Friday, June 30, 2017

We Want to Pay More Taxes? Who is We?

In Just Keep Raising Taxes, Moose broached the subject that Liberals are happy to pay more in taxes to give everyone tax payer funded healthcare. In MP CBO Projections, Paul brought a very similar idea up.
"Yeah, liberals can be as adamant about our values as anyone else, don't expect us to apologize for that, but when other people fail our test as decent human beings and good citizens, we still want them to be well, and have health care, and security, and prosperity, even if we have to help pay for it." Paul 
"Who is we in "even if we have to help pay for it." I am guessing that few of the commenters here are in tax brackets we are talking about. So what you are really saying is We still want them to be well, and have health care, and security, and prosperity, even if "the successful" have to help pay for it." G2A
Yeah. That's exactly what I'm saying. Was I unclear about that?" Paul
Now there is a lot more over on MP, however this is the important concept that I want to discuss:
  • So the Total Governem\ent Spend is ~7 Trillion Dollars
  • And there are about 320 million people in the country
  • So the spend per citizen is about $21,875 per citizen
  • My point is that people in the 10% and 15% tax brackets are likely just paying their fair share government cost. 
  • The reality as Hiram often says, the successful folks are paying our country's bills because they have the money to do so.
  • So the reality is that the middle class folks kind of pay their own way, and the successful people pay their share of the government spend, the share for the unsuccessful and they pay for most of the welfare, medicare, etc.
Now I am okay with the wealthy paying more since they have benefited more from being in our great country.  However the idea of Paul saying that "we" are willing to pay more is fraudulent. I am pretty sure he would freak if we raised taxes on the middle class so that it could be given to the poor.

So who is this "WE" that Moose and Paul feel should be more generous?
Is it themselves?  Or do they want rob Peter?  Thoughts?

Along those lines, "I" wanted to help some struggling people in the West Metro.  So "I and the Mrs" wrote a check to PRISM last week.  I always wonder what folks like Moose, Paul, etc do to actually help the unsuccessful folks. I mean other than sit on a blog saying that "someone" should be a better Christian and do something...

Is Melania a Hypocrite?

Now we are learning that Trump does not have the basic self control that most of us do.  He is somewhat like a child who immediately feels the need to retaliate in the most immature of "cyber bullying" ways when people disagree with him or if he feels slighted.

Of course this has left poor Melania in a very unfortunate position.  Her chosen pet project as the First Lady was to go after cyber bulling because it is so cruel...  And now she is having to turn a blind eye to the behaviors of her own husband, and worse yet she has to talk out of the other side of her mouth to defend him.

I assume this is part of the arrangement for a trophy wife like herself, but it certainly can not be very enjoyable to have it played out in public.  I have to wonder, has a President ever been divorced by the First Lady while he is in office.  Now that would be an interesting twist.  And Trump would probably replace her with another model before the end of his term. Thoughts?

CNN Melania: Against Cyber Bullying but Ok with Trump Tweets
USA Today: Melania Against Cyber Bullying
HP Trump Tweets and Melania's Platform
Fox News: Tweets Hurting Agenda

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Need to Address Climate Before 2020

Laurie said...
Arguments here about poverty and the safety net never go anywhere so I am going off topic. My number one issue is really related to the environment. As half a bible verse says "The poor you will always have with you" but the time to address climate change is now. 50 years and even 5 years from now will be too late.

These experts say we have until 2020 to get climate change under control. And they’re the optimists.

Of course I find this humorous since we often get stuck on climate change also...

How to improve ACA (throw out water and not the baby)

Sam does a good job of reviewing options and topics at MinnPost How to Improve ACA.  Much of it seemed aligned with Sean's: How to Improve ACA. Some more links:

HBR Improve ACANew Yorker Improve ACANYT Improve ACA

By the way, I am still participating on the comments at MP CBO Score.  They have headed in much the same direction as ours have here...  Cameron left the following.
It comes down to empathy or a lack of empathy Kayla Chadwick, a Huffington Post contributor summed it up well.  "I cannot have political debates with these people. Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society, how to be a good person, and why any of that matters."
Which sounds very similar to our Just Keep Raising Taxes discussion.

On the Lighter side... Comic 1Comic 2,  Comic 3, Comic 4

How to Save $1 Trillion on Healthcare

This opinion piece caught my eye...
CNN USA Can Save $1 Trillion and Get Better Care

Of course it will only cost us our capitalistic system and require us to cede a lot of the industry control to the politicians and bureaucrats...  Thoughts?

