The NYTimes doing what it does best
when it can be bothered. Nicholas Confessore, Sarah Cohen, and Karen Yourish dig into the 156 families (only 20 of them Democrats) that grease the political gears here in our Second Gilded Age:
They are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male, in a nation that is being remade by the young, by women, and by black and brown voters. Across a sprawling country, they reside in an archipelago of wealth, exclusive neighborhoods dotting a handful of cities and towns. And in an economy that has minted billionaires in a dizzying array of industries, most made their fortunes in just two: finance and energy.
Now they are deploying their vast wealth in the political arena, providing almost half of all the seed money raised to support Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.…
… [R]regardless of industry, the families investing the most in presidential politics overwhelmingly lean right, contributing tens of millions of dollars to support Republican candidates who have pledged to pare regulations; cut taxes on income, capital gains and inheritances; and shrink entitlement programs. While such measures would help protect their own wealth, the donors describe their embrace of them more broadly, as the surest means of promoting economic growth and preserving a system that would allow others to prosper, too…
In marshaling their financial resources chiefly behind Republican candidates, the donors are also serving as a kind of financial check on demographic forces that have been nudging the electorate toward support for the Democratic Party and its economic policies. Two-thirds of Americans support higher taxes on those earning $1 million or more a year, according to a June New York Times/CBS News poll, while six in 10 favor more government intervention to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly seven in 10 favor preserving Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are…
The 158 families each contributed $250,000 or more in the campaign through June 30, according to the most recent available Federal Election Commission filings and other data, while an additional 200 families gave more than $100,000. Together, the two groups contributed well over half the money in the presidential election — the vast majority of it supporting Republicans…
More than 50 members of these families have made the Forbes 400 list of the country’s top billionaires, marking a scale of wealth against which even a million-dollar political contribution can seem relatively small. The Chicago hedge fund billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin, for example, earns about $68.5 million a month after taxes, according to court filings made by his wife in their divorce. He has given a total of $300,000 to groups backing Republican presidential candidates. That is a huge sum on its face, yet is the equivalent of only $21.17 for a typical American household, according to Congressional Budget Office data on after-tax income…
Don’t miss the graphics at the link. Jay Gould and J.P. Morgan would envy the ease and affordability of the grifting available to their modern imitators.
Both sides. Move on.
Iowa Old Lady
Thank you, Supreme Court.
Glad to see The Times committing journalism.
One argument for raising taxes-their money meddling is a source of revenue our government could use for infrastructure as opposed to subsidizing commercial tv and radio. Might loosen the stranglehold those six corporations have on all media as well.
It’s really a great piece of work. I loved that they looked at it from every angle, including how demographically different these donors are from the (combined) US public.
I just don’t think it ends well, quite frankly. The fact is they can’t keep driving down wages and quality of life without profound consequences. In a way we’re still enjoying the vestiges of the old, more robust “middle class” w/people in their seventies retiring or passing on accrued wealth or assets to their grown children. That won’t last forever. I see more and more people in late middle age who not only have no assets, they have debt.
You have to keep making MORE middle class people – there can’t be a 20 year decline without long term consequences because current middle class creates the next generation of middle class. There’s some urgency to this- they have to stop the bleeding or the problem will pick up speed and require huge interventions.
The people in charge of changing this are good at denying reality.
The rich are used to paying for what they want. The masses are used to being given what they want.
Citizens United just levelled the playing field for the rich.
Iowa Old Lady
@Kay: People in power almost never surrender it lightly. I can’t see this ending well either.
Smartypants has some good links to Obama’s winning of the rich vote-in the Northeast and West. Much the same split as the low income vote suprisingly:
Either that or they’ve decided that they’d rather be lords of the manor ruling over a population of disenfranchised peasants – the country might not look as nice as it did in the mid-20th century, but if that’s the price they pay for getting to rule it, it’s worth it.
@Iowa Old Lady:
I think some of it is the arrogance of the “we all pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps” idea that they sold along with driving down wages and quality of life. We don’t appreciate all the downstream benefits middle class parents pass along to the next generation, because we want to pretend we had no inherent advantage over poor people.
Yes, we did and we’re about to find out what not having that looks like. What that looks like is more poor people because “middle class” didn’t do this alone. We had a huge advantage. We grew up financially secure. That pays and pays and pays benefits. It’s huge. I see more and more people who will not be able to live independently when they can no longer work. Not only can’t they pass along anything to their adult children they may well be dependent on their adult children and those younger people are struggling enough as it is. It ripples. It compounds. I’ve seen it happen in real time in the school system here. The kids are poorer so require more and more intervention and aid, and it gets harder and harder to find enough people who can pay for that with increased taxes.
