Posts tagged ‘Republican Party (United States)’

March 21, 2011

Pennsylvania: Slashing Education, Boosting the Prison Budget

by Vince

Ben Waxman describes this puzzling move:

Corbett’s budget includes a $186 million increase for the state Department of Corrections. That’s an 11 percent jump, part of a long trend of skyrocketing state prison costs. Corbett attributes this trend to the personal failings of the people filling the prisons.

Pennsylvania’s prison population has grown by 500 percent since 1980 despite few changes in crime patterns. According to the state Commission on Sentencing, a bipartisan panel created by the legislature, the huge jump is due mostly to mandatory sentences for petty drug crimes.

If Corbett were serious about cutting all costs, including prisons, he’d identify the problem as our drug-sentencing laws. Instead, he’s throwing money at a broken system and claiming it’s out of his control.

The moral of Tom Corbett’s budget story is that much of it is just that: a convenient story.

E.D. Kain gives a eulogy for the Grand Old White Rich Party:

De-funding and de-prioritizing public education while ramping up the never-ending war on drugs is about the most toxic combination of policies you can scrape together. Jamil asks, “What will be the ripple effect” of all these anti-worker, anti-education GOP budgets?

I called Scott Walker’s budget shenanigans in Wisconsin the “real Republican Waterloo” and this is exactly what I was driving at – what will the ripple effects of this overreach be? Conservatives are feeling confident and relishing their little victories now, but public opinion is turning against them. Expect a backlash.

But the damage may very well be done. As I’ve mentioned many times, the anti-teacher crusading has taken on a decidedly bipartisan hue, and the new class war is still heating up.

All of this makes for interesting fodder each day I teach. I can see administration building workers clamping down on procedures and each and every line of the budget in our schools and clubs are being questioned. This isn’t entirely a bad thing. It is calling us to be more careful with the money we spend (and by we, I mean us teachers. This line of duty seems sometimes out of the picture for when, say, superintendents salaries are on the table for a pay freeze).

However, I can see issue with cutting funding to our schools: it cuts down on reinbursements for continuing ed. For some, it may not make a difference but for myself and a few close colleagues, it matters.

October 30, 2010

Stimulus Vs Stimulus: Tax Breaks for the Rich or Economic Stimulus

by Vince

I had a light bulb moment as I was reading this blog post last night.

Advocates of incessant temporary infusions of cash into the pockets of low- to middle-income people in the hopes that they will go out and spend it and “spur demand” and thus create incentives for businesses to invest and expand and hire sound, to be quite frank about it, totally out of their minds. How many times must they be reminded that businesses invest (and banks lend) with an eye toward long-term economic prospects, asking themselves, “What kind of return am I going to get on this investment over the long run?” Temporary blips on the demand radar of the kind that fiscal stimulus represents do not factor into this decision-making process at all.

The mindset that we give a boatload of money via the Recovery Act to a bunch of sectors of American in hopes of re-energizing things sounds strikingly similar to the case made for keeping the tax cuts for the rich. If the tax cuts for the rich stay, the rich will get richer and as they were implemented in the Bush II years, they didn’t yield the results (more jobs, better economic conditions) to prove that, if extended, they could help put that money back into the economy. A lot of this is addressed, and well linked, here and here.

In the end, it looks to be a similar case of “use government here for Pete’s sake!” here and “don’t you dare use that devilish government!” there.

October 18, 2010

The Obama Coalition Crumbles

by Vince

Was it a misstep of Obama, Pelosi, et al to say that they would change Congress and put forth the best, most ethical governing body ever? Maybe. That takes time, but Obama cannot change the hearts, minds, and souls of hundreds of Reps, Senators, Governors, and all within the administration, let alone the country that fuels each organ of government.

Historically, the view of the president goes down (or does it?) the tube if the economy takes a swan dive, and he still isn’t below those such as Reagan and Clinton if you look at their 6th quarters. Obama proves to not be any exception to that, and that can be a humbling mechanism.

September 10, 2010

Christianism as an Offshoot of Jihadism

by Vince

Andrew Sullivan goes off after reading this:

It’s a tipping point where mainstream American Muslims become indistinguishable from the mass murderers of 9/11 in the psyches of those too poorly educated to know the difference. Religious warfare, once begun, is hard to stop; and when it is tacitly endorsed by a political party many of whose members believe that the president is a Muslim and no one in the GOP directly attacks, rebuts and discredits this nonsense, we are in very dangerous territory. The disturbing fusion of nationalist Christianity and loathing of Obama in the Beck-Palin movement – crystallized by the Park51/Cordoba contretemps and the August Mall rally – wittingly or unwittingly gives these violent fringes a coherence and legitimacy. Because it’s not just hatred of Obama at stake any more; it’s a conflation of Obama with Islam and then a conflation of Islam with Jihadist terror. If that’s in your mind, it takes very little to set off a chain of inflammatory acts that build on one another.

These connections have been perpetuated by the demagogues I sadly hear friends of mine watch and listen to, by uncited and ignorant chain e-mails, and by loosely made and poorly pieced together vitriolic standpoints.

I don’t go as far as saying it it all the GOPs fault for this. There are leaders out there. I would like to see more from the Right, if anything is available, consisting of pragmatic, balanced, and sober-minded viewpoints regarding Barack Obama’s birth, religion, and the obvious divide between jihadism and moderate Islam.

This has almost turned into a factory churning out sheep. Being lead by Fox News never looked so sorry.