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Renegade

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  1. Meals on Wheels has been in decline for some time (predating Trump). Most funding comes from non-federal sources. While Meals on Wheels service is declining, the number of hungry seniors is increasing. It's a sad situation. While Trump proposed eliminating federal funding for this program, I believe he was overruled by Congress when they passed the bipartisan 2018 appropriations bill. In fact, HUD got a big (18%) overall increase in funding for 2018 and another 4% in 2019. Unless I'm mistaken, there were no cuts in the Community Development Fund, Community Block Development Grants, or federal Meals on Wheels funding since Trump became President. Certainly, Trump gets no credit for maintaining this meager level of funding, but I don't think you can blame smaller meals on tax cuts or federal budget cuts. I believe this program should get more federal funding, not less.
  2. As near as I can tell, all the disagreements were about cost. No one objected to more staff and smaller class sizes...only the cost of paying for it and the lack of funds. If I've got it wrong, let me know. There were also demands for "affordable housing", but doesn't that also boil down to money? Why is CTU casting the Chicago city government as bad guys? Don't the sanitation workers deserve fair pay too? What about the fire department? If education takes all the money, what's left for other city services? Anyway, I wasn't saying they shouldn't get what they're asking for. The citizens of Chicago must decide that through their elected officials. My point was that the people who are telling the union there's no more money are progressive Democrats. These are people who value children and education. These are the good guys! But, being in power, they actually have to balance a budget with limited spending and/or tax increases. A teacher's union (or a presidential candidate) doesn't have to worry about any of that. They can strike and picket and yell slogans because they don't actually have to make a city work. "In standing up for CTU, none of the presidential contenders have criticized Lightfoot by name. Still, the public demands that teachers be treated fairly puts the new mayor in an awkward political posture, since she ran on a progressive agenda of strengthening neighborhood schools and building more opportunity in the city’s most poverty-stricken neighborhoods." Chicago Tribune By all means, the union should advocate for what they believe. The union is not in the wrong here. I'm not talking to them. I'm talking to other progressives. I'm saying that support for union positions needs to be considered case by case...not given automatically on blind faith. When progressives are in power (as in Chicago), they need to balance budgets, pursue multiple goals, balance priorities, and make tough decisions. They need our support as much as the union does. I used the term "photo-op" because Warren shows up, gets her picture taken, says some fiery words, and then she's gone, leaving the locals to actually solve real-world problems. My impression is that for her it was just a campaign stop and a chance to say "I support unions". For the people living through it, it's much more than that. Warren offered campaign slogans but no help to solve the issues. That's typical for a presidential candidate, but it also doesn't impress me. For someone who wants to be chief executive for the United States, she could have impressed me by showing some appreciation for the challenges Chicago's mayor is facing.
  3. Unions exist to promote the interests of the union members. That is as it should be. A union shouldn't be expected to care about budgets, taxes, or other city/state priorities. So, when Democrats are are responsible for governing a city or state, they can find themselves in the unwelcome position of opposing union demands. That Democrats and liberals tend to be pro-union is a good thing...up to a point. The CTU strike highlights a potential pitfall for Democrats in city and state government. They can't say 'yes' to everything a union asks for. No matter what you give a union today, they'll want more tomorrow. That's not a fault of unions, it's a feature. By design, they must always try to improve the well-being of their members...more safety, better working conditions, improved benefits, higher pay, etc. No union representative ever went into a contract negotiation and said "We're OK here. We don't need anything." If they did, they'd be voted out in a heartbeat. So, in areas like Chicago where Democrats have unchallenged power for a long period of time, they can get stuck in a dilemma. If they try too hard year after year to satisfy the various public-sector unions, they'll end up with ever-increasing taxes, capital flight, onerous pension liabilities, and unhappy voters. On the other hand, if they don't support the unions, they lose critical support in Democratic primaries. It's a tough tightrope to walk. It didn't impress me when Elizabeth Warren (I think Bernie did this too) went to Chicago to stand with the union for a photo-op without even making an effort to consider the challenges local Democratic elected officials were facing. Pro-union sentiment needs to be tempered by an appreciation for real-world finances. Do we have the money? Is this the best use for that money? Don't expect the union to tell you when they have enough. That's not their purpose.
  4. While California has 163 billionaires, there are just 18 in Illinois (one more than Connecticut). Illinois' billionaires have a total net worth of $59.4 billion. How much do you think you could raise their taxes without convincing them to move to a different state? States and cities face much tougher financial constraints than do sovereign nations with fiat currencies. Maybe we need to fund education at the national level? That would certainly benefit my (relatively poor) state. Our teachers make about half what those in Chicago make (glassdoor.com says $35,023 base pay). With Republicans in charge, we ranked a disgraceful 47th among the 50 states in spending per pupil (Illinois was 13th) in 2014. With national-level education funding, my state would see a lot of new cash from taxpayers in richer states. I see that the strike is over, assuming the full union membership ratifies the agreement.
  5. If you tie teacher salaries to the local cost of living, then those rich suburbs you're wanting to include will still qualify for high teacher salaries. They're small in comparison to Chicago anyway. Chicago already has some of the best-paid teachers in the USA, even after adjusting for the cost of living. It doesn't matter whether the system you pick is Chicago, Chicago plus suburbs, or all of Illinois, unless you bring in new money, it's a zero-sum game. The only way to raise Chicago teacher salaries is to cut other public spending or raise taxes.
  6. You said you'd fund schools with one big statewide pot. Teachers in Chicago already make more than other Illinois teachers (also well above the national average). Chicago has a much better tax base (taxes per student) than the rest of Illinois. It seems to me that statewide funding would result in Chicago teachers making less money, not more. Teachers in southern Illinois might like this, but I don't think the ones in Chicago would be very happy.
