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Democratic plan: Same old Song
Posted by: McQ on Friday, January 27, 2006

Yesterday Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House Minority leader announced the much anticipated Democratic plan for 2006 (I assume this is the one that Sen. Schumer promised last year).
“Democrats hear the American people and we have answers, which are designed to meet the challenges of the present and the future. We have laid out a series of specific goals, proposals and timelines that, taken together, chart a clear path to a new era of American security and prosperity.
As one column noted, they were "long on vision, but short on specifics".

Back in October I highlighted a 5 point trial balloon that Rahm Emanuel floated during an appearance on "Meet The Press":
“One, we make college education as universal for the 21st century that a high school education was in the 20th.”


“Second, we get a summit on the budget to deal with the $3 trillion of debt that's been added up in five years and structural deficits of $400 billion a year. “


“Third, an energy policy that says in 10 years, we cut our dependence on foreign oil in half and make this a hybrid economy. “


“Four, we create an institute on science and technology that builds for America like, the National Institutes has done for health care, we maintain our edge. “


“And five, we have a universal health-care system over the next 10 years where if you work, you have health care.”
As I asked then:
Now other than looking like the usual liberal agenda financed by smoke and mirrors, I defy anyone to tell me what’s new or exciting about this list?

4 of the 5 involve massive government programs or massive government spending, yet point number 2 gives lip service to dealing with the deficit and debt. A summit? What kind of plan is that? Any guess as to what a "summit" would conclude? Can you say "raise taxes?". Because by looking at the other 4 points, it's obvious that cutting spending isn't a party priority.
Apparently the Democrats were excited about it. Yesterday, Ms. Peolosi thrilled us with the following as an outline of the much anticipated Democratic plan:
“Our innovation agenda begins with a serious, sustained commitment to America’s schools. ... We’ve pledged to create a new generation of innovators by calling for a qualified teacher in every math and science K-12 classroom and by issuing a ‘Call to Action’ to engineers and scientists to join the ranks of America’s teachers. Along with other Democratic proposals such as the Teach Act and the Strengthen our Schools Act, we intend to make sure young children have qualified teachers and supportive environments in which to learn.
Ask engineers and scientists to become teachers? Gee, I wonder who'll pay for that?
“We recognize that independent scientific research provides the foundation for innovation and future technologies. That is why we pledge to double federal funding for basic research and development in the physical sciences.
Well that's great, but, hey aren't they going to be in the classroom teaching? And again, who's paying for this?
“High-speed, always-on broadband will create millions of good jobs. Our agenda guarantees that every American will have affordable access to broadband – within five years.
The right to the internet, guaranteed? Must be an Al Gore plank. But again, who's going to pay for that?
“Democrats have proposed the development of clean, sustainable energy alternatives, such as bio-based fuels, as well as new engine technologies for flex-fuel, hybrid, and bio-diesel cars and trucks. Our economic future and our national security both demand that we achieve energy independence, and we intend to do so in 10 years.
See point three above. Hasn't this been a goal for Democrats since Jimmy Carter?
“Essential to our competitiveness is a healthy environment for small businesses, so they can turn entrepreneurial ideas into marketable products, and create good jobs. We propose helping small businesses succeed by providing more financial support and technical assistance, reducing regulation, and helping them overcome one of the greatest challenges they face: the cost of health care.
And what's the best way to do that? Deregulate the insurance industry and quit requiring mandated coverage which drives the cost up and includes coverages which many employers may not want or need. Let employers pick and choose the coverage they want. Of course that means smaller and less intrusive government and I have a feeling that's not what Nancy and the gang are driving at here.

But that's it folks, that's the plan. The internet has been changed out for college educations, but essentially it's the same stuff Emanuel was talking about.

She then takes a pretty weak swing at Health Savings Accounts, apparently the new "Social Security" issue for the left. I've covered that here.

She also takes the predictable swipe at the "culture of corruption". Finally we get a word about the budget:
“Next week, when Congress returns, the first bill we will vote on is the Republican budget. Regardless of what the President may say on Tuesday night, the Republican budget tells an alarming story: It includes policies that increase the deficit by nearly 300 billion dollars, heaping mountains of debt on our children. It increases the cost of student loans while cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans. It cuts funding for the basic research vital to creating jobs. It cuts funding for health care for our children.
Its too much money, but doesn't spend enough money. Mixed message? No, typical Democrat. "Budget deficit" is a buzz word. Her seriousness about the buzz word is reflected in the fact that when she does discuss cuts in funding it isn't in a positive way (budget deficit reduction) but in a negative way (not spending enough on favored programs).

Review the plan she puts forward. Spend, spend, spend and spend.

And not a word, a single solitary word, about national defense, border security or immigration.