And some more opinion pieces...
CNN Why US Healthcare Cost Defy Common Sense
CNN GOP Failure on Healthcare could be a Win
CNN Healthcare History

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Just Keep Raising Taxes

A Gift from Moose:
"I came across this editorial today, and I sums up rather well what I have tried to say here on your blog and why we butt heads on most topics here...particularly the following:

"If I have to pay a little more with each paycheck to ensure my fellow Americans can access health care? SIGN ME UP. Poverty should not be a death sentence in the richest country in the world. If you’re okay with thousands of people dying of treatable diseases just so the wealthiest among us can hoard still more wealth, there is a divide between our worldviews that can never be bridged."

Liberal Progressive Mindset"

Which reminds me of this Sojourner Piece... Have We Forgotten the Point of Christianity... And here is an exchange we had on FB...

"Christianity is also about charity and giving, not tax and spend. It interesting how some want to help others as long as others are paying for it. I have my usual questions: as a country we already take in ~1 million legal immigrants and refugees per year, we have many people from South America who have needs and are closer, and we have many people millions of people with poor household incomes in the USA. How many of the worlds 5 billion struggling humans do you want to bring in ? What will they do to earn and living? How will this impact our low income workers who are already struggling? I think people who are concerned should be more charitable and help others while they work to improve their own country." G2A

"As usual, your arguments aren't really about the exercise of faith, but about politics." FB1

"My exercising my faith means that I give to charity and help people that I interact with. It is you and the author who want to politicize faith to force people to do what you believe is moral. Instead of asking people to give, pray, volunteer, etc... The author is promoting using our government to tax and fund per his priorities. It reminds me of when the religious right tries to use the government to prevent homosexual activities and abortions." G2A

"Strange, I didn't read that." FB1

" I think his final paragraphs make the point well. So when we’re confronted with national questions regarding refugees, immigrants, racism, national security, the economy, and social justice issues, we must remind ourselves of the old adage: “What Would Jesus Do?” because we already know what he did, and it’s our responsibility to do the exact same thing. God help us.

So back to my questions... Any answers?" G2A

"Nope" FB1
I mean the Liberal Progressive philosophy sounds so simple and perfect. If we just give everyone every thing they need they will be motivated, happy, knowledgeable and work hard to improve and perpetuate our society.  Kind of like living with the 7 dwarves.

That is until the cold light of reality illuminates it's flaws. I mean for 100+ years we have been increasing our taxes big time and giving more care, food, education, housing and healthcare than ever in history.  And what do we have to show for it...  More single parent households than ever, a huge academic achievement gap, people who keep themselves trapped in generational poverty, violent crime in the streets, etc.  I don't think I am excited to double down on the "war on poverty" given how disastrous the first round was...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Who Will Work the Fields?

From Laurie.
"There is no recent topic on illegal immigration so I will post my link here:

Trump’s Crackdown on Immigration Is Terrible News for Anyone Who Eats Food

Seems to me widespread deportation is a bad idea. I am in favor of small scale selective deportation. Deporting people who are serious criminals seems like the way to go to me."

Heroin Deaths in MN

A gift from Sean.  I moved it from Neither Party Cares Comment String
"Let's hop in the time machine back to the 1980s, when the crack epidemic was at its peak. What was our society's response? We militarized our police forces (urban and rural). We started high-intensity police patrols that used "broken windows" policing strategies that in many places (like Ferguson, for instance) turned poor black folks into an ATM for local government. We instituted mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug offenses, and we treated drug addiction like a crime instead of a disease. Deaths from crack and powder cocaine combined peaked at about 3,000 in the late-1980s.

Today, we have an opioid epidemic that killed more than 50,000 last year. How are we responding to that crisis?

I'd like to think that the reason we're responding differently to opioids is because we've learned from the damage we did to communities 30 years ago. But I fear it's not that at all. Because we sure didn't see gauzy stories like this from local news channels about those impacted by crack back in the day:

KARE: Minnesota families grieving the toll of heroin "

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sean's Healthcare Improvement Plan

I was looking back at the G2A Nolan Diagram post for something and saw the following comment from Sean. I am not sure if I ever posted it for discussion, so here goes.
"Sean, If I remember correctly it was something like the German system. Correct?" G2A
"No. I think you can make some changes to the ACA to make it work much better. Here are four such changes that could make an impact right away:
  • I would extend the subsidies beyond their current cutoff point to limit some of the impact on those who are being impacted by the rising individual market premiums. The current cutoff point is around $90,000 income for a family of 4, I would extend that up to $250,000 with the subsidies having less value the further you move up the scale.
  • I would increase penalties on those who choose to go uninsured, or alternatively, institute automatic enrollment in Medicaid or a public option (see below).
  • I would institute a public option (allow people to buy into Medicaid or Medicare) at first in areas where there is only one private insurance option and to cover those who don't purchase insurance on their own if automatic enrollment were selected.
  • I would reinstate risk corridor payments in areas where there are low amounts of competition." Sean

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Neither Party Cares About Helping Poor People

CNN Kasich Says Neither Party Cares about Helping Poor People

I keep liking this guy more and more.

