Middle Class and Saving Detroit

Middle/working class families are the key to success for Detroit. Attracting them will not be solved overnight. It requires incentives and taking care of BLIGHT, CRIME, STREET LIGHTS and SCHOOLS now.

The first three are getting lip service with some plans in place, but Detroit is failing at even addressing its education deficit. Families with children are aware that education is a key to their children’s success. This problem does not get enough press and certainly action. The Education Achievement Authority (EAA) is not doing good enough and as it expands beyond Detroit they will be less focused on the city.

The EAA is using some new teaching techniques that are worth trying, but these are no substitute for an experienced hands on teacher to providing guidance and direction. Many teachers and their unions attack the EAA and call for its disbandment rather working with it to improve results.

Historically there is a short link between a child’s education and parental involvement and awareness. Parents are the ones electing the local School Board. If their child is having problems in school there is a good chance they know someone on the Board they can approach. If they don’t get answers they can vote the member out of office. The EAA is controlled at the state level and the only power of the vote available to the parent is the Governor. He is not an educator and he has many distractions and can afford to allocate only so much time to students who are being left behind. This problem will get worse as the EAA expands to other parts of the state.

Reorganizing the Education Achievement Authority, decentralizing its duties amongst the school districts, needs to be examined. Further, teacher unions need to go through a mental adjustment. Just like the United Auto Workers focused entirely on the betterment of its members even at the expense of the industry that it was part of, teacher unions first focus is improving the life of its members even if it means reducing the product produced by the institutions that they work for; the schools. This needs to change.

Detroit’s schools are under performing other school districts. It is going to take extra dollars to catch up. Some of the extra dollars could have come from better negotiations with the Detroit Red Wings regarding the new arena such as a $5 per ticket surcharge going to the betterment of the DPS. This applies to Ford Field and Comerica Park also. In this way there would have been a direct benefit to the city for having these facilities.

The city also needs to implement two incentives to attract new middle class residence. Give them a house for free,  http://lstrn.us/1ixnt4T, and a free college education for their children, http://lstrn.us/14vQ3Ql.

When Free Trade Does Not Work

“Trickle-down economics is a myth. Enriching corporations — as the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) would — will not necessarily help those in the middle, let alone those at the bottom.” On the Wrong Side of Globalization, New York Times, March 15, 2014

Free trade does not work if you are dealing with a country that uses slave labor or sacrifices other important issues like the environment or safety. Improving the environment does not happen without costs. The United States invests in technology to help improve our air quality and purity of our drinking water.  Saving our forest land comes with a price. Investing in solar energy helps future generations to live in a better environment but presently it is expensive compared to fossil fuels.

Slavery was banned 150 years ago, even though treating the future generations of the slaves equally is still a work in progress. If other countries still use slaves, we effectively are supporting their bondage and putting our work force at a competitive disadvantage by buying the goods and services they produce. The same is true with a minimum wage law. The company with a domestic production facility that uses unskilled workers is at a competitive disadvantage over other companies that use unskilled workers in other countries that will work for lower wages because of the forces of supply and demand and no minimum wage laws. Continue reading

Fighting Inequality in Long Term

No one is really attacking the problem including liberals. The focus is on increasing social programs like food stamps, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, aide for dependent children, etc. These are short term solutions that become long term costs if nothing else changes.

If we want sustainable equality we must fix our capitalistic system and we must do a better job of improving education levels of the impoverished.  These are long term objectives and the above short term programs are needed in order to buy time to fix the real problem. Fixing capitalism helps the 99% because competition will lower prices to consumers and create more competition for workers and thus raise wages.

Capitalism is broken. Many markets are no longer free. They are controlled by oligarchs who shut out competition. Simultaneously our government no longer performs one of its most critical roles concerning our economy; being a referee to assure there is fair competition in every industry. The regulators are not regulating. They have been bought off by oligarchs. These regulators are bought off by lucrative jobs in the future in those industries they are regulating.

Four months after the FCC approved a merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, one of the commissioners who voted for the deal joined Comcast’s Washington lobbying office and Tom Wheeler, who is the current head of the Federal Communication Commission, was the chief lobbyist for the cable industry. These two gentlemen are now playing a major roll in deciding whether to allow the merger of the two largest cable companies in the country. Continue reading

Splitting Ukraine

Sergey V. Lavrov, John Kerry’s counterpart in Russia said,

“The statement added that the “threats and ultimatums” made it difficult to reach “honest arrangements” that would help stabilize the situation in Ukraine, apparently referring to blistering statements by Mr. Kerry and other officials.” As E.U. Meets, Crimea Moves to Hold Vote on Joining Russia, New York Times, March 6, 2013

Someone needs to remind Russia their occupation of Ukraine make it impossible to reach “honest arrangements”. There is some sense to having the eastern region voting on whether it wants to become part of Russia. The key will be the vote must not be influenced by outside forces including Russia and the west. The only way to do this is by vote of the regions citizens that is closely monitored by the U.N..

The vote also needs to occur without Russian occupation. Russia must withdraw all of its troops to remove the intimidation factor. A Russian solider on guard with a military rifle watching as one enters the voting booth would be very intimidating.

Further, Putin still must be punished for his inappropriate actions and unfortunately that punishment will also negatively affect the Russian people. It is very clear that Putin has not gotten beyond his thinking instilled in him while a member of the KGB.

Vladimir Putin is an old school Soviet Union leader and is not looking out for the best interest of the people of Russia. His focus is on rebuilding the power, might and influence of the old Soviet Union. Some will say that is the same thing and they would be incorrect. In a true democracy the purpose of government is to help achieve the goals, objectives and aspirations of its people. Putin see his role as rebuilding the power and mite of the debunked Soviet Union for its own sake.  He is pursuing this aim at all cost including sacrificing the rights of its people if necessary.

Hopefully there is a peaceful settlement to this situation. To reduce the likelihood of such future actions Putin and Russia must accept some cost for their actions. It is unfortunate that ordinary Russian citizens will be paying a price for their leaders impropriety.

Putin McCain and Grahm

Remember the last time we rushed into war? In 2003 we invaded Iraq because they had weapons of mass destruction. Almost 10 years later we withdrew from that country that had no weapons that had no WMD’s with thousands of our solders maimed and killed. The war also led to the deaths of 100’s of thousands Iraqis.

We expended billions of dollars that could have either helped us balance our budget, repair our infrastructure or improve education and given more citizens the opportunity to pursue the american dream.

Over the last several days two war hawks, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator John McCain have pounded the drum to do something more than talk concerning Ukraine. Mr. Graham is demanding the president support the removal of Russia from the G-8. while Senator McCain is clamoring Obama needs to take action. The problems in Ukraine unfolded less than three weeks ago and so much for supporting our Commander and Chief. it is important to remember the background of these two senators.

Senator Graham is from the state of South Carolina which has over 4,000 defense contractors that have contracts totaling almost $1.2 billion from the defense department. Senator McCain is a Vietnam war hero because his plane was shot down in battle and spent years in a prisoner of war camp never giving up on his country. Senator McCain lost in his bid for president in 2008 against President Obama. I support Sen. McCain until he nominated Sarah Palin as his Vice President without proper vetting. Continue reading