wrong.  I certainly have made mistakes before and intend to do so again -- that’s how I learn.  Forgiveness and mercy do me in great stead, as do a broad tolerance for differences of opinion in others whom I hobnob with here and at FDL and many other places.  I fear no taint myself.

                        I, again, wish you peace and wish you well, as a fellow NBCT and colleague.

                        •  i'm sad that you place your (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          teacherken

                          "friendship" over issues that affect all americans.

                          this fight (over healthcare) isn't about which group says what - it is about achieving healthcare into law that can become the foundation for healthcare for all.

                          the fdl/dk battle is far too "personality" driven - it has overshadowed the real issue: enacting healthcare reform (in this lifetime for many who need it NOW).

                          i would NEVER dismiss someone whose goals or views i share simply because that person doesn't "like" my friends - this isn't about a social network - it is about activism to move government forward...

                          when cliques develop, then we lose our effectiveness as a solid political voice.  

                          i would be sad to think that you put "friendship" (of unseen people who blog together) over real political issues that face this nation right now - today - as we are both typing unseen from our respective locations.

                          where one blogs primarily does not automatically exclude visiting other sites - and harboring ill will toward one blog or another is self-defeating.  the "personality" cults that have developed (on both sides, perhaps) are harmful and distracting.  how can we change opinions of those in congress if we are unwilling to change our own.  the sad part of all of this is that we haven't TRIED to "change opinions" - we've condemned personalities who WRITE opinions.

                          instead of arguing fact based positions, we call names, we point fingers, we do stupid things (and, yes, on the orange side, many are upset at the grover norquist issue - and prefer to stay far away from those that are considered by many to be extreme).

                          BUT, that said, it isn't about jane h. or markos m. or any OTHER single name - we are all free to discuss issues, defend our positions (while, hopefully, being willing to modify them), and work toward a common good.

                          my particular difficulty with some online is their locking into a particular view even when that view does more harm than good.  the lack of political realism prevents the very goals we seek from EVER being realized... yet, when the old folks (i'm one) among this try to point it out, the namecalling and insult hurling begins.

                          all of the frenzied handwringing and excitability of the past year is suddenly becoming a dish of crow to be devoured by those who were most vocal because the hcr is FINALLY becoming reality... granted, not in the ideal form, but in the first stage to eventually reach that form.

                          for many of us who've been around this political planet a few decades (too many to enumerate), we've seen that this is how change happens... break the inertia and then the movement will take over and accomplish what is good.

                          look to stupak, look to nelson - both tried - and have (apparently) failed in their goals with stupak paying the biggest price, exposure of his association with the "family".

                          lincoln is now in the fight of her political life.  other blue dogs are seeing that they can no longer go against the will of those who put them in office.

                          THIS is how the system works... and, yes, we are a part of that system.  we would be a more effective part is we simply grew up and learned how to channel our common goals to assist those in congress achieve what is real at this time in reality - and then worked toward bettering that progress.

                          i hope you'll not take your "opinions" and go "home" - rather, i hope you will come here and offer productive discussion and ideas and leave the "personality of blog cult" issues aside.  i do that every time i come here.  there are many who fall into that category at EVERY blog - this one is no exception.

                          i come here for the ideas, the coordinated effort, the positive influence - not the bickering or arguments or personalities.

                          looking forward to seeing you around in future discussions about how to make this nation a better place.

                          peace.

                          we are the future. no one else. WE are the ones who make change happen in every little detail we do. make it count. we only get one go-round.

                          by edrie on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:20:59 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  so you think Bernie Sanders should be primaried? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          slinkerwink

                          call it a litmus test if you want, but that is for me beyond the pale

                          as is personally savaging people with whom one has disagreements.

                          I support people with whom I do not always agree.  I can respect honest differences.  My problem is that some at FDL have decided they are the sole arbiters of what is truly Progressive.

                          If that is your attitude, then you would be well advised not to consider me an ally, because that is not how I operate.

                          Yes, there are issues on which I will draw strong lines.  But that is for me far more the exception.

                          I work to persuade, and as far as most elected Democrats, I try to understand from where they are coming.

                          Take Joe Lieberman for example.  He is now leading on repealing DADT.  If we had stripped him of seniority or committee chair would we have his voice on that issue?  What price purity?

                          I read about some of those being savaged on health care and perhaps because I know them, have talked with them, even if I am not a close friend, I am willing to cut them some slack.  

                          Take Nick Rahall, for example.  He was a early supporter of Obama in the primary season, even though he knew his district would go strongly for Clinton.  Coming out for Obama did not do him any favors with many in his district.

                          So, follow the path you deem appropriate.

                          And don't get me wrong.  I personally like Jane Hamsher.  I happen to disagree with the approach she takes.  And because of how I operate I choose not to post my material myself over there because it would function as a quasi-endorsement of the site that I am unwilling to make.

                          I greatly respect Marci Wheeler, whom I consider a friend from our exchanges starting at the first yearlykos in Las Vegas.  I think she has done wonderful work on a number of issues.

                          I do not worry about "taint" as you put it.  I have associations that others would clearly condemn.  Perhaps my closest friend from my participation in a political leadership program at the Sorensen Institute is a Republican who is very close to Bob McDonnell and served on his transition.  

                          I chose not to associate myself with FDL and find I need no other reason than the over the top reaction to Sanders.  

                          I supported nyceve an slinkerwink when some here were attacking them for being paid by Jane for the work they were doing on healthcare.  I have friends in the Virginia blogosphere who were paid by Jane, and that did not strain those relationships.

                          I am sorry that you seem to think that because I choose not to post where you suggest that somehow I am intolerant of different opinions.  I will put up my 6+ years on this site (my uid is 4334, one lower than slinkerwink) as evidence to the fact that I am quite tolerant of different opinions, and regularly engage in civil exchanges with those with whom I have strong disagreements.

                          I am taking the time to make this final response precisely because I believe in being as civil as possible.

                          Peace.

                          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

                          by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:28:40 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

              •  and HP ? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tommymet

                well, imho it's the internet's 'Entertainment Tonight,' with some op ed pieces by friends of the founder.
                I thank tk for his integrity.

                •  for his 'purity' you mean... (0+ / 0-)

                  funny how it's integrity or principle sometimes and purity and ponies at others.

                  No disrespect to the teach, excellent essay...

                  Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                  by k9disc on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:59:33 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There's a difference between "purity" (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    edrie, miss SPED

                    and "not wanting to do things that either do not help or are actively harmful"

                    Teacherken's objections to cross-posting at Firedoglake and Huffington Post seem, to me at least, to be firmly in the latter category.

                    And I think he's right, but that's not relevant.

                    --Shannon

                    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
                    "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

                    by Leftie Gunner on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:09:06 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No there isn't. The only difference is the (0+ / 0-)

                      perspective of the person levying the accusation.

                      I happen to think that teach's stance is quite fine - and would not give him any guff for taking it, and I don't think he's being a purity troll.

                      I do, however, notice that it's only purity when it's being done by the other side. But for our team it's integrity or principle.

                      peace, lg...

                      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                      by k9disc on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 03:54:54 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  huh? that is just plain weird. (0+ / 0-)

                    "purity" around here has been used when those with very restricted ideology proceed in the opposite direction of their own best interests over narrow goals... i.e. naderites, "kill the bill" folks, etc...

                    AND the disdain comes when people are willing to lock into that narrow view and join with those who are ideologically opposed to their real goals to achieve that negative goal of "killing the bill".

                    i think the old adages "cut your nose off to spite your face" or "shoot yourself in the foot" pretty much sum it up.

                    some of us LIKE our noses and prefer to keep our feet healthy - and don't want to be associated with that side of the health care movement.  we'd rather keep on working to achieve those goals, no matter how long it takes.

                    AND, when this type of rabid ideology occurs, we've already seen the consequences (8 years of bushco thanks to the damnable naderites) - that is the damage we are trying to undo and will be for generations to come.

                    that explains why so many of us want to stay as far away from that extreme element of the progressive movement and don't want to do anything to increase their legitimacy.

                    we are the future. no one else. WE are the ones who make change happen in every little detail we do. make it count. we only get one go-round.

                    by edrie on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 11:44:31 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  Take the URL (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FarWestGirl

      And put it on FB or other sites as well as send it out on messages you would want others to see. Let them know they to should do same, will they who knows but it does give the chance for even more visibility then in the mess of huff and traffic of other sites, you probably would hit eyes that need to read it rather then the choir.

      "What is the difference between an al Qaida terrorist and a misguided American terrorist?" "The planes they fly!"

      by jimstaro on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:37:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe if you ask permission, you could copy/paste (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cgirard

      at FDL and HP.

      I have given permission with my diaries to others to please, copy/paste and distribute in any way possible.

      Got to get the word out.

      This diary, coupled with the stories from local citizens reporting this travesty in their area is a BIG story.

      Our children are being flushed

  •  I am unconvinced that Depression has been avoided (27+ / 0-)

    by the ARRA; it has merely been postponed. It was too small and underfunded.

    The shadow housing inventory of existing homes that have been (or soon will be) foreclosed upon is in the millions but is nowhere to be found in the typical housing inventory numbers. As soon as the megabanks are ready to show their losses on their books, that shadow inventory will come to market at rockbottom prices, and when it does, existing home prices will take another quantum leap downward.

    Those owners who are barely afloat now will go underwater leaving this generation with debt they will never erase before traditional retirement age without bankruptcy reform that allows judges to reduce principal on primary residences to current market levels.

    With unresolvable debt levels so high, the consumer will not be able to mount a recovery, keeping employment at these depression-like levels for years, leading to more foreclosures, and the downward cycle continues.

    Add to that the massive Commercial Real Estate bubble that rivals -- if not exceeds -- the Housing Bubble in its scope, and we have yet another banking catastrophe about to happen, only this time, it will be small to midsize banks that take the hit, but since they lack the political clout of the megabanks, they will go bellyup leaving local businesses with no source to find operating capital.

    Until we tax the hell out of the Rich like presidents from Roosevelt to Nixon did, we will not have a prayer of repairing the Middle Class, let alone sustaining the Poor.

    Groucho Marx sings the new GOP motto: I'm Against It!

    by Jimdotz on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:07:10 AM PDT

    •  I agree it was too small (7+ / 0-)

      just like the most recent jobs bill was way too small.

      We either act boldly or we may die the death of a thousand cuts.

      I do not, however, see a depression on the immediate horizon.  And if health care passes and we can begin to turn our attention to other critical issues, we may be able to get through the continuing recession.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:13:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jimdotz

      Just an FYI.  Returning the taxes on the "rich" back to what they were during the Reagan administration, you would increase tax receipts about 2% above where they are now on them.

      Time for some math.  Lets say the "rich" pay 75% of all federal tax receipts.  2009 saw about $1 trillion in taxes, so 75% of that is about $750 billion.  Increase that by 2% and you get $765 billion in taxes collected from the rich, giving us a whopping total of $1.015 trillion in tax revenue.

      That's not going to fix the problems we are having now.

      "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

      by erush1345 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:14:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  offset the current cuts (4+ / 0-)

        by that increase and it has a significant impact on state and local budgets

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:25:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Reagan cut (4+ / 0-)

        the tax on the top incomes from 70% to 35% and eliminated the category of "Unearned Income" for Capital gains and royalties. For UI over $1million, the rate was 92%. Since those cuts, the upper 2% of earners have regularly sequestered more and more of society's wealth, paying lower and lower taxes. So the statement that returning to pre Reagan tax tables would increase revenues by only 2% is, if you will, unbelievable on its face. Please cite your source. If its one of the right wing think tanks or a single chart that holds all other variables steady, its nonsense. One thing going on at the moment is a frantic effort to rewrite the inheritance tax before it resets. That's not, IMHO, because they are unwilling to return to the pre Bush, very modest, tax. Its because, if the people discover its impact on the deficit that we are be scolded about, it will restart our appetite for taxing the rich.  

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:54:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hi tech research moving off shore (15+ / 0-)

      I read last week (WSJ?) about major hi tech firms that are building massive research facilities in China and moving some upper level managers there, including one of the founders of the computer industry, hiring in China (abundant well educated, low cost workforce) and laying off people in Silicon Valley.  A friend who lives in this area developed a new solar panel design and manufacturing process.  He was the former head of a major hi tech company.  He spent years trying to get venture capital, gave up and sold it all to an Asian company.  If we had any commitment to solving the energy problem, this wouldn't have happened.  And if the company had been funded here, there's a good chance the jobs would have remained here.

      We are a nation that no longer makes anything, is starting to see a serious brain drain and is dependent on Wall St. (speaking of no value added), consumers and construction.  From what I read, Wall St. is feeling little pain.  And why should they.  They were bailed out by the taxpayers and love the low interest rates.  They can borrow for next to nothing and make money on government paper and on all kinds of speculation.