"You look at the rates of poverty, the problems in this country. We have not designed a system to get people work. Everything we're talking about now — getting people healthy, giving them health care — is designed to get them to work. It's designed to give them an opportunity to have a better life.

"And maybe this is a signal that instead of people just confessing their loyalty to one party or the other, maybe they ought to be confessing their loyalty to the country," Kasich said, adding that political leaders need to stand up and say what they think about things regardless of potential backlash.

"I don't think we have enough leadership," Kasich continued. "I think too many people cower, you know, in the wings because of partisanship. Not just Republicans; Democrats as well. If you try to get a great number of governors, Republican or Democrat, to speak out on this, where are they? All you hear are crickets and chirping because they're, they're worried about upsetting their base." 
"Or getting ads run against them like that," Bash added.

"So what?" Kasich replied. "Then get -- then, if you can't take a fastball on the inside, get out of politics."
Makes sense to me...

 Liberals seem to think giving poor people "something for nothing" is in some way helping them "learn to fish" when it just teaching them to "line up for more free fish". And of course it is teaching the bureaucrats that if you fail you gain funding and job security.

And Conservatives seem to think that the unsuccessful folk will somehow magically succeed if the government does nothing to help them. Apparently it was just a fluke that all those people were unsuccessful and impoverished before government started offering aid.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Family Bonding and Belief Development

Now for something totally different. If you have any desire to understand how I developed into the man that I am... (for better or worse)  This is a typical example of how my Father and I bond...

Some Fathers like to golf, go to sports games, fish, camp, hunt, etc. Well mine likes to do productive projects that create, repair or maintain something.  Or what most people call work...

So I have Fridays off during the Summer and spent the day bonding with Dad. For you city folk this activity is called "fixing the plugged field tile".  Tile are the plastic, concrete or in the old days clay perforated or non-perforated tubes that farmers put in the field to drain away excess water. Kind of like that bottom tray on your flower pot.

The activity involves finding where something is stopping the water flow (ie roots, crushed tile, debris, etc), digging down to the tile, cutting out that section, clean out the obstruction and reinstalling a new tube.  Needless to say it is a physical and muddy activity. And as you can see Dad believes in using the newest and fanciest equipment... (Not...)  Apparently the Farmall 350 Utility Tractor is older than I am.

Thus my focus on learning, working, living below one's means, saving and investing.  If I had been raised elsewhere by different Parents maybe I could have been a true Liberal.  Now isn't that scary... :-)

Monday, June 19, 2017

How Kids Get Screwed Up Long Term

Now here are some links I can get behind. Also, why I am so frustrated that anyone is allowed to have kids in America. One has to pass a drivers license test and have enough money to pay for a car and insurance to drive legally. And yet to be a Parent one has to just have poorly protected sexual intercourse and not have an abortion. And I can guarantee that raising kids well is a lot harder than driving. 

 And as this says the long term consequences for the children and our society are huge.  Thoughts?
Childhood Emotional Trauma Closely Linked to Problems in Adulthood
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Unfortunately it doesn't look like licensing Parents made the CDC's list...  Oh well maybe next time. :-)
CDC Abuse / Neglect Reduction Strategies

Friday, June 16, 2017

Yanez Castile Verdict and Protests

Well apparently the protesters are back after the police officer was found not guilty. Here are a couple of comments from my more liberal FB friends.
"Well that's a shame, although not unexpected. Pray for peace."
"Just not right. Not Guilty. Really. Wow.
"He didn't deserve to die for that traffic stop."
SFGate Officer Acquitted
CNN Officer Who Shot
CNN Protests follow verdict

And here are some of my responses.
"So let's summarize, an investigation was held, the officer was charged, a trial was held and he was found not guilty by a jury of our peers and you think it is shame. Do you think he should have been found guilty because the victim was a black man? The victim regardless of race had been smoking pot, had pot in the car and was carrying a gun on him. (ie high risk lifestyle) If the victim was a white man would see the verdict as a shame?" G2A

" I never said he deserved to die, this iis a tragic situation for all involved. One young man is dead and another has spent a year being tormented by crowds of people and likely by his own mind. Again, would people be marching tonight if this was a young high gun toting white man? What do the marchers want beyond an investigation and trial?" G2A

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Electoral Votes: What is Fair?

