Tag Archives: education

Beware the Romney Business Plan to Take Over America!

Under the Romney Business plan to grow our economy,  expect the rich to suck taxpayer money out of our government as they get richer. That’s his “successful” business model that he used at Bain Capital. Now he and the Republicans are touting this successful business experience  as a reason to vote for Romney and spread his plan  across America.
Under Romney we can expect more corporate control  of public services and investment in areas like health care, increased privatization of public schools,  and banks and investment companies running social security. Free enterprise to Romney and the conservatives under the Bain capital model would mean putting profit over public good.
For many Government is there to protect the public good over private gain, that is unless you are a conservative in America. The Bain Capital model of business was the accumulation of wealth by it’s investors, regardless of the consequences to its workers and the community it was in.
To see the real life consequences of this business model one just needs to looks at how Romney made his fortune. As detailed in the New York Times article entitled, “Companies’ Ills Did Not Harm Romney’s Firm
Mr. Romney’s experience at Bain is at the heart of his case for the presidency. He has repeatedly promoted his years working in the “real economy,” arguing that his success turning around troubled companies and helping to start new ones, producing jobs in the process, has prepared him to revive the country’s economy. He has fended off attacks about job losses at companies Bain owned, saying, “Sometimes investments don’t work and you’re not successful.” But an examination of what happened when companies Bain controlled wound up in bankruptcy highlights just how different Bain and other private equity firms are from typical denizens of the real economy, from mom-and-pop stores to bootstrapping entrepreneurial ventures.       Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain’s funds.”
So what does Romney propose to do for the takeover of America under this business model.  Well he and his conservative right wing friends propose to take over the US Government and run it like a business.  In his mind, his friends and mega-contributors are his investors . His goal is basically a  takeover of our Public Government and turning over the profits to his wealthy friends and corporate America. Their goal is to privatize most services now provided by Government to help its citizens.
The profits of course are whatever taxes are still paid by the so called workers of America.  Romney’s corporate and wealthy individual investors see our Government as another opportunity to take from the people and transfer more wealth to themselves. The so called investors  will put the minimum in taxes into the government to give the appearance that they are participating but their goal is to figure out how to maximize what they can withdraw from the Government for themselves..
Do you think I am joking?  Look at what he is proposing to do in Public Education.  It a profit maker for his investors if he can privatize it by Charter Schools and vouchers guaranteed by the government.  They are already getting tax dollars via on line schools where they sign up as many people as possible for paying tuition by advancing them loans and getting federal guarantees for payment, regardless of the qualifications of the students to complete the courses. It is similar to what the banks and mortgage companies did to homeowners, ignoring their ability to qualify for repayment and then reselling the so called qualified loans to others for a profit.
 Diane Ravitch in the New York Times Review of Books writes about Romney’s recently released education plan in an article entitled “The Miseducation of Mitt Romney”. His main focus is that turning public education over to the private for profit sector is the answer to our education future:
The central themes of the Romney plan are a rehash of Republican education ideas from the past thirty years, namely, subsidizing parents who want to send their child to a private or religious school, encouraging the private sector to operate schools, putting commercial banks in charge of the federal student loan program, holding teachers and schools accountable for students’ test scores, and lowering entrance requirements for new teachers. These policies reflect the experience of his advisers, who include half a dozen senior officials from the Bush administration and several prominent conservative academics, among them former Secretary of Education Rod Paige and former Deputy Secretary of Education Bill Hansen, and school choice advocates John Chubb and Paul Peterson.
Romney offers full-throated support for using taxpayer money to pay for private-school vouchers, privately-managed charters, for-profit online schools, and almost every other alternative to public schools.”
As to public colleges and the for profit free enterprise opportunities  they represent to Romney’s investment partners in America, Ravitch says that:
 “Romney will encourage private sector involvement in higher education, by having commercial banks again serve as the intermediary for federal student loans, an approach Obama had eliminated 2010 as too costly. (Until 2010, banks received guaranteed subsidies from the federal government to make student loans, while the government assumed nearly all the risk. When the program was overhauled by the Obama Administration, billions of dollars in bank profits were redirected to support Pell Grants for needy students.)  To cut costs, Romney encourages the proliferation of for-profit online universities.”
We have seen this turn the taxpayer dollars over to the private sector in other areas of Government and it would be accelerated under Romney. Privately run health care in the US is the most expensive in the world.  Romney wants to repeal and defund the Affordable Health Care Act and keep health care in the for profit private sector.  Costs continue to escalate. The Affordable Health Care Act limited the profit part of health care to 20% and even that is too little for Romney’s private sector business model.  The goal of corporate America is to maximize profits, not maximize the health of America’s citizens.  That model allowed private health care insurance companies to deny insurance to people, including children with pre-existing conditions.  It allowed insurance companies to drop people’s health care insurance when they got sick.  It allowed them to write policies that were woefully inadequate in covering major illnesses.
There is a reason for government involvement in health care and it is an ethical one.  Someone needs to put the health and welfare of our citizens over the profits of the corporate health care insurance system.  When Sara Palin said there were death panels she was right.  But it wasn’t the Government, it was private insurance companies denying coverage or cancelling coverage for health care for Americans.  Romney wants to abolish the Affordable Healthcare Act and put private for profit corporations in control of your health care.
In March in USA Today Romney  wrote:
“…It is past time to abolish the program, root and branch. …
… the case against ObamaCare extends far beyond questions about its constitutionality. President Obama‘s program is an unfolding disaster for the American economy, a budget-busting entitlement, and a dramatic new federal intrusion into our lives.It is precisely for those reasons that I’ve opposed a one-size-fits-all health care plan for the entire nation. What we need is a free market, federalist approach to making quality, affordable health insurance available to every American. Each state should be allowed to pursue its own solution in this regard, instead of being dictated to by Washington.”
What he’s really saying is that his investors backing him do not want the Federal Government limiting their profits or regulating how they do business. But our system is broken and continuing it as it is would be  a tragic mistake for America. Heath care run for profit as we’ve seen with the Bain Capital business model would put profit over people’s lives and quality of health care.
An article in the Huffington Post last year reported that:
“The nation’s health care tab is on track to hit $4.6 trillion in 2020, accounting for about $1 of every $5 in the economy, government number crunchers estimate in a report …

