Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Cost of College Education at Ohio's Public Universities

This graph is from the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank's website. It shows how tuition is increasing at every college in Ohio. (If graph doesn't show, click on the rectangle to make it appear.)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

MCDAC Rant: Republican Efforts to Cut Off Democratic Funding

Over the past 25 years the national GOP has made a concerted effort to cut off funding for Democratic candidates. They have done this by going after unions, attorneys who represent plaintiffs in personal injury litigation, and public schools. Why public schools, you ask, because historically teachers who teach in public schools back Democrats.

Of course, all of these targets also have enemies in the GOP coalition. Corporations oppose unions and trial attorneys because both of them are a check on corporate power. Elements of the religious right oppose public schools because they believe they are too secular. So by targeting unions, trial attorneys, and public schools, the GOP kills two birds with one stone. It makes its corporate and religious right supporters happy and it weakens Democratic leaning organizations.

How do they do target these organizations? With the case of unions, it is trying to enact legislation that restricts union activities and use of union funds for political purposes. With the case of trial lawyers, it is trying to enact caps on damages that injured people can recover and trying to restrict class-action lawsuits. With the case of public schools, it is supporting charter schools with taxpayer money and putting more and more requirements on public schools while exempting private schools from the same requirements.

This explains why the Internet freaks out the GOP as a fund-raising tool for Democrats and progressives. It is almost impossible to shut down the Internet for just one group of political donors. Even the Republican dominated U.S. Supreme Court wouldn't stand for that. Which is why, of course, House Republicans are all of a sudden interested in applying McCain-Feingold to 527 organizations that solicit on the web. It's not because of a concern for good government, it is because of a concern that GOP hegemony is threatened.

The next time you hear a GOP candidate talking about attacking unions, trial lawyers, or public schools, just remember that more than philosophy is at work. It's not only the philosophy, it's the money.
MCDAC gives permission for the use of the above without attribution.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

DeWine, Tax Cuts, & Employment

In a statement on the Plain Dealer's blog, OPEN, Senator DeWine claims that he supports tax cuts because they lead to the creation of jobs. This reason is often offered by Republicans to explain why we should keep pouring tax cut upon tax cut on the wealthy while the Federal Goverment runs billions of dollars in deficits.

Although this job creation line is always parroted by tax cuts supporters, they never offer any evidence to back up this claim. Indeed, if job creation is casued by tax cuts, then why have so many jobs left Ohio? Since 2000 we have seen tax cuts at the Federal level and tax cuts at the state level, yet our unemployment rate has barely moved. Between 2003-2005 employment increased in Ohio by .1%, while it increased in the United States as a whole by 2.2%. Shouldn't the Republican tax cuts be kicking in and helping Ohio's economy?

Of course, whether Ohio's employment rate will ever benefit from Republican tax cuts depends on whether the underlying rationale for such tax cuts is sound. Republican rationale for tax cuts is that tax-payers will take their tax cuts and invest them in new jobs. There is, however, a fatal flaw in such reasoning.

The flaw is that employment doesn't depend on how much money the employer has, it depends on what it costs to hire a person versus the money that such person can make his/her employer. If an employer decides that hiring a person makes economic sense in terms of the income generated by such employee outweighing the cost of such employee, then the person is hired. If, however, the cost of such employee is not as great as anticipated revenue, then the employer is not going to make the hire.

Another way that tax cuts could lead to more economic activity would be if taxpayers used the tax cuts to purchase goods and services. There is scant evidence, however, that wealthy taxpayers, who received most of the benefit from Bush's tax cuts are using the money to purchase goods and services they otherwise wouldn't purchase. Indeed, most of the wealthy taxpayers are investing their tax cuts, not spending them.

So, the next time a Republican claims that tax cuts are good for the economy, we think reporters should ask, "Oh yeah? Prove it."
MCDAC gives permission for the use of the above without attribution.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

DeWine Votes to Privatize Social Security

Last Thursday Senator Mike DeWine voted to privatize Social Security and eliminate Disability Benefits and Survivors' Benefits for widows, widowers and orphans when he voted for an unsuccessful amendment (Senate Amendment 3087) to the budget resolution sponsored by Senator DeMint of South Carolina. The majority of Ohioans do not want Social Security privatized and there is no evidence that they want Survivors' and Disability benefits eliminated. Senator Voinovich also did not stand up for Medina County as he was the only Senator not to vote on the issue.