So this discussion started here. And it requires an image for a better answer.

"Moose, Now don't be silly... They still only have 3 votes... Now each individual citizen has more power, but it is still just a pittance compared to the urban States.  So yes the system is working great. And I am thankful because Wyoming is beautiful.  I am always amazed when urban Liberals want to rule the whole country with an iron fist... So much for that tolerance of different beliefs and peoples." G2A

"Voting Power You were saying...?" Moose

"Excellent source... And I believe I was saying... "Now each individual citizen has more power, but it is still just a pittance compared to the urban States.

This is a trade off we make to keep America whole and stable. And to ensure the dominant majority of City/Coastal Americans do not run rough shod over everyone else. 

Imagine how much better off and stable Iraq would be if the Shiites could not run rough shod over the Sunnis and Kurds as they can with their form of government." G2A

"Not according to my previous source." Moose
My point was that even with the weighted electoral college system, Wyoming only gets 3 votes out 538...  That is a pittance when it comes to national control.  And strangely Liberals who usually want the minority voices to be heard would happily quiet them further.  As is often the case, I find this ironic.

MN Teacher Licensing Improved

Another big improvement that occurred is that local schools have been given the freedom to interview from a larger pool of candidates to ensure the best most qualified Teachers are allowed in the classroom.  Previously the bureaucrats and Teacher's Unions had this pretty well locked down.

MPR MN Teacher Licensing Change
Mn Daily Teacher Licensing Change

The benefit for them of course was to reduce the pool of available applicants, therefore putting upward pressure on required employee compensation.  And making it harder for administrations to replace poor teachers, therefore encouraging administrators to just keep the questionable performer.

Now we know that ED MN is livid, so it is probably a pretty good thing. Please remember that ED MN is a Teacher Union, no matter what else they say.  Their goal is to maximize compensation and job security for their members.  This is not bad or evil, it is just why they exist.

Their goal is not to ensure that our public schools maximize their performance for the good of all American children.  That is the duty of our elected school boards and the school superintendent that they hire.

Monday, June 12, 2017

MN Teacher LIFO is Gone: Thank Heavens

Erin does an excellent job with MP LIFO Surprise. As you are aware, I am against tenure, Last In First Out, steps/lanes and all the other silly Union / State rules that prevent school administrators from keeping only the best most cost effective teachers in the classroom.
Now I am aware that teachers with seniority and tenure appreciate their high job security and relatively high wages and benefits. And that they want the Union and Liberal politicians to do everything in their power to protect this good deal. This makes sense from the point of view of a Teacher in this position.
However if you are a tax payer, a parent, a young gifted teacher or a student this is a terrible deal... Here are some of the reasons why:
  • Some teachers are paid more than their performance justifies. They may be stuck in a school district where they are burnt out but still paid better than they can get else where. Do you really think they are giving 100%? Don't the kids deserve better?
  • Raises are constrained for young energetic gifted teachers by the steps/lanes table. This would have driven me crazy when I was a young workaholic engineer. No wonder attracting young highly motivated talent is hard.
  • The reality is that if any of the teachers are paid more than what they would command on the open market or if the district has to expend a lot of money to get rid of questionable performers, it means that fewer Teachers can be hired and class sizes are made larger.
  • Other
The good news is that we have made one more common sense reform in MN. At least now the admin and teachers can negotiate this at the local level. However, the Ed MN President said one of the most disturbing things: 
"It’s too early to tell what sort of an impact the state-level LIFO repeal will actually have on schools. But Specht suspects there’s not much of an appetite, on the local level, to use anything other than seniority.

