GOP Redistribution of Wealth

I know this may come as a shock to many of you but there is something the Republicans are lying about. For years we’ve heard how they absolutely oppose what they coin “Redistribution of Wealth” especially when it involves taxpayer dollars being used to subsidize ordinary Americans with little to no money to provide the basics for themselves and their families. Things like housing, food, transportation, healthcare, even education. Republicans hate how money they say comes from the wealthiest is redistributed to the poor. They add that when they get the chance they’ll get rid of that because everyone needs to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and government shouldn’t enable laziness.

Two conservative Republican policies calls this into question, namely School Vouchers and the Medicare Vouchers that Paul Ryan is pushing through Congress while the nation is obsessed with an Orange Clown distracting them from seeing what’s going on.

School Vouchers are already being used in conservative areas around the country and Betsy DeVos wants to make them mandatory across the nation. Nine in ten American children attend public schools funded by taxpayer dollars. School Vouchers skims that money away from public schools and create a “coupon” worth on average $4,000.00 a year to pay tuition at private or charter schools that cost on average $11,000.00 a year. That’s a nice gift from the taxpayers providing you have $7,000.00 on hand for each child to place in a private or charter school. Surprise, 90% of American families don’t have that kind of money. So they’re forced to keep their children in the public schools that are of course lacking of funds because the conservatives like Betsy DeVos has stolen money meant for Public Education to subsidize the wealthiest Americans. There’s a term for this; Redistribution of Wealth. Only difference is it takes wealth from everybody and redistributes it upwards to those who don’t need the help.

Currently the Congress is getting ready to pass legislation pushed by Paul Ryan for years now to privatize Medicare. Under the same set up as with Education Vouchers, Medicare Vouchers will take money collected by the taxation of all working Americans to fund individual vouchers to purchase private insurance, instead of being covered by Medicare.

The average cost to Medicare for the elderly is $12,000.00 a year. The Medicare Voucher will be $8,000.00 a year. So if you’re not on a fixed income and in fairly decent health you can easily come up with the additional $4,000.00 a year for your premiums. However, you need to remember that Medicare isn’t profit driven and has a 3% administrative cost compared to 15% to 20% of private insurance. The less money available, the less coverage provided. Further, don’t expect annual elderly Insurance to only be the $12,000.00 a year that Medicare funds. Also, when you consider the Republican conservative push to completely repeal The Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act otherwise known as Obamacare, denial of coverage for preexisting conditions return as will life-time caps.

So imagine the majority of our elderly and handicapped living on fixed incomes coming up with $4,000.00 or more a year while they don’t have enough for housing, food, transportation, etc. Further, the proponents of the Medicare Voucher system say that with more buying into the private insurance market competition will reduce costs. Well, you don’t have competition when all the insurance companies are merging. Under Republican deregulation of the industry there are fewer and fewer insurance companies to choose from and those that remain are looking to merge. Premium rates were increasing at a higher annual rate prior to ACA than they are now. With ACA gone, rates will continue to rise at their pre ACA pace, perhaps even higher as predicted by experts in the field.

So again, the Conservative Plan for healthcare is to take taxpayer’s money geared towards a public system, convert that into “coupons” to buy private insurance that only the wealthiest can afford. This too is redistribution of wealth upwards to the wealthiest who don’t need the government assistance.

Money provided to public schools and Medicare comes from taxation of all the people. Public schools via local property taxes and some Federal tax dollars and Medicare from FICA which is collected by all working Americans up to a limit of $110,000.00 of their gross income. Any income exceeding that is exempt from additional taxation. So consider, few people earn more than $110,000.00 a year. With nearly everybody contributing to Medicare and Social Security via FICA, under the Ryan Voucher Plan, that money (collected from everyone) will be denied back to most of them and will only go to the wealthiest Americans. Coupons are worthless if you can’t come up with the rest of the money needed to purchase what the coupons cover. That’s true in fancy restaurants, private schools and especially healthcare.

In the campaign season Donald Trump said he would not allow any cuts to Medicare or Social Security. Since being elected he’s said nothing about maintaining that promise. Further, he’s signed everything put on his desk (apparently without even reading some of his Execute Actions). Trump is doing what he’s told to do by Bannon, Ryan and McConnell.

Although more than enough information has surfaced to warrant an independent investigation into Trump for possible impeachment, the Republicans are holding off. They allow Trump to play the clown because that draws all the public attention to him while they legislate to cut taxes for the wealthy, increase taxes on the middle and working class and then via programs like School Vouchers and Medicare Vouchers redistribute the wealth of the nation from the majority to the wealthiest few.