      •  Tech saw globalization early (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jimdotz, miss SPED, tardis10

        and at an accelerated pace.

        It's even easier to source knowledge workers from anywhere on earth than it is to source manual labor--you don't even need to move factories.

        Rates for coders collapsed years ago.  The best developers went and got MBAs and found that even that wouldn't protect their jobs for very long.  Many have sought economic refuge by managing the new teams in India, China, and elsewhere.

        10 Years ago we only outsouced code maintenance and low level coding.  Now, the whole process, from R&D to architecture and development is shifting overseas.  

        It can come back to the US.  That won't happen though until the wage flattening of globalization is complete.

        Now if we could get wage flattening for the execs...

        "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius

        by Mosquito Pilot on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:59:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's nowhere near true (0+ / 0-)

        We are a nation that no longer makes anything

        What an odd claim to make about the nation that is, and has been for decades, the world's largest manufacturer.

        I know it's easy to slip into hyperbole, and the fact that a lot of U.S.-made products aren't consumer goods with which the average person would be familiar makes things seem worse, but this nation still is the largest manufacturer in the world, followed by China and Japan, and after that by Russia, Italy, the UK, and France.

        •  Take a look at the breakdown (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jimdotz, erush1345

          of the GDP.  It isn't hyperbole.

          Drive through the "rust belt" and you'll see for yourself that it's not hyperbole.

          •  Sorry (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Blicero, Kickemout

            While you're welcome to your own opinion, you're not allowed to make up your own facts.

            We still are the largest manufacturing economy in the world.  

            The largest.

            It's ludicrous to claim that we don't manufacture anything.

            Has American manufacturing declined?

            You bet.

            Will we still be the largest manufacturer in 10 years?

            Most likely not, but we'll very likely be No. 2 or 3.

            Feel free to post links supporting the claim that the U.S. doesn't manufacture anything anymore.

            I'm sure my industrial clients, who make all manner of different things, from fabricated steel to airplane parts, would be interested in learning that their American factories actually don't exist.

            •  I live in a house built in 1978 (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FuddGate, Jimdotz
              Everything in the house was US-made, all the hardware and all the plumbing fixtures, and all the appliances.

              The car in the garage was made in 1968 and was 100% US-made, probably over 90% by unionized labor.

              The US fudges looking like a wealthy country.

              Haiti has more warm-weather salt water water view real estate than the lower 48-states excluding California.

              We count pills as being worth $10 each when less than half that would personally pay that price long-term.

              We count one day in the hospital in the US as being worth about $10,000. A Chinese teacher would work about three years to earn that.

              In China, 100% of economic activity is viable. If a Chinese man wants to run a business of any type, he can make it profitable if he is competent.

              To build a new house in Florida will soon cost with impact fees and health insured workers almost double the current market price of a used home.

              Only about 10% of the Florida workforce could pay new construction prices.

            •  Airplane seats? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dfarrah

              This thread is about high-tech.  We can make airplane seats till the cows come home, but every "knowledge" job that gets offshored means 3 or 4 "industrial" ones that eventually follow the high-tech jobs.  The job market follows general economic activity. And considering how great the airlines are doing, I wouldn't count on airplane seats to save us, either.  

              Our economy has a serious problem at the front end of the process:  educating the workers and designing the high-tech processes that will be the basis of tomorrow's economy.  You brush off the problem at the back end and ignore the real, serious problem that is happening at the front end.

              •  Airplanes are now being sent outside the US (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Big River Bandido, Jimdotz

                to be overhauled and refurbished.

              •  Not to mention the (3+ / 0-)

                issue of who will be able to afford to fly.

                The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                by dfarrah on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:42:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's what I meant by (0+ / 0-)

                  considering how great the airlines are doing, I wouldn't count on airplane seats to save us, either.

                  Making seats for a dying mode of transit will only stave off our day of reckoning another few years.  With the increase in fuel prices (not to mention the time, effort and aggravation of getting to/through airports — air travel has become an unsustainable model of mass transit.  Eventually there won't be enough people left who can afford the fares to keep the airlines running.  

                  I suspect the airlines will have to slim down, go to far fewer flights of much smaller planes, focusing only on the wealthiest passengers.  That's where the economic equilibrium is going to settle with airlines.  That's why it's critical to prepare our rail system for a mass influx of passengers over the next 10 years...all those travelers who won't be able to afford flying are going to need options, and the family car doesn't have much more long-term sustainability than the airlines.

                  •  Buses are more flexible than trains (0+ / 0-)

                    The best use of trains is to haul people around metropolitan areas.

                    The San Diego Trolley? shows how well such a system can be used.

                    Between cities bus operations like Megabus and the Chinese and other bus companies on gotobus.com function cheaply and profitably.

                    One can buy a $20 ticket from a cheerful seller in lower Manhattan and get to Washington, DC in slightly over four hours.  

                    •  Trains don't get stuck in freeway traffic jams (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      aliasalias

                      and a single train can carry as many as 10 busloads of people and baggage for far less fuel, and with less travel time.  I've put my life in the hands of Fung Wah before (and will not again).  Chinatown stations are usually out of the way of more developed transit routes, which adds travel time getting to and from the stations.  Megabus has cheap fares and leaves from Penn Station, but taking it to Boston (nearly 5 hours) is even slower than driving (4 hours) because it has to travel local streets the entire length of Manhattan to get on a freeway.  

                      I don't know anything about the San Diego Trolley.  But I commute everywhere on trains, every day — MTA, NJ Transit, Metro North.  And yes, they are great for getting around urban areas, but they are also outstanding for intercity travel, where lines and service are developed and supported.  Work takes me from my home in New York to Boston once a week;  I take Amtrak, because it is the only surface carrier that gets me there when I need to be there.  As a plus, it drops me off right in town, a 10-minute walk from work, refreshed and actually feeling human.  

                      •  I was a 'brakeman' years ago and we would have (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Big River Bandido

                        container trains with more than a hundred cars. That's a hundred less trucks on the highway and guaranteed of delivery regardless of the weather.
                        The highways in parts of Canada would be impassible  in the winter, but we never failed. That includes the passenger trains. We had snow plow attachments for mountainous areas where there weren't snow shelters (a shelter to have the snow slide over the shed, an artificial tunnel).
                        On the moving people part, to come from Vancouver to here in Bellingham on a bus is an all day affair and costs more than the train that gets here within a couple of hours. There wont be traffic problems like the highway and it is environmentally better (just like the example of the container train).

                        without the ants the rainforest dies

                        by aliasalias on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 02:38:22 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Takes more than a blizzard to stop a train (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          aliasalias

                          Just put a plow on the front and barrel through.  My trains to and from Boston haven't been late at all this winter, despite the weather.

                          •  actually there were 'work trains' that ran the (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Big River Bandido

                            snowplow exclusively, we didn't attach them to our train.
                            Some crews only worked in certain areas getting clearance to clear the track and then to get in the siding. Just like some areas had 'pusher trains' that did nothing more than 'tie on' to your train to add power to go up, and down a Pass, returning to their siding after decoupling.
                            One thing for sure the worst thing that could happen going 'up' a grade was that you would come to a stop, going downhill was the dangerous part because the weight pushing you can be too much to hold back with the lead engines, so the added engines really pushed 'back' on the train going down a steep grade. This is reversing the thrust of the engines (they're electric)basically in running in 'reverse' until you are at a better 'grade'.

                            without the ants the rainforest dies

                            by aliasalias on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:41:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I've traveled through 2 blizzards on trains (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            aliasalias

                            The first was just before Christmas in 2001, and I was going from New York to Chicago on the Lake Shore Limited.  It seemed to me that snow was falling constantly and quickly, the entire trip.  I don't recall if the airlines were still grounded for security reasons, but weather like that across the Great Lakes snarls air traffic internationally. We ended up being 2 hours late into Chicago, but it was far better than sitting in an airport.  

                            Then on the Presidents' Day (weekend) blizzard in 2003, I managed to get on the last train out of Washington, DC for New York.  Snow had started to fall but the real brunt of the storm didn't hit until we were on the way, and it did slow us down. But when I got into New York, trudging my way through snows over a foot high, I was amazed that we got through at all.  I gained a considerable respect for trains that night.

            •  Since 1980 (4+ / 0-)

              American worker's productivity has increased by large margins over every other industrialized country. Part of that increase has been management's shedding of over 5 million manufacturing jobs while mounting an all out assault on labor. None of that productivity increase has translated into increased wages, in fact wages have been flat or falling for 40 years. The profits have been transferred into non productive, now 'toxic', assets acting as savings for the very rich. Yes, we produce more that Germany or France or Japan, but they pay their workers better, give them more benefits and tax their rich to pay for it. We seem to prefer bending over and saying "please sir, can I have some more?"

              "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

              by johnmorris on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:33:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  we do supply the most 'arms' to the world (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Heart of the Rockies

            peace lovin' people that we are.

            without the ants the rainforest dies

            by aliasalias on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 02:27:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  This trickled down burden (13+ / 0-)

    is felt nationwide.  I've been reading articles in the local (Jacksonville, FL) paper on an almost daily basis for the last few weeks.

    Here is today's political cartoon from my local paper:

    Photobucket

    Says it all...

    Thank you teacherken for sharing the column and your personal insights into what I believe to be one of the top 5 most serious issues we are facing today.  The education of our children is an investment in our country's future.  The more paltry the investment the poorer the result.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:37:52 AM PDT

    •  I hated PE in high school. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem

      We had 2 years of it, in 8th and 9th grade. (My high school was 8-12, a somewhat unusual configuration.)

      These days I hear that in many schools there is NO public education. No wonder there's so much juvenile obesity.

      I have flow thru Detriot in recent months and the number of TSA women in hijab is alarming. It's like the foxes are overseeing the chicken coop -- A RW blogger.

      by Kimball Cross on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:22:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sadly, PE was cut from (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kimball Cross

        the Public Schools in this area almost a decade ago.  Even the private schools only offer the most scaled down version.  If you can't get parents to get involved enough to help with or at least check over their kid's homework, then you can forget about them seeing to it that the kids get their necessary daily exercise.  Saddest thing of all when we reached the point that teachers were expected to provide so much in the upbringing of our children because parents couldn't/wouldn't do it themselves.  

        As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

        by JaxDem on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:51:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  it's not a tax (6+ / 0-)

    it's a fee!

    Denver has an occupational privilege tax -- $4/month for the employer, $5.75/month for employee.  Hasn't been raised since I moved here in the mid 1980s.

    This year we also get to pay a $50 per company "fee" for having employees in Denver.

    What pisses me off about this is that our little lawfirm -- 3 people for whom we pay the tax -- pays the same $50 fee as a company with 300, or 3,000, employees.  So for us, percentage wise, it's a huge tax increase.

    The also added the same fee for businesses that collect sales taxes, with the same problem of being the same for the little hole-in-the-wall vendor, as it is for big enterprises.

    OF course we're TABORed, so Denver can't raise a tax without voter approval -- thus we see fees for everything and most hit the little guy much harder.

    Evil is making the premedicated choice to be a dick -- Jason Stackhouse

    by Frankenoid on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:43:30 AM PDT

    •  Have you seen all of the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Frankenoid, zinger99

      ads protesting Ritter's restoration of exemptions and tax cut?  Yeah, those companies are hurting so much that they can afford ads running every 15 minutes on tv.

      S---!  Ritter ought to tax the cost of advertising 100%--or pass laws that prevent such a waste of $$ on advertising.  Oh, but the wonderful SCOTUS says it's protected speech.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:47:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  investment in the children (6+ / 0-)

    Well, the most important investment isn't by teachers, it's by their parents, their families.  Any teacher will tell you that the parents are far more important in the child's education than the teacher.

    And the parents of our nation ain't so bright, by and large.  Far too many of them buy into the crapola of trickle-down economics and how tax cuts for the wealthy are needed so they can deem us worthy to create more jobs.

    So we keep going down the rat-hole of corporate politics by screwing ourselves (the parents) first, and then the teachers and all other public servants.

    I want to join this political party - where is it?

    by h bridges on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 04:51:50 AM PDT

  •  Relative cost of living is driving this (16+ / 0-)

    One of the major causes of this problem is that a middle class life style has become too expensive. Elizabeth Warren has been talking about this issue, and points out that we have been sliding downward for 30 years. My theory is that as all economies age (ours is the post WWII economy) those who control essential goods and services get better and better at extracting a larger share of the income pie. In addition, the speculative housing bubble was a real killer for cost of living. The problem is that as we slide down the relative income scale the cost of supporting services, like teachers, becomes more and more difficult. The only way to make this work is to go to a very steep progressive income tax, or, better yet, fix the income distribution problem.

