Two children died in a fire in Philadelphia on Tuesday – and budget cuts could be to blame

Two children died in a fire in Philadelphia on Tuesday – and budget cuts could be to blame. In an effort to cut spending – the city of Philadelphia “browned out” – or closed some of it’s fire stations for a day. One of those fire stations that were closed was Engine 61 – and it just so happened to be the nearest company to the fire that killed those two children – and thus would have been first on the scene. As local firefighter Mike Cane said, “Whether…that company was in service, they would have made a difference?

Nobody can answer that…what we can say is, maybe if they were there…Maybe them kids would have had a shot.” These are the real-life consequences of budget cutting.

It’s time we roll back the Reagan tax cuts instead of rolling back critical funding for firefighters who keep our communities safe. The purpose of a budget is not to give tax breaks to the rich in order to screw over everyone else.


Pretzelogic in Philly PA's picture
Pretzelogic in ... 12 years 5 weeks ago

What we can say for sure (whether or not it would have made a difference in this specific instance) is that, IN GENERAL, more firefighters and equipment make for a safer city - fewer, not so much... duh.

- Pretzelogic in Philly, PA
And now for some feedback: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

making progress's picture
making progress 12 years 5 weeks ago

"It’s not our job to save a dying system, it’s our job to kill it."

Bill Clinton is the poster child for bankrupt liberalism. - Chris Hedges

We are seeing the coup de grâce of the slow motion coup d'état by the corporate state.

jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 12 years 5 weeks ago

REPUBLICANS ARE SOCIAL DARWINISTS -- they believe the government should help the rich live long and prosper! THE government should let the rich exploit the working classes until they die from hard work and exhaustion!! AND should let the poor die off from starvation and disease because they will never amount to anything and are a drain on society!!!

""Social Darwinism is a belief, popular in the late Victorian era in England, America, and elsewhere, which states that the strongest or fittest should survive and flourish in society, while the weak and unfit should be allowed to die. The theory was chiefly expounded by Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), whose ethical philosophies always held an elitist view and later received a boost from the application of Darwinian ideas such as adaptation and natural selection.

According to Darwin's evolutionary theory, nature is a "kill-or-be-killed" system. Those that cannot keep up are either left behind or cut off. The strong survive, and those best suited to survival will out-live the weak.

The seeds of Social Darwinism were actually planted before the publication of Darwin's "The Origin of Species"(though of course the name didn't originate until after). Herbert Spencer, the father of Social Darwinism as an ethical theory, was thinking in terms of elitist, "might makes right" sorts of views long before Darwin published his theory. The concept of adaptation allowed Spencer to claim that the rich and powerful were better adapted to the social and economic climate of the time, and the concept of natural selection allowed him to argue that it was natural, normal, and proper for the strong to thrive at the expense of the weak. Whether it be humans, races, or the state, Spencer's thoughts were clear: "If they are sufficiently complete to live, they do live, and it is well they should live. If they are not sufficiently complete to live, they die, and it is best they die." In its simplest form, Social Darwinism follows the theory of "the strong survive," even in human issues.It is the application of the theory of natural selection to social, political, and economic issues. According to Social Darwinism, those with economic, physical, and technological strength flourish and those without are destined for extinction. This theory was used to promote the idea that the white European race was superior to others, and therefore, destined to rule over them.

Social Darwinism was used to justify numerous exploits which we classify as of dubious moral value today. Colonialism was seen as natural and inevitable; people saw natives as being weaker and more unfit to survive, and therefore felt justified in seizing land and resources. Finally, it gave the ethical nod to brutal colonial governments who used oppressive tactics against their subjects.

At the time that Spencer began to promote Social Darwinism, the technology, economy, and government of the "White European" was advanced in comparison to that of other cultures. Looking at this apparent advantage, as well as the economic and military structures, some argued that natural selection was playing out, and that the race more suited to survival was winning. Some even extended this philosophy into a micro-economic issue, claiming that social welfare programs that helped the poor and disadvantaged were contrary to nature itself. Those who reject any and all forms of charity or governmental welfare often use arguments rooted in Social Darwinism.