We need to focus on the House and Senate taxation and spending plans and hold each individual member of the House and Senate accountable to what they’re trying to pull over on us while Agent Orange rants and raves and tweets about “Fake News” and Making America Great Again. He’s an empty Chinese Suit with no power that Ryan and McConnell don’t give him. Seriously, the best recourse for the Resistance is to hit up Congress and force them to respond to our needs and hold Trump in check.

Get active and contact all your local and federal government representatives and be heard.

School Choice: For most it doesn’t exist

Today Donald J. Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (a billionaire who contributed to Trump’s campaign) has had her name sent to the full Senate Chamber for a vote. Two Republicans have announced that they will not vote for her. She is one vote away from not being confirmed. Of note is how my Senator, Jeff Flake stated he supports her by tweeting “you had me at school choice”. Well let’s examined what school choice is all about in hers and conservative thinking.

Our founders were students of The Enlightenment. As such they knew that for this republic to be governed by the People via her Representatives, the People needed to be educated. Thomas Jefferson himself advocated free education even through University. The majority of the founders agreed. What is interesting is that our current Department of Education wasn’t even in existence until 1980 under President Jimmy Carter. Prior to that it was each State’s responsibility to deal with educating the public. Due to problems with rural school districts in Red states funding education, this department helped defray the costs by infusing Federal funding for education. However, early in our existence each State held true to the notion of free education for the people, many including California offered free college education for her citizens. All of this was tax funded locally, but over time the Feds had to step in to assist and also even the playing field.

Towards the end of the 20th Century depending on the State, the funding of public education, curriculum and various extremist views began to impact how Public Schools were to be ran. As Governor of California, Ronald Reagan took offense that College students weren’t enthralled with him and saying the tax payers couldn’t afford it, eliminated tuition free college in California. Religious groups wanting to promote Christianity with the fallen children of the secular nation started to take control of Public School Boards to change the curriculum and insert misinformation and fables into the lesson plan. In short, they worked to indoctrinate children into their way of thinking.

Now we’ve always had private schools for the wealthy. As you know, especially at the time of school desegregation affluent parents who would take advantage of the Public schools began to make better use of Private Schools. They could afford it, but they weren’t happy with paying both local school board taxes and private school tuition. The solution was a diabolical plan called Vouchers.

Under the guise of “School Choice” a movement was created to divert tax collected revenues for Public Schools to fund Education Vouchers so “any parent can choose a private school for their children.” Sounds good. If it’s a private school then logically it must be better than the old dirty Public School and my kids would do so much better there. So voters were convinced to allow money to be syphoned away from Public Schools to fund the Voucher program. However, it hasn’t worked as promised. Of course this was the original plan.

https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/policy-explainers/early-ed-prek-12/school-funding/

This nation spends $550 billion on public and secondary education. On average $10,600 is spent on each student. The Federal government contributes around 12% of all direct expenditures for elementary and secondary schools. Because of the premise that these are Public Schools, funded by the taxpayers, as long as you are a local citizen, that education is “free.” However, there are those who want their children in Private Schools. On average, the tuition of a Private School is just over $11,000 per student. Whether it be $10.6K or $11K the cost of education is beyond the scope of families who are impoverished, part of the working poor, lower middle-class, even middle-class. So to educate their children, they only have Public Schools or home schooling (which is another rant for another time).

Well here’s the kicker, the average Voucher to get your kid into a private school is about $4,000. A good chunk of money but that doesn’t pay the yearly costs for either Private or Public Schools. So to use a voucher to get your kid into a Private School, a family must pony up on average another $7,000 per child per year. That is beyond the reasonable reach of most families in this nation.

Keep in mind, vouchers are funded by diverting monies meant for Public Schools. So the more Voucher created, the less money available to the Public School. Less money, the worse off the school is in every sense. Another thing to consider, under Federal Law, a Public school cannot turn away a student but Private and Charter Schools (which are private entities) can.

So vouchers created to facilitate School Choice only benefits the wealthiest among us by subsidizing their children at public expense while public schools go underfunded.  Vouchers are a scam to milk the poor and middle-class to subsidize the wealthy, reverse Robin Hood.

Based on economics, there really is no School Choice unless you are wealthy. And one final note regarding vouchers, this is what Paul Ryan and the Republicans want to do with Medicare, subsidize the wealthy to buy private insurance while defunding the publicly funded Medicare program locking the poor and middle-class out.

Welcome to Trump’s American.