@srv: close. The rich are used to paying for what they want. The masses are used to working for what they want.
I, for one, welcome our
@Kay: They believe they can pay half the demoralized poor to kill the other half. With the level of propaganda they’ve brainwashed them with, they’re not wrong. These people would rather die than ever admit they’re wrong on guns, taxes, foreign policy – you name it.
@Iowa Old Lady:
I think the impulse among (some) liberals to make up for this with income transfers will have downstream effects too. There really is a difference between a decent wage and a rock-bottom wage plus food stamps. The first comes with more dignity and agency than the other. They can’t decouple “wages” and “work” to the extent they’re doing and expect people to see some value in the work they do. People don’t actually want food stamps or “free stuff” (as Jeb Bush might say). What they want is to make enough to live on from their own work.
Iowa Old Lady
Our economy is teetering on the edge of being the guy who killed the goose to get the golden egg.
And they know how to leverage their demographics.
Wait, wait, wait . . . people are dumping MONEY into politics now?!?!
To a frightening extent, that accumulation of middle class assets is being gobbled up by the rentiers ahead of the death of the earners. The chief among the rentiers doing the gobbling is the medical service provider/medical insurance complex, closely followed by property, casualty and life insurance companies.
Glad to see the NYTimes running this, even if it’s just the print version of a long-time video favorite:
Wealth Inequality in America:
I think we make a mistake when we believe hugely wealthy people or huge companies are totally vested in “the United States”. They really operate globally. I mean “Ford Motor Company” is a US company but if they’re looking at emerging economies as a huge potential market they have to drive down the cost of the car, and one way they do that is paying people less. They have much broader goals than the “US middle class”. In a very real way they don’t have a “country”- they just have markets and what lowers wages among the US middle class might well benefit their bottom line as a whole. I think we have to get over the idea that they have some allegiance to The United States as the be-all and end-all. They don’t.
nice that they used Monopoly pieces for the graphics. It is capitalism at work, of a certain kind.
Another Holocene Human
My life is very different due to some bequests from some folks in my grandfather’s generation. I am watching what is happening to my coworkers.
Ironically, school performance and completion is going up and up. The working class is doing what was asked of them. You know? How dare these people. How dare they.
Another Holocene Human
@Chris: Many of them nurse fantasies of fleeing to the next best thing. That was shattered a bit for the Bushes when their South American vassals revolted against water charges. Still, among the tech set, the criminal set, and others, there is a notion that one can simply pull up stakes, take the money, and live elsewhere if things get too nasty at home.
Mike in NC
Just this morning CBS News ran a fawning profile of the vile Koch family that made me close to vomiting up breakfast.
Well, according the Gospel of Prosperity, these folks are blessed by God with fantastic wealth, and therefore deserve it, and thus should naturally lead the sinful masses.
The De-evolution of the Republican Party, in eight panels.
Another Holocene Human
@Kay: Not exactly, I mean if food were free or greatly discounted, like a military commissary, I don’t think people would really care. It’s all the Protestant moralizing that you have to swallow: hours you don’t have queueing up at government agencies to get food stamps or get your papers to get foods stamps to get denied. Crazy bureaucracy to embarrass you at the checkout over what’s covered or not. And most recently, the deep cuts that have made the system a complete joke.
Plus you have needs besides food. WIC doesn’t pay for baby diapers … some women prostitute themselves to get them. Hmm, sounds like Victorian Whitechapel, where women prostituted themselves for bread. While middle class people claim women on welfare/prostitutes are nymphomaniacs.
When you make your own money, you can make choices about how to spend it. However, it doesn’t hurt people to have stuff provided without excessive bureaucracy or humiliation. Social security. Healthcare. Public schools. Public transportation. Roads. Sewers. Fresh water.
It’s the time wasting and the humiliation and the uncertainty and the never providing enough that’s the problem.
Davis X. Machina
A seriously non-zero tranche of progressives would have no problem provided only half or more of those names were of reliable lefties.
I’m sure it overlaps the “We’ve got to build a left-wing Fox” circle on a Venn diagram.
Another Holocene Human
@redshirt: Divine right of oligarchs.
Davis X. Machina
@Another Holocene Human:
It’s not just the problem, it’s the point.