Why would Senator DeWine cast a vote to eliminate social security benefits? We think it is because he is facing a right-wing challenge in the Republican primary. To fend off that challenge, Senator DeWine is willing to sell out ordinary Ohioans. Senator DeWine has shown that he is not on our side. When you vote in May and November remember that Senator DeWine stands for the elimination of social security benefits.
MCDAC authorizes the use of the above without attribution.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rant of the Week: Why Dems Should Push Balanced Budget

When Bush took over from Clinton the Federal government was running a surplus. After five complete years of Bush's economic policies the Federal government is running record deficits. Republicans used to describe Democrats as "tax and spend" liberals. The Bush administration is made up of "borrow and spend" conservatives. Given the Bush's administration record, it should be easy for Democrats to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility, but we aren't. Why?

For some reason Democrats are afraid to push for a balanced budget. It seems to us that Democrats in the House and Senate are afraid that if they push for a balanced budget, the Republicans will use that as an excuse to do away with social programs. Consequently, while they attack Republicans for the fiscal insanity they have visited on America, they don't have a simple, coherent message for the American people.

The message they should be sending is that we need to balance the budget and quit running up huge deficits. Given the records of the Clinton and Bush administrations regarding fiscal policy, it is a message that we can believably deliver. Delivering this message allows us to talk about reckless tax cuts, the transfer of wealth that takes place when tax revenues are used for interest payments that go to the rich and not programs for the middle class, and about how the Chinese are buying a bigger and bigger share of our national debt.

Is there a risk to such a strategy? Sure, but we need to change what we are doing to win elections. We need to take definite stands and tell the American people why they should trust us with the national goverment. Balancing the budget is a good place to start.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Reader Rant: Gazette Editorial on Medina Municipal Clerk Election Overlooks Important Details

The recent Medina Gazette Clerk of Courts editorial history lesson was long on history but short on math. There are $26,000 important points that weren’t made in the Gazette’s editorial. Medina County Municipal Clerk of Courts, Lori Henry, performs her job for $64,000 per year. Chuck Calvert and Jane Leaver want the Medina County taxpayers to pay $90.057 per year for exactly the same job, but with one of their friends cashing the paycheck. Remember, incumbent Clerk Henry isn’t asking for a $26,000 raise. Chuck and Jane are. They want you to pay more for the job because their Republican friends like to make $90,057 per year instead of the $64,000 that Ms. Henry agreed to when she accepted the position.

Chuck and Jane undoubtedly assume that one of their very well funded politically astute Republican friends will be able to beat Ms. Henry in an election because Ms. Henry is not a politician and has never run in an election and doesn’t have the fundraising base and lobbyist money that get politicians like Jane and Chuck elected in Ohio. Lori is a Clerk – not a politician. Chuck and Jane may be right in their belief that Lori’s excellent job performance and low cost mean little or nothing to their donor and lobbyist base, but the $26,000 increase may seem important to the voters and to Judge Chase who appointed Lori to the position.

It is true that Chuck and Jane have terribly powerful and extremely wealthy supporters who will fund the campaign of their Republican friend with mountains of money and lots of back-room arm twisting. They probably think it will be like taking candy from a baby; because, after all, all they have to do is beat a Clerk out of her job and the taxpayers out of $26,000.
The above first appeared as a letter to the editor. The author gave us permission to run his letter on our blog.

Judge Kovack Educates the Public About Divorce & Finances

Do you know what happens financially if there is a divorce? Most people don't. Medina County Domestic Relations Judge Mary Kovack is changing that by holding free public seminars sponsored by the Medina County Committee for Informed Citizens.

The first seminar, "Surviving the Chaos: Saving Your Finances From Disaster After Divorce", was held on March 6th. Judge Kovack and her presenters spoke to a near capacity crowd at the County Adminstration Building. They covered topics such as what to expect from the divorce and dissolution process, tax consequences of separation agreements, how to calculate child support, and how businesses are valued in a divorce. The panel then took questions from the audience. Questions were asked about pensions, income for child support, parenting issues, domestic violence, as well as the presented topics.

When asked if she would hold more seminars, Judge Kovack answered: "The tremendous positive response to this seminar tells me that we need to conduct more seminars to give the public the information it needs." Judge Kovack and the CIC have already announced the date for the next seminar.

