How George W. Bush screwed this generation of college students...

Every kid in America could have a free public college education right now if George W. Bush hadn’t been such a war monger. In early 2001, prior to the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban government in Afghanistan issued an edict to ban opium cultivation in that nation, saying it was a violation of Islam. (Opium is the raw material for heroin.) And it worked pretty well.

In 2000, roughly 4,500 metric tons of opium was produced in Afghanistan. In 2001, that number plummeted to less than 1,000 metric tons. The price of heroin went up around the world, and the number of addicts – particularly in Europe, Russia, and America – dropped. The Bush administration was so impressed by the decrease in opium production that it gave $43 million to the Taliban, to encourage a continued halt on opium production.

While $43 million may not seem like a lot, it’s important to put it in context. At the time of the deal, Afghanistan’s total GDP was just $2 billion, putting it at the bottom of the global GDP rankings. It was, literally, the poorest country in the world. So, for the Taliban, $43 million was a lot of money. George W. Bush’s decision to fork over $43 million to the Taliban to help curb drug trafficking, use, and abuse was actually a good choice, and a smart policy.

Now fast forward to the days and weeks after 9/11. On October 14th, 2001, a senior Taliban leader, Deputy Prime Minister Haji Abdul Kabir, sent an official offer to Washington, saying that the Taliban would be willing to hand over Osama Bin Laden to a third-party country, if the U.S. stopped the bombing of Afghanistan. Kabir said that, “If America were to step back from the current policy, then we could negotiate. Then we could discuss which third country.”

But Bush, the same man who, just months earlier, had handed over a small fortune to the Taliban government, rejected this latest offer of cooperation. Instead, he took up a “scorched earth” policy and bombed Afghanistan back into the stone ages. Bush’s decision to invade Afghanistan has cost our country over $713 billion since 2001. And that number is rising by the millisecond. In fact, every hour, the war in Afghanistan is costing We the People another $10.17 million.

The Taliban offered to hand over bin Laden on a silver platter, but we said no, and now it’s cost us hundreds of billions of dollars. But what if George W. Bush had taken up the offer from the Taliban, and even sweetened the deal like he did with the opium?

What if he did something similar to what he had done just months before, and offered to give the Taliban money, if they promised to cut down on terrorism and on al Qaeda’s presence and influence in that nation? We could have given the Taliban $2 billion, enough to double the nation’s GDP and make everybody in the country twice as wealthy, and it still would have only been a drop in the bucket compared to what we’ve spent on the war in Afghanistan.

And, if we had done that, we would have saved ourselves enough money to provide a free public college education to every single eligible student in America. As The Atlantic points out, according to Department of Education data, public colleges across America collected $62.6 billion in tuition from undergrads in 2012.

That means that the federal government would only have had to spend $62.6 billion to help make public college tuition free for every student in America in 2012. That’s less than 11% of what we have spent on the war in Afghanistan. The bottom-line here is that George W. Bush had a chance to get America’s priorities right, and he failed. Fortunately, he’s not in Washington anymore.

So now, instead of spending trillions of dollars on prolonging the Bush legacy of unjust wars, we should be spending those trillions on the things that will make America great again, like giving every eligible student in America a free public college education.

Comments

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 29 weeks ago
#1
Quote chuckle8:DAM -- The only complaining I ever hear concerning Affirmative Action is for test scores on admission. Do you have some other complaint about Affirmative Action? If so, what?

chuckle8 ~ As I believe I stated before I oppose Affirmative Action because it is nothing more than reverse discrimination. I oppose any form of discrimination.

Everything that Affirmative Action claims to accomplish could be much better accomplished with simple comprehensive education reform.

Racism will never be any part of a real solution for any problem.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 29 weeks ago
#2

Marc, I reject the premise that Affirmative Action is racist. Like you, I'd like to see colleges & universities made part of the commons, tax-supported and accessible to all. That would be better than Affirmative Action; no argument there! But I still think that calling AA "racist" is just whiney-whitey bullshit. I've also heard a few blacks call it "racist" and I disagree with them just as heartily.

Including higher ed in the commons is about economics, as I pointed out earlier. Affirmative Action was enacted at a time when higher ed was much more affordable and students weren't getting buried under mountains of debt. So economics was not so much the issue back then; it was admission standards that were used to block minorities from higher ed, more than the price of tuition. - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 29 weeks ago
#3

DAM -- Has affirmative action caused reverse discrimination anywhere except for admissions? Affirmative Action, seemingly, is easier to enact than any comprehensive education reform.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 29 weeks ago
#4

Excellent point, Chuck!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 29 weeks ago
#5
Quote chuckle8:DAM -- Has affirmative action caused reverse discrimination anywhere except for admissions?

chuckle8 ~ Yes! Personally it cost me two different career choices I opted for. Perhaps that was a blessing. If I were so distracted with those careers at this time I would never have the time to participate in this blog. It is what it is.

Quote chuckle8:Affirmative Action, seemingly, is easier to enact than any comprehensive education reform.

chuckle8 ~ Oh, I'm sure that it is. I'm also sure that it is easier to cut off your nose to spite your face. Is it what We the People need to do... No!! It certainly isn't, is it? Until We the People demand "comprehensive education reform" we will always be the serf voice. We will never edge closer to the worker utopia that we all envision for each other. The time has come to demand the moon. After all no negotiation has ever proven fruitful for any faction who has not initially demanded the most. Personally. as far as I am concerned, your stance and the stance of Aliceinwonderland are playing right into the hand our our oppressors.