America’s been offered a bargain: “We could make your life better. You know that. But we refuses to,
Instead, we’re going to make someone else’s life worse, and let you watch. Would that be good enough?”
Enough people said “Yeah, sure” to fill Congress.
Another Holocene Human
@Botsplainer: Nursing home/assisted living/hospice gotta get paid. They got power of attorney and cleaned out my great uncle’s bank accounts as soon as he died. Ostensibly he owed them money but it looked like a break-in.
Which is interesting, because a hundred years ago, this was well understood enough to be a staple of the right wing critique of capitalism (be it from old school elites like the clergy and aristocracy that felt like they were being displaced by the new bourgeois elites, or new movements like fascism) – that the capitalists and their world markets formed their own internationale with no ultimately loyalty to any one nation, and in that way were no different from the socialists.
It’s no longer a very popular critique because capitalism and conservatism have become so firmly entwined, but you still see it pop up now and then in the rhetoric of people like Trump.
More brink$ truck$ in aisle $inking $hip please.
Look at the way they drive their wealth into allowing them to pollute the communities in which they operate. They obviously have no regard for the US as an entity.
But I think we need to look at a couple pieces of the phenomena. Big Corp increasingly engages in very short term thinking, is very reactionary, and seemingly has no regard for what’s coming next.
Big Wealth, IMO, has been planning long term for decades to actively bring us to this point. Investing in elected officials to change regulations/funding of enforcement agencies, having deep benches of jurists deciding laws their way, promoting think tanks and news orgs to slant reality, and employing outright propagandists.
The last piece of the puzzle was public education and semi-affordable higher education. And we see the almost deafening caucus to finally get their way on that too.
I remember the first time I saw an ad for a reverse mortgage. I thought “well, there goes that asset”. I’m not blaming the people pulling the value out- they probably need it- but I’m just so acutely aware of what a difference 10,000 well-timed dollars can make for younger people starting out. My husband used to play this game he called “find the health insurance”- every self-employed libertarian seemed to have a person who was securely employed lurking in the background, providing back-up. That’s true of so many (allegedly) “bootstrapping” middle class. You could call it “find the down payment on their first house” or “find the paid-up college degree” or “find the 140k their parents passed on”. They start ahead. I wonder what happens when fewer and fewer people do.
@Doug R: Great comment and ideas I certainly endorse.The incessant coverage of the political process all the time and everywhere there is media is just counterproductive for our country and our governance. If tweren’t for that the GOP might be not be so insanely reactionary.
“as the surest means of promoting economic growth and preserving a system that would allow others to prosper”
This statement is the biggest pile of rubbish I have ever heard. As someone who used to be connected by marriage to these families, I can guarantee that not a one of them on the right side cares a flying fuck about anyone not in their own income bracket. Not sure about the lefties, but the righties want it all and will not stop till they get it.
@Davis X. Machina:
If there were as many billionnaires willing to support left-wing causes as there are billionnaires willing to support Fox News, and with the same energy (“half or more”), the political landscape of this country would look so different that a lot of the problems we’re fighting now might not even exist or would at least be strongly reduced.
Unfortunately, elites don’t usually invest strongly in movements that intend to reduce their power and privileges.
I love how they’re whining they don’t have ready-made employees shipped out of public schools. There’s just no recognition that employers used to train people. That’s where they learned those jobs. Employers paid to train them. It’s fashionable in this state to claim that we, the public, “abandoned” skilled trades. It’s just bullshit. Unions provided skilled trades training, and so did employers. They tried to eradicate unions and employers stopped paying to train people out of high school. That’s where the “skills” went. It’s not a mystery. This demand that US public schools ship X number of units of skilled employees per year out depending on which skill is currently in demand is just another public subsidy of their operating costs. They need coders? How about they pay to train some? That’s just unimaginable to ask that they train their own employees for these specific skills? Why?
“You get what you pay for” – the basic principle of capitalism that no capitalist wants to hear anymore.
Intriguing to see that CBS found “Don’t know” at 11% leads everyone except the Donald and Doctor Ben.
@Mike in NC: Now tell CBS how awful their segment was. Tell them if you have any favorite CBS shows, and that you won’t watch them for the forseeable future. Tell them you’re going to tell your friends about the Koch laundering.
Who helmed the Koch report? Lara Logan?
