When it comes to determining how our taxpayer money will be spent, it appears that the Senate prefers to throw American students out the window. Nicholas Kristof from the New York Times raises an excellent question in his article Throwing Schools Out the Window:
“Come on, senators, education is the best way to fight poverty, the best way to break the cycle of the underclass, the best way to ensure a broader distribution of opportunity in America, the best way to preserve our country’s economic competitiveness. And it’s just as good for stimulus purposes as repaving a road — and you still want to throw those school children out the window?”
The political and corporate elite establishment’s determination to slash the nation’s educational spending along with the simultaneous rise in exclusive school privatization catering to an international elites-only-crowd is a harbinger for what is to come in this war on America’s white collar middle class and their children. Read Citizen Carrie’s post entitled One-World School Policies and this post by yours truly Singularity University: “Silver Spoon U” Searches for Solutions for a better understanding of how this nation’s political and corporate elites are pulling up the educational drawbridge on the American public.
As Kristof correctly observes, the best way to improve America’s economic competiveness is to educate our children -- but that’s not the way this nation’s politicians and corporate elites see it.
Who and how are these stimulus bill/economic recovery decisions made? Here are some comforting words about how taxpayer money is being doled out:
“We are making this up as we go", said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.).
That’s good to know. Meanwhile, a group of Senators met this week to strip $80 billion from the Obama Administration’s economic recovery plan. According to some press accounts, they are primarily targeting proposed spending cuts at education, ranging from Head Start programs to Pell grants for college students. When it comes to tough decisions on how taxpayer funds should be spent during this Depression, it appears we shouldn’t be lavishing them on American students. Greg Sargent over at the Plum Line blog draws some sharp commenter contributions addressing the Educational and NSF funding cuts which support computer science, math and social science:
“Half the cuts ($40B) are the 100% elimination of State stabilization funds? Can we let all the folks in the states that s/b recipients that the GOP is telling them to go to hell?And about $14B is the 100% elimination of added PELL Grant money, when community colleges and public universities are being swamped by people who suddenly are unemployable, have no income stream, and are serious enough to go back to school for new training and education?How shortsighted are these clowns? Oh, wait…they’re Republicans!!! I forgot. They don’t care about US (that’s U.S.) They only care about their corporate donors.”
“Did you see the percentage cuts to science? According to TPM: NASA exploration $750,000,000 = 50%NSF $1,402,000,000 = 100%NOAA $427,000,000 = 34.94%NIST $218,000,000 = 37.91%DOE energy efficiency & renewable energy $1,000,000,000 = 38%DOE office of science $100,000,000 = 100%
For those who are unfamiliar with the National Science Foundation:The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” With an annual budget of about $6.06 billion, we are the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.”
In other news from Capitol Hill, the Senate Banking Committee also heard testimony from the Chair of Congressional Oversight Panel’s Elizabeth Warren, who presented a sneak preview of its latest report containing estimates that, in its purchases of capital stakes in major banks, the Bush Treasury Department overpaid by $78 billion.
The billion dollar question, dear plebs: which group -- students or banks --- get to keep their $80 billion?
Warren cited a valuation study of a few specific banks that got federal infusions.
“Despite the assurances of then-Secretary Paulson, who said that the transactions were at par, Treasury paid substantially more for the assets purchased under the TARP than their then-current market value.”
Although Warren did say that the Treasury “may have overpaid as part of a deliberate policy to increase the amount of assistance being given to the banks to enhance the stabilization effort”, one can not dismiss this possibility. But if I were a betting woman – and I am --- I’d bet that the overpayment resulted from a smooth value transfer by corrupt officials with a certain savoir-faire at the “T” to their financial sector pals.
Obama’s aim at reducing executive pay is more happy talk to lull the plebes in advance of the next humongous bailout plan that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is expected to announce next week -- a plan that may include the creation of a “bad bank” to allow financial institutions to “unload their toxic assets onto the taxpayers.” Reducing the compensation of bank executives who have already made their nut may placate the public, but it won’t stop the bleeding of yet another huge and poorly conceived bailout.
To this, I resort to a song with a slightly modified composition from one of my favorite performers, the Divine Ms. “M”.
Happy Friday, Loserettes!