Ask fior the Moon and at least you will receive the Earth. That is my stance on this situation.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 29 weeks ago
#6

Well Marc, having finally learned of your experience with Affirmative Action, I now can better understand where you are coming from. I may not agree; but still, you are making much more sense. I'm sure there are plenty of black & latino professionals "out there" who are grateful for the opportunities Affirmative Action availed them, and are enjoying a much better living standard as a result of such opportunities, and I'd sooner cut off my nose than take that from them. But I think it's unfortunate how AA has pitted so many well-meaning people (like you) against each other... over something we should all be entitled to. Which, ultimately, is something you and I have no trouble agreeing about: UNIVERSAL ENTITLEMENT to things like health care and education. I also agree that a "B" average in high school should be all that is required for admission into any college or university. For what it's worth... - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 29 weeks ago
#7

Aliceinwonderland ~ Well, at least it worked for somebody! How can I complain?? Whatever!! All I can say is extensive educational reform for all... If that isn't the major reform for tomorrow what does it matter what is any reform for today???

Without extensive education reform for all we are all living on borrowed time. "Happy Persecuting!!"

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 29 weeks ago
#8

At the risk of sounding daft, I have to ask: what's the "Happy Persecuting" in reference to, Marc?

Yesterday I asked by whom you'd said you felt violated, and got no answer. - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 29 weeks ago
#9
Quote Aliceinwonderland:At the risk of sounding daft, I have to ask: what's the "Happy Persecuting" in reference to, Marc?

Yesterday I asked by whom you'd said you felt violated, and got no answer. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland ~ First, whenever you hand out positions because of the color of skin and not because of education, experience, skills or training you automatically "persecute" the better qualified person who doesn't get the job. Secondly, you also "persecute" the under qualified person who does get the job. You have put that person and their family in a position they are not qualified for. When that position gets phased out as it no doubt will be because of the quick advancement of technology today that person will also be phased out. (It was nice while it lasted.) Without the proper education and background that under qualified person will not be able to make the adjustment. They will be left high and dry with a ton of debt. They will lose their house and any other belongings that they charged with their phony credit. I've already seen this scenario play out many times.

I had a friend several years ago who kept applying for a job he was more than qualified for. Applying with him were mostly Mexicans who barely even spoke English, let alone have his technical skills and background. They were getting hired, my friend never even got a call back. The last time he applied he used the same application except in the box where it asks race, he said "Mexican." He got a call for an interview the next day, and was hired. The company never found out that he wasn't Mexican. They never asked for any proof. Evidently, they don't really care, they just want that box filled in on the application. So therefore folks, if the powers that be start this nonsense again, and you really want a job, that is all it takes to get it. Fill in the wrong box.

As far as why I feel violated is concerned it is because our system demands that we finance our own education. I don't know about you, but when someone over charges me for something that should be free I personally feel ripped off. When someone tries to make me go into debt for decades to pay for the same thing that should be free, I feel raped. By whom do I feel violated? By our system in general; and, in particular, by our government, educational and financial institutions.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 29 weeks ago
#10

When we go to an educational institution of higher learning we attempt to prepare ourselves to contribute more to society in our lifetime. The powers that be have turned that simple truth around to sound like--society is preparing us to be able to earn more money. They try to make it sound like society is doing us a favor and therefore we owe society. That is total BS. Society would fade away and die if it wasn't for willing replacements to keep it functioning. We have to to look at education for what it really is, a necessary function in order to maintain society. It is, always has been, and always will be a very necessary part of the commons. That is what we need to insist upon and accept nothing less.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 29 weeks ago
#11

DAM -- Are you saying that Affirmative Action is being used when applying for jobs, or is that some similar program?

I am a lousy negotiator, so I am clueless if asking for the moon works. However, the situation here seems different. You are giving something away you already have to ask for the moon, and you are winding up with nothing.

You are presenting anecdotes of the problems with AA. However, while AA is active the economic inequality between minorities and white males was being reduced. When AA stopped the inequality started to increase again.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 29 weeks ago
#12

Quote chuckle8:DAM -- Are you saying that Affirmative Action is being used when applying for jobs, or is that some similar program?

chuckle8 ~ Duh! Where have you been my friend, under a rock? Haven't you heard of "quotas." Business given tax incentives and mandatory hiring rules for women and minorities. That is why black and hispanic women are in such demand. They also alienate their co workers because they have no skills or experience in anything other than being black and hispanic women; however, they do count as two clicks on the "quota" chart. Whooo hooo!!

Quote chuckle8:I am a lousy negotiator, so I am clueless if asking for the moon works. However, the situation here seems different. You are giving something away you already have to ask for the moon, and you are winding up with nothing.

chuckle8 ~ You are absolutely right, you are a lousy negotiator. What we should be asking for in addition to free education is that the government actually pays people to go to college. After all, college is hard work designed for the betterment of everyone. We pay soldiers to kill people for us, don't we? Why not pay college students to learn to be paramedics, doctors, lawyers and politicians? Don't we deserve the best?