@Kay: Moreover, public education adjusted over the past, requiring longer and longer attendence to better (agreed, not completely) prepare people. Started at 6th, then to 8th and then high school, of my hearsay is correct (one can certainly see the differences temporally and regionally in the 1940 census). Sounds like some public college level would be the next step, but nooo, public infrastructure, roads, bridges or people) are being invested in anymore. We’re living off past achievements there as well.
I wish all the right wing fear of Soros was true.
I’d sincerely welcome a billionaire liberal who really played politics. Why not? There has to be a few of them out there. Why not try and make a splash in society and in history, rather than just collecting interest and sports cars?
Besides Soros, there’s that environmental guy. Buffet sometimes says good things. But nothing like what they have on the right.
We had a great employee who came straight out of high school but she didn’t know the job. I guess I could have demanded her rural public school ship to my specs but I didn’t know that option was available. We paid her while she figured it out. She got better at it. It benefits her too because she can take that with her and she didn’t incur debt to learn it. It’s a win/win!
@Baud: Soros really is neither that rich (compared to Kochs) nor near as active, right?
Mind you, I wish no billionaires or millionaires were involved in politics above the level of any of us. But we don’t live in that world, and fighting fire with fire seems necessary.
Does anyone know the politics of Elon Musk? I assume Randian “Libertarian”, but I don’t know.
inspiringinsipid the gop establishment candidates really are.
Number of the rich liberal billionaires are probably off directly funding efforts for disease erradication, microloans, reforestry, environmental whatever, and possibly at the more global scale. There’s a lot of things that need to be fixed to choose from.
@scav: But you also have to add in what the grifters are doing to public education, in the context of Kay’s comment on training. Not only are employers not willing to pay to train their employees, the grifter class won’t allow public skills to train them either. The focus on testing is all about grift, and it’s slowly stripping away any actual education that might have happened in years past.
The thing is that all that money doesn’t translate into votes. Sure, you need the money but unless you can get people on the ground knocking on doors, handing out pamphlets, it is going to be hard. Republicans always make the mistake of the ground game. They spend shitloads on media attack ads and what not. But you think gun toting guy waving the confederate flag is going to go door to door to get your votes? meh.
@scav: That’s all well and good but I think an argument could easily be made that by “fixing” the politics of the USA you could also address all those other problems. For instance, there’s no better target to address global warming than getting Republicans out of Congress.
I mean, the answer to that is that having the system owned by a guy we agree with is ultimately no healthier for democracy than having it beholden to one we don’t like – the ultimate objective should be to ensure that no one has that kind of power.
But a billionnaire who poured all his efforts into supporting things like the expansion of the welfare state, the rebuilding of the union movement, increased taxes and regulations, and all that stuff… would pretty soon find his power whittled away in any case, which was my point. Which was my point – the idea of a politics-industrial complex like the right wing’s, only liberal, is ultimately a contradiction in terms.
Our local rag ran this piece to today. Guess which pic they show? Soros, even though the article makes clear this is disproportionately a phenomenon on the right.
@Kay: Yeah, the idea that the purpose of public schooling is to create the next generation of *citizens* has been forgotten. We’very been led to believe we don’t need informed voters, we only need workers. The thump-thump in the background is John Dewey turning in his grave.
I haven’t given the Times’ article a careful read yet, still trying to see if they included a complete list of all 156 families. I did follow a link to a map of the US with dots for each of the families. Surprised to see Ohio had so many.
That’s true so it should be at least 2 years past high school. Instead what they do is just pile more and more on schools. They’re supposed to teach them everything from “financial literacy” to health to welding to calculus, all in 12 years. I’m on a school committee and “financial literacy” is now fashionable so they were just going to add it. A group of us said “no, you can’t add anymore without cutting something else because this list of skills is too long for school to handle”. If there’s a problem in this country the knee-jerk response is “dump it on public schools!” – they can’t do everything in the world and they certainly can’t do everything well.
I agree entirely, but that’s not our political system, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. We’re at the mercy of billionaires now, so it’d be nice to have a few on the side of “Good”.
@Davis X. Machina:
Worse, most of them said ‘Hell, YEAH, and fuck those guys who want to help everyone equally.’ Again, look at the two top contenders in the Republican primary, and what even sent them shooting up in the polls.
@scav: Microloans are mostly a scam. They charge usury rates of interest.
@schrodinger’s cat: Depends. I somehow doubt the loans my mother (and formerly, parents) making in their community are scams. Just because some are set up as such doesn’t mean they all are — although just about anything can be perverted. The point wasn’t the examples I pulled out of the hat, but rather the range of more direct programs that are open to people with an interest in improving things.