  •  I would have liked to do National Board (8+ / 0-)

    but my district does not fund it, or pay a stipend for it. On a teacher's salary, I could not afford it.

    I often ask myself, who cares about the kids?  (I already know how few care about the teachers.) I see kids hungry (more than half of my our students qualify for free lunch.) I see them malnourished, eating hot doritos and Dr. Pepper for breakfast. I see them bought, with handheld games and mp3 players and keyboarded cell phones and very expensive Ed Hardy clothing and shoes, $185 Uggs, for heaven's sake.

    The message is that looks are what matter, and that school is a place to hang wih your homeboys. Discipline (on the infrequent occasions it occurs) results in angry screaming parent visits, threats of litigation, or...silence.

    Our magnet and Avid students, with dreams of college, how will they afford it?

    What future is there for our young people, when they can't get a job to feed and care for themselves? What future is there for their parents, in the same boat?

  •  Like I said before . . . (10+ / 0-)

    The whole idea behind gutting education in the US is to eventually destroy it -- both the institution and the country.

    Once the present system has been eliminated, then our fascist corporate overlords can implement their private, for-profit education system in its place -- and charge up the wahzoo for it, too.  Is this a great country, or what?

    The inmates are still running the asylum.  How much longer are we going to let them?

  •  Our school district budget was cut by 40%. (6+ / 0-)

    That's a Chris Christie move.

    •  Our CT town put 100 Teachers on notice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      miss SPED

      Jobs will be ended in September if they can't find funds -- which doesn't look good. School system has 5700 students.

      Anecdotal info but supports the diary thesis.

      Call it the 'Corporate New Deal' or a 'Plastic Democrazy'© if that makes you feel good. I call it Fascism.

      by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:55:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In New Jersey (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwires, hatdog

      TRENTON -- Gov. Chris Christie sent suburban and urban school districts reeling today with the release of district-by-district state aid figures that cut 40-, 50- or even 100 percent of their state aid allotments for the coming year.

      The cuts, included in a proposed state budget that would spend $820 million less on public schools next year, were designed to spread the pain around. Each of the state’s nearly 600 districts saw reductions of aid equal to about 5 percent of their current budgets.

      But the financial blow fell harder on some districts than others. Many — mostly wealthier suburban districts such as Chatham or Bridgewater-Raritan — saw more than half their state aid disappear. Another 59 districts, including Livingston, Millburn and Berkeley Heights, had all of their aid eliminated.

      http://www.nj.com/...

      In the poorer districts:

      Elizabeth lost $14 million; Newark $42.6 million; and Perth Amboy, $7.9 million.

      In addition Christie dished out

      new negotiating tools intended to give local governments, such as school boards, more firepower when dealing with employee unions.

  •  My thoughts on Arizona's whining citizens (21+ / 0-)

    I wrote this recently expressing my thoughts on Arizona's whining citizens.

    Taxes, Simple Math, and a Pot to Piss In

    I read this morning that the fine people of Arizona are finally all having a hissy fit because, due to the current Arizona budget shortfall, thanks to the Bush/Cheney recession, the government is going to close a bunch of rest stops along major highways. How Arizona Citizens Should Relieve Themselves .

    Here is how simple math works for the government to serve the people, which is its purpose, and a requirement for society to function.

    The shortfall of $100 million dollars would require an additional tax per capita on the 6,500,000 residents of the state of $15.25. OH THE HORROR! OH THE HUMANITY! In fact, that would provide a few thousand extra. Maybe they could use it on toilet tissue.

    You get what you pay for. If you want a place to stop and take a piss, then quit bitching and moaning about the evil government, and pay your taxes.

    If you want to really get what you pay for, on behalf of the people, quit voting the same crooks, liars, con artists, and sexually deviant Republicans into office, and start electing people who proudly announce they actually believe in government, and want to make it work, and further, to make it work on behalf of the people while spending your tax dollars to benefit humanity, not on crooked contracts and the war machine.

    And lo: there would be rest stops for all.

    I continue to be surprised that I have to explain these things. But then I see poll after poll where the government hating right wing, when pinned down, can not identify a single service that they would want to see defunded and stopped. Even while waving signs that tell me Obama is a socialist and they want to teabag somebody because of the unfair taxes they are paying. I wonder if they use publicly funded restrooms while taking breaks from those demonstrations? Do they put their ‘moran’ signs down or carry them to the toilet with them? Just wondering.

    What could be a more fundamental expression of why you pay taxes than having a place to stop and relieve oneself on a long drive on America’s highways.

    "We must become the change we want to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HeartlandLiberal on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:12:08 AM PDT

    •  AZ's new budget is an immoral document. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mimi9, gmb

      Brewer and the Kookocracy (copyright John Talton) have outdone themselves in combining huge spending cuts with corporate tax cuts (y'know, to "create jobs").  To me, it's pitchfork time, and yet the streets are empty...
       

      The Sleep of Regulation Produces Corporate Monsters.

      by Leftcandid on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:38:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Its a minor point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites

      compared to cutting teachers and plice, but not having rest stops does have a safety impact.  Especially on long distance truckers.  As a person who dealt with a very long commute at late night hrs, the rest stop was the one place I could take a break and feel (relatively) secure in the car.

      Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

      by barbwires on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:16:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome to Grover's Bathtub. (13+ / 0-)

    "Who am I to give science the brush?" Sugarpuss O'Shea

    by semiot on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:22:23 AM PDT

  •  the multinationals have won. (20+ / 0-)

    A powerful middle class was their enemy. Too rich, too demanding, too educated. First, with NAFTA and absolute free trade mantras, they exported a good number of solid jobs. That was the first inroad into the middle class.

    Then, they demonized unions and passed laws that made open shops or non-union labor the rule, not the exception.
    As PR moves, they repeatedly told us that Indian, Chinese and Indonesian workers did exactly what our workers did, but at 1/10 the cost - as though the problem was our workers were over paid, and not that the slave labor they sought was underpaid.

    Now, with economic upheaval, they put the final nails in the middle class coffin. Attack the remaining social network that made America strong. Attack education. Replace it with faith based industry, fear, and ignorance.

    If you thought the battle for HCR reform was dirty and underhanded, just wait for immigration, energy and cutting defense costs. We ain't seen nuttin yet.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:23:54 AM PDT

    •  Man, you nailed it (4+ / 0-)

      It's no accident that the HC deform bill ended up a windfall for Big Insurance on the backs of the middleclass. This whole administration is Rahm-tarded.

      What you describe is the final stages of a classic Friedman/neolibral attack on a weakened country. Unfortunately, this time the attack is on the U.S.

      Call it the 'Corporate New Deal' or a 'Plastic Democrazy'© if that makes you feel good. I call it Fascism.

      by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:18:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy... (12+ / 0-)

    and while we're at it, we should repeal the REAGAN tax cuts for the wealthy.  In 1980, when Ronald Reagan came to office, he doubled the military budget in peacetime and gave an equally large tax break to the wealthiest Americans.  Our country has never really recovered.  We have seen it for years - small cuts every year in schools and services.  And now that there is a major crisis in the economy thirty years later, things are starting to fall apart.  The money is there for services and employment for ordinary people.  It's in the military and the top 1% of people, those making over $400,000 per year.  We need the political courage to go after it.

    "There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end they always fail. Always." -Gandhi

    by Grandma Susie on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:27:00 AM PDT

    •  but... but... that's redistribution of wealth! (3+ / 0-)

      And we all know that all the rich worked so very hard and deserve everything they have.  None of their wealth could possibly be ill-gotten or somehow stolen from the rest of us via bad laws & unaccountable bailouts.  America is just too strong and free for that kind of thing to happen here.

      The Sleep of Regulation Produces Corporate Monsters.

      by Leftcandid on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:46:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oregon voters raised taxes on the wealthy (4+ / 0-)

      Just a few months ago, Oregon voters affirmed by referendum tax increases on wealthy individuals and on businesses that had been passed by the legislature but brought before the voters under our initiative system by conservatives trying to repeal the new increases.

      I'm struck by how wealthy people always clamor for tax cuts, claiming they are the only ones who invest and generate new jobs, but any effort to raise taxes on the rich suddenly is the most despicable and un-American type of class warfare imaginable. It's as if taxes on the wealthy are only supposed to go in one direction: down.

      And the taxes on business - oh how conservatives are howling about that.  It's the end of business in Oregon, they claim, as if all business will suddenly close up and leave the state.

      And yes, the recent tax increase did erode our ranking as one of the most tax-friendly states for business. The Tax Foundation, an apparently left-wing, big-government organization, recently released its 2010 State Business Tax Climate Index (caution: pdf) showing that Oregon's tax increase on business did indeed erode how favorable our tax structure was for business.  Instead of being the 8th most tax-friendly state, we're now the 14th most tax friendly state toward business.

      And to hear conservatives whine it's the end of the world.

      Fuck 'em.  Greedy bastards.  

      •  just wait until the first company leaves OR (0+ / 0-)

        it will all be blamed on the tax increase

        in fact expect every problem in the state to be blamed on it in an unrelenting manner

        even though the companies that leave would have left anyway

        even though the jobs WERE NOT being created befor the taxes were raised

        even though OR is still one of the least taxed states in the country.

        big badda boom : GRB 080913

        by squarewheel on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 10:31:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What do fed income taxes have to do with it? (0+ / 0-)

      Schools and state programs are primarily funded by..the states. So, along with balanced budget increase, seems to me a healty state tax increase is justifiable.

      Why do you want to send money to the Fed and hope it comes back, when you can just keep it stateside?

      On the wheel of ideology, the cogs of communism and fascism are close.

      by Liberaltarianish on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:53:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If the federal government had more money... (0+ / 0-)

        Federal aid to the states would be increased.  One of the things Reagan did in 1980 was to slash federal aid to the states.  I remember that at the time, federal aid to Massachusetts went down by $600 million per year (in 1980 dollars).  As a result, all of a sudden, Massachusetts had a $600 million deficit.  We have seen nothing but cuts in services ever since.  

        "There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end they always fail. Always." -Gandhi

        by Grandma Susie on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:06:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  raise the money from repealing tax cuts (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias, Grandma Susie

        and it is available to increase stimulus and job bills without further increasing the deficit.  

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:56:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The money from the Bush tax cut (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias, Grandma Susie

          expirations will go for health insurance funding.

          Billions could have been saved or made available for other uses such as school funding support by going to single payer and Medicare-rate public option, but all too often the cry was raised here and elsewhere for the acceptance of national Romneycare.

          I expect Obama to sign national Romneycare into law Sunday or Monday.

    •  The cuts were passed by reconciliation (0+ / 0-)

      I believe and will expire automatically with time soon.

  •  I'd be interested in knowing what *isn't* being (10+ / 0-)

    scrapped in lieu of children's health insurance.  Baseball stadiums, perhaps?  There are a lot of wasteful programs that aren't also simultaneously social safety nets, I'm sure.

    We, as a society, often make choices that aren't easily understood or morally justifiable.

    *this space available for lease if you have something appropriately witty for me to share*

    by xysea on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:29:00 AM PDT

  •  Schools reflect our society (5+ / 0-)

    I fear for the future of this nation.  I have that fear, because I am already seeing the impact upon the children who pass through the school in which I teach.

    I've taught for a long time. During the 90's our school district had fewer teenage pregnancies and higher graduation rates. In my opinion, it was because people had a job and felt hope that they or their children could afford to go to college.

  •  Centrist Obama saved the Banksters (5+ / 0-)

    Yachts have continued to steam out of the Hampton ports and the summer mansions remain open.

    The way the Health Insurance bill is structured, the full load is placed squarely on the middleclass. No sense lamenting about what reform 'could have been'. The govt it too corrupt to now.

    A year in to Obama's term the Bush Taxcuts for the Rich remain intact. Are the Have's Obama's base too?

    And almost daily you hear about cities closing schools. Last news story I heard was 60 schools closing in one city. I forget the city (Detriot maybe?).

    It all melds into a bad dream.

    Call it the 'Corporate New Deal' or a 'Plastic Democrazy'© if that makes you feel good. I call it Fascism.

    by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:33:15 AM PDT

    •  Kansas City? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CitizenOfEarth, miss SPED

      The approved plan calls for shuttering 29 of 61 schools.

      The district's enrollment of fewer than 18,000 students is about half of what the schools had a decade ago and just a quarter of its peak in the late 1960s.

      Many students have left for publicly funded charter schools, private and parochial schools and the suburbs.

      A reader comment:

      The district budget is $300 million dollars, and with 17,400 students, that leaves only the paltry sum of $17,241 per student. For a class of 18, the district receives over $310,000. I think I could run one class on $310,000 ? couldn?t you?

      http://www.cbsnews.com/...