You always ask for more than you need. That way, when you sacrifice something the other guy thinks he's getting a bargain while you are getting everything you want. The Republicans are well aware of this little fact.

Quote chuckle8:You are presenting anecdotes of the problems with AA. However, while AA is active the economic inequality between minorities and white males was being reduced. When AA stopped the inequality started to increase again.

chuckle8 ~ My goodness you are absolutely correct! The AA improved the economic inequality between minorities and whites. Wow! How cool! By the way, while that score was being settled what happened to the economic inequality between the working poor (middle class) and the very rich?? AA reform didn't improve that situation very much did it? In fact, that situation got much, much, much worse, didn't it?

This is precisely what happens when you take your eye off the prize. Get used to it. The powers that be love to throw out these little wedge issues to get us to fight amongst ourselves--thinking our situation is being improved--all while we are being robbed blind. The meager improvements made in the lives of all too few minorities pale in comparison with the economic losses everyone in the 99% have been subjected to in the last few decades. That is a direct result of "settling for the best we can get" and forsaking what We the People are actually entitled to--free education and free health care. We cannot sacrifice those commons on the altar of Capitalistic Greed. Until we as a people stand up for what rightfully belongs to us we will always continue to get pissed on.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 29 weeks ago
#13
After all, college is hard work designed for the betterment of everyone.

You may be interested in this:

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/heri-freshman-survey-242619

It's a survey of modern college students. It says that 72% of college freshmen went to college "to make more money", and 81% of college freshman said "being well-off financially" is a very important personal goal. I'd say this is pretty reflective of what I experienced in college in the late 90s/early 2000s, and what my current students see as the point of college as well.

That is, the idea of "self-actualization" or "helping society" as reasons to go to college takes a back seat to "making more money for myself."

I'm not sure if it's always been this way. People I talk to who went to college in the 60s seem to think it was different then.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 29 weeks ago
#14

DAM -- First, you seem not to understand that I totally agree with you that students should receive a stipend for going to college that not only pays tuition and books but also for room and board and a little spending money.

Quote DAnneMarc:They also alienate their co workers because they have no skills or experience in anything other than being black and hispanic women; however, they do count as two clicks on the "quota" chart. Whooo hooo!!

I worked for a govt contractor, so I am quite aware of the quota system. I just didn't remember that it was part of AA. I also worked with a man of Latino descent. He was one of the best employees I worked with. I think without AA he may not have had that job.

Quote DAM:By the way, while that score was being settled what happened to the economic inequality between the working poor (middle class) and the very rich?? AA reform didn't improve that situation very much did it? In fact, that situation got much, much, much worse, didn't it?

It would nice if we could fine someone to measure (research) the impact on equality throughout all the economic levels before, during and after AA. I would like to the comparison of gini coefficients, ratio of top 20% to bottom 20% (the metric used by Richard Wilkerson in his book "The Spirit Level" and in the link to his TED talk I gave you before), the ratio of CEO to the median worker, etc. I would bet the inequality between the working poor and the very rich became even worse after the termination of AA.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 29 weeks ago
#15

"No skills in anything except being black and latino women...." Marc, are you kidding?! I can hardly believe you would say anything so presumptuous, let alone sexist and racist. Would you say there exist at least some white men who aren't skilled at anything except being white men? Or is it only nonwhites and women who are incompetent workers, while the white guy is always the most skilled and the most qualified?
There's a lot you've said that I can agree with, especially where you elaborate on the need for free education and healthcare. I've already said, more than once, that we are in complete agreement that education should be free, pre-K to PhD. But are you assuming that everyone who got into a college or university via Affirmative Action was unqualified? That's taking quite a leap. And the gap between the poor and the rich is a much broader issue. Nobody ever promised AA was going to fix that, all by itself.

At any rate, I am getting really tired of this discussion and am ready to give it a rest. Affirmative Action is history anyway, so why keep kicking at a dead horse? - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 29 weeks ago
#16

Yes Matt, it was different in the sixties. Learning was regarded more as an end in itself, while higher ed was more than just a jobs training program. I miss those days. - AIW

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 29 weeks ago
#17

Matt, college education was viewed differently in the '60s for the reasons I mentioned before, the economy was opulently carefree. We were a middle class society and what poverty there was was largely race based, i.e., it was largely the result of racial discrimination. There was also a very large and strong public sector and higher education was, for all intents and purposes, free of charge - or, at least, universally affordable and accessible - as tuitions weren't very high, fees were minimal, books didn't cost a lot and guaranteed student loans and grants were readily accessible to all. Thus, in the opulent, carefree sixties we could afford the luxury of thinking about "higher" purposes of education other than making money.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 29 weeks ago
#18

Marc S --

Quote anarchist cop out:the economy was opulently carefree

It kind of makes you wonder what raygun was talking about when he said "government was the problem".

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 29 weeks ago
#19
Quote Aliceinwonderland:"No skills in anything except being black and latino women...." Marc, are you kidding?! I can hardly believe you would say anything so presumptuous, let alone sexist and racist. Would you say there exist at least some white men who aren't skilled at anything except being white men?

Aliceinwonderland ~ Oh, you are so right. This is sexist and racist to the hilt. However, don't forget, this is an observation, not an opinion. It is Affirmative Action that is sexist and racist not me.