@Davis X. Machina:I am SO stealing that….and posting it on FB to flush out the Calvinist assholes in my friend list…
Davis X. Machina
@schrodinger’s cat: So do their competitors. The village usurer is a fixture in the folklore of every village culture.
Yunus’ key idea was to re-invest the profits in the form of additional microloans, thereby increasing access, not to offer inexpensive financing per se.
Davis X. Machina
Only economists go out the door into an economy every day.
The rest of us go out into an elaborate melodrama of moral desert, and team spirit.
Basically, this is how a Republic is replaced by an Empire or Oligarchy. The inheritance tax primary purpose should be the prevention of such massive accumulations of wealth in a few families. The influence of these few families on our political process is such that even Democrats are relatively quiet on defending the inheritance tax.
Another Holocene Human
It’s amazing to watch mid century movies and look at the fantastic, “space age” infrastructure and architecture that was brand sparkling new. We actually have innovated since then but the public stopper has been jammed in to allow only a trickle. Sad.
Another Holocene Human
It’s “I’m so far above the mentality of you peons” if his vaporware joke hyperloop project, “dropped” to inflict maximum mayhem on California non-vaporware HSR is anything to go by. Failed, by the way. The peons saw through him. How impertinent.
I think you’re being at least a bit unfair. Public schools used to have a much stronger emphasis on teaching blue collar skills. The kids who took a bunch of auto shop in high school might not have been ready to work as a master mechanic straight out of school, but he was in a much better place than the current student who has been encouraged/forced to take primarily college prep classes.
If it helps, this process has worked backwards many times, especially in Democracies. Aristocracies rise, and when enough public opinion shifts they get cut down. The Gilded Age did not destroy America. If we can break the hold ‘fuck you’ politics has over half the country, the people do have the power to take down the oligarchs. Peacefully, no less.
I think some of it was regional. We’ve always had a vocational high school here and it’s popular. They were all crowing about a (selective) public vocational high school in Toledo on the last “skills gap” tour , as if it was a new idea. It opened in 1993.
You have to be careful with vocational schools, because advocates for lower income and minority students (rightfully) fear those children will be “tracked” early, out of academic courses. That’s where the focus on everyone taking a college prep track came from- it was a response to too much tracking in the 1970’s. I agree that it’s a fine idea but you can’t go crazy with it and start pushing them in that direction too early. It shouldn’t swing so wildly, because it becomes schools chasing what employers demand. Schools have a bigger mission than that. They have a longer arc. I’m wary of it because Republicans in this state are already taking it to extremes- they’re starting in 7th grade, which I think is too young to start job training.
@Davis X. Machina:
I know someone directly involved in the microloan industry and they are there for the profits. Sure they turn some of the money back into more loans but it’s the profit that is the reason they are doing this in the first, and the last place. And it is the reason that several/most of the worlds big banks are involved. It opens the doors for them in the future, in countries that haven’t had enough reason for them to be there. The microloan industry established a foothold for them, getting people into the idea that being in debt is normal. I take the lesson from this that debt is never my friend. Pay cash only, if you have credit cards, use them only for emergencies. It changes the life you can lead but in the end it gives you a freedom that is palpable.
Around here counselors start talking about college prep in the 5th grade. Which is insane. On one hand it’s better than when I was in school and no one ever discussed college prep with me and the school didn’t start taking academics seriously until about sophomore year. But on the other, damn 5th grade? Insanity.
This is pure speculation and navel-gazing on my part, but did some of the much bemoaned lack of focus on skilled trades and vocational schools come out of a general devaluing of work? We really worshiped the finance sector in this country for a lot of years and the CEO worship is everywhere. The entire media focus was on white collar work.
So did the same people who are now complaining they can’t find a plumber contribute to the idea that the only worthwhile, respectable “serious” work involved an MBA? I think so, but that’s just my opinion. I just don’t take Scott Walker seriously when he complains that he can’t find welders because Scott Walker wants to pay welders 10 an hour. These things are connected. They can’t spend a good part of every day driving down wages and then complain about the quality of the workforce. The private sector also has to contribute. They have to train people too.
Davis X. Machina
@Ruckus: In this country, microloans are as you say. Abroad, particularly in very poor countries, the evidence is much more equivocal. Family of mine who do development work in Malawi have been impressed.
