Will Congress Get Around to Reinstating the Children’s Health Insurance Program?


As Congress returns after Thanksgiving, members face a complicated calendar.  They must pass a budget bill by December 8 (or another continuing resolution and an eventual budget by year’s end) to keep the government from shutting down, deal with tax reform that is a priority of the President and the Republican Congress, and deal with another try at changing the Affordable Care Act—something that has now been tucked into tax reform.

And then there are some smaller things, including reinstating the Children’s Health Insurance Program that Congress allowed to lapse on September 30.  What kind of society puts tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy ahead of medical care for its poorest children?

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was always a bipartisan effort—originally sponsored by Orin Hatch, a Utah Republican and Ted Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat.  CHIP is a program for the children of the working poor;  it covers…

View original post 739 more words

New “Charters and Consequences” Report from Network for Public Education Is Essential Reading


The Network for Public Education’s just-released investigative report, Charters and Consequences, paints a picture of corruption and the needless destruction of one of our society’s long-prized civic institutions. You’ll read about “charter schools gone wild” in California, where barely staffed storefront resource centers—sponsored by school districts 50 or 100 miles away—accrue state tax dollars to their sponsors’ operating budgets even as the sponsors do very little for the charter schools they supposedly oversee.  And you will read about Pennsylvania, where by state law, the charter gets every dollar—state and local—that would have been spent on the child in her public school, on the assumption that the local school district can reduce its expenses child-by-child, ignoring stranded costs for buildings and transportation and a school district’s inability instantly to resize its teaching staff.

The new report was researched and written by Carol Burris, the retired, award-winning NYC high school principal…

View original post 772 more words

Tax Slashing Predictably Reduces Government’s Capacity to Do Its Job

Beastmasters starving the beast.


Commenting for the NY Times yesterday on the tax reform bill being rushed through Congress, Peter Goodman and Patricia Cohen explain: “The tax plan has been marketed by President Trump and Republican leaders as a straightforward if enormous rebate for the masses, a $1.5 trillion package of cuts to spur hiring and economic growth. But as the bill has been rushed through Congress with scant debate, its far broader ramifications have come into focus, revealing a catchall legislative creation that could reshape major areas of American life, from education to health care.”

This warning about the persistent effort to reduce government should frighten those of us who worry about government’s capacity to educate the 50 million children and adolescents who fill public schools across our states. Perhaps you are taking comfort in the fact that fiscal responsibility for schools is shared by local, state, and federal governments, but it…

View original post 834 more words

Criminalizing panhandling again in Grand Rapids

Street panhandling or Corporate panhandling?
I think I know the answer. You too?

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

The City of Grand Rapids once again is proposing a “ban” on panhandling in Grand Rapids, despite the fact that the ACLU has won a case against the city for a previously attempting to stop people from engaging in street panhandling.

In the name of public safety, 1st Ward City Commissioner Dave Shaffer, is proposing a new policy be adopted by the City of Grand Rapids, which would limit where and when people who are street panhandling can solicit financial support. (see new proposal)

However, this new proposal continues to sweep under the rug the harsh reality that there are plenty of people in this community that are struggling to survive. We know that Grand Rapids has the largest wealth gap in the state, according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute but such acknowledgements in Grand Rapids are hard to come by for a city…

View original post 503 more words