How do you think I felt when I went down with a Puerto Rican female friend of mine to apply for temporary work with the Census Bureau only to find out that they weren't even accepting any white male applications? How much more racist and sexist can you get than that--not even accepting applications. They had a quota of ethnic females and that was all they were hiring for temporary work. Crappy opportunity! Crappy qualifications. In retrospect I'm almost glad I wasn't allowed to apply.

Don't get me wrong, I was very happy for my friend. She got hired immediately. She deserved it too. It was a shame though that all her qualifications meant nothing and her sex and ethnicity was all that counted. I don't know about you, but that just isn't the kind of world I want to live in. Sexism and racism have a place--buried in history. It's best to leave it there.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 29 weeks ago
#20
Quote Aliceinwonderland:But are you assuming that everyone who got into a college or university via Affirmative Action was unqualified?

Aliceinwonderland ~ No! Actually, college admissions via AA is one of the few things about the program I liked. Education should be an equal opportunity for all. My problem is the overt discrimination it fostered in the work place. Quotas, mandatory promotions, and racist and sexist hiring practices. If any good came out of that it was to teach white people like me first hand what it feels like to be discriminated against. A valuable lesson I personally will never forget. I really didn't like it.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 29 weeks ago
#21

White people fussing about affirmative action talk about the tragic instances when a white guy didn't get a job or spot in school seem not to notice that such tragedies occured on a much, much more widespread basis for generations, as a fundamental rule, before affirmative action, to people other than white guys and for so many generations that it had a strong residual effect upon the structure of society.

I volunteer at a non profit located in a rough, impoverished, largely African American neighborhood. We have a few paid positions and recently we had an opening for one. We had dozens of applicants for it, most from the surrounding neighborhood by people who'd had it rough, and so, had resumes that were spotty or, at least, weren't as stellar as those of the white, middle class college brats who applied, and/or they may have had felony records and such but were, nonetheless, qualified (albeit, in a rougher sense, having gotten their knowledge and experience from life and the world - or, the "school of hard knocks", as it were, rather than a nice college and nice jobs that the college job placement counselor hooks people up with) and very eager for the opportunity (in contrast to the white kids who seemed to take the opportunity for granted as their due). Well, we tried to fill that position with someone of the former category of neighborhood resident.

Your objections to AA seem to presume an even playing field when, really, there are so many strikes against these folks from the start that something rigged a bit in their favor is not something to grouse about and might even be something to applaud.

D'Anne Marc, you're right that emphasis on "diversity" is used by the "elites" (influential policy makers) to divert attention away from general economicl injustices of our society and affirmative action can be used in that way. That's why I like to hear about affirmative action policies based on economic class.

It's true that in a just society AA wouldn't be necessary but that would require much more than free tuition and open admissions policies. There are many injustices built into the structure of society that such relatively superficial changes wouldn't do too much to address.

Kinda like reparations for African Americans, initially I thought it was a crazy idea - but I'm a white guy and African Americans I respected were for it so I withheld rejection of it and tried to understand it. It seems African Americans, because of their past - which isn't even yet past - may be willing to start at the bottom but because of historical events have to start below the bottom to, first, dig their way out of a hole someone else dug and put them in. It's not too unlike the stipend individual Native Americans get for "use" of their land.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 29 weeks ago
#22
and/or they may have had felony records and such but were, nonetheless, qualified

I don't know if I mentioned this on this board or another one, but most chain retailers will not hire anyone with any sort of felony record. And, since a lot of entry-level jobs are with chain retailers, that prevents people who made mistakes in their teens from ever getting their foot in the door again.

Part of the online application process for most places now includes a "consent to perform a background check". Literally, as soon as you submit your application, your name and social security number are checked for felony charges. Those with them are disqualified from consideration.

That's why I like to hear about affirmative action policies based on economic class.

That's exactly what they did with selective enrollment schools in Chicago. You've probably read this from me before, but there are only four public high schools in Chicago that are worth sending your child to. Your child has to test into those schools, and then those test scores are put up against students from the same economic "tier". There are four "tiers" in the city, all based on the average income of everyone on your block, according to the census. It just so happens that practically ALL predominantly white blocks are put in the highest "tier".

A perfect score on the high school admissions exam is 900. My daughter scored 890, which kept her out of ever single good public high school. Had we lived in any other "tier" block, she would have gotten in. Now we have to pay for private school for her ($15,000 per year), even though we pay more than our fair share of property taxes to the school system. The free public school in our neighborhood is de facto off-limits to whites.

The view from this side of Affirmative Action, wether race-based or economics-based, is much different. It's not something we "like to hear", much less experience.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 29 weeks ago
#23

Chi Matt -- It seems like they should admit a certain minimum percentage from each tier level. Since your daughter didn't make it, I assume they do not try to create diversity by admitting a certain minimum number of students from each tier level.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 29 weeks ago
#24
Quote ChicagoMatt:

Had we lived in any other "tier" block, she would have gotten in. Now we have to pay for private school for her ($15,000 per year), even though we pay more than our fair share of property taxes to the school system. The free public school in our neighborhood is de facto off-limits to whites.

The view from this side of Affirmative Action, wether race-based or economics-based, is much different. It's not something we "like to hear", much less experience.

Well Matt, I guess some guys get all the breaks - only not the guys you think.