      Detroit closed 29 schools before classes began this fall, but that still left the district with 172 schools.

      •  Yup. That was it. Thanks. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        miss SPED

        The approved plan calls for shuttering 29 of 61 schools.

        So it was 29 schools closing, which is still huge -- one third of the schools. Unreal.  

        Call it the 'Corporate New Deal' or a 'Plastic Democrazy'© if that makes you feel good. I call it Fascism.

        by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:54:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Con Job (6+ / 0-)

    It's happening here in and around Charlotte:

    Outpouring of support aims to save libraries and not only as to the libraries which be locked down next week, schools will be going through another huge layoff as well as parks etc.. The little folks are trying to collect the funds to keep their libraries open, the ones who don't have the cash needed but are trying.

    Unemployment in the Charlotte metro area rose to 12.8 percent in January from 12.1 percent in December. That's the highest unemployment rate in at least 20 years, according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission. The previous high was 12.5 percent in June. -->-->-->

    That ones from the Charlotte Biz Journal of which I posted a reply about another report on the libraries as well as mentioned it in another about construction, my industry, sent also as an LTE but if the Observer don't print it I hit the one above and a few other rags as replies, this is what I wrote:

    You mean to tell me that with all the wealth, old and new, in and around Charlotte, that they can't pony up a few million to keep these libraries open for the masses of us po foke?

    After all that's what the new capitalism, very tiny 'c', was supposed to be about as started during the Reagan years, which caused the last big recession. Reason we talk about multi multi millionaires and billionaires now, you only got a couple of mil. that's just chump change. It was supposed to be the way of the future, put it at the top and us little folks would get the 'trickle down' prosperity for all. Known then and forecast since we're now living in that 'prosperity', look around, no private capital.

    The huge tax cuts, at the top, of the previous decade were the next scam, they also were sold as to keep the economy humming. Remember those teeny tiny cuts the rest of us got, while that which they bring you still use, well you quickly burned that going shopping etc. as the price of gas skyrocketed and stayed high as wages continued stagnation or fell with work load increases.

    Don't those, I can think of at least just a couple of residents who recently retired or got bonuses who could afford to build libraries in every neighborhood, with think it's way past time to open these faucets and let that cash 'trickle' and not only as to this issue, and the rest stop complaining as the government, us, try and keep the economy afloat!

    And the Country knows what the BofA ex-pres. got for a sendoff, but there's an awful lot of especially new money in this area, not just the recent retiree's or bank etc. bonuses, yet their screaming for more taxcuts while the local and state pols figure out how to raise taxes and make it look like they're not!

    "What is the difference between an al Qaida terrorist and a misguided American terrorist?" "The planes they fly!"

    by jimstaro on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:33:59 AM PDT

    •  Charlotte resident here, too (5+ / 0-)

      It is my understanding that they're closing the suburban branches first.

      The big worry I have is the continuing evisceration of teaching staffs. It's turning erstwhile flagship schools like North Mecklenburg into nearly unmanageable crowd control scenarios.

      Oh, and naturally the 'concerned parents' are still pushing for new schools to save their own kids from being placed in bad schools (like the aforementioned North Meck which cover a mix of income areas.

      So the problem is further concentrated.. and exported.

      For once upon a time North Meck was considered a suburban school.

      Now it's the school affluent families are fleeing.

      Oh. And at the same time they want lower taxes, fewer teachers and less not more diversity in their children's lives.

      What sweeties.

      "Love thy neighbor" is easy. It's next-door neighbors that are a challenge. :)

      by cskendrick on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:35:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in my district (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra Waites

        when neighborhood school boundaries were realigned, years back, so 'apartment kids' then went to affluent schools, so many affluent students were withdrawn from public school and sent to private school, the nearby Christian academy had to build an entire new wing to hold them all.
        Fleeing is widespread, and not new :(

  •  Relax - It's just a Depression (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ivan, CitizenOfEarth, FuddGate

    In my recent reading, I'm making an informal study of past depressions and we're in the midst of another one.

    For some psychological reason, people are averse to the term so this one is being titled "The Great Recession," out of respect for the intense suffering of the 1930s. But this is a Depression and when the turn happens (where we are now), industry and labor get the first upticks.

    The professional classes arise at the very end. For whatever reason, the economy behaves like a railroad train, such that the first injured are the first restored. Past experience suggests that we are in for a long climbout, on the order of about 5 years or so.

    Those who have cash reserves absolutely must invest now in order to capture the gains of the approaching run-up. Last year's bottom was the best time to get back in, but there are still bargains to be had, both in equities and in real estate.

    The problem for most people is the lack of awareness that the time of greatest opportunity is now. When the economy is back on a normal footing, systemic patterns favor the large "big box" firms and entry is difficult for the newcomer. Only at the bottom of a severe downturn are the bets set back to zero and every participant is given a fresh start.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:38:01 AM PDT

    •  You Should ReThink (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alumbrados, CitizenOfEarth, tardis10

      Using past similarities are what keeps the circle going round and round, this isn't anything like past ones, they All stand alone as to why and depth, thing is it's way too easy for those who preach the similarities to make sure the Real Corrections are never made!!

      Just like this:

      Those who have cash reserves absolutely must invest now in order to capture the gains of the approaching run-up.

      My guess is you're an investor and may be making some cash but not a very bright one, you just want to use others money for the gains which is the reason the streeters pushed the small investors into the markets in droves, to use their money for false reality of worth on public companies, get in and then sell when enough little folks are steered into to make their quick wealth!!

      "What is the difference between an al Qaida terrorist and a misguided American terrorist?" "The planes they fly!"

      by jimstaro on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:47:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  R U Dylan Rattigan? (0+ / 0-)

        I do agree with you - that comparing this so called "Great Recession" to cyclical past recessions or even the "Great Depression" is not helpful.  I also agree that The Raven is minimizing the real human cost of this mess - and is focused on his/her investment opportunities and his/her assertion that "there are still bargains to be had, both in equities and in real estate."  Oh please!

    •  By The Way (4+ / 0-)

      Though never perfect it used to be a street that wanted long term investors, the little guys, who actually made wealth, till the big boys and the so called intelligent best of the best made it into a roulette wheel, a very big and quick profit one!!

      "What is the difference between an al Qaida terrorist and a misguided American terrorist?" "The planes they fly!"

      by jimstaro on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:49:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't you watch CNN - Recession is Over baby (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dfarrah, The Raven, Van Buren

      Seriously, they are spinning it likes it's all over but just expect a sloooow recovery. I'm not buying it. But they sure are selling it.

      Call it the 'Corporate New Deal' or a 'Plastic Democrazy'© if that makes you feel good. I call it Fascism.

      by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:02:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Heartless comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Raven, aliasalias

      Sure, those who have cash on hand can make a killing now, but what of those who don't?  And,

      the first injured are the first restored.

      This is true only if you have a President and Congress that care about the vulnerable and are willing to suffer politically in order to create programs and agencies to help those people, aka FDR.  There is no such political will now.  

      Your comment is simply a capitalist's mindset--make hay when the chips are down. It's a heartless mindset.

      Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

      by CanyonWren on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:22:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Quite the reverse (0+ / 0-)

        It's a heartless mindset

        This is a time for optimism. For the reasons given, we are presented with a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to recover from the tremendous losses incurred from the "lost decade" of the '00s. This pattern has played out before in the past three severe downturns and is upon us again.

        This is exactly the right time to change careers, or start a new business, to explore new directions and recast oneself in the era now taking shape.

        Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

        by The Raven on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:03:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A time for optimism for whom? (4+ / 0-)

          Again, I think you are coming from a position of affluence.  How can a single black mother of three young kids, and in the case of this diary, faced with the closure of the closest public school for her kids, possibly be optimistic?  How can the elderly be optimistic when their pensions have been wiped out and they have zero savings?  And, what about those same people who are 50+ and who face agism in the workplace so aren't hired for jobs that 100 other younger people are willing to take for large paycuts?  What about all the millions of people who don't have cash on hand to invest?  

          I think your posts are either terribly naive or purposefully ignore a vast swath of our population.

          Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

          by CanyonWren on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:27:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think your points of view are not necessarily (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CanyonWren

            completely mutually exclusive.  I rec'd Raven's point above not because I agreed with it 100%.  Nor am I affluent.  I am a forty-something woman who owns no property and owes 17,000 dollars of student debt.  Although I did earn a BA, I have been disabled on and off my entire adult life, in a state with no safety net.  I was on ssdi for a few years until Bush's Texas kicked me off.  I am currently unemployed and have been for 15 months.  I am not eligible to apply again for ssdi because I have not been able to work long enough since being kicked off to qualify.

            That being said, I have to be optimistic.  Not blindly, but I have no choice but to try to find creative solutions.  I hope that Raven was simply trying to urge us to try, not minimizing the danger that people are in.  It is after all, reality that even armed with optimism and effort, for many it will not be enough.

            I agree that the economy will not return like it has before.  And unless some deep systemic changes are instituted things will be very bad for most people here for a long time to come.

            But to think of any and every way we can creatively empower ourselves is a necessary antitdote to unsustainable suffering.  

            I very much appreciate all of the understanding and empathy people like CanyonWren have for people.  It is helpful to know that people do see and do care.

            •  Thanks for your comment, I totally agree (0+ / 0-)

              But, I must say this as well:  of course we must remain optimistic.  My comment wasn't saying, "These people cannot possibly ever be optimistic, or cannot be optimistic about their lives in this climate," as you will find when you reread it.  Raven's comment touched on a very specific issue:  being optimistic in the free market.  Most people on this website, including me, are fine now.  A good chunk are not.  That said, we must remain optimistic, but not delusional and inclusive.  I think Raven's comment was insensitive and inclusive.

              Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

              by CanyonWren on Sun Mar 21, 2010 at 12:16:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Hoover left FDR (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cynic in seattle

      a leading manufacturing economy with excellent urban school systems.

      Bush left Obama an economic mess and two costly wars.

    •  I don't get your Train analogy (0+ / 0-)

      "the first injured are the first restored",? Even if I weren't former brakeman I'd know that if the engine goes off the rails all the cars coupled to it follow.
      The rest of your comment reads like joy at the easy pickings of a collapsed economy, cheap houses had real people living in them before losing them. Bargains based on misery.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 02:54:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  so much of civil society has been structured... (6+ / 0-)

    ...on a model that is neither sustainable nor equitable.

    School funding is a major issue that falls under that.  It is so stupid to go cheap education, the long term costs, in terms of both lost opportunities and increased burdens to the state, are astronomical.

    A real realignment of priorities needs to take place in the civic sphere.  We need to decide if we want our society to be the best armed in history (times a billion), or the healthiest, best educated, most cultured, most moral society in history.

    We cannot be both.

    The bear and the rabbit will never agree on how dangerous a dog is.

    by fromer on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:39:48 AM PDT

  •  Stimulus Effect Of Federal Spending (0+ / 0-)

    is canceled out when you have this level of budget cuts on the state level. Good sense would be to see state balanced budget requirements eliminated during times like this. Collectively we do not have good sense.

    •  NY isn't even passing on the stimulus for project (0+ / 0-)

      projects to which some of the money was dedicated.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:33:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why do they cut the most important things first? (17+ / 0-)

    This is a cynical game.  The state legislators and city councils kept their own salaries and perks intact right?  They didn't explore taxing the more well off did they?

    There are people in this country who want to prove that government doesn't work.  People who want to protect the wealthy--who clearly deserve everything they have--and grind down the less well off who are that way through their own personal failings.

    The actions the diarist describes are the outcome of conscious choices.

    "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius

    by Mosquito Pilot on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:41:16 AM PDT

    •  Excellent comment. Would rec it twice if I (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CKendall

      could.  You nailed it, and no amount of protestations will change this dynamic.  I'm amazed, still, how orchestrated the right is.  

      During Bush/Cheney's reign it was almost like watching a macabre ballet--all the dancers had their job to do to bring down our foundations, from the President and his EO's, signing statements, and agency transformations; to Congress in its development of the oversight behemoth DHS and tax cuts, to creating this clusterfuck of a presence in the ME, to cutting funding to states which forced them to make draconian cuts to programs such as education; to state governments making the choice to cut programs such as education and those who helped the needy instead of taxing the wealthy (this diary) and so it goes. They have all executed the right's vision beautifully-and horribly. This is no different, just the grips and stage workers cleaning up and organizing after the grand performance.

      Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

      by CanyonWren on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:04:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The literal answer is... (0+ / 0-)

      ..that they cut things that spend money first. That's why they don't raise taxes on businesses or make cuts to stadiums or some tourist things (although parks get hit hard), because those things bring in revenue.