How much is that? Including government and private money, health care spending in 2020 will average $13,710 for every man, woman and child, says Medicare’s Office of the Actuary.

Compare it to this year, when U.S. health care spending is projected to top $2.7 trillion, about $8,650 per capita, or roughly $1 of $6 in the economy. Most of those dollars go to provide care for the sickest people.

Along with rising costs, the report found that the share of the health care tab paid by the government keeps growing, approaching half the total. …

…the United States continues to spend far more on health care than other economically developed countries. The study by the Commonwealth Fund found that U.S. health care spending per person in 2008 was more than double the median – or midpoint_ for other leading economies. ” 

If you followed Romney’s business practices to maximize profit to his private investors, expect that the same way he putting maximizing profit of his investors over retaining or creating jobs, he would as president let insurance companies once again drop patients that were costing too much and also allow insurance companies to pick and choose who they decide to insure in the first place.  There is nothing inherently ethical about creating profit but there is about caring or not caring for and helping America’s sick.  That is why keeping  health care protection as a public good is necessary. The Romney Business Takeover Model to maximize profit for the few regardless of the cost and pain to the many needs to be rejected.

America can not afford to elect Romney and adopt the Romney Business Model of maximizing profits for the wealthy few. They are  pushing what is essentially a hostile takeover of public education and  health care and other services now provided by our Federal Government and want to privatize as much as possible for private gain. Creating wealth for a few at the expense of the many is a recipe for disaster for our country.

Eyman’s I-1033 Says Paying Corporate Property Taxes More Important than Educating State’s Children

Initiative 1033 on this November’s ballot is Tim Eyman’s clone of a failed Colorado measure. It proposes to freeze state and local government programs permanently by limiting the growth of tax revenue to the current year’s spending plus a slight adjustment for inflation.