Not in all public schools. I come from a blue collar family and went public high school in the 60s, and the shop classes I took were a complete joke. Auto and machine shop were complete wastes, in machine shop we couldn’t even touch the 30-40 yr old machines. We sat and looked at them for a semester. At least in wood shop we made things and got an introduction to woodworking. In chemistry we watched the instructor do experiments.
If any one else had the same experiences that I did in HS I can understand why they think that public schools are bad. And I’m not blaming the teachers, most of them were smart and dedicated, but what they were allowed to do was a joke. And yes we learned things, but even then the idea was that college is the only place that real learning happens and without that you will be nothing. No concept that people make things, repair things, are artists, etc.
In Missouri, a state with no campaign finance limits whatsoever, Rex Singuefield has contributed $1,000.000.00 to a 2016 republican gubernatorial candidate (Catherine Hanaway), $1,000,000.00 (in one contribution) to a 2016 republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor (Bev Randles, with an association with Missouri Club for Growth) and $750,000.00 total ($500,000.00 just last week) to a 2016 republican candidate for Attorney General.
Campaign Finance: the giant checkbook awakes
My youngest is rebelling, in his own easy -to-get-along with way. They tracked him last year into advanced math and english and he refuses to say whether he’s going to college. He actively complains about this- says he has plenty of time and they’re making him nervous. He’ll probably go, he’s smart and he likes school but he’s just tired of being harangued about being “college ready”.
The problem with vocational tracking is it’s hard to go the other way. If you have academic you can go vocational but if you have vocational you may have trouble if you opt for college. My middle son had no interest in college but he could have gone, because they kept him on an academic track. He’s in an electrical apprenticeship but he didn’t decide to do that until he was 19. If he had gone in some other direction, to college. he would have been okay. He had options. I’m afraid if they close off the college option in 7th grade some of those kids will have limited choices. They should at least wait until high school.
@Davis X. Machina: Yes the village money lender is usually a villain in many older Indian movies, see for example, Mother India. However, the experience with microloans has been disastrous in India, leading to a spate of suicides in western and southern India. In practice not that much different than the evil money lender.
@Ruckus: I used to do that and my credit limit was about $1000. You know that meme of, ‘can you cover a sudden unexpected cost of $2000’? Yeah. Practically I could do about a quarter of that if the timing was good or I did as you said and used the credit card ONLY for emergencies.
I started keeping 10% sitting on the card and they doubled it. I’m gonna see how long that formula holds out, and bail on it at some point if they keep jacking it beyond any foreseeable emergency. If ability to hit a credit card in a real emergency is freedom, they held mine hostage because I was doing what you suggest.
That article has a strong Just-kill-me-now vibe. The aerials of our oligarchs’ attempts at recreating Versailles are quite something.
In any Norcal district I know of the industrial arts curriculum has been abandoned. They once had a pathway to the union trades and industry, and we all know what’s happened to those. The service economy has rather lower requirements, at least the retail/wholesale/transportation/landscaping/food service/ag/janitorial cohort, which employs the lion’s share of service workers. Fog a mirror? Two arms and two legs? Show up daily? Hired!
@Davis X. Machina:
I’m not saying that the concept is wrong, only the execution in many cases, and why and where it ends up. In many countries only the very wealthy had enough money to attract/participate in any banking. Without the concept and the hand up that many places have received they would stay very, very impoverished and at the mercy of sweat shop type of labor. It is what comes after the microloan industry (along with the parasitical types in the microloan industry) that is my issue. I’m looking to the larger issues here.
One of the reasons I was a little frightened by the Common Core tests was because a national test makes tracking easier. I know how my state lawmakers are. If they think they can save dollars on public schools they’d happily track the 60% of kids who fail the Common Core tests into truck driving school. So much of ed reform seems so politically naive to me. It’s like they don’t watch what GOP state legislatures do. Handing them a national test score in 3rd grade is downright reckless. God knows what they’ll do with that. They hate public schools. They don’t want to improve them. They want to abolish them.
Oh yeah, the banking industry does not like you not being in debt. Pay off your cards every month and in not that long a time you will find your interest rates are raised or you don’t get that month’s float. Don’t use your card at all (emergencies only) and you get hounded and possibly canceled. I have no credit cards. I still get applications for horrible card rates. I laugh at them. But right now I’m lucky as far as money goes, I have enough. Not more than enough but enough. I suck it up and save for something if I want it. I drive a 17 yr old van, with too many miles, crappy mileage and want a much newer, better vehicle. So I save every month, when I have enough I’ll buy. In the past I’d sell the van and just go buy something I wanted, probably new. I never do that now.