      On the wheel of ideology, the cogs of communism and fascism are close.

      by Liberaltarianish on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:00:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They cut off their nose (0+ / 0-)

        to spite their face.

        The question comes to "what is the role of government?".  It is a values question.  You list the things government should do in rank order and then cut from the bottom of the list first.

        To cut the largest expenditures first assumes that all expenditures are equal.  They are not.

        "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius

        by Mosquito Pilot on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:05:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I dont think we're talking about the same thing. (0+ / 0-)
          1. States have to balance the budget.
          1. Budget is managing money in vs money out
          1. Therefore, if less money is coming in, they have to cut money going out.

          If you cut money coming in and leave alone the money going out, then you don't balance the budget.

          See what I'm saying? I'm not saying it's good, I'm saying it's reality and I get it.

          On the wheel of ideology, the cogs of communism and fascism are close.

          by Liberaltarianish on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:47:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Still a values question and (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dfarrah, CKendall, bluezen

            Reality is subject to change.  Isn't changing our current reality the reason why we elect our representatives?

            The balanced budget provisions can be changed.
            Taxes can be raised.
            Lower priority items can be cut.

            All of these things should be examined prior to cutting the critical items.

            I manage multi-million dollar budgets.  I have some sense of how these things work.

            "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius

            by Mosquito Pilot on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:04:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Excellent point, mosquito. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CKendall

              People have become so brainwashed into thinking that increasing taxes on the wealthy is the LAST solution to a problem, they automatically discount it from the git-go.

              It's a pretty damning statement on the gullibility of the American citizenry, too.

              And a testament to the need for a vigorous, and rigorous, educational system in a race to the top, not the bottom.

              Before it's too late.

            •  Ok, so since you're an expert... (0+ / 0-)
              ...You know you can't go back in time and change expenditures to match revenues that were below expected. So, you have to make cuts.you can spend more when revs match or exceed expenditures. Maybe put together a fund for the next rainy day.

              On the wheel of ideology, the cogs of communism and fascism are close.

              by Liberaltarianish on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 10:30:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Its true (0+ / 0-)

            that states have to, constitutionally, balance their budgets, although most have the authority to issue bonded indebtedness for capital expenditures. That's appropriate because, for an individual state, money is a finite substance, issued by the Federal government. We have discovered, over and over again, that if money is needed, as now, we can come up with it. The single worst thing the Federal Government can do in this situation is to balance the budget. Raising taxes on investors and holders of liquid wealth would increase the money in circulation and stimulate the economy. They aren't investing in American production anyway, so their money is being with held. But if the Congress just can't stand to tax their bosom buddies, they can just appropriate the money and save the states, and with them the working class.

            "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

            by johnmorris on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:55:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  So do you (0+ / 0-)

            realize that when the schools cut all of these educators, that the educators won't be able to pay taxes, and the states' funding will dry up even more?

            The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

            by dfarrah on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:59:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Guaranteed investment in human misery (4+ / 0-)

    about sums it up. You and Herbert are on the money (all puns intended) here. Great post.

  •  This is the result of years (3+ / 0-)

    of living and legislating beyond the means.

    It's time for a reset.  Things cannot contine - nothing should be off the table.  

    What is unfortunate about the current cuts are that they seem to be coming down on those that can least afford it - and thes may be necessary but one also needs to get a bit more from the affluent.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 05:58:14 AM PDT

    •  Our priorities have been so skewed (4+ / 0-)

      for so long.

      Eisenhower's warning was incredibly prescient. Our constant state of war for 60 years has mortally wounded us. It drives me CRAZY when I hear right-wingers complain about "entitlements" as if the government should not be taking care of our citizens who need care.

      Our tax structure needs to be overhauled and our financial markets need to be re-regulated.

      But we are in for a world of hurt before this is straightened out, and Americans are in no mood to pull together right now. Very dangerous times.

    •  I see it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, Cynic in seattle

      as years of eroding income for the non-wealthy workers, combined with continued tax breaks for the wealthy, resulting in a downward spiral for everyone but the wealthy.

      This condition did not have to happen.  Political policies and decisions over the past few decades led to these results.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:03:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the result of (7+ / 0-)

    years of tax cuts that have shifted the burden to those least able to pay. In an economic downturn, the only ones with any money are the wealthy. It's time to tax that top 2%.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:01:23 AM PDT

    •  Utah just raised tax on cigs another $1 (0+ / 0-)

      I think they now cost around $7 a pack.  A $1 last year and another $1 this year, to "pay for education".  Just think....if all Utahn children each bought a pack a day, they might get their education back....snark.

      It seems to be the only tax increase the people don't get up in arms over.

  •  Hubert Humphrey was one of my first (5+ / 0-)

    political heroes, nearly 50 years ago.

    It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.

    That's part of the reason, right there.

    I have flow thru Detriot in recent months and the number of TSA women in hijab is alarming. It's like the foxes are overseeing the chicken coop -- A RW blogger.

    by Kimball Cross on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:10:43 AM PDT

  •  Seems as if Bush and the Republicans (5+ / 0-)

    really did destroy our government.

    •  And Deutsche Bank and Goldman, Sachs and... (4+ / 0-)

      the trillions of dollars stolen with their fraud-AAA rated tranche/slice/bogus scam-bonds based on the Sub-Prime mortgage market.

      $2.4-trillion at least.

      About 3 times the total fraud from the mortgage scams. The basic fraud was paying 10 times the normal fees to the rating agencies -- generating massive bonuses, amounting to bribery.

      Everybody who read the ratings as honest got dumped on the Dumb Money side -- including such as Tim Geithner. The most of the non-performing paper was from these synthetic "derivatives" -- the artificial, faked AAA rating, counterfeits that Deutsche Bank and Goldman, Sachs had minted to run the credit default swap market/casino.

      Synthetic "derivatives" with fraudulent AAA ratings look to be $2.4-to-2.8 trillion of the Bernanke-testified $4 trillion in total liquidity losses.

      Money that had gone to buying these synthetic "derivatives" had in fact covered bets. There was no money flow from these "derivatives" connecting back to any mortgage loan. It was all betting.

      Of course that's not how DB and GS had marketed these "financial products." They had been played as "wider" and hence safer alternatives to simple collateralized asset based (mortgage) bonds.

      AAA !!!

      Got a pension/mutual fund ??? Is the year 2005, 2006, early 2007 ?

      Dem smart guys over DB/GS done got an XXXL synthetic pineapple to jam up yer arse.

      Investigation ? Charges for fraud ? Prosecution ?

      Fergitaboutit. Empires do not prosecute their owners.

      Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + Pro-Life Christians

      =EQ=

      The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:40:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mecklenburg County (4+ / 0-)

    just closed a dozen public library branches.  Who does that help?

    •  Charlotte NC? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries

      A great town. I had relatives there till they all died.

      Over here in Wake County (Raleigh NC) they haven't closed any libraries yet. I have a feeling though that the hammer is about to fall, with declining revenues all around for state, county, and municipal government.

      I have flow thru Detriot in recent months and the number of TSA women in hijab is alarming. It's like the foxes are overseeing the chicken coop -- A RW blogger.

      by Kimball Cross on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:28:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fox Noise ??? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries, Bush Bites

      Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + Pro-Life Christians

      =EQ=

      The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:28:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  my town's library and county museum (0+ / 0-)

      on the list this Monday for closing due to shortfall in county budget. Animal shelters in other county districts, and the elimination of Alcohol and Other Drugs services, which is triply stupid because almost all the money comes from the feds. and lack of prevention means more local $ spent in law enforcement.

      "We have more government than we can afford," some say on the right.

      I guess some extremists on the right want it all privatized, but I don't believe mainstream Republican voters are opposed to public libraries, county museums and animal shelters.

      A ruinous meltdown indeed. What to do?

    •  Are the buildings (0+ / 0-)

      just going to sit empty?

      That'll be great for the neighborhoods!

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:05:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  an elementary solution (2+ / 0-)

    There are many districts here in Northern New York that are slashing teaching staffs as well. However, when you scrutinize exactly which teachers are being cut you find the vast majority are elementary classroom teachers. Shoving twenty-five to thirty ten year olds in a room seems to be the path our area superintendents  favor over eliminating jobs in special education and at the high school level. It is in fact, today’s elementary students who will pay most of the price to balance school budgets.

    •  Only if you believe that teachers infuse (0+ / 0-)

      information, instead of just showing students how to learn and where to acquire information.  There's no reason the latter can't be done with thirty pupils in a class.  It just means the teachers have to be proctors, rather than entertainers.  Trying to compete with Sesame Street has been a losing proposition.

      http://www.youtube.com/cyprespond

      by hannah on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:13:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  your statement is confusing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BMarshall, cassidy3, miss SPED

        if all you are doing is imparting information you can lecture and hand out notes.

        If you are teaching skills (especially reading and writing) and trying to inspire self-learning, more direct conact is necessary, and it is harder to do with 30 or more kids than it is with 24.

        And for those of us at a high school level, where we may teach 6 periods each of 45 minutes, adding  more kids per class can be a killer of the learning environment, as well as the time it takes to read, correct, and turn back work.  

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 10:00:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Federal law determines (0+ / 0-)

      special education needs in least restrictive environments. It is tough to cut jobs for certified qualified proficient sped teachers.
      Perhaps you would prefer 25 to 30 LD/OHI/SI students in a classroom?

    •  Special Education jobs.... (0+ / 0-)

      .....are mandated at the federal level by law. If the federal government actually paid for IDEA, as they promised they would when it was mandated, the state and the districts would be seeing a lot more federal money coming into their coffers.

      Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

      by BMarshall on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 11:46:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  be somewhat more accurate (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345
        1.  The promise was for 40% of the average additional cost
        1.  Prior to Obama, the highest percentage actually paid was 19% in FY2005
        1.  thanks to ARRA, we actually reached around 38% - for one year

        it is not that the Feds ever promised to pick up the entire cost, or that they were paying nothing.

        The shortfall has been significant, I will agree, but I think some accuracy is required on this issue.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 01:43:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I never said they promised all. (0+ / 0-)

          40% would make a huge difference. That was my point! Sorry I neglected the %. And me a math teacher....for shame.

          Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

          by BMarshall on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 05:48:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Good opportunity to expand the role of the feds. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    The "shock doctrine" can work for our side too, if we have the guts to use it.

    Bush Bites is a subsidiary of Bush Bites Inc., a registered corporate personhood.

    by Bush Bites on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:28:46 AM PDT

  •  Think: Katrina (5+ / 0-)

    That is when we as a society decided openly that some people deserved to receive bad outcomes because of who, where - and what - they were.

    There were many instances before, and have been many since, of callous - even celebratory - unconcern for the plight of others.

    But that was the watershed moment.

    That was when the many constituents of the Republic decided it could decide to turn its back selectively on fellow Americans that, by some criteria or the other, were in that moment deemed unworthy of help...for whom rendering aid was offensive.

    This is how far we have fallen - we have in large numbers neighbors who don't even think many of our other neighbors deserve to live here, never mind receive the same rights and benefits as themselves.

    We cannot govern in partnership with such persons. We cannot keep pretending they are partners and fellows of any kind.

    For they have long since forsaken us.

    Or, perhaps there is education for me.. to see past this despair?

    "Love thy neighbor" is easy. It's next-door neighbors that are a challenge. :)

    by cskendrick on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:28:57 AM PDT

    •  The way this happened... matters. (7+ / 0-)

      The Bush tax cuts moved money from the middle class to the upper class. The Bush wars and the DHS processes moved more money from middle class to upper class.

      Then the mortgage scams moved more than a trillion from middle class to land speculators, house builders, and mortgage brokers. Three times that much was moved from pension funds and investment funds -- $2.4-to-$2.8 trillion -- to the upper class. (The latter move was largely to upper class criminals.)

      Incomes declined in real terms.

      Wealth increased. Massively. So's now the net worth of Americans has increased to $55-trillion with that increase entirely settled on the top 5% and most heavily on the top 1%.

      Class warfare.

      A wealth tax of 1% on net wealth of more than $100-million -- excluding real estate to avoid double-taxing -- and lower rates down to 1/4 of 1% on net wealth above $10-million would cover 100% of the Federal budget deficit.

      A government has to tax what's there.

      For America, that's wealth. We must tax wealth directly.

      Otherwise, everything from teachers to bridges to hurricane preparation suffers.

      Angry White Males + Personality Disorder delusionals + Pro-Life Christians

      =EQ=

      The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:18:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It would have been nice if we had gotten... (6+ / 0-)

    ...a liberal or a progressive in office, but we got Obama yet another talk like a progressive Democrat but govern like a Republican...just like Bill Clinton but not quite as slick because the lower middle classes were more ready to believe bubba.