Social Darwinism has been used to justify eugenics programs aimed at weeding "undesirable" genes from the population; such programs were sometimes accompanied by sterilization laws directed against "unfit" individuals. The American eugenics movement was relatively popular between about 1910-1930, during which 24 states passed sterilization laws and Congress passed a law restricting immigration from certain areas deemed to be unfit. Social Darwinist ideas, though in different forms, were also applied by the Nazi party in Germany to justify their eugenics programs. With the development of the notion of eugenics — not only could you prevail over the unfit by making war on them, but you could improve the breed by applying "enlightened" notions of selection and genetics.

At its worst, the implications of Social Darwinism were used as scientific justification for the Holocaust. The Nazis claimed that the murder of Jews in World War II was an example of cleaning out inferior genetics. This view embraced the assumption that the strong were superior, and thus ordained to prevail. Social Darwinism applied to military action as well; the argument went that the strongest military would win, and would therefore be the most fit. Casualties on the losing side, of course, were written off as the natural result of their unfit status. Thus, if two countries were to make war on each other, the victor was biologically superior to the loser. It was therefore right and proper for that victor to subjugate or even eliminate the inferior opponent. Not only was survival of the fittest natural, but it was also morally correct. Indeed, some extreme Social Darwinists argued that it was morally incorrect to assist those weaker than oneself, since that would be promoting the survival and possible reproduction of someone who was fundamentally unfit. A second way pseudo-evolutionary concepts were applied to human interaction was in the development of cut-throat capitalism in the United States. Here the ideology was that the cream naturally rose to the top; the successful made a lot of money simply because they were superior to the unsuccessful. Those who found themselves in poverty were poor because they were intrinsically inferior. It provided a justification for the more exploitative forms of capitalism in which workers were paid sometimes pennies a day for long hours of backbreaking labor. Social Darwinism also justified big business' refusal to acknowledge labor unions and similar organizations, and implied that the rich need not donate money to the poor or less fortunate, since such people were less fit anyway. This political philosophy resisted suggestions like universal education, welfare, minimum wage; in short, anything which interfered with the business of the "superior" ascending to the top of the heap and squashing the unfit beneath their expensive shoes.""

louisehartmann's picture
louisehartmann 12 years 5 weeks ago

He did offer a solution bicycle...raise taxes. Did you not read the entire blog?

jeremiahf's picture
jeremiahf 12 years 5 weeks ago

"He did offer a solution bicycle...raise taxes. Did you not read the entire blog". . . Or read the books, or listen to the show. My thoughts exactly, LH.

yankeerebel64's picture
yankeerebel64 12 years 5 weeks ago

Bicycle must watch Fox News, where all you get are sound bytes and headlines. Never the full story !

bicyclingjroad's picture
bicyclingjroad 12 years 5 weeks ago

Well Mr Hartman, you have a dilemma here. Ronald Regan was governor of Califorina, and President of the USA, but never mayor of Philadelphia. Prehaps you could blame Bernard Samuel, the last Republican Mayor of Philadelphia. He left office in 1952, so that might be as big a stretch as blaming Regan. What do you do! How can you be a progressive and not blame someone for a problem. Here's a suggestion, come up with a solution. Here's my idea, man the departments with volunteers for the brown out day. That might work. What's your idea? And please, something more orginial than a tax increase.

dnarnadem 12 years 5 weeks ago

"bicyclingjroad Here's my idea, man the departments with volunteers for the brown out day. That might work. What's your idea? And please, something more orginial than a tax increase."

Novel idea! Guess you'll be first. Then all the lying folks at fox noise - they only live a short distance away in NYC. Then all the nearby millionaires/Billionaires - god knows there must be 1000s of them in that 50 mile radius! Shucks man - fill everything up with volunteers. And that will then allow MORE tax breaks for the Rich!!

