This is another item that I am re-posting from Futility Closet (www.futilitycloset.com). It is re-posted with the permission of Greg Ross, who maintains the site. You can have daily updates from the site delivered to your e-mail each morning.
In Mathematical Applications of Political Science, University of Minnesota political scientist William Riker describes a worrisome voting paradox that unfolded in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956. At issue was a bill calling for federal aid for school construction; an amendment was proposed that would have offered this aid only to states whose schools were integrated. The House was divided into three interest groups:
Republicans opposed federal aid in general but supported integration. They would have preferred no bill at all but favored the amended bill to the original.
Northern Democrats wanted the amended bill but would accept the original bill rather than have no bill at all.
Southern Democrats, whose schools were segregated, favored the original bill but would prefer to have no bill rather than accept the amendment. Continue reading
In her testimony, Maria Maisto correctly emphasizes that the ACA itself is not the problem but, instead, the efforts by colleges and universities to avoid providing to their part-time faculty the health insurance that the ACA makes available.
1700 West Market Street #159
Akron, OH 44313
Testimony for the Record
Submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce
for the November 14, 2013 Hearing on
“The Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Schools, Colleges, and Universities.”
Good morning, Chairman Kline, Ranking Member Miller, and members of the committee on Education and the Workforce. My name is Maria Maisto, and I am the president of New Faculty Majority and the Executive Director of its affiliated Foundation. We are the only national nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to improving the quality of higher education by improving the working conditions of the majority of faculty who work in temporary, precarious positions while teaching over half of all undergraduate courses in higher education. This majority is now 75% of the faculty, or over a million professors, often known as “adjuncts,” working on contingent appointments—that is, appointments that are contingent on budgets and enrollments and can be terminated with little or no notice. Continue reading
Not surprisingly, the following news release reflecting the ideological position of the GOP majority on the committee completely ignores Maria Maisto’s testimony and frames the hearings in which she participated as providing just further evidence of the supposedly devastating impact of the ACA. Notice that Maria’s testimony is not quoted even once in the excerpts from the hearings that constitute the second half of the news release, but the two administrators who clearly oppose the ACA are quoted repeatedly.
Hearing Exposes ObamaCare’s Painful Consequences for Students, Educators, and Schools
The House Education and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), today held a hearing to discuss the challenges schools and postsecondary institutions now face as a result of President Obama’s government takeover of health care.
“Over the last several years we’ve talked a great deal about the budgetary challenges facing states, school districts, and institutions of higher education,” Chairman Kline said. “We’ve discussed how Washington can at times make these fiscal problems worse. Much of the debate has focused on the costs of federal rules, regulations, and mandates that directly intervene in classrooms.”
“However,” Chairman Kline added, “we must be mindful that federal policies unrelated to education can still burden classrooms. The health care law is a prime example. At a time when we need to recruit the best teachers, train today’s workers for the jobs of the future, and school leaders are trying to do more with less, imposing a fundamentally flawed and costly law on our schools is not in the best interests of teachers, parents, taxpayers, or students.” Continue reading
Nov 19, 2013 Issues: Education, Higher Education, Labor, Jobs and Job Training, Worker Rights,Wages and Benefits
WASHINGTON – Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, today announced an eForum to investigate how an increased reliance on contingent faculty by colleges and universities nationwide has impacted the lives of faculty as well as students’ higher education.
“This eForum is an opportunity for adjuncts and other contingent faculty to inform the Congress about what’s happening on the ground with higher education. I think there is a huge lack of understanding of what it means to be in the adjunct world,” said Rep. Miller. Rep. Miller raised the idea of an internet forum for receiving adjuncts’ stories and comments at a committee hearing last week.
“We should all be alarmed about what’s been happening to higher education labor over the last couple decades,” Rep. Miller later elaborated. “Tuition keeps skyrocketing. Yet the people doing the bulk of the work educating college students are getting less and less compensation. There are adjuncts who make between $2000 and $3000 per course for a semester, with no benefits. There are adjuncts on food stamps. I think the Congress should be taking a serious look at this phenomenon.” Continue reading
On Black Friday–the day on which Walmart workers and other underpaid U.S. workers are engaged in actions to bring attention to their exploitation by some of America’s largest corporations–the following speech by Senator Elizabeth Warren seems very apropos. Senator Warren speaks most pointedly about the need to sustain and even to expand Social Security, but she does so by framing that issue within the broader economic struggles of many working Americans.
The Retirement Crisis
Floor Speech by Senator Elizabeth Warren
November 18, 2013
As Prepared for Delivery
I rise today to talk about the retirement crisis in this country–a crisis that has received far too little attention, and far too little response, from Washington.
I spent most of my career studying the economic pressures on middle class families– families who worked hard, who played by the rules, but who still found themselves hanging on by their fingernails. Starting in the 1970s, even as workers became more productive, their wages flattened out, while core expenses, things like housing and health care and sending a kid to college, just kept going up.
Working families didn’t ask for a bailout. They rolled up their sleeves and sent both parents into the workforce. But that meant higher childcare costs, a second car, and higher taxes. So they tightened their belts more, cutting spending wherever they could. Adjusted for inflation, families today spend less than they did a generation ago on food, clothing, furniture, appliances, and other flexible purchases. When that still wasn’t enough to cover rising costs, they took on debt–credit card debt, college debt, debt just to pay for the necessities. As families became increasingly desperate, unscrupulous financial institutions were all too happy to chain them to financial products that got them into even more trouble — products where fine print and legalese covered up the true costs of credit. Continue reading
The following piece was written by my former student and friend Mike Lamm. Mike is a reporter for the Decatur Daily Democrat.
A new study of gun violence in the United States, recently published in the American Journal of Public Health and conducted by researchers at Boston University, has established a convincing statistical connection and a “robust correlation” between gun ownership and higher rates of gun-related deaths.
The study is by far the most comprehensive to date, documenting that “states with higher levels of gun ownership have disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides.” The study, led by Boston University community health sciences professor Michael Siegel, goes on to “suggest that measures which succeed in decreasing the overall prevalence of guns will lower firearm homicide rates.”
Covering a period of 30 years from 1981 to 2011 and including information from all 50 states, the study determined that “for every one percentage point in the prevalence of gun ownership in a given state, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9 percent. It went on to state that “a one standard deviation change in firearm ownership shifted gun murders by a staggering 12.9 percent.” The study is the largest ever conducted on firearm violence. Continue reading
Several weeks ago, Governor Kasich of Ohio received a great deal of national attention for going against the wishes of the GOP-dominated legislature and agreeing to accept Federal funding to expand Medicaid.
In an interview with the New York Times, Kasich defended his position in remarkably progressive terms: “’I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor. That if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.’” In that interview, he even went so far as to summon the ghost of Franklin D. Roosevelt, asserting, “’The very people who complain ought to ask their grandparents if they worked at the WPA.’”
Understandably, the media attention to these remarks was intense. But, very inexplicably, very few commentators in the “mainstream” media viewed the comments with any skepticism. The emphasis was generally on the unexpectedly bipartisan gesture from a very Right-wing governor and on the unexpectedly compassionate tone that Kasich had taken. Most commentators seem to have taken the position that it would amount to a cheap shot if they were to highlight all of the ways in which Governor Kasich’s policies have been anything but helpful to the poor and in particular the working poor.
I don’t regard citing someone’s recent record as a cheap shot. So, let me provide just three examples. Continue reading
In Virginia’s recent gubernatorial election, the candidates were so uniformly unappealing to many Virginia voters that one can make the case that very little should be deduced from the results. Still, among many commentators on the Far Right, the effort to explain Cuccinelli’s defeat as anything but a reaction against his political positions has led to the following case being made: the major reason that Cuccinelli, lost was not that his Far-Right political views on social issues alienated the progressive voters of the rapidly growing northern counties of the state but that the Libertarian candidate, Robert Sarvis, siphoned off a significant portion of the vote that almost certainly would have gone to Cuccinelli if it had been a two-party race. In the end, the Democratic candidate, Terry McAuliffe, did win with 47.8% of the vote, Cuccinelli received 45.2% of the vote, and Sarvis received 6.5% of the vote. So simply adding Cuccinelli’s and Sarvis’s total would have clearly produced a winning margin. Of course, such a scenario assumes that Sarvis’ supporters would have voted for Cuccinelli if they had no other choice except for McAuliffe. It ignores the possibility that some may have been moderate Republicans so turned off by Cuccinelli’s extreme positions that they were willing to “waste” their votes on a “conservative” candidate with no hope of winning. It ignores the possibility that, given a two-candidate race, they might have simply chosen to stay home. Continue reading
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
California State University, Dominguez Hills
Good Morning: Thank you for holding this public forum. We are honored to have you on our campus. My name is Kate Fawver and I am Professor and Chair of the Department of History here at CSU Dominguez Hills. I come before you today speaking as faculty member and as a former student, who in 2003, graduated from the University of California Riverside with a PhD in History and $100,000 in student loans. More than most, I recognize the enormous and immediate crisis in higher education – because I live there.
“Between 2008 and 2013, state funding for higher education as a percentage of state personal income declined by 22.6%. States have cut their annual investment in higher education by nearly half since 1980 (February 2013 report from Postsecondary Education Opportunity). As a consequence, institutions have both increased tuition and diverted funding from instruction, so that 75% of the faculty now work on temporary, low-wage contracts without benefits, which undermines their ability to serve students properly, especially economically disadvantaged first generation students, most of whom enter college underprepared.”1 Continue reading
When John Kasich was elected governor of Ohio in 2010, one of the centerpieces of his economic plans was to privatize the state’s economic development agency.
The reasoning went something like this: the public sector is too bureaucratized to be as responsive to changing economic conditions as the private sector demands, and so a privatized economic development agency would bring more jobs to Ohio by being much more immediately responsive to opportunities for the expansion of existing operations and the creation of new enterprises.
Good Jobs First has released another annual report on the activities of privatized development agencies in about a dozen states, including Ohio. Titled Creating Scandals instead of Jobs: The Failures of Privatized State Economic Development Agencies, the full report is available online at: http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/sites/default/files/docs/pdf/scandalsnotjobs.pdf
It summarizes the problems with JobsOhio very succinctly: “JobsOhio assembled a board of directors whose members included some of (Kasich’s) major campaign contributors and executives from companies that were recipients of large state development subsidies. It received a large transfer of state monies about which the legislature was not informed, intermingled public and private monies, refused to name its private donors, and then won legal exemption (advocated by Gov. Kasich) from review of its finances by the state auditor.” Continue reading