    Since Reagan the Congress has been cutting taxes on the wealthiest of our citizens and mandating the programs they have had to cut to the state and local governments who in turn have had to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for those mandates so for most of us taxes have been steadily going up for the last thirty years while taxs have been coming down for the riches three percent in the country and wealthy intuitions/multinational corporations who have slowly taken ove our government as a shadow government by the use illegal and legal bribery and high powered lobbying which does both. When you pair that with the past seven administrations formulating trade policies that have allowed our heavy and much of our lite industry to go the the third world so as to make huge and as will shortly be see temporary profits you have the ground work for the most massive of shift of wealth in this counrty’s history which has mostly already occurred.

    Then the sold out prick in Congress and the administrations deregulated our markets allowing a bunch of market manipulators to steal our CDs pensions and other investments. Now thanks to this egredious market and trade policy behavior supported by our bribed government officials we have a finiancal crisis that threatens to destroy Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as well as the economies of the state who have assumed because of the congressional mandates much of the burden of the programs the federal government could not pay for because of its insane tax policies that were for the benefit of a very small percentage of our population.

    Now to try and save social security and the Medicare, Medicate and SS these colossal fools in Congress have come up with another mandate program this time directly levied on the middle class an collected by Private insurance companies (never mind that it is unconstitutional) who will take a big cut for paying for procedures that the Fed can not. Worse we are told all of these weaseling is for all those poor people without insurance. That is a amenable lie, it is to let the Federal government out of its responsibilities because they have Squandered the money collected fro SS taxes for forty years and can not and will not pay it back...and excused the people who have the money to save the situation their taxes IN THE NAME OF JOB CREATION...just look around you and see all the jobs these bastards have created

    Yet another disastrous Republican privatization and mandate is being shove down our throats in the name of helping people, but the wealthy are the only ones being helped by this sorry bill. Single payer could have save everybody money and covered every body. But no, we have to bow down and genuflect to greedy crony capitalism otherwise know as Republicanism running both parties, the administration and congress. Why the hell did we bother to vote at all the pricks in both parties do not pay any attention to the plight of ninety percent of the voters Republican OR Democrat. We are fast falling into the status of a South or Central American Banana republic. If I were a young man just starting out I’d get out of theist country as fast as I could, it is doomed because the MSN, Congress and the administrations are all corrupt as the Roman Senate became before the fall of Rome. Even here if one talks about what needs, no must, be done you get, shouted down by the running dogs of this thoroughly corrupted crony capitalist Oligarchy. The arrogant greedy fools refuse to listen so they along with their principals and much of the rest of the population are going to be in a living hell. The powers that be just cannot keep sticking it to ninety percent of the population and expect any other result than a complete and utter collapse.

    The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

    by Bobjack23 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:34:00 AM PDT

    •  Yes, but the problem and the solution (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dfarrah, BMarshall

      lies at the other end--at the ability to sequester and restrict the money supply and use that leverage to control the economy.  We need to take our money back.

      It's my sense that the opposition to insurance regulation is mainly based on the fact that insurance companies funnel money to Wall Street and, if the Administration can control that, then the financial regulation that's coming next is bound to succeed.  

      Why does the Treasury, via the Fed, distribute money to banks at no interest and the banks then lend it back to the federal government for three or four or five percent guaranteed interest on their bonds?  When the basis of our currency was a metal that had to be found, mined, processed, minted and protected from use for other purposes (gilding churches) the banks performed a tangible service.  No longer.  Now they're just middlemen who are supposed to determine the best and most prudent use of our assets.  They fell down on the job.  Now it's time to rein them in.  Cutting off the flow from insurance is the first step.

      http://www.youtube.com/cyprespond

      by hannah on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:07:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wish you were right, but don't hold your... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cgirard

        ...your breath for real regulation or re-regulation next on anytime soon. As long as they can get away with things like this Senate bill for a promise of what they were already not willing to provide little is going to happen to change the status quo, IMO.

        The system lords do not intend to give up any money or power. To quote a NRA bumper sticker they intend that you’ll have to pry from their cold dead hands. These people have been desensitized from their youth they could care less who is gets hurt or is hurting, they only express decent values when it has some PR value their own wealthfare is all they care think or care about, In my opinion they are scarcely human beings.

        The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

        by Bobjack23 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:48:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm in the same boat... (9+ / 0-)

    I'm a teacher in Chicago Public Schools and our CEO (who was never an educator and is one of our mayor's favorite hatchetmen) has released the doomsday budget, which cuts 2,100 teaching jobs as well as increases class size to 37--in addition to other ridiculous measures that will officially turn all teachers from educators into nothing more than babysitters.

    It's a scary time to be sure

  •  Tax Cuts (3+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, my state with a Republican governor, cut taxes for the rich when times were good instead of building reserves for when times are not.

  •  states reluctant to raise cig. & gas taxes, why? (0+ / 0-)

    VA has very cheap cigarettes because of the low tax.

    As for the environment, it's obvious nothing else is going to cut gas consumption other than higher prices. $5/gal seems to have produced results. And yet it's impossible to get states to consider gas tax increases.

    The Feds bailing out states so they don't have to raise cigarette and gas taxes is wrong.

  •  Ken, I wrote up a thing yesterday (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    and posted it on Bluehampshire, 'cause it's directly relevant.

    But, I think you'd find it interesting because of Arne Duncan's membership in something called Jobs for America's Graduates

    http://bluehampshire.com/...

    http://www.youtube.com/cyprespond

    by hannah on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:50:56 AM PDT

  •  GA's Governor Sonny Perdue... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cgirard

    "He put the 'Goober' back into Gubernatorial."

    Apparently "Goober Perdue" is using HOPE scholarship money from the lottery to fund things other than what it's intended for.

    Abortion Clinics OnLine, the world's first and largest source for online abortion clinic information.

    by annrose on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:52:15 AM PDT

  •  It will probably get much worse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Cynic in seattle

    before most people start to pay attention to the decline of our schools.My daughter is a substitute teacher and reports that her district is cutting programs for the lower grades.She says that she overheard Pre K called a babysitting service.Until the parents of these kids rise up and demand better schools nothing will be done.It will always "cost too much."Parents need to say so what,it has to be done.The plutocrats are taking over and dragging a lot of uninformed people to their side.We need to form our own tea party and get the media's attention.P.S.How is that bad cat?

  •  Your concerns are not misplaced... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, tommyfocus2003

    There is a gap in understanding the desperation many Americans are feeling, and the actions of state, local and federal elected "leaders".

    In Louisiana, health care for the most vulnerable are being slashed on one end, while on the other end, university budgets are being slashed. IN the meantime, Jindal, when he first got in office, had pushed for the progressive Stelly tax to be repealed. It was, and is part of the reason we are in the mess we're in here.

    What is even more disturbing though, is the passiveness of most in response to these draconian cuts. Many are grumbling but no real movement has taken hold to challenge these cuts.

    "Revolutionary Road" was a brilliant film.

    by scorpiorising on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:54:02 AM PDT

  •  The mess (7+ / 0-)

    Here is the problem:

    A mess was made (starting with Reagan and reaching its peak under Bush). This mess has to be cleaned up and there is no easy way to do it.

    Because no one wants to really recognize the true size of the problem the solutions tend to be piecemeal.  Some cuts here, some cuts there, some tax increases here etc, but with no PLAN that would actually work.

    For now the cost cutters at the state and local level will be in ascendancy. There is only so much money coming in (and decreasing each day) while costs going out keep going up. In aid of their situation you have public sector employees with often time better pay and benefits and job security than the taxpayers that are paying their salaries. That is ultimately unsustainable in a crisis - and in fact is a huge target.

    The solution must start with the realization that the times from before can not come back (they were unsustainable). They were fueled by debt and now the debt load has reached unsustainable levels. The future can not be a future dependent upon debt.

    The solution is unfortunately quite drastic and painful, for everyone.

    1. the sacred cow of defense needs to be slaughtered. It is unaffordable.
    1. a goal of energy self sufficiency within 5 years (stimulates innovation and conservation)
    1. pressure on China to unpeg its currency (creating a worldwide imbalance in the economy)
    1. raise interest rates (low rates encourage an economy based on speculation and malinvestment, not saving).
    1. throttle the banks (and take away their free money). Banking must be made boring again.
    1. increase income taxes on the wealthy, but also bring in a consumption based tax (not applied to food and with rebates for the poor). Taxes must be part of the deficit reduction, as must be less consumption and more saving.
    1. a rethink of public sector benefits. In economic tough times public servants can not have benefits superior to those of the average taxpayer without damage being done to the image of government.
    1. medicare for all. Some sort of universal health care to enable increased job flexibility/mobility.

    The above ideas are based on the belief that the current "recession" is not your typical cyclical recession. Simply waiting will not restore the old normal. Instead the country is faced with recovering from a credit blow off recession, for which very different remedies are required (spending alone will not solve it - just ask Japan 20 years later).

    For those that argue that a recovery is near all I can say is that what you see is a false dawn caused by a combination of massive government stimulus and record low interest rates. These policies have helped cushion the economy (and stopped it going over the cliff), but they have done nothing to lay the groundwork for a true recovery - the tough choices still lie ahead. You don't get out of a credit depression that easily.

    What is needed is a heart to heart talk with the country about its true situation and the tough choices that need to be made on a system wide basis. The piecemeal nip and tuck strategy just will not do.

    I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

    by taonow on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:01:33 AM PDT

  •  WHere else to balance the budget... (0+ / 0-)

    ...than on the backs of the students and teachers:

    Mr. Christie deserves special applause for his willingness to battle government employee unions. His office calculates that New Jersey's unionized employees have carved out health-care benefits that are 41% higher than the typical Fortune 500 company offers. A teacher who has contributed $62,000 toward her pension, and nothing toward medical benefits, can retire and receive over her lifetime a $1.4 million retirement package and an additional $215,000 in health-care payments.

  •  My observation is that the diarist's (0+ / 0-)

    observations are correct.

    I think we need a section devoted to promising news cuz I think we all are susceptible to falling into despair.

    Surely, there is hope.  Right?

    It's the fascism, stupid!

    by lastman on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:15:21 AM PDT

  •  In NJ, Christie is letting income surtax expire (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    djMikulec, dss, 3goldens, zinger99, miss SPED

    on those with incomes over $400,000 per year.  This is a $900 million/year loss in revenue.  To make up for it, he cut $820 million from our public schools.

    Privatized charter schools, however, suffered no losses in state aid.  And Christie went to speak at their organization the day after he announced the school funding cuts to reassure them that there would be an expansion in charter schools.

    Our school district lost 36% of our state aid.  Of course we still have to comply with all state regulations and mandates.  The pensions are not being funded again this year.

    Funding to municipalities was cut by $445 million.

    I've read that 80% of the school budget goes toward personnel - mostly teachers.  So, in addition to activities (like my son's swim team) a lot of teachers will be cut.  

    The district has to figure all of this out and put a budget out for a vote by April.

  •  But have no fear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfarrah, 3goldens, zinger99

    There is still plenty of money for wars.  And Wall Street bonuses.  Apparently.

  •  Reaganomics and the NeoRoyalists (8+ / 0-)

    The American economy is sick, deathly ill. And, as usual, it is due to widely held, believed and effected policies since 1980. Reagan and Rand. Geniuses of the Collapse of Democracy.

    These ideas roughly stated, are:

    There is no such thing as Society.
    There is only The Individual.
    Self-Interest corrects all economic problems.
    More power held by few individuals is natural.
    More power held by a few is therefore desirable.
    Taxes are anti-individual, therefore unnatural.
    Economic evolution will weed out the less desirable.

    All of these Reagan and Rand assumptions can be shown to be wrong, but the well has been poisoned by the perverse anti-rationalist agenda of the Right.
    Few have politically and openly challenged these assumptions of Neo-Conservativism, labeled Neoliberalism (since Adam Smith, their patron saint was considered a Liberal Economic thinker, which he most assuredly was in reaction to Royalty in 1800, but not now) The new Royals hide behind an antique label, peddle self-interest just as the royals did, and sit smugly within their inherted and accumulated wealth sneering at the people they have swindled.

    What is the difference between 1776 and 2010? Not a whole lot. Slavery continues, the Royal Prerogatives obtain, and the people suffer, worldwide. Where is our Franklin, our Frederick Douglass, our Abraham Lincoln? I see too much accomodation, too much splitting the difference between right and wrong, and coming up with.. wrong again.

    Taxes are not evil. What is evil is the domination of a class of self-appointed NeoRoyals desperate to maintain their ill-gotten gains.  

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:37:42 AM PDT

  •  And then you have Democrats who would not vote (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cgirard

    for HCR if the surtax on the wealthy was still in place.