Personally, from your point of view, this is just more of what the repugs offer and suggest all the time - worthless opinions and suggestions! This is in the area of the proverbial "I Can Think of 6 Impossible Things before Breakfast" and then state that they are categorically TRUE before my cereal is done! TALK IS CHEAP!!!

Children died here, and you make it sound like it’s just a “Tax” Issue!

You repugs are all sick, heartless and headless! Who cares about Reagan, anyway?? If that man is your idol, than mine is Howdy Doody!

When you volunteer for anything that will result in the saving of at least ONE child, let me know – we’ll dedicate a statue to you! But I will not be holding my breath!

SmmhdT's picture
SmmhdT 12 years 5 weeks ago

Why are we letting the lunies drive the bus? Reagan and Shrub spend more than anyone could dream while cutting taxes & did it all on a loan from the taxpayer. We have two endless senseless wars we never even tried to pay for. We extend tax cuts for the rich. Now we are expected to swallow that civil services, civil servants and their salaries as the cause of the deficit spending and the Republicans claim to be the responsible ones reigning in Democrat free spending. Why do we let them drive the arguments and a get away with these lies? I think it's because they have megaphones in every corner between corporate control of most of the media and corporate personhood. It's funny that we consider a physician influenced if they accept a ballpoint pen from a drug rep but we allow billions of dollars in influence detrimental to the public good to flow into the pockets of our lawmakers without a thought. Notice we can't have a civil discussion anymore or even agree on basic facts with anyone except those that agreed with us in the first place? Propaganda got Rowandans to hate and slaughter each other for the size of their noses! We are not so far from that now in this country. Who do you think wins? Only the modern Krupp families. These liars and theives, criminals and psychopaths are inventing not only history but reality in a really scary way and it's not only the nutters they are influencing. We may have already lost our democracy but if not we will soon if we don't get some sort of fairness in broadcasting and public campaign financing so we can actually have sensible discussions over the course we want to take that's best for our whole society.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 12 years 5 weeks ago

International Harvester is to blame. Let's roll back to 1934. Harvester sold countless fire trucks to municipalities and firefighter troops galore were employed to maintain them. They sold the school buses, public transit buses, all the vehicles needed to sustain population growth. However, after a few warless years, it became clear that defense manufacturing allows an endless stream of bilking national governments versus penny-ante Centerville contracting, so Harvester Navistar International St. Joe (aka Norfolk Southern) deliberately wasted those assets in America, in favor of defense manufacturing facilities.

From 1963 it was General Dynamic's goal to take over Boeing. And they had to do it from the inside- in WA.

Defense contracting is more profitable than internal improvements contracting, and our transportation suppliers like car manufacturers have been bilked to bankruptcy to expand the new wave of Bechtel government bilk. They have Lex Bechtel, we have, "suffer not them kids."

Worse than tax issues is what they are planning to do with all that expensive military bling.

Patiod's picture
Patiod 12 years 5 weeks ago

As usual, this isn't black-and-white. The solution has to be at a national level, because raising taxes in one geographical unit simply drives companies and people with options to lower-tax locations (whereas the people who need services tend not to be as mobile). We need to collect taxes from the people who have been making all the money (

One of my friends is a working artist, and she and her husband lived in the city limits. He ran a one-man business repairing musical instruments, and she sold her artwork in the front of the shop. He couldn't keep up with all the business he had, but they had to leave the city because they weren't making enough to stay above water after taxes (even living over the shop). They paid federal tax, state tax, city wage tax, and city business taxes. Which left them in a place where they couldn't afford health insurance. Further taxing the shrinking middle and lower-middle class isn't going to provide more revenue. We need to find ways to make the top 1% pay their fair share (and find a way to provide individuals and tiny businesses with affordable health insurance)

Meanwhile, several of the city's large law firms are operating completely tax free right in the middle of the city, in a skyscraper that was called an "opportunity zone" (a block away from non-opportunity zone buildings). Again, we need to aggressively go after all the top-1% deadbeats before further taxing the 99% of people whose incomes haven't kept up.

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