There are some locals that are probably going to just put seniority in their contract because it’s easy, it’s predictable,” she said. “We actually hear that a lot of superintendents and principals like it because sometimes having those tough conversations, it’s hard for them. We also believe that teacher development and evaluation law might play into this.” 
The idea that our highly paid school administrators are too scared to address poor performing teachers and that the ED MN President is okay with it makes me SO ANGRY... Both of these groups swear that they are there to ensure that only the best teachers are in the classroom. And yet they both may support seniority policies because it is easier. Definitely some major league hypocrites. 
This quote does give me hope though I am floored that this would be a new concept in the public schools... No wonder they have so many unresolved challenges.
"My guess would be that even though it’s no longer in state law, the status quo is still going to be the default unless there’s a specific effort to change it. And that is a battle that can often require a lot of political capital on the side of the district,” said Kency Nittler with the National Council on Teacher Quality. 
Even so, she says that the repeal of LIFO legislation in Minnesota opens up a number of new possibilities for districts to factor criteria other than seniority into their layoff policies. For instance, some districts might look to negotiate a system that buckets teachers into groups based on their performance-evaluation ratings. Those with the lowest level of ratings may be let go first
From there, any additional cuts might be based on seniority. In some policies she’s observed, districts have adopted a point system where teachers can get points for their performance evaluation. This portion often carries the most weight, but they can also get points for things like experience, leadership roles, or other measures of professional growth. 
I think there are ways to make systems that are not purely 100 percent based on performance that are certainly much less quality blind than 'last in, first out,' but are perhaps palatable for the negotiating table,” Nittler said."
I mean really...  What a creative new idea.... Layoff the poor performers first...  What will they think of next... 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Anti-Sex Ed Conservatives Cause Unwanted Babies

I'll never understand the desire by the religious right to keep young adults ignorant.  NPR Teen Pregnancy Rates  From my post regarding older mothers...
"Remember that I am fine with abortions up to ~14 weeks, IUDs and morning after pills. And I am the odd voice that says welfare Mom's with 2+ kids should be forced to have an early abortion or give the baby up for adoption if they get pregnant with another while on welfare... Or they should be forced to give up all benefits...

My goal has been very consistent... Babies who are born should be taken care of by responsible and capable Parents who can afford them. I don't think Mom's / Dad's who delay pregnancy and increase chances of the baby having serious health problems so they can pursue their degree / career first count as responsible parents." G2A

And yet those back woods Religious Right folks strive to keep young women ignorant and unprotected during the time that they are at their highest risk of becoming an unprepared, unqualified and low income mamas.

Let me see: brain not fully developed, hormones in abundance, peer pressure and mixed messages all around them, emotional attractions, etc.  And the Religious old folks want them to "just say NO" because "we said so".  It is kind of like locking an over eater in the candy store and telling them to just use their will power to not eat...

What are these pious puritanical adults thinking.  And then on top of this they want to make abortion illegal and they want to cut the financial support needed by these unprepared, unqualified and low income mamas. And the irony of course is that then they say they "value humans lives"...  Maybe they do as long as they don't cost them any money or time, and they get to keep them ignorant.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

DEMs Keep Fighting Themselves

This is an interesting twist...  Apparently it is Obama's fault that Clinton lost...  Thoughts?

CNN Actually Hillary has a Point

Comedians Spark Outrage

I am wondering if Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher are smart comedians who are getting just what they want.  A lot of free publicity...  I mean a LOT of people now know Kathy's name who may not have last week, including a LOT of Liberal of potential customers / employers who support her foolish choice.

CNN 2 Comedians

Friday, June 2, 2017

Generations of Disabled Rural White Moochers

A gift from Laurie
Here is a link on another recent topic - this one about (rural white) moochers:  Generations, disabled
Just skimming it... It looks like a good application for my "don't let baby mama's and daddy's keep having and keeping babies they can not care for" rule. And yet no one likes that rule, they would rather these children grow up neglected.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Trump Climate Announcement

Yes I have found one more reason to dislike Trump...  Why would anyone in their right mind exit a global accord like this one?  I keep thinking that he is trying as hard as he can to give the Democrats full control of the House and Senate in 2019 & 2020...  Maybe he truly is a closet Liberal looking to be the next Obama starting 2019... :-)

CNN Trump Announcement
CNN Money Elon Musk to Quit as Counselor
Science Trump Dumps Accords
WP Fact Checking Trump
Politifact Fact Checking Trump
CNN Business Support Accords
CNN CEOs Very Unhappy with Trump's Choice

This SNL skit seems appropriate today.
Trump Talks with Supporters

ED MN Upset By Licensing Change

There are some really good comments in this string.  That unless ED MN gets rid of the comments from Teachers who disagree with them...
FB ED MN Letter from Denise Sprecht

And here is some more coverage.  Since I support licensing reform and the end of tenure, I am with the GOP on this one.
MPR Ed Bill Passed
ED MN More Negotiations
AT Gov Vetoes Needed Licensing Reform

Democrats Not being Very democratic

This Super Delegate thing confuses me...  Especially from a party that each and every vote must matter...  Thoughts?  CNN DNC and Super Delegates