They gave a math test last week to the 7th graders where they had to “earn” a calculator. To get a calculator you had to get an A on the test. So they took it and the people who earned the calculator were split off from the “advanced” math class and that class is itself a division they did last year. My son got the calculator but he complained because they split up two twin girls that he has been friends with since kindergarten. One went to the calculator group and the other stayed behind. He’s sad about this. He wants to know why they keep testing them and re-grouping them. It’s a small school.They have relationships with each other. These things are important to them.
they just don’t like him.
Romney’s path to GOP nomination eludes Jeb
In 2016, the insurgents are not Bush alternatives, said Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray. Worse, they’re indifferent to him.
“If there’s a sense that you’re the person that they need to pit someone against, that suggests you have a strong base of underlying support,” Murray said.
“But Donald Trump and Ben Carson aren’t ‘anyone but Bush’ candidates. They’re tapping into an entirely different mindset in which Bush is irrelevant. In 2012, it was always Romney and someone who is not Romney. We’re not having that conversation about Jeb, and that speaks volumes.”
And Romney always had an ace-in-the-hole.
“Romney had New Hampshire in his back pocket the whole time,” Robinson said.
Romney, from neighboring Massachusetts, held a double-digit lead in New Hampshire throughout. He was guaranteed at least one victory in a carve-out state.
Bush has no such guarantees. He is in sixth place in Iowa and fourth place in New Hampshire, which many believe is a must-win state for him. Even if he could wait it out to Florida’s primary on March 15, he’s behind in the polls Trump and Carson in his home state.
what part of …
a large part of the distrust around Hillary is who is AROUND HER don’t folks get?
Clinton Ally Lanny Davis Overheard Ranting About ‘Buffoon’ Biden, ‘Socialist’ Sanders
October 10th, 2015
D.C. political operatives should really stop having sensitive conversations on Amtrak trains.
Townhall’s Guy Benson and Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff were riding the early morning Acela Express from New York to D.C., when they noticed a longtime Hillary Clinton ally Lanny Davis carrying on a loud conversation about the 2016 election.Each wrote separate pieces detailing what Davis unwittingly revealed on the long train ride.
To begin with, Davis said that Bernie Sanders was “sanctimonious,” “a flip-flopper,” and “a Socialist” who can’t win the general election. “There’s no way he can be nominated — ever,” he reportedly told his political associates.
Davis was just as confident that Clinton could beat “buffoon” Joe Biden. He noted that Biden was still only in third, despite huge name recognition and Clinton’s poll numbers being “the bottom of the bottom.” Davis predicted that Biden’s numbers would drop immediately once he announced his candidacy.
Davis even took the time to discuss Clinton’s debate strategy. He said Clinton played to attack the NRA during the debate, and parlay those attacks into an attack on Sanders. The group of Clintonistas debated whether or not Clinton should “get emotional” during the debate, arguing that it would play well with women.
your son instinctively knows that the testing is bullshyt.
@Kay: Why do they need to use a calculator in the 7th grade? I find that even bright college students have no feel for numbers. They can’t make a rough calculation in their head and have no idea if the calculator is spitting out the right number.
I have left posts for you about our recently indicted former head of the CPS.
And, I don’t remotely believe that this was her FIRST TIME. She just didn’t come out of nowhere scheming like this. Her other tenures should be investigated.
Indictment of Barbara Byrd Bennett leaves most of her cronies, co-conspirators and (Board member) enablers off the hook…
The announcement of the indictment of former Chicago Public Schools “Chief Executive Officer” Barbara Byrd Bennett on October 8, 2015, came as no surprise to most people who had been following the scandal since the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education voted at the Board’s June 2013 meeting to approve the $20.5 million, no-bid SUPES contract unanimously and without debate.
Officially the news was simple: Barbara Byrd Bennett, who served as CEO of Chicago Public Schools following her October 2012 appointment by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to replace Jean-Claude Brizard (Rahm’s first CEO), pleaded guilty in a scheme to profit from a no-bid contract on October 8, 2015. News reports also said that Byrd-Bennett, will plead guilty to charges in an indictment released Thursday (October 8, 2015). The indictment states that she steered more than $23 million in no-bid contracts from CPS to her former employer, federal officials said.
