Bad Deeds for 7-5-2012

Republican Governor Cuts All State Funding for Libraries – No libraries for you, little people of Louisiana! Bobby Jindal just signed a $25 billion dollar budget that cut all state funding for libraries, which wasn’t exactly a huge porkfest to begin with ($900,000). On the other hand, Jindal has cut taxes six times. See what that gets you!

Romney Says the Amount of Education You Get Should Depend on How Much Money You Have – In his stump speech on June 29th, Romney said:

“I want to make sure we keep America a place of opportunity, where everyone has a fair shot, they get as much education as they can afford, with their time they’re able to get it, and if they have a willingness to work hard and the right values, they ought to have a shot at realizing their dreams.”

So, if you have a lot of money, you get a lot of education. And if you don’t have any money, you get zip. And you only get a fair shot at realizing your dreams if you have the “right values.” I wonder who decides that – some value panel? Or maybe the church lady?

This is a man who wants to privatize our K-12 education system, who slashed Massachusetts’ education budget by large margins, increased class sizes to unmanageable levels, attended an exclusive private school, exclusive private colleges, and has the means to send his children to any college they can afford so that they too, can make tons of money by stripping other people of their jobs and futures.

This, from the man who thinks it’s just so easy to go borrow money from Mom and Dad for that startup no one with real money will fund. This, from the man who thinks borrowing from Mom and Dad for college is just as simple as a trip home for dinner.

Texas State Comptroller’s Pants Are on Fire – State Comptroller Susan Combs has been touring the state warning of the dangers of rising Medicaid costs (the “Big Red Monster” as she calls it) and proclaming that we spend too much money on public education, even though Texas ranks near the bottom nationwide in spending per pupil, and lawmakers cut funding by $5.4 billion in the last legislative session. The comptroller was even labeled with a “Pants on Fire” ruling by PolitiFact for trying to perpetuate the myth that the legislature didn’t cut school funding.

Education and health care aren’t the problems. The real need is for leadership in state government to use the Rainy Day Fund in the short term to reverse cuts, and then to fix the ongoing $10 billion hole in the budget from the structural deficit created by lawmakers in 2006. That’s not only our take, it’s the key message of Texas Forward, a coalition of some 50 organizations–including Texas AFT–promoting a balanced approach to state budget decisions.

Texas Forward members know that Medicaid is a lifeline for millions of families with children, elderly parents in nursing homes and family members with a lifelong disability, and quality public education is the key to our state’s future prosperity, preparing our youth for higher education and good jobs.

Texas Forward has prepared a petition telling state officials: “Let’s not drag schools OR healthcare backwards!” You can sign the petition on their Web site.

Republicans Advance Their War on Minorities and the Poor With Public Transportation Cuts – Just as more people are making use of this invaluable public resource, Republicans are going out of their way to slash funding for public transportation, both in terms of new projects and maintenance of existing systems. As a result, nearly 80% of transit systems have had to either reduce services or raise fares since 2010. According to the President of the American Public Transportation Association, William Millar,

“Public transportation systems are currently experiencing decreases in their funding during a time when many are serving increased number of riders. Systems are forced to continue to freeze positions and lay off workers, which makes providing necessary transit service even more difficult.”

Like all things public, Republicans want to attack and dismantle public transportation just as badly as they do all the other services provided by government. Showing off their truly loony side, they have gone so far as to accuse public transportation of being a socialist conspiracy perpetrated by the United Nations as part of a “New World Order.” When they are not using bizarre conspiracy theories to fuel the right-wing populism behind tearing down public transportation, Republicans play on two American traditions to sour the American public on mass transit: disdain for the poor and the cultural meme of independence on the open road.

Conventionally, people associate the need for public transit with urban, poor populations, and Republicans use this stereotypical association in their favor. Like attacks on welfare, they are able to parlay negative attitudes toward helping the “undeserving poor”, tainted with their ever-present racism, into an “us-versus-them” mentality regarding mass transit. Republicans perpetuate the myth that roads pay for themselves while public transit costs the taxpayer money, despite the fact that this has been shown to be untrue. For example, the State Smart Transportation Initiative in Wisconsin calculated that non-users of roads each pay about $779 for them, while non-users of public transit pay $50. Republicans love to divide and conquer, and emphasizing that transportation dollars that go to public transit benefit “only certain populations in big cities” is an effective way to wedge large swaths of Americans from one another.

Mitch McConnell Says People Without Healthcare Are Not the Issue – Like most Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) has said that he wants to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. Like most Republicans, McConnell has been rather vague about what he’d replace it with. On Sunday, McConnell was specific about one thing: the Republican replacement for Obamacare won’t be concerned with providing insurance for 30 million uninsured Americans.

In an interview with Fox News, McConnell pushed the standard GOP boilerplate on health reform — he would support tort reform, allowing insurance companies to sell substandard insurance across state lines and other reforms that would benefit insurance companies without helping patients. When pressed by Chris Matthews on what he’d do to provide universal coverage, McConnell said bluntly that people without health insurance aren’t his concern.





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About Jim Vogas

Texas A&M Aggie, Retired aerospace engineer, former union member, Vietnam vet, Demcratic Party organizer, husband and father.

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