Any money over this year’s spending as adjusted will go into a special account to reduce property taxes. What Eyman hasn’t told anyone is that 40% of this special tax break will go to Washington businesses and corporations. That’s because the fund must reduce all property taxes equally. And currently 40% of property taxes are paid by businesses.

And of the remaining 60% in the fund only 65% of that will go to help homeowners who own their home. The other 35% of households in the state will not see any tax break or return on their taxes they paid. They lose twice because they also will not see any increase in public services as a result of their paying taxes over the baseline.

Initiative I-1033 is a complex measure that actually turns out to provide a special tax break to property owners at the expense of not providing public services.

If you collect tax dollars like sales taxes everyone pays does it make sense to use them to give a special tax break that benefits wealthy property owners at the expense of not providing public services like educating our kids or paying for public safety or having libraries open and parks open?

Colorado has tried Eyman’s proposed freeze on public services since 1992. Looking at how they now fund education will gives us a frightening glimpse of Washington State’s future if voters pass I-1033.

I came across the following website, www/teachersalaryinfo.com which graphically compares 5 different factors on teacher salaries across the country. The information below is taken from this website.

The average teacher’s salary in Colorado compared to median household income showed Colorado ranking 49th (with 1 being the highest) among the 50 states. An estimate showed that teachers in Colorado made about $32,000 below the median income.

Another graph showed Colorado teachers ranking 50th lowest in salary compared to other states. Washington State by comparison ranked 24th lowest – and we know the lack of funding currently in this state to raise teacher’s salaries.

Another graph shows Colorado’s average teacher salary compared to the median home price in Colorado as 44th lowest out of 50 states.

Is this the future for Washington State if voters approve I-1033? You can’t freeze education spending under I-1033 and expect that there will be any spare change to raise teacher’s salaries in the future. In fact because many public services like Medicaid and education increase in cost faster than the consumer price index adjustment in I-1033, cuts will have to be made to existing services as their costs rise faster than the consumer inflation index.

Colorado once ranked 35th in education spending. It’s now 49th because of this problem.

So you decide – is it more important to give wealthy property owners and corporations a special property tax break or help our children get a quality education by investing our tax dollars in them?

I think we’ll all lose if we don’t fund our educational system and have good teachers. How many teachers are going to stay in Washington State if we are competing with Colorado to see who can pay the educators of our children the least amount of money? Is this another Eyman brilliant idea or not?

Is Governor Gregoire Providing the Leadership We Need Now?

Below is a letter sent today to Governor Gregoire by the King County Democrats Legislative Action Committee. What do you think?

Dear Governor Gregoire:

The King County Democrats Legislative Action Committee is disappointed with your leadership on resolving our state budget crisis by not considering revenue increases as a necessary option. We are one of only two states (along with Louisiana!) where revenue increases are not on the table. Certainly circumstances have changed since your campaign last year. Leadership requires adapting to changed circumstances. The changed economic reality and the magnitude of the budget shortfall should provide a sufficient rationale to the public to explain why you have changed your mind as to how to deal with the current situation.

“An all-cuts budget doesn’t cut it.” We should not sacrifice the well-being and the very lives of our most sick and vulnerable citizens. Please support revenue increases to maintain our state’s safety net as well as provide for the educational needs of our children.

We believe a reasonable starting point should be that program cuts and revenue increases should be given equal weight in dealing with the budget shortfall. That means no more than 50% of the deficit should be program cuts. And a revenue package to make up the other 50% of the budget shortfall should be put on the ballot for voters to vote on.

Letting the voters decide is what they said they wanted. Give them the option. Let them make the final decision.

Sarajane Siegfriedt & Steve Zemke
King County Democrats Legislative Action Committee Co-Chairs

Suzie Sheary
King County Democrats Chair

Add your name to the letter. A copy of the letter as a petition to sign is available at: