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Rescue Schools, Not Banks!

Robert Reich debunks popular right-wing tax-myths:

"The huge debts we’re wracking up will cause your taxes to rise!" Wrong again. When it comes to the national debt, as I’ve said before, the relevant statistic is the ratio of debt to the gross domestic product. The only sure way to bring that debt down and make it manageable in future years is to get the economy growing again — which requires that, in the short term, the government spend a lot of money (because consumers and businesses won’t). In the long term, the biggest source of concern is rising health-care costs. And that’s something Obama and Congress are aiming to tackle.

George Saunders adds commentary:

In the grand scheme of things, getting people to complain about taxes on April 15th might be the easiest thing in the world. It’s right up there with “eating ice cream on a hot summer day” and “laughing whenever Glenn Beck cries”. Bitching about taxes is America’s true pastime. So when a few thousand people gather on tax day to whine about their taxes (after getting massive tax breaks, btw), it’s hardly the second coming of the American Revolution. Hell, I remember a time six years ago when millions of people took to the street to protest the government. We all saw how well that worked out.

The problem I have with tea protests are their lack of focus. Taxes are high; so what; are you advocating across-the-board spending cuts? One of the problems is that our taxes are not going towards useful services; a lot goes for defense spending and Medicare spending and bank stabilizations. Americans really aren’t getting value from public investments anymore.  Americans are being told we can’t afford many things, and yet at the same time we still pay relatively high taxes (in historical terms).

Robert Nagle, bank protest 2009, Houston

Ann Work describes how Texas is failing its children with inadequate schools:

More than in any other state, children in Texas go without health insurance, become pregnant as teens and go to jail as adults, the biennial study shows.

Rising numbers of Texas children are repeating the early grades, with grade retention among kindergarteners climbing 32 percent since 2000. Infant mortality has spiked in Texas, even though it remained steady nationwide. In just five years, the state’s infant survival ranking has slipped from ninth in the nation to 21st.

She points to the payoffs:

While funding programs helps children, it’s also fiscally smart, the report said. For every dollar spent on quality early education for a child, Texas receives $4 later in savings for remedial programs and welfare.

More from a Children’s Campaign Report (PDF) :

  • Texas continues to rank 50th out of 50 among the states in health coverage for children.
  • Texas has one of the country’s highest rates of births to teen-age mothers.
  • Texas has more children growing up to be adults in the correctional system than any other state.
  • Texas children are the most likely in the U.S. to not complete high school by the age of 25.
  • Texas still ranks near the bottom in child hunger, child poverty, and child deaths from abuse or neglect.
  • Infant mortality rates have steadily climbed in Texas this decade, while remaining unchanged in the nation as a whole.
  • Grade retention of children in kindergarten is up 32% this decade, suggesting a growing problem with school readiness.
  • Where the state has invested in improving indicators–such as in childhood vaccination rates and child support collection–the state’s ranking has improved dramatically in just five years.
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