November 2nd, 2009 :: Permalink
Here we go again: spending time chattering about who's missing rather than who remains to accomplish the people's work. This simply distracts us from the crisis challenges that are not going away.
Rebecca Solnit, LA Times Sunday, exposed a deficit of common sense in California and her warning applies equally to our state. She claims California "has plenty of money and resources. What we've been lacking is a real-world discussion about how we distribute them. California is rich ... in the midst of a recession, we have lots of money. The problem is one of distribution, not of actual scarcity."
She points out Sitting Bull was "shocked that a nation powerful enough to conquer his people couldn't or wouldn't feed its own future. The white man was good at production, he concluded, but bad at distribution."
Paul Krugman, NY Times today says, "Unless something changes drastically, we’re looking at many years of high unemployment ... So the government needs to do much more. Unfortunately, the political prospects for further action aren’t good."
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Obama administration ponied up some $100B in education investment to go directly to governors to help balance state budgets. Duncan has criticized Hawai'i for using stimulus money to close budget gaps while reducing state spending on education ... apparently there is money available, yet we have a distribution problem.
A state special Senate committee reported it would take between $60 million and $85 million to cancel all furloughs days. This works out to $3.5-$5.0 million per day. Lingle currently has $35 million in discretionary federal funds collecting dust in her office. She has not said what she will do with it other than to pledge it will be used for education (WHEN?).
Some of this money may be earmarked for UH yet she had sufficient resources to stop school furloughs for this fall semester. Lingle chose to let money sit idly in her office rather than use it for our Keiki. Again "the problem is one of distribution, not of actual scarcity."
Amid all the chaos and confusion related to furloughs, I had expected a vibrant discussion about solutions in Sunday's media. Yet the HA front page was dominated by a 10,000 word lament on the troubles of the UH football program. WTF?
While our public schools are besieged, we focus on the "morale of football players and their coaches." Nobody mentioned that revised education proficiency scores now list Hawai'i's Keiki in the nation's TOP 10. We are obsessed with faltering UH football, which is entertainment, yet ignore that our Keiki are winning, which is our hope for the future.
I happened to catch part of Game 4 in the World Series yesterday. We couldn't afford to send our Keiki to school last Friday but I now know ARod's only perceived weakness is pitches thrown well inside. During the game Zale's ran a number of commercials hocking their latest display of fine diamond rings - with price tags approaching $20,000. WTF?
We remain in the midst of the Great Recession with about 17 percent of Americans unable to find sufficient work to feed their families. To whom is Zale's targeting their marketing? Not you, I or collapsed private and public middle class working families, this is certain.
Christopher Hayes, an editor with The Nation, posted the following Twitter comment recently, "Anyone notic that the pres signed a $680 BILLION defense approp bill in the midst of our heated debate about $90B a yr for hc?"
Regardless of ARod's weakness, struggles of UH football or the price of Zale's diamonds, America is rich and has lots of money. The problem is one of distribution, not of actual scarcity.
Dear Middle Class ... rise up now or be content to live on the reservation.