Are they really that tone deaf in Democrat land?
 
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Unfortunately for those of us who think the Rs have screwed it up and should be booted out, they are exactly that tone deaf. It may take them getting their asses kicked again this year and maybe in ’08 before they understand that "Bad Republicans" is not a platform that wins elections.

 
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
There won’t be a problem in getting scientists and engineers to take jobs as primary or secondary school teachers since they can’t get jobs as scientists or engineers. Unless they’re in biomed things are fairly bleak for scientists and engineers. The unemployment for electrical engineers here is the highest in history. Salaries are stagnant (or going down) in computing.

For more than a generation for a physicist to get a job (as a physicist) a physicist has had to die or retire. Most of my chemist friends (inorganic chemistry) are looking around at departments half the size they used to be.

American students don’t avoid math and science (just) because they’re lazy but because the future is hazy for math and science in the United States.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
Unfortunately for those of us who think the Rs have screwed it up and should be booted out, they are exactly that tone deaf. It may take them getting their asses kicked again this year and maybe in ’08 before they understand that "Bad Republicans" is not a platform that wins elections.
I won’t disagree with your point except to say the Democrats have shown nothing which says they can do the ass kicking. As bad as the Republicans may be, the Democrats are worse ... politically speaking.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I feel like I’m house shopping, and the only two houses for sale in the whole city are:

1. A run-down fixer-upper with a leaky roof that will probably ruin my clothes and furniture, not to mention my sleep

2. A tiny crackerbox with all the windows broken out, and that’s about ready to fall down, if it doesn’t burn down first because of faulty wiring

OK, I guess if I have to choose, I’ll take #1 and hope it doesn’t rain too much. But, man, I would sure like some better choices.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Are they really that tone deaf in Democrat land?
If Kerry’s filibuster attempt is any indication ... yes. Yes they are.
 
Written By: SaveFarris
URL: http://
Ask engineers and scientists to become teachers? Gee, I wonder who’ll pay for that?
Several years ago, I got my MS in chemistry. After working in the industry for a few years, I felt dissatisfied and thought that I’d enjoy teaching. I’d done well as a TA in grad school and generally enjoyed the challenges of teaching. I contacted a local high school and asked if they had any openings for a chemistry teacher. As we say down here in NC, the principal just about "jumped through his butt" to get me in for an interview. Then I asked how much the job paid. He proudly announced that, since I had a master’s degree, I would start at a whopping $27k per year! This was about $3k less than I’d made as a lab TECHNICIAN right out of college, and a bit more than half of what I was making at the time as a scientist.

As you may imagine, I didn’t enter the teaching field.

Dave Schuler:
For more than a generation for a physicist to get a job (as a physicist) a physicist has had to die or retire. Most of my chemist friends (inorganic chemistry) are looking around at departments half the size they used to be.
Apparently, this isn’t confined only to science departments. It’s my understanding that many universities are feeling a financial pinch and are turning more toward adjunct / part-time faculty instead of full-time, tenure-track faculty as they did in the past.

In my opinion, they might not have these problems if they invested less in food courts and "feel good" departments like "ethnic studies" and "women’s studies" and instead spent the money on better classroom facilities and top-flight instructors in "real" departments, especially the sciences and engineering.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
Then I asked how much the job paid. He proudly announced that, since I had a master’s degree, I would start at a whopping $27k per year! This was about $3k less than I’d made as a lab TECHNICIAN right out of college, and a bit more than half of what I was making at the time as a scientist.

As you may imagine, I didn’t enter the teaching field.
Which is exactly why I asked ’who’s going to pay for this"? And of course, if the salaries of scientists and engineers are supplemented, other teaches will demand (hello? NEA?) and probably get the same.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
The simple fact that McQ ignores is that the rate of discretionary spending has increased more under Bush than it did under Clinton. That’s why McQ is forced to speculate what the Dems might do in the future, instead of looking at what the Dems have actually done in the past.

Past performance is the best indicator of future behavior.

During Clinton’s eight years, discretionary spending went up an average of 2.4% per year. During Bush’s first three, it went up an average of 11.4%.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
and why was clintons lower? Because of the republican congress. The president doesnt spend, the congress does. And while a gridlocked govt isn’t much of a long term solution, the case can be (and has been made here before). However, its a dangerous thing to gamble on; ending up with a dem congress and rep president (or vice versa)
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
MKu:

Invest much?

And exactly how does Bush’s discretionary spending habits (which are atrocious) relate to the issue of the Dems and what their plans are?

To argue that one should vote for Dems simply because Bush spends poorly is not an especially persuasive line of reasoning. Repeating it ever more loudly (or on ever more threads) does not make it any more so.
 
Written By: Lurking Observer
URL: http://
Whenever I hear anything from the Democrats, I get giddy thinking they are just pushing themselves out of Washington in the next election.