U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon made the announcement at a news conference. Fardon declined to discuss the details of any plea agreement, including possible prison time. He said that Byrd-Bennett and others “entered into a scheme to secretly profit from schools.” Byrd-Bennett — Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked choice — becomes CPS’ first chief executive officer to face criminal charges in connection with her job. Federal authorities have been investigating the most controversial of those contracts — a $20.5 million no-bid CPS deal for principal training, the largest in recent memory — for more than a year.
Receiving that contract in 2013 to train principals was the “SUPES Academy.” That group owned by former Niles West High School dean Gary Solomon and his former student Thomas Vranas. The SUPES contract generated controversy shortly after it was approved because SUPES was not known for training principals while other groups, including the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association (CPAA), had done the job. The deal drew increasing criticism after the “training” began and became obvious even to principals afraid to speak out that the “training” ranged from insipid to ridiculous. Eventually, an article in Catalyst magazine exposed the fact that the contract had been no-bid and reported on the principals’ challenges. Solomon, 47, of Wilmette, and Vranas, 34, of Glenview, also were charged in the federal indictment. Also charted were two corporations: SUPES and another company owned by Solomon and Vranas, Synesi Associates LLC.
Smart, educated citizens are a danger to the wealthy. They want proper wages, decent working conditions, better supervision, retirement, health care, etc. And they are willing to walk to find it or create it. This is a problem for people who want to make buck off of the sweat of others. It adds costs and it adds uncertainty, two things that are intolerable to slave owners. Not all business owners are like this of course but many are. This is of course why we need government regulations and protections and the prime reason that conservatives want to eliminate them. Less educated, those able to just produce (and at no cost to the business, of course) have many fewer choices and while they seem more willing to put up with crap jobs, if they find out that work doesn’t have to be that way they will walk as well.
All of this is to say that many business owners are not aware or unwilling to understand that training, reasonable wages, health care (provided or taxed for), etc, etc is in their long term best interest. Because most of them don’t look that far down the road. In my own case I always had apprentices working for me, rather than just a gopher. They were taught how and why to do things along with the classroom instruction because no one else besides the industry was doing this and without trained, skilled workers my business would fail.
@Kay: I’ve read about parent movements to “opt-out” of all the testing but here if your child does not take the test they will be held back.
All this waste of effort, talent (both teachers and students) and creativity is just an abomination. We took a few standard tests when I was in school but we spent the rest of the year doing normal BS work. Now it’s all geared to two testing events a year with everything being pushed to achieve on those tests. After the test? The school is an absolute wasteland because the kids are worn out and the standard curriculum has nothing else to go to once the testing phase is over.
And I hate, hate, hate what they’re doing to the teaching of math. Jeebus Cracker (Betty’s crazy musician uncle), but that burns me every time we check math homework.
Please say White middle class, because that’s who you’re talking about.
I’ve saved a pretty decent chunk in a 529 plan, and hopefully by the time he needs it the amount will at least give him a start. But I am seriously doubting I will push him to go to college unless something drastic and reformative happens in the next few years to this country.
I possibly might rather take that money and set him up in a situation where he can apprentice a trade craft or be his own small business owner.
ETA, his decision in any event. Just saying not the kind of pressure former generations had put on them to go to college. It may not be a rational decision within the next few years, all depending.
Oddly enough, this too is something you hear on the right side of the aisle. Unfortunately, what they mean by “creating the next generation of citizens” mostly involves ramming religious, preferably fundiegelical brainwashing into the students (since “that’s where values come from”) and scrubbing the history books clean of anything that might show Team WASP as anything other than God’s most awesomely righteous gift to mankind.
Definitely the devaluation of work plays a role in this… but as with so many things in the country, I think living in the right wing echo chamber in which they’re never wrong explains a lot of it too. As soon as anything goes wrong in the economy, there are legions of sycophants – politicians, lobbyists, journalists, think tank “economists” paid to say the right things – who are there to tell them that what’s happened isn’t their fault, but rather the fault of [the government, the unions, the laziness and lack of work ethic in the American public]. And because like many people they’re biased towards explanations that blame other people, they just go with that.
In other words, they totally CAN drive down wages and then complain about the quality of the workforce, because they’ve talked themselves into believing a bunch of bullshit.
Once again..I say add WHITE to middle class.
But, this does remind me of ‘Bootstrapping, self-made’ Mitt Romney, who financed his education and first house with stock options, but, of course, he did it all on his own.
All the while, they help decimate public schools. You keep on dropping truths, Kay. Keep on dropping them.
@Figs: Every month.