    I'm still convinced that all our problems stem from the huge increase in wealth at the top and the lack of distribution to the vast majority of citizens.

    I want to know why Pres. Obama uttered those poisonous words to the fake plumber guy about wealth distribution if he didn't intend to redistribute the nation's wealth.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:38:16 AM PDT

  •  The no new taxes mantra... (7+ / 0-)

    ...is nothing more than "I got mine.  You go take care of yourself."

    This is now people operated before it was understood that government was necessary; that there was a value to coming together, pooling one's resources.  It is how our roads were built, we defend ourselves, we explore new horizons and, of course, how we educate our children.

    Some horrible person was elected president and told everyone that "government is not the solution to our problem; it is the problem" which translates to you are on your own.

    And the stupid, poorly educated sheep we are bought it.   We complained about how long it took us to renew our car registration given all those long lines, how badly our roads had fallen into disrepair, how incapable our government was in responding to natural disasters, or protecting us from terrorists who flew airplanes into our buildings and why every other country seems more prepared to meet the future than we are.

    And we wondered how that happened.

    Important whining and Red Sox stuff at http://edsbarth.blogspot.com/

    by Barth on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 07:50:19 AM PDT

  •  We didn't have these problems (5+ / 0-)

    back when we had a truly progressive tax rate in this country.  As tax rates got lower at the top and higher in the middle, the economy became increasingly worse.  Add to that NAFTA and banker sabotage, and here we are.  But, what is the GOP's solution?  More of the same poisons.

    •  Exactly. Taxes are now the third (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, tommyfocus2003, cgirard

      rail in California. Any talk of raising taxes is instantly squelched. So till we fix our Prop. 13 situation out here we're cooked. A nice legacy of Reaganism and Republicanism.

      I volunteer every week in our schools here in Long Beach, Ca. Jobs are being slashed everywhere.

      •  California... (0+ / 0-)

        ...already has, what, the third highest tax rates in the country? How high do you want taxes? Are you really getting good benefits for those taxes?

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 10:10:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, they USED to have a school system (0+ / 0-)

          that was free for college for Californians.  I think that got done away with by Reagan, if not by Prop. 13 Jarvis. The CA problem is the tax base (for income certainly, and probably for property as well) has shrunk.

          And Prop. 13?  My dad just paid $700K for a house north of San Diego, and was able to carry his assessment from Orange County with him.  He'll be paying 66% of what I pay here in MD for a $300,000 house.

          When will we ever learn that PROFIT cannot be a part of the equation when endangering people's lives adds to a company's bottom line?--Earicicle

          by billlaurelMD on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 12:09:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Is this too much for good schools? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wildthumb

          From http://swz.salary.com/...

          There are 7 income tax brackets for California.

          If your income range is between $0 and $7,168, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is 1%.
          If your income range is between $7,169 and $16,994, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is 2%.
          If your income range is between $16,995 and $26,821, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is 4%.
          If your income range is between $26,822 and $37,233, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is 6%.
          If your income range is between $37,234 and $47,055, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is 8%.
          If your income range is between $47,056 and $1,000,000, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is 9.3%.
          If your income range is $1,000,001 and over, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is 10.3%.

          Income tax brackets data last updated March 3rd, 2009.

        •  The State is freaking crumbling and you're (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Harm

          worried about the tax rates?

          Of course: you're a LIBERTARIAN.

          There is NO money for our colleges, our schools, our state parks, and it's getting worse.  

          How in this freaking country we've been brainwashed to think that raising taxes is worse than murder is just flabbergasting. Fucking flabbergasting.

          When the rich paid much higher rates there was huge properity in California: we developed, we built highways, we built our state parks, we supported our public institutions. And the rich invested heavily in California: high tax rates did not "stifle their incentive." (God, is that a total bullshit Republican meme.)

          We've got exactly STUGATZ today with these low tax rates.

          Yes, fucking yes, I want the rich taxed for using the immense opportunities of this state and nation.  

          w

  •  Is there a word for editorializing editoials? nt (0+ / 0-)

    Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them - T Paine

    by breezeview on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:05:49 AM PDT

  •  not to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tiggers thotful spot

    sound flippant but was/is there anything unclear about my blog name?

    Currency manipulation such as the chinese pegging the yuan to the dollar has the exact same economic effect as tariffs which is lambasted as 'protectionism'.  Only lately have murmuring's about this needing to be dealt with by no other than Paul Krugman at some economic policy institute conference:

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    He's only 16 years late in saying it but then again he's an economist and economists who don't carry water for the money power doesn't get recognized and are ridiculed and shunned, not given Nobel Prizes.

    Hope for American workers isn't Wall Street's agenda.

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:23:52 AM PDT

  •  Here in Indiana ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    they're talking about firing 5,000 teachers statewide. Our own local school system is looking at closing four schools.

    Is this how we hope to improve our economy? On the backs of our schoolchildren? Whatever happened to that "rainy day fund" Indiana is supposed to have?

  •  Please do not (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BMarshall, 3goldens, Nimbus, miss SPED

    "understand the need to cut the deficit". It is not a "need". The Federal Government has a monopoly on the issuance of currency. The fact that the congress has allowed the creation of money to take place in the lobby of the bank rather than through the Treasury Department is a philosophical oddity of our recent past. The deficit is not at a particularly high level, nor is the debt. The panic over fiscal policy is being fed by the people who caused the problem, very wealthy owners who are unwilling to pay for the services they use so freely.

    If the congress appropriates the money to solve these problems, the Treasury will issue the money. If they choose to use bonded indebtedness as their mechanism (a decision made solely for the benefit of the wealthy bond holders to whom it is owed) it is a good time to do it, interest rates are at 0.35% and will stay there until the Fed decides to raise them. We can solve these problems but we cannot if the discussion always turns on what is best for the investing class. We knew that once, not so very long ago, and we have let them fool us again. Please start demanding what is right. Layoffs of vital people, like teachers, and regressive taxation are economically disastrous and unnecessary. Liberals should understand that.

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:44:28 AM PDT

    •  If the federal government (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erush1345

      issues too much money for too long the international trading countries will switch to another currency.

      China has been working hard to advance the Yuan.

      Imagine shopping where imports aren't available.

      Imagine shopping in a provincial city in the Soviet Union or living in Argentina a few years ago.

      http://www.forbes.com/...

      •  You are basing (0+ / 0-)

        your analysis on an economic theory that has two clear data points; 1) no one practicing it has ever accurately predicted anything (they are the guys shouting that no one could have predicted the crash, even though dozens of out of favor economists, from Keynseians to Marxists, starting predicting it years ago) and 2) a policy universe guided by that theory has just crashed, as it does every time its tried, tearing down the financial edifice of the world. The fact that they managed to hustle our erstwhile leadership into stripping us of our assets to make them whole is not part of their "free market theory". In point of fact, there is no reason to believe that anyone, especially China, is big enough to make a serious difference in our fiscal balance sheet. Our bonds still sell at a vanishingly small interest rate because they are still the safest financial instrument on the planet. Using some of our vast wealth for things like schools, roads and health care would seem to the rest of the world as imminently sensible and something we should have done long ago.

        As to Argentina, suffering under the Free Market theory generally called the "Washington Consensus" and sinking in to third world status under the tender mercy of the IMF, in 2002 they defaulted on their debts, abandoned the dollar as an exchange currency and started to work for themselves. Their growth for the next several years, until the crash, was above 9% a year. Last year, while ours, guided by the economists you believe in, was -2.4%, theirs was +0.5%.

        http://www.mindfully.org/...

        Read some stuff not fully paid for by the Central Bankers:

        http://www.amazon.com/...

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 01:55:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder whether we are heading (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, miss SPED

    to a situation where States abandon public education altogether. We don't seem to be too far off from that. What are the implications?

  •  My University was on "Spring Break" this week (5+ / 0-)

    Classes were not scheduled so we all got furloughed.  Five days for the profs, three days for the staff.

    Of course, the research that needed to be done didn't stop and many of the faculty worked through the break for no pay.

    The dedication of public servants is much greater than deserved by the public.  If you allowed the teabaggers to run the country, they'd shut your school, Ken, and contract it out to someone making $1.75 an hour.

    "Progress" is the core of progressive. Two steps forward. One step back.

    by captainlaser on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 08:54:06 AM PDT

  •  our nation is at a sea-change moment. (6+ / 0-)

    either, like the other industrialized nations, we will opt for high taxes, a reduced military, efficient use of resources, and happy, comfortable life for most of our citizens; or we will opt for a long, miserable descent into squalid corporate feudalism.

    the implosion of state/local government budgets is neither more nor less acute than all the other elements of the fiscal "crisis".

    consider, however, one simple calculation, based on the numbers from New York State: if we levied a 15% flat medicare tax on all income (wages AND capital gains) and used that to fund medicare for all, then we would be taking money from the wealthiest americans and using it to fund care for teachers in ALL tax districts. This would save New York's school districts about 1.5 billion dollars a year. (another way of looking at it -- it would force wealthy New Yorkers to subsidize less wealthy school districts. boo hoo.) presuming that like almost everybody else everywhere else, New York's teachers pay substantial out-of-pocket expenses, as well as a share of their premiums, and the cost savings go higher, as there will be less upward pressure on salaries.

    one of the reasons many of us progressive types are so unimpressed by the HCR bill is that it really won't do anything to address the negative systemic economic effects of our current system.

    whether we have any hope, or whether we don't, is going to depend entirely on the extent to which the Republicans and the Blue Dogs and Fox News and other agents of the plutocrats successfully bamboozle a large enough fraction of the populace into thinking that our essential economic problems are caused by libruls and taxes and lattes, oh my.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:00:31 AM PDT

    •  The sea change moment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BMarshall, UntimelyRippd

      happened in 1980.

      The chance at reversing the sea change moment was lost when Bill Clinton became a deficit hawk around 1993.

      Everything else has been pretty much written in stone since then. It's just taken a long time for the Titanic to fill up with water.

      •  hmm. (3+ / 0-)

        to me, what makes this the "moment" is that we've reached that point where the Empire is clearly a negative, from a cost-benefit perspective.

        either we face up to that -- which means, first of all, facing up to the reality that we're running an empire, second of all, facing up to the reality that every empire in history has reached a point where the security costs necessary to maintain the empire exceed the economic value of the empire, and third of all, facing up to the reality that we are not special (e.g., that it is nonsense to imagine that we can somehow "outcompete" China and India an Indonesia via our specialdy special institutions that make us smarter, faster, harder-working, and just generally more intrepid). when we face up to those three key facts, we can work on accepting the reality that our empire has outlived its usefulness to us, nevermind whatever moral integrity it might once have had.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 11:15:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Corporate Feudalism in the short term (0+ / 0-)

      maybe the long term if people don't wake up, but we're too brainwashed in the present to make the paradigm shift to high taxes, reduced military spending, investing in working people, etc.  Things will have to get much worse than they are now before we make the shift.

      like the other industrialized nations, we will opt for high taxes, a reduced military, efficient use of resources, and happy, comfortable life for most of our citizens; or we will opt for a long, miserable descent into squalid corporate feudalism.

      "Sisters, brothers and the whities, Blacks and the crackers, Police and their backers, They're all political actors"--Curtis Mayfield

      by Cynic in seattle on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 11:38:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "The social contract that binds us together.." (4+ / 0-)

    I think that contract has already been broken.  I share your concerns very deeply.  A society that does not protect and nurture its young is a society on the verge of going nova.

    •  Speaking of the young- (6+ / 0-)

      There are so many of us who did manage to scrimp, save, borrow, work our way through higher education...to graduate and find ourselves with no opportunities. Since we are millions of service sector workers earning 8/hr, with no forseeable better opportunity, what can be done?  If most jobs are service sector and yet the wages are not even close to enough to pay for basic needs, how do we pay back out student loans?  Or have children that we can actually take care of properly?  

      •  I don't know. My own children are struggling (3+ / 0-)

        with repayment of student loans.  We have mortgaged  our children's future and made them indentured servants to student loans.

        When I went to college it was possible to work part time and in the summer, with some help from parents, complete an education, holding only a diploma not a big bill for payment.

        There is a two fold issue here, in my opinion:  

        The increasing cost of higher education which is mostly administrative and the the student loan 'industry' that is tied to financial and banking practice in this country.

        I have no answers, just sadness that our children do not have it better than we did.

  •  These state and local cuts are going to bite (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Amor Y Risa, Billdbq

    deeply in every community, and they will trigger harmful "ripple effects" on small businesses that depend on active consumers.  It's different from a manufacturing plan shutdown which has a more localized impact.