Then I realize: That just means 2 more years of Republican control. Sigh.


I have to agree with Billy Hollis, although I think his house descriptions are a bit kind. It’s more like a choice between a leaky tent or a cave.

 
Written By: EdMcGon
URL: http://politicsandpigskins.blogspot.com/
The simple fact that McQ ignores is that the rate of discretionary spending has increased more under Bush than it did under Clinton.
Good God you’re an idiot:
If only that were true. In fact the present Republican Congress and administration have done more for the leftist redistributionists among us than has the left itself. Patrick Chisholm of the Christian Science Monitor fills us in:
During the first five years of President Bush’s presidency, nondefense discretionary spending (i.e., spending decided on an annual basis) rose 27.9 percent, far more than the 1.9 percent growth during President Clinton’s first five years, according to the libertarian Reason Foundation. And according to Citizens Against Government Waste, the number of congressional "pork barrel" projects under Republican leadership during fiscal 2005 was 13,997, more than 10 times that of 1994.

Discretionary spending is dwarfed by mandatory spending - spending that cannot be changed without changing the laws. Shifting demographics combined with an inability to change those laws virtually ensures that, through programs such as Social Security and Medicare, America’s workers will be forced to redistribute a larger and larger portion of their income to other Americans in the coming decades.
Obviously the increase in discretionary spending is an indication of an attitude. And that attitude is further reflected in the reluctance to do what is necessary to bring mandatory spending under control. Namely change the law.
Link

This is precisely why, for the most part, you just aren’t worth much more than a passing snarky shot.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
and why was clintons lower? Because of the republican congress. The president doesnt spend, the congress does. And while a gridlocked govt isn’t much of a long term solution, the case can be (and has been made here before). However, its a dangerous thing to gamble on; ending up with a dem congress and rep president (or vice versa)

Yes.
If only there was something the President could do.

Perhaps we could give the President some sort of action, some sort of power to decline bills that the congress sends up to him. We could give it a snappy four letter word.

How about, “zing”.
No???
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
The president doesnt spend, the congress does. And while a gridlocked govt isn’t much of a long term solution, the case can be (and has been made here before). However, its a dangerous thing to gamble on; ending up with a dem congress and rep president (or vice versa)
The president is as much a part of the spending process as is Congress. While Congress may appropriate the money, not a dime gets spent until the spending bill is signed by the president. No John Hancock, no bucks. Bush has yet to veto a single spending bill in his 5 years (in fact, if I’m not mistaken, he’s never vetoed any bills in his 5 years.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I’ll choose House #1 and rehab that house, thank you... Of course, that depends on the locations.

Hope Dan Burton read my email (Support Shadegg or I may not support you)

If he does not support real change this year, I will not vote for him.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Dave: I can’t comment on the other sciences, but math is hiring. I’ve never had trouble getting a job; in fact, I pretty much get to create my own job wherever I go. Good math instruction is ALWAYS in demand. Hell, even POOR math instruction is always in demand nowadays. Departments are desperate enough to get warm bodies in front of classrooms that they will hire adjuncts and part-timers and recruit overseas. Our department even hired one of its own undergraduates to teach math!

The one area of math teaching that will not take me, however, is precisely the place where good teaching is most desperately in need: the secondary level, where fully half of math teachers have neither a major, minor, or endorsement in math. I’m qualified to teach college but not high school, because there are so many BS hoops to jump through to get a credential. There have been efforts to "streamline" this process and get teachers in front of classrooms while taking their classes for their credentials, waiving student teaching requirements, signing bonuses, etc. But these usually meet with union opposition.

Even if they didn’t, though, high school pay sucks and the working conditions suck worse. High schools have to teach out of district-selected books, which are chosen by people who need proctologists to clean their teeth. Some principals require you to submit your lesson plans weekly and waste a lot of time on crazy non-educational things. Plus I’ve been in some of those ed classes for the credential; they first pegged, then broke my BS meter. You’d have to pay me a buttload of money before I’d teach high school; a signing bonus isn’t going to cut it.
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
I think Wacky Hermit hits the nail on the head as to why there aren’t more scientists and engineers beating down the doors of American high schools to be teachers. Who wants to put up with all the hurdles that "the system" puts in the way of people who simply want to teach? And by "the system", I mean the totality of forces that bear on a teacher, from "flavor of the month" programs put in place by politicians from the local school board all the way up to the president; to parents who think that the teacher is SOLELY responsible for Little Johnny’s education, mental and physical well-being, and his self-esteem; to union bosses who would fight to let Stalin teach a kindergarten as long as he was a (dues-paying) member of the union; to school administrators who are more interested in being bureaucrats than educators; to kids who’ve learned that they can game "the system" and get away with pretty much whatever they want in school so long as they don’t kill anybody or violate the myriad of PC rules that have been put in place. And let’s not even mention lousy pay, long hours, crime-ridden schools...

