Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When Did Our Schools Become "Special Interests"?

So Congress finally passes some badly needed aid for states to cover school expenses and Medicaid costs...

House Democrats today passed a bill doling out $26.1 billion to states to help them pay for teachers and emergency workers and to cover growing Medicaid costs. President Obama Tuesday morning hailed Congress for returning to Washington unexpectedly one week into the summer recess. Thanks to two Republican votes from Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both from Maine, the measure passed the Senate 61-39 last week.

The House passed the measure 247-161. Democrats and the White House estimate the new spending could save up to 300,000 teachers' jobs across the country. Supporters see it as building on the stimulus program from 2009. But like anything in an election year, the vote set off political nastiness.

It's a ready-made campaign commercial as Democrats plan to hail their own votes as heroic when states are facing massive budget crises. And -- you guessed it -- Republicans will say it's another big-spending government plan.

And the Republicans are already on attack! Look at Sharron Angle and her new wackadoodle BFF on Faux News, blabbering away...

So this is all about "special interests" and "politics"? Tell that to these hard working teachers...

And tell that to the people here in Nevada, in critical need of schools that remain open. Harry Reid has gone to bat for us before to keep Nevada schools open, and he succeeded again this week.

Yes, I know. Sharrontology and her friends still call it "crazy spending", even if it does mean schools remain open. Well, they're just wrong. Remember when I wrote this in March?

[T]he casinos can no longer be counted upon as a "free ride". We can't just expect new casino construction to prop up demand for construction jobs, which props up demand for new housing, which props up demand for housing construction, which props up the rest of Southern Nevada's economy. We may have lucked out in seeing this model work from 1989 to 2007, but all it really did was hide the weaknesses in this shaky economic model that ended up being exposed when "The Great Recession" hit and all the artificial demand for new casinos, new homes, new whatever fell like a row of dominoes. [...]

So again and again, we come back to this dilemma. As long as our education system is broken and as long as we continue to make ourselves overdependent on the casinos and casino-fueled development, Las Vegas will continue to suffer under this radical boom and bust cycle that lives and dies on discretionary consumer spending. Sorry, but this is not how a major metropolitan area with 2 million residents and a state with over 2.7 million residents can survive!

Funny enough, Sharron Angle has bashed Harry Reid for making those now famous calls to the bank to save CityCenter, the 22,000 jobs created there, and the many more thousands of jobs on the Las Vegas Strip. But without the casinos on The Strip, where would we be now? We'd have no economy!

And let's face it, the only way we can survive is if we diversify our state's economy. And here's some more reality for us, businesses look at more than just taxes when making decisions on where to place roots and invest. Businesses want states with good schools and strong infrastructure, as it means a well-educated workforce and a good quality of life for that workforce. So when Harry Reid brings back more and more of our federal tax dollars to make sure our schools stay open, our teachers are doing their jobs, and our kids are learning, it means we still have a life line to a better future for Nevada.

While Sharron Angle is palling around with Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul, DC Republican leaders, and the real fat cat corporate "special interests" and toeing the "Tea Party, Inc." line on making federal government as dysfunctional as possible, Nevadans are looking for real solutions. We don't have time for any more of her BS crazy.

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