    •  The Search for a Nonviolent Future (2004), (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cgirard

      A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World, a landmark volume by Michael Nagler, professor emeritus of California at Berkeley, spells out a journey of peaceful coexistence on this planet.
      Has anyone here read it?
      Great volume.
      We could save a few hundred billion dollars on less defense spending.

      Strength through Peace.

      by Billdbq on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:59:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  States need federal aid. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Cynic in seattle, Billdbq

    The problem is that Republicans are going to scream about any increased Fedral expenditures under this administration.

    The stimulus was too little, but it was all that could pass.

    If "con" is the antonym of "pro," what is the antonym of "progress"?

    by Frank Palmer on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 09:49:40 AM PDT

  •  Meanwhile, the Military-Industrial-Complex (6+ / 0-)

    procurements and acquisitions contracts keep rolling along.  Here are just a few of yesterday's contracts awarded:

    Disc-O-Bed, LP, Duluth, Ga., was awarded on March 16, 2010, a $12,000,000 firm-fixed-fee contract to procure bunk beds with foot lockers and spare parts.  

    Hensel Phelps Construction Co. is being awarded task order 0001 at $5,775,000 for the design and construction of an industrial machine shop facility at the Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, Calif.  

    P&S Construction, Inc.*, Lowell, Mass., is being awarded a $6,257,000 firm-fixed-price contract for main gate security improvements at Naval Weapons Station Earle.

    NextiraOne Federal, LLC, Herndon, Va., was awarded on March 12, 2010, a $6,954,688 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract.

    Lockheed Martin Corp. Simulation, Training and Support, Orlando, Fla., is being awarded an $83,305,442 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to design, develop, fabricate, integrate, and test the electronic Consolidated Automated Support System.

    Add to that, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter has almost doubled in price from $69 million to $135 million.  Just what we need to counter the Taliban's Air Force.

    •  My God, Anna! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tiggers thotful spot, Anna M, Billdbq

      Those amounts are staggering!  

      •  A radical solution to the teacher pay problem (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, Cynic in seattle, Billdbq

        Schools could put in for a contract with the Defense Department - kids and teachers could spend an hour or two a week making some widget or gizmo the DOD wants. Make it a non-lethal gizmo, like a radio.  Maybe the math teachers could help them with their accounting - they seem to have a problem with that.

        Anyway, their $80 million DOD contract could go to paying the teachers and whatever else the school might need. Just an idea.

        Warning: comment may contain sarcasm

    •  And like it or not, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, Anna M

      Those companies are the only ones where an engineer and others can get a stable job right now. My husband went from private industry, automobile safety equipment, to defense contracting when he lost his job a bit more than a year ago. He has a nice job, very stable, great benefits and he was just given a little promotion along with a raise. Meanwhile, hundreds of engineers are looking for jobs after being laid off from manufacturing jobs.

      Is it a good thing that so much money goes into defense? I don't think so but then again, I am glad my husband has a job.

    •  Well, its not all rosy in the defense industry (0+ / 0-)

      there have been layoffs in many companies just as in other industries.

  •  The United States (6+ / 0-)

    has been found wanting, over these past many years, in its social contract.  I worked in Social Services my entire civilian career/life, and I was often shocked that those most in need were left hanging without any help from social service agencies - government & non-profits.  One of the reasons I took early retirement is that I saw lives ruined and human beings (for example foster children who at age eighteen were put out on the street - literally - because there was no program to help them transition to adulthood) left hanging out to dry with no understanding of the consequences of cutting them from provision of services. Yes, much good has been done to help minors and the disabled - and that is why I remained working in the field. But, in Florida, there was literally nothing but food stamps for unemployed, homeless adult single men for many, many years.  Women received AFDC if they had children.  I stopped working + ten years ago.

  •  The recession has yet to play itself out (4+ / 0-)

    There are consequences for this financial collapse and we have yet to pay for them in full.

  •  Deflation in action (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erush1345

    My opinions on matters such as these are not popular, I know, but this situation illustrates deflation in action and is a healthy thing over the long term once this situation shakes itself out.

    The US's entire fiscal structure, from the town and state level to the federal level, is a shambling unsustainable zombie. Unfortunately, to transition from a shambling mess to a sustainable economy, it takes a lot of pain. Layoffs, pay cuts, etc are all a necessary part of the equation, as are failures of marginal businesses. Stimulus packages in general can't help: they just kick the can down the road so we have to make the decisions in 2011 we should have made in 2010.

    Also, it is virtually impossible to fix this situation on the backs of the rich. There are some tax increases that may help, but the rich by and large simply do not possess the money to pay for a lot of this stuff.

    The only solution for a lot of these issues is time and allowing the situation to work itself out on its own.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 10:09:10 AM PDT

    •  There's no evidence (4+ / 0-)

      at all that we're transitition to something sustainable.

      The cost of our militarism and the nutty-cuckoo-healthcare-system-only-masochists-would-love is a couple trillion dollars wasted per year. Probably one out of every seven dollars in our entire economy is just raw overhead, for those two things, that don't really provide anything useful to Americans except to a handful of insurance moguls or war profiteers. There's no evidence at all that's gonna change.

      The "situation working itself out" looks more and more like a post-Gorbachev societal implosion with predictable consequences like decreasing life expectancy, rising infant mortality, and decreasing literacy rate.

      Sitting around waiting for time to fix it sounds like a recipe for disaster.

  •  this is what it looks like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tiggers thotful spot, CKendall

    when you drown the government in the bathtub

  •  This has happened before... (3+ / 0-)

    I had 150 classmates in my middle school classes. Yes, one class, 150 kids, three teachers taking turns teaching science, math, and social studies. We had 75 in our language arts class with two teachers rotating. In elementary school, I was in classes with 30 kids easily. Most high school classes were smaller, but not all of them.

    This was in the 70s. We went through a recession then and it hit my hometown area of northern Illinois very hard. Schools were closed and consolidated, teachers laid off, kids smushed into huge class sizes.

    The problem in our area was the loss of manufacturing jobs and the lost of a tax base in the area when everyone lost their jobs and companies closed. We put a band-aid on it for the next 40 years but now its coming back to haunt us. Maybe this is the reason I homeschool my children...I can't recall learning very much in school although I did go on to college and earn a graduate degree later. Still paying back student loans, by the way. ;)

    This is exactly what will happen, over and over again, in cycles until we bring back jobs and companies who create the jobs and build a tax base. I imagine just like before, its the north that is hurting while companies flee south where wages are lower..or they go to China or India.

    Obama isn't going to be able to fix this and stimulus packages are just another band-aid. I don't know what the solution is but I prefer that it is truly and honestly analyzed this time so that my grandchildren aren't in the same position once we no longer have the money to stuff up the holes in our economy. I am not saying we don't need a stimulus package, just that we can't do just that and nothing else.

  •  Great DEPRESSION 2.0 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    La Gitane

    I'm not afraid to say the D word.  Say it with me. It starts with a D. It's just three syllables.  There!  I knew you could. I'll teach you how to read eventually!  

    "Seek above all for a game worth playing- such is the advice of the oracle to modern man." - Robert S. de Ropp

    by FuddGate on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 10:45:33 AM PDT

  •  Here in Hawaii (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CKendall

    we've been having furlough days since October.  17 days this year, 17 next year.  Hawaii now has the shortest school year in the nation!  

    Because the state didn't want to mess up the "holy" testing weeks in the spring, last fall we had a furlough every week - and my pay was cut by 20%!!

    As a single mom with a child in college, I find myself putting off buying groceries whenever possible.  This week was spring break, so I went on a fast.  Good for my health - and nearly free, since lemons are in season right now.  But it's a shame that the cost of it went into my decision not to eat this week.  

    Not sure yet whether I'll be able to afford to send my daughter to college for her senior year, and it's killing me.

  •  Oh just do the math...sheesh. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias

    We spent $10B on the "Afghan police" or more correctly $10B into the back accounts of the Karzai family and their clients vs. funding...let's see $75K for pay, benefits, pension that would be 133,333 teachers and 3M kids with teachers...what good would that do?

  •  Idiocy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias

    In New York State, Governor Paterson is proposing all kinds of cuts, including closing many parks and historic sites. Here's the gist from Albany's Metroland:

    The plan outlined by Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation would close 41 parks and 14 historic sites and reduce services at 24 other locations, purportedly saving the state $6.3 million.

    However, according to the findings of a 2009 study conducted for Parks & Trails New York by the Political Economic Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the money saved from the closures—less than eight hundredths of a percent of the overall deficit—would cost the state in the long run.

    The PERI study, titled, ironically, “The New York State Park System: An Economic Asset to New York State,” compared public spending on state parks to spending by park visitors. “Clearly,” the 36-page report reads, “the impact of the State Park System on New York’s economy is sizeable: The benefits exceed the direct costs of maintaining the state parks many times over.” In fact, according to the study, every dollar spent on the park system generates $5 in income through sales, business and income taxes. “The state parks produce about $1.9 billion in annual sales for private businesses in the areas around the park,” the report states. And approximately 40 percent of that visitor spending comes from visitors who live outside the areas where the parks are located.

    To date, the plan merely presents a list of park closings, not an explanation of what “closing” a state park actually means. John Boyd Thacher State Park—that gem in the Helderbergs—has a public highway running through it. According to one parks representative, closing a park probably means little more than ending spending on the infrastructure and security. The potential risks to the public and liabilities for the state are inestimable. The cost of reopening facilities that have been neglected, even for a year, likely would be astronomical.

    Multiply this story a thousand fold all across every part of the public sector. We're looking at the unbuilding of America.

    According to conservative dogma, this is good - government is getting smaller and spending is being cut. The fact that it is fiscal idiocy, creates more problems than it solves, and has a net negative effect just doesn't register. And it's telling that it is a Democratic governor who's bought into this fallacy. It shows how deeply embedded in political policy conservative dogma has become.

    But that's conservatism for you - if a policy doesn't increase public suffering in some fashion and make the world a worse place to live, it is obviously flawed. As long as taxes are being cut, they're happy.

    Man the lifeboats! Billionaires, bankers, and bond traders first! Throw the women and children overboard now to lighten the ship!

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 12:28:10 PM PDT

  •  Can someone please tell me what (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    delphine, zaka1

    a "depression" is, and why this isn't one?  Seriously - all you hear is this or that has never been this low/bad since the depression.

    Well???  As far as I'm concerned, if it's as bad as the depression was, then it's a depression.  Right?

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 12:36:57 PM PDT

    •  it is a technical definition, as is a recession (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      La Gitane

      A depression is a severe economic downturn that lasts several years.  That is, a continued contraction of economic activity.  

      Effects for the Great Depression

      1930  -8.6%
      1931  -6.4%
      1932 -13.0%
      1933  -1.3%

      that is four consecutive years of negative economic growth.

      We are already seeing positive economic growth, although that positive growth is minimal, it does mean that we are technically not even in a recession, even though so far the recovery has been largely jobless.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 01:51:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

        It does seem to me though that we need new standards...  back then, we made things and recovery was much more directly linked to job creation.  Now, a rise in GDP does not translate in new jobs...

        How long was the GDP in decline this time?

        "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 02:43:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  depends on readjustments to measurements (0+ / 0-)

          certainly we saw a decline in 4th quarter of 2008.   Not sure what the adjusted figures say for the 3rd quarter, since the real dip hit in September.  The measure I have seen, for example this site, seem to indicate only 4 quarters of downward GDP "growth."  That qualifies as a severe recession, but not a depression.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 06:33:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Education (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    to me, was such a gift, going to college, for me (started my Bachelors in my late 20's) was opening up the world to me through knowledge.  

    Starting in the late 90's there was a quiet revolution going on and it started at the bottom where no one noticed.  I was, and still am a social worker, and have watched my professional which demanded a Master's degree and state license, be chopped up and under funded.  Which then, in turn, destroyed the mental health system.  However, with "faith based intiatives," no real education level is required and anyone can be a counselor.  It has hit our healthcare system as well, and now, it is hitting the teachers and the education system.  I know teachers with higher levels of education are being replaced in private school with Bachelor level teachers.  It is a cheapening of everything for the middle class.  

    I wonder too, as you do, if I'm just seeing things through colored lens, but I don't think so.  I think we will see a much higher level of poverty before all is done. And what is sad is that we were truly making big dents in poverty with education and an economy that promised brighter futures before NAFTA.

    The structure that we worked and lived in is no longer working.  It's broken.  As a social worker I was taught to look at the environment that an individual lives in and then make an assessment of the individual's situation.  Our social and  environmental structure that we lived and flourished in for years has been quietly dismantled and until we stop the continuation of the dismantled things we will never get back to the normal we once knew.  

    Sometimes when life throws you a curve ball, throw a spit ball back at it.

    by zaka1 on Sat Mar 20, 2010 at 01:20:14 PM PDT

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