Who needs it?

And San Fran Nan, like so many other politicians, thinks she can wave the federal government’s magic wand and suddenly change all of this? Dream on, baby, dream on.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
The Dems, as usual, spew out ideas and policies that sounds like they come out of a high school young Dems club: no basis in reality but man it sure feels good to profess our infinite goodness and caring.

Pretty much everything you quoted is ridiculous, but this one takes the cake:

"High-speed, always-on broadband will create millions of good jobs."
Do any Dem politicians have any sort of economic sense?




 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
I could swear I posted to this thread and so did a poster name of Hamlet. Am I hallucinating? Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Nevermind. Yes I was. I hate it when that happens. Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
"Perhaps we could give the President some sort of action, some sort of power to decline bills that the congress sends up to him. We could give it a snappy four letter word."



Well, you know what they say about Bush’s vocabulary...



But yes I agree McQ, but I think more (maybe just slightly more) blame should lie with congress for spending. I’m not letting Bush off the hook here, but it’s Congress that has the power of the purse.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
As a true supply and demand captialist, I aways cringe at the idea of putting scientist and engineers in k-12 classrooms. traditionally to graduate from a subject you needed to show mastery that ment at least in theory you could teach it to someone else. i.e. a second grader should be able to teach first grade math.

In a world of finite resources, having someone with 4-8 years of advanced engineering or math, teaching a room full of first graders, or high schoolers for that matter, is stupid. Its like using your cell phone as a watch. Yes it has a clock, but thats not its core function. On top of that why pay $50 for a cell phone when you can but a watch for 5.

If everybody had a college degree, the degree would be as worthless as a high school degree has become. In general people are paid acording to the scaricity of their skill set. If you dont want to be a teacher then dont be one, you removing yourself from the teaching pool will help to drive up pay for those who still do.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
Arnold Kling has a good article in TCS. I am often chided for my disdain for liberal thinking [oxymoron?]. The “Same Old Song” concept is detailed in his article.
“...if liberals had paid attention since 1968 rather than remaining in an ideological deep freeze, they would have seen the evidence that took me along the path to libertarianism.”
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
High-speed, always-on broadband will create millions of good jobs.
My first question for this is "Millions of good jobs doing what, exactly?"

My next question is, "How does this create millions of good jobs?"

 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com
During Clinton’s eight years, discretionary spending went up an average of 2.4% per year. During Bush’s first three, it went up an average of 11.4%.
Why would that happen? Did something perhaps occur during Bush’s first year?

O yea I forgot, he became an evil Hitler inhuman beast who does bad things out of pure malice.
 
Written By: Jso
URL: http://
Sometimes one is glad that one doesn’t have any political power. If I had to predict whether it is better for America if the Democrats make headway or if they fail, I don’t really know how to call it. Oh sure, if it were just the Democrats, utter failure is a no-brainer. It’s when you add that the Republicans will only get worse as the Democrats fail to hold their feet to the fire that the issue becomes clouded. How I envy those who limit their input to the party organs (NYT, WaPo, etc.) and who are absolutely convinced that their side is the side of the angels.
It must be that a long-discussed realignment is in the process of taking place and no one can see it. Sort of like the collapse of the Soviet Union. Lord knows, the current crop of Democrats seems on the verge of collapse. Signs: 1) Their attack on their man Chris Matthews for reporting the obvious truth. 2) John Kerry’s filibuster. 3) Ted Kennedy (fill in the blank from a very extensive list). 4) Their just-announced agenda, discussed in this thread.
It seems like they all were busy developing their money-raising special interest pandering programs and no one was assigned to see to national security or values. Guess it is tough to raise money from those themes.
I am actually starting to admire Pelosi. Yes, I know, but look at what she has to work with. Sure Rove runs rings around them, but look what he has to work with. Folks, these guys ran Kerry for President! Al Gore! Ted Kennedy is a major spokesperson.
Maybe that’s it. It’s the old ploy of lowered expectations. Just like Pelosi, I am starting to feel admiration for (gasp) Hillary. It is sort of like seeing the one-legged runner in the front three approaching the finish line of the race. If she can bring off the nomination with her obvious negatives, maybe she can run a country after all. Money (perhaps from evil backers) alone could not account for it. [Funny line referring to the potential First Lady deleted by author for reasons of good taste]
Seriously, if they are appealing to a voter not already in their base, it sure ain’t me. There is not one thing in their announced program that appeals to me. Looks like I end up voting for whatever yellow dog the Republicans run, just to save the country from these idiots.
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://

 
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