  7. I'm confused. Is this a recent change? This is currently posted on her website (tulsigabbard.org ) Maybe the confusion is because (unlike Warren) Tulsi doesn't want to make private insurance illegal.
  8. To reduce class sizes and give more prep time, they'll need to hire more teachers, right? Doesn't that also require more money from the city?
  9. I respect that. I personally believe teacher is the most important job most of us would ever have the opportunity to do. It boggles my mind trying to imagine what teachers would be paid if it was based on the value they add to society. But there are a lot of teachers to pay and the raises have to come from somewhere. The average Chicago teacher earns $79k. The city has made an offer that would raise that to nearly $100k in 5 years. To offer more, should the city raise taxes or cut other services?
  10. Does that mean you think the teachers should get what they're asking for? Or not?
  11. What do you think about the Chicago Teachers' Union strike? Is anyone on this board from Chicago? I know Elizabeth Warren supports the striking union members. But, on the other side we have a progressive mayor and Democratic elected officials who have made seemingly fair offers as they try to run a city. It's not like there are penny-pinching Republicans or (or even moderate Democrats) in charge. The strike has been going on for 10 days now. 300,000 kids need to get back to school.
  12. That's a very good point. Even if you had this, you wouldn't know. Decisions still have to be made. Every decision is a 'win' for one side or the other. The side that loses will see 'partisanship' in every decision that doesn't go their way. It's a no-win situation for the court. For that reason, I would prefer a court that more strictly adheres to the letter of the written Constitution and leaves the political decisions to our elected officials. I think they tend to get involved in issues that aren't necessarily within their purview, and we've come to expect it of them. We (both D's and R's) expect the court to help achieve what we can't achieve politically. I think that's a mistake.
  13. I posted the comments below in a thread on NHB (Deficit Spending)...and got no reaction. NHB is dead. Something like this should have gotten a huge reaction from true conservatives. Anyway, I'm posting it in this thread as well, since it fits with my OP. I've changed my mind about deficit spending. I guess I'm no longer a fiscal hawk Taxes have multiple purposes, most of which I don't like. For example, we like to use taxes to 'encourage' or 'discourage' behaviors we like or don't like. If we like someone, farmers for example, we give them a tax break. If we don't like someone, smokers, we tax them extra hard. Without getting into the morality of that, I think it's safe to say our economy would run just fine without any of these nudges. But, the number one (supposed) purpose of taxes is to pay for spending. I finally understand this is incorrect thinking that dates back to the gold standard. We have a fiat currency (for almost 50 years now) and there's no need to take a dollar in taxes before we spend a dollar. There's only one real reason taxes are a necessity: to control inflation. We could print and spend until hell freezes over and, so long as inflation is low, there's no reason to ever charge a single penny in taxes. It makes my head spin. With a fiat currency, the money we print has a fluctuating value. A gallon of milk might cost $3.50 ...or it might not. The value of your money depends on supply and demand, just like everything else. So long as the supply and demand are reasonably balanced, inflation is low and the value of money is mostly stable. But when supply outstrips demand, we get inflation. Milk costs more. Wages and savings are worth less. On the other hand, when there's not enough money, economic activity slows or even goes into reverse (recession). Everyone expects the Fed to control the economy with interest rates. Lower interest rates (are supposed to) increase the supply of money. For that to work, banks must loan the money to businesses who then spend it in the economy. It's not working very well right now anywhere. Interest rates are historically low and yet economies aren't exactly booming. The ECB has negative real interest rates now. Even though banks have to pay the ECB to keep their money safe, they do it because there aren't enough businesses borrowing the money. The world is stuck in a loop where there's not enough consumer demand to justify increased business activity that would lead to more and better jobs. Since central banks are at their limit for increasing the money supply, governments need to help out by running bigger deficits. We could either lower taxes or increase spending or both. In the current circumstance, I prefer spending over tax cuts, but that's a whole other subject. With more money in consumer's hands, demand for goods and services would increase which would also increase demand for loans as businesses ramp up to meet demand. We'd get more economic growth. This is where my old fiscal hawk self would start to get worried. I'd say: "But what happens when inflation comes back? We won't be able to afford interest on the debt!" When inflation and high interest rates return, that's when we have to raise taxes, not with the intention of paying off loans or balancing the budget, but to take excess money out of circulation and control inflation. That's the only good reason to have taxes at all. We've been relying on the Fed to run the economy, and overall they've done a pretty good job, but right now I think they need some help. I can't believe these words are actually being typed on my keyboard but...governments around the world need to run bigger deficits until economies (and inflation) are stronger.
  14. The suggestions about ethics standards and disclosing finances sound reasonable enough. If everything is on the up-and-up, there should be no impact at all. I'm not so sure about the rest. Liberals are interested in changing the court now because elected representatives are currently more liberal than the court. But, that's not always the case. A court that was more responsive to current politics wouldn't have decided Roe v. Wade as it did. I'm not so sure I want a court that changes its mind every time the political winds change direction. Another reason to think twice about term limits is that justices become more liberal the longer they sit on the court. He is absolutely right about the court relying on its credibility instead of raw power. Overall, I think the court has done as good a job as humanly possible. Sure, they make decisions I don't agree with, but I can always respect the logic of their arguments. And, this court is far from being a Trump court. They've turned him back on several decisions (citizenship on the census, for example). There are no possible changes that would insulate the court from criticism by people who disagree with their decisions. The conservatives are still fuming over Roe v. Wade. I suspect that 50 years from now, liberals will still be fuming over Citizens United. No matter what rule book you use (unless you go full autocrat), some of the decisions are going to go the other way.
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