One controversy is what constitutes "fair share" for whom? Maybe you could move to Lincoln Park.

I guess it's like Marc said, now you know what it's like to be a disadvantaged, discriminated against minority and, like Marc, you don't like it one bit.

I give Marc a lotta credit for seeing that, big of him.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 29 weeks ago
#25

Okay, here is my LAST post on this subject.

Marc, your statement ("no skills in anything except being black and latino…") was obviously made out of anger and frustration, and while it indeed was a racist & sexist statement, I know you well enough to know that you are not a misogynist or a racist. I appreciate you admitting that, since you've experienced being disqualified from a job application on the basis of your sex and color, you now know what it's like to be discriminated against for your sex and color. And I don't want to live in that kind of world either. But I think that for a white person to experience, first-hand, just a small sample of what blacks and other nonwhites have had to put up with for generations is not necessarily a bad thing.

I think Mark Saulys hits it out of the park with this statement: "White people fussing about affirmative action talk about the tragic instances when a white guy didn't get a job or spot in school seem not to notice that such tragedies occurred on a much, much more widespread basis for generations, as a fundamental rule, before affirmative action, to people other than white guys and for so many generations that it had a strong residual effect upon the structure of society."

I do not believe ANY white person, regardless of political leanings or social values, has any idea what crap our nonwhite brothers & sisters have had to put up with and what it's like, having to live with that day in and day out. Maybe it's time some of us got a little taste of what discrimination feels like, even if we are not the ones directly responsible for these injustices. And maybe, just maybe, it might motivate us all to leave racist policies where they belong, in the dustbin of history. - Aliceinwonderland

ChicagoMatt 8 years 29 weeks ago
#26

I predict that Chicago is on the same track as Detroit - it will just take longer to get to the breaking point, because it's a bigger city. They raise taxes and fines while at the same time reducing services, and everyone who can, leaves, and takes their money with them.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 29 weeks ago
#27
Quote Aliceinwonderland:I do not believe ANY white person, regardless of political leanings or social values, has any idea what crap our nonwhite brothers & sisters have had to put up with and what it's like, having to live with that day in and day out.

Aliceinwonderland ~ That may be very true... at least for the vast majority of white folks. However, it isn't true in my case. When I was 18 I volunteered for a job where I was treated as a prince. Three black boys were hired at the same job--as a summer job--and were treated in ways I can't even describe on this forum. All I can say is the experience left me in shock and disbelief. When I was 20 a good friend of mine got me a job with a very large corporation. It was an entry level job and I started on the loading dock. I was a part of a crew of four. The other three were black men, slightly older and more experienced with the company than me. They were a bunch of great guys who saved me a lot of hardship and injury by taking me under their wing. After a couple of weeks into the job we were getting along really good. However, we had a problem with the forklift driver. He kept drinking on the job and was starting to make some serious mistakes. Twice he almost toppled the stack of boxes that was behind me on top of me. I was very concerned about the situation. The whole matter met a head one day when he tried to spin the forklift in a 180 and dumped the entire load onto the warehouse floor. The next day he was gone. He was a white dude. That morning the foreman came right up to me and asked if I could drive a forklift. I never had before and said I probably couldn't. As a result of that response I believe he punished me. He put me on garbage detail instead of the loading dock. While doing the detail I couldn't help but notice that the foreman never approached anyone else on my team--all of which were black, and all of which have far more experience with the loading dock and the company than I did. The next thing I notice was another white man on the fork lift. I have no idea where they found him however, that was the last day I worked with that company. Their overt racist practices left a very bad taste in my mouth. Quitting, was never a decision that I regretted.

I agree that the AA may have left a better understanding of what racism and discrimination feels like in many white people. I also agree that maybe this was the only way to make that connection. Such understanding is a necessary part of reform; and, I must come to grips with the idea that for a white boy, I certainly am not typical. I too am through commenting on this issue.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 29 weeks ago
#28

Chi Matt -- Do you think anyone on this blog disagrees with you? The cause is where the disagreement is. You seem to imply raising taxes and fines are the reason. I assume everyone else agrees with me that it is reagonomics.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 29 weeks ago
#29

I think Reaganomics is one of many factors. Interestingly, today in my social studies class, we started talking about Johnson's War on Poverty. (We only have two more weeks of school, so I am FLYING through the last chapters of the book. This happens every year.) Anyway, There was a sentence in the book that said that, starting in the early 60s, manufacturing jobs left the cities, at the same time many immigrants moved into the cities, and white moved out (white flight). The books said Johnson vowed to change all of that, and then my students asked, "What happened? It's still like that." They had a good point...

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 29 weeks ago
#30
Quote ChicagoMatt:Anyway, There was a sentence in the book that said that, starting in the early 60s, manufacturing jobs left the cities, at the same time many immigrants moved into the cities, and white moved out (white flight).

If that were truly in today's textbooks--and I personally don't believe it is--it would just go to show what the significance of the Dallas textbook depository alibi really signified--a completely criminal rewriting and misrepresenting of American history.

Folks, I don't know about you, but I can clearly testify that this statement is 100% USDA BS.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 28 weeks ago
#31
Quote ChicagoMatt:

I predict that Chicago is on the same track as Detroit - it will just take longer to get to the breaking point, because it's a bigger city. They raise taxes and fines while at the same time reducing services, and everyone who can, leaves, and takes their money with them.

