Friday, February 6, 2009

"Bad Dog" Banks Put U.S. Education on Short Leash

-Disappearing Public Educational Funding vs. "Bad Dog" Banks-

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!



prezdumas said...

TARP == spraying money at the rich. That's not even trickle down. Their drain goes directly to the cespool. Oh wait, I mean the congress-pool.

Citizen Carrie said...

Kristof should have added that since graduates of even "good suburban schools" are being severely underutilized in this country, then what are we going to do with several million more highly qualified graduates if we ever get the inner city schools turned around? The last thing our corporate overlords want is an unlimited supply of native-born talent.

Anonymous said...

Too Truthy,

Thank you for this "good" article that highlights the relationship between "bad banks"(a method intended to preserve the status quo banking structure)and educational cuts.With my urban city's private alternatives to public schools on the rise,fee based tutoring/mentoring programs are increasing,too.But where is the money expected to come from for parents to afford private programs when job cuts are at a record high?My guess is the architects of this stimulus package understand the issue of underfunded "cast off" public vs. private sector schooling very well.The stimulus package with proposals to cut education shows how desperate Congress and those at the top are to move the country out of its way in a hurry.
In the Swedish "bad bank" 1990's example,it succeeded for different reasons under different market conditions (namely there was not a global recession)and it is a much smaller country/economy.It comes as no surprise to see that international private schools and foreign investment will step in to shape and control how the US public school programs will operate in the future,with local parents having even less input into how taxpayer funds are allocated.

2Truthy said...

Good one, prez. That bottomless pit, the Congress-cesspool:)

CC, interesting point.
Where are the Kristof's of the "big" media world to connect those dots, eh? Pleading for educational funds is only half of it; what good is an education when our vile corporate leaders like Gates and friends tell educated Americans to go fuck off?

Thank you, anon. You write
"My guess is the architects of this stimulus package understand the issue of underfunded "cast off" public vs. private sector schooling very well."
It looks like this is the way we are headed. Down. 'Hell with the plebs, any education worth having will be private' and the public schools will be foreign owned/controlled. I don't know, but this stimulus package looks to me like it is the last big feed at the trough for elites and bankers with no health care, no job protections, no nothing for US citizens. Bad or good bank -- where is the good stuff for the people?