The next seminar will be held on April 24, 2006, at 7:00 pm at the Medina County Administration Building at 144 North Broadway Street in Medina. "Working 7 to 3: How Working Families Can Survive Divorce." The seminar is free and open to the public. Child-care will be provided. If you know anyone going through a divorce, or thinking about a divorce, this seminar is for you. For more information, call 330-764-1935 or visit the web site: .

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Rant of the Week: Dewine is a Bush Enabler

One of the problems Democrats have in this year's election for U.S. Senate is the common perception spread by the media that Mike DeWine is some kind of "moderate." They cite to his joining the so-called "Gang of 14" and his votes against drilling in the Artic Reserve. Since the media seems to love so-called "moderates", they usually stop their analysis at that point. Result" DeWine gets to seem like he is a Senator who is willing to break with his party.

This image, like so much else of the media's analysis, is false. DeWine is really a Bush enabler. Like the family member of an alcoholic who gives the drunk money to buy booze, DeWine gives his vote to Bush when it counts.

Irresponsible tax cuts? DeWine votes with Bush. Huge budget deficits? DeWine votes with Bush. Support for CAFTA? DeWine is there for his man Bush. Voting to authorize the Iraqi War? Check another vote for Bush from DeWine. Helping to cover up Bush's violation of the law in the NSA warrant-less spying scandal? Once again, DeWine is there for Bush.

In fact, it is impossible to find a major issue, except for Artic drilling, where DeWine has split with Bush, no matter what the consequences for Ohio. Ohio Democrats need to get the word out: when it comes to voting Bush's way, DeWine is no moderate and Ohio can do better.
MCDAC gives permission for the use of the above without attribution.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Reader Rant: GOP Cuts Social Programs, Gives Break to Big Oil

Okay, who is in favor of giving more money to the oil and gas companies after they just announced the largest profits ever? Who thinks loans (not grants) to help defray education costs should be eliminated? Who thinks our military veterans should have their health insurance premiums rise by 100 or 200%? Who thinks that centers for traumatic brain injuries should cut back operations or close permanently? Who thinks educational programs about Alzheimer's are frivolous and should be eliminated? Who finds no use in a national registry for Lou Gehrig's disease? Who is in favor of terminating the entire budget of the Christopher and Dana Reeve paralysis center? Who thinks it isn't worth it to spend money on screening newborns and training emergency personnel to care for children? Who thinks preventative health projects begun by Ronald Reagan are worthless? Who thinks money spent for child safety seats for indigent children, research on E.coli, identification of West Nile Virus, and cardiovascular health programs are wastes of taxpayers' money?

The answer should be no one. Most likely every one of us has been or will be touched by one or more of the programs above. Every one of us has paid more for gasoline. So who has decided to give the oil companies $7 billion in tax exemptions regarding royalties they would normally pay the federal government?

The answer to all my questions is none other than George W. Bush and the Republican puppy dogs in the Congress and Senate. Our Ohio Republican leaders also favor these cuts.
If you favor all these cuts then by all means re-elect those in Columbus and Washington who feel programs like these have no value. Otherwise, choose carefully when voting and research who really thinks independently like you and me.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Reader Rant: Trust in short supply

It is very disturbing to hear the right-wing parrots as they try to justify the illegalities of George W. Bush by saying that ``we just need to trust our president.'' It is very difficult to trust a president, as well as an administration, that has an unwavering record of deceit and an endless bag of evil tricks to stifle dissent -- from the ``town hall'' meetings that are thoroughly screened to remove any possibility of dissenting voices to retribution against whistle-blowers who simply tell the truth.

In hundreds of known incidents and probably thousands of unknown ones, the president and his cronies have used their position as an opportunity to suppress democracy and to destroy the very principles this country was founded on. At no time in America's history, which has spanned two world wars and decades of the Cold War, has our country been more at risk of losing its freedoms than it is right now. Sad to say, it is not because of Osama bin Laden, but because of Bush, who continues an unprecedented quest to achieve absolute and unquestioned power -- power that he and is minions have usurped with complete disregard for the Constitution.

As the right-wing couch patriots cower in fear of Osama bin Laden, our own president is working tirelessly to undermine our rights. With presidents like George W. Bush, who needs to fear enemies like bin Laden
The above first appeared as a letter to the editor. The author gave MCDAC permission to run the letter in our "blog".