You're much too racializing the matter. You seem to be buying into the "those #%* blacks are messing everything up" theory of history.

Detroit is completely different from Chicago. No city in the U.S. was so utterly dependant on manufacturing as Detroit was - and not only on manufacturing but on manufacturing in only one specific industry. When the auto industry went south (sometimes quite literally) what happened to Detroit was inevitable. 1/3 of a million good paying, middleclass manufacturing jobs left the city - which means that hundreds of thousands of other local jobs disappeared too because those in the auto industry were spending money locally. It was just not possible to recoup the resulting loss of revenue to the city government.

Chicago, as many cities, had a more diversified portfolio as far as manufacturing was concerned and wasn't wiped out by the fluctuations in a single industry - although it did, like all U.S. cities, have to deal with capital flight (thanks largely to Reagan). Like with most U.S. cities, Chicago's greatest symptom of capital flight was - and continues to be - gentrification. Manufacturing, until the '70s, was the tax base for Chicago and other U.S. cities. When manufacturing moved out property taxes became their tax base and not only did life in the cities become much less affordable, particularly for the now largely obsolete and superfluous working classes, but a number of other problems resulted as well - like the unfair system of funding schools and a great explosion in the numbers of homeless people as not only were great numbers of unskilled jobs now gone but remaining jobs were low paying and costs of housing skyrocketing.

The population of cities like Chicago has been increasing with gentrification and upperscale residents have been moving in to the cities from the suburbs. Many of the problems of the cities are, in fact, from Reagan but more recent ones are from Bush and the reckless, ideologically driven tax policies of Bush's obsessed tax guru, Grover Nordquist. Nordquist, son of an obsessively tax hating high level executive of General Electric, designed Bush's tax laws and has said that he wanted "to shrink government to the where he could drown it in the bath tub" and that he wanted "a few of the states to go bankrupt just to teach them a lesson". Under his policies the Federal government cut off its subsidies to the states so then the states cut off theirs to the cities so now cities and states are both broke and needing to raise taxes - only that causes the capital flight, people with money leaving the cities and states, and a downwardly spiraling tailspin results as people with money leave because of poor services and high taxes which results in poorer services and higher taxes. As we agreed before, a more centralized, Federal system of revenue collection is needed to prevent this type of cannibalism of the cities and states.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 28 weeks ago
#32
When manufacturing moved out property taxes became their tax base and not only did life in the cities become much less affordable, particularly for the now largely obsolete and superfluous working classes, but a number of other problems resulted as well - like the unfair system of funding schools

With that in mind, what is the solution? Even the most optimistic person must see that those manufacturing jobs aren't coming back any time soon. And, if they do come back from overseas, they will relocate to the South and other business-friendly, non-union areas of the country. Without jobs that actually produce things, all we are left with is people passing the same money back and forth to each other.

It's interesting to that you use the word "unfair" to describe education funding, which is done at the local level with property taxes. The only way to "fix" the current system is to fund schools at the state level, which would be seen by some as "unfair" as well. Think, for example, of a family who moves to Naperville for their good schools. That family pays more in property taxes for that privledge. Why should that money be sent to Springfield and then given to students in other communities?

I'm trying to avoid the Republican talking point of "income redistribution", but that's what it is. And it's also not fair. They always counter with "work-ethic redistribution", which I know is also not fair. If both sides have legitamite points, the status quo continues. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing.

Also, I think school funding is a easy scapegoat for a much bigger societal problem. People want to believe that throwing money at a problem will fix it, but it won't.

The population of cities like Chicago has been increasing with gentrification and upperscale residents have been moving in to the cities from the suburbs.

True, but isn't that mostly young people who move to Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast in their 20s to have fun and date around. Once it comes time to settle down and raise families, don't most of those people leave back to the suburbs? The working-class types are still left out of that equation. The young rich types don't stray too far from their own neighborhoods, full of other young, rich types.

Do they still call them Yuppies? Or is that derrogatory?

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 28 weeks ago
#33
Quote ChicagoMatt:

It's interesting to that you use the word "unfair" to describe education funding, which is done at the local level with property taxes. The only way to "fix" the current system is to fund schools at the state level, which would be seen by some as "unfair" as well. Think, for example, of a family who moves to Naperville for their good schools. That family pays more in property taxes for that privledge. Why should that money be sent to Springfield and then given to students in other communities?

I'm trying to avoid the Republican talking point of "income redistribution", but that's what it is. And it's also not fair. They always counter with "work-ethic redistribution", which I know is also not fair. If both sides have legitamite points, the status quo continues. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing.

Income redistribution is "unfair" and "work ethic redistribution" fair only on unfounded presumption of equality of opportunity and just compensation for all work, both of which don't happen. Whatever you think of the parents of children it is not fair to deny children educational opportunity for it.

Quote ChicagoMatt:

Also, I think school funding is a easy scapegoat for a much bigger societal problem. People want to believe that throwing money at a problem will fix it, but it won't.

Quite a lot of factors influence educational results, most of them to do with level of wealth or poverty of a community. That's why education issues are also labor issues, health issues, housing issues and every other kind of issues. More funding for more targeted educational programs can sometimes compensate for other disadvantages but ultimately the problem is societal and systemic, not isolated to educational funding alone.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 28 weeks ago
#34
Quote ChicagoMatt:

isn't that mostly young people who move to Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast in their 20s to have fun and date around. Once it comes time to settle down and raise families, don't most of those people leave back to the suburbs? The working-class types are still left out of that equation. The young rich types don't stray too far from their own neighborhoods, full of other young, rich types.

Upscale young people move into all gentrified neighborhoods. Lincoln Park is the realtors model template. Loyola Park (realtors creation of East Rogers Park), Uptown, Wicker Park, Humbolt Park, Logan Square, the West Side by the United Center, all follow suit. The demolition of Cabrini Green, Henry Horner, Stateway Gardens and many other housing projects is part of it. Chicago acting as a national model for the elimination of public housing is part of it.

I don't think they move back to the suburbs. You don't say "yuppie" anymore because a lot of them aren't young urban professionals anymore but are now married, raising kids and grandkids - like yourself and your family.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 28 weeks ago
#35
More funding for more targeted educational programs can sometimes compensate for other disadvantages but ultimately the problem is societal and systemic, not isolated to educational funding alone

I agree. Fifteen million children of all races in America are living without a father in the home. That's about one-third of all school-aged children. Fixing that would go a long way towards fixing the education gap. Only about 20 percent of all Americans go to church regularly. Having faith in something other than government might also help the problem. Studies also show that students who play sports in school do better academically. But playing sports requires a parent who can take you there, pick you up, afford the fees, etc...

Righties call this "societal rot". The only fix for it that I see is to bring back the manufacturing base. And even if it started today, it would take one or two generations for things to get better. Interesting to think and talk about, but the best thing we can actually do about it is buy American-made products.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 28 weeks ago
#36
Quote ChicagoMatt:

I agree. Fifteen million children of all races in America are living without a father in the home. That's about one-third of all school-aged children. Fixing that would go a long way towards fixing the education gap. Only about 20 percent of all Americans go to church regularly. Having faith in something other than government might also help the problem. Studies also show that students who play sports in school do better academically. But playing sports requires a parent who can take you there, pick you up, afford the fees, etc...

There is no reason to moralize, Matt. Single parenting isn't a problem for better off families, only impoverished ones. In a more just, more socialist society it wouldn't be a problem for anyone.

Nor are opiates for the masses necessary. European societies do very well and very few there have any faith in any churching.

I walked or bicycled to football and basketball practice in grade school and fees can be picked up by society, the taxpayers!

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 28 weeks ago
#37

Chi Matt -- First thanks for not leaving. When you stopped commenting for a few days, hardly anyone commented. Now, back to the debate.

Quote Chi Matt: but the best thing we can actually do about it is buy American-made products.
.

Myself I think the best thing we can do about it is to use the marketplace and not appeal to patriotism. The policies (laws to be passed) to bring in the markeplace on this problem are essentially repealing all the tax structures introduced by the Reagan Administration. At the top of list for this problem is to raise tariffs. There are currently around 20,000 tariffs on the books (I just listened to Thom's podcast from Monday, May 19). The average tariff is now around 2%. Before Reagan, from George Washington until Reagan the average tariff ranged between 29 and 32%. Because we buy most everything from overseas, I would recommend raising the tariffs a little each year.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 8 years 28 weeks ago
#38
Quote ChicagoMatt:

but the best thing we can actually do about it is buy American-made products.

The only problem with that is there ain't nothing American made. It's like the polar ice caps, we've reached the tipping point of no return.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 28 weeks ago
#39

mark s -- Don't say nothing. New Balance is constantly asking that tariffs not be reduced so they can compete against Nike.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 28 weeks ago
#40
The only problem with that is there ain't nothing American made. It's like the polar ice caps, we've reached the tipping point of no return.

You can find some things online, but that requires more time and effort than most people have. And, since you're local, you should know about that place in Barrington - Norton's store - that sells American-made things. Of course, those "American-made" things were probably made by low-wage workers, not the medium-wage workers like in the 50s.

If you're a fan of The Onion, they did a spoof on that this week.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 28 weeks ago
#41
Chi Matt -- First thanks for not leaving. When you stopped commenting for a few days, hardly anyone commented. Now, back to the debate.

No problem. I wonder how long this thread will get before Thom takes notice. I like to think I'm doing my part by being the opposition voice (sort of, I don't oppose everything.) Thom - I will send you my bill for helping drive up your hit counter.

Because we buy most everything from overseas, I would recommend raising the tariffs a little each year.
Good call. I agree with that. Or, if that wouldn't fly, maybe they could put tollbooths on every road and railway coming out of a port. A $1,000 toll on every crate might make it more cost-effective to bring jobs back here. Or, tax diesel fuel at a much higher rate, since that's how these things get around the country, and invest that tax into green energy.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 28 weeks ago
#42

Matt says "Without jobs that actually produce things, all we are left with is people passing the same money back and forth to each other." Bingo!

And here's another comment of yours that resonates with me: "…maybe they could put tollbooths on every road and railway coming out of a port. A $1,000 toll on every crate might make it more cost-effective to bring jobs back here. Or, tax diesel fuel at a much higher rate, since that's how these things get around the country, and invest that tax into green energy."

Hey, front-page news! Matt and Alice actually agree about something!! Maybe there is hope for humanity after all… ya think? - AIW

P.S. This has got to be the LONGEST friggin' thread in the history of Thom's blog! It's taken on a life of its own...

ChicagoMatt 8 years 28 weeks ago
#43

One of the main reasons politicians shrink away from import tariffs is because, supposedly, they don't want other countires doing the same to us. Because, according to the internet at least, we are the world's number two exporter of goods. That's why I said we should just tax diesel or put up toll booths instead. Fine, China - we won't tax your imports. We'll just make it uneconomical to move your stuff around the country.

Or - even better - make the minimum wage for long-haul truckers something like $200,000 a year. Anything you can do to add cost to an import to make companies think twice about exporting jobs.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 28 weeks ago
#44

Matt, how can we be the #2 exporter of goods when U.S. manufacturing is dead? Last I heard, though, our country was the #1 exporter of WEAPONS. For our Great American Death Merchants, business is always booming; life is just one big gravy train for them!

Please don't interpret this as a rebuttal. I like your comments about what to do about tariffs, etc. I'm just questioning the information you found online. - AIW

ChicagoMatt 8 years 28 weeks ago
#45

I got that exporting statistic from here:

http://www.worldsrichestcountries.com/top_us_exports.html

It doesn't list weapons as a category, but the #1 export is "Machines and Engines", which I guess could include weapons.

Here's an interesting article about US Automobile exports:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1000142412788732457790457855993396...

What's so interesting is that it says that Honda actually builds more cars here and exports them than they import to us from their Japanese factories. Which is odd, to me at least, that Honda would be considered a "domestic" auto company at this point. I was told when I bought my foreign-branded car that it was more American-made than most Fords at this point. I guess that's globalization.

I was curious as to where in the US those Honda factories were, so I looked it up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Honda_assembly_plants

I see Alabama and Indiana, which are not very union-friendly states, and Ohio, which I'm not sure about. I suspect that the workers at those plants have non-specialized skills. I'll bet that they are only slightly harder to train and replace than a retail employee at this point, thanks to automation. The only high-skilled workers are the engineers and computer types who make the machines hum, and those people need degrees in those fields. Of course, that's just my opinion.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 28 weeks ago
#46

Chi Matt -- Thanks for the link on exports. Thom keeps saying refined petroleum is the US #1 export. I guess it is all about categorization. If you subdivide machines into military and other then it would probably drop out of the top 10. One could easily subdivide electronics (#2) which would make refined petroleum are #1 export.

Chi Matt are you sure you are part of the opposition?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 28 weeks ago
#47

Chi Matt -- I think they shrink away from tariffs because it helps billionaires to have low tariffs. For example, Apple makes all their IPhones in China at foxconn(?) using their low cost labor. If they had to pay a tariff for those IPhones coming into the US they might stop making them altogether. The only reason I say they would stop making them is because that is what happened in Brazil (LA Times, July 4, 2013). Brazil being classified as an emerging nation can impose large tariffs which it did. Apple said okay we will build a foxconn factory in Brazil. They bought land to build the factory, but so far have never got around to doing anything else. Meanwhile, Samsung facing those huge import tariffs are producing their phones in Brazil. Due to Apple's reluctance to produce in Brazil, Samsung is selling them like crazy. This type of policy in Brazil has created a tight labor market. I like to call a tight labor market a reasonable balance between the capitalists and labor.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 8 years 28 weeks ago
#48

AIW -- You should visit the "community" some time. They have user blogs and message boards.

Quote AIW:P.S. This has got to be the LONGEST friggin' thread in the history of Thom's blog! It's taken on a life of its own..

One of those message boards (it appears to be just like this blog; only the name is misleading), was nearing 500 messages when I left it about a year ago. It was a discussion of the min wage.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 28 weeks ago
#49
Thom keeps saying refined petroleum is the US #1 export. I guess it is all about categorization.
It could also be based on profit margin or total value or something like that. I'm going to guess here that the margin on oil is higher than on an engine, since it's easier to make.

This also brings up another thing to consider: with the rise of the middle class in other countries, companies don't need a customer base here in the USA. Didn't Thom once say that there are more middle class Chinese citizens now than all Americans combined?

Chi Matt are you sure you are part of the opposition?
I guess I'm a pragmatic realist? It's fun to think about the way things could be in an ideal world, while at the same time finding success in the world in which we actually live.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 28 weeks ago
#50

The way Thom explained it once was like this:

Apple has two companies - the retail people who sell the stuff to Americans, and the Chinese side that makes their product. The Chinese company makes the products, then "sells" them to the American company at retail value. So the profit all stays in China, since that's where the actual transaction too place.

I wonder if I could get away with a similar thing. Each year, I take my students on a field trip to a place in Indiana. Indiana has much lower income taxes. So I wonder if I could talk my boss into paying me 99% of my salary that day, so I could say I made that money in Indiana, and then just pay me like $1 a day for the rest of my teaching days here in IL. Because isn't income tax based on where you actually make the money, not where you live?

It sounds silly for someone like me, I know. But think of a professional athelete. Imagine if someone playing for the Cubs could, technically, get paid for Spring training, which takes place in Arizona. Then, during the rest of the year, they could just make a few bucks per game. So most of their earnings would be taxed in Arizona. They could, potentially, save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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