Sunday, August 26, 2012

Kelly disses student loans

Jack Kelly's column today is kind of interesting. He is making a case for part of the cuts that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are advocating. You may remember that at a fund raiser Romney said he would cut all of the education department except the part that collects outstanding student loans. This is a classic dog whistle column masquerading as a "reasonable" criticism of modern education. Make no mistake, agreeing with this column is agreeing that unless your parents make over a million a year or you score in the 98th percentile on your SAT's, you are only going to a for profit trade school or community college. No Harvard for you!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Jack Kelly 8/19/12

So Jack Kelly’s column today continues his recent trend of accusing the Obama campaign of expecting the liberal media to cover for them, and the liberal media of mostly going along with them. His previous column harped on the Joe Skoptic (sp?) ad as a lie, now he is concentrating on the charge that Obama is stealing $700 billion from those who pay into Medicare as well as from the people on Medicare themselves.

But Kelly’s column has at least three problems. First of all, his suggestion that Obama is somehow going to skim the seven hundred billion off out of the payroll taxes, and lower the reimbursements to the elderly is too simple and pretty clearly inaccurate. First of all the savings come from two areas, as I understand it (maybe three, but I remember two). Part comes from reducing payments to Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage was a program started in the Bush administration, which like education vouchers for private primary/secondary schools, takes the money Medicare would use to administer and reimburse seniors healthcare. According to this source, Medicare Advantage plans cost more than the regular Medicare program by a significant amount. Kelly calls these programs popular and perhaps they are, but they are also a case of the private sector gouging the government. And the other part of the savings comes from negotiated reductions in reimbursements to hospitals, which should not affect the healthcare senior citizens receive. Yes, the savings in the Medicare program are supposed to be transferred to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare to ignoramuses). But the ACA should mean illnesses getting caught earlier, and treated more efficiently, more time on the job, fewer bankruptcies and premature deaths. That should benefit the economy as a whole, helping everyone.

Second, there is the point that apparently the Ryan budget also had some 700 billion of cuts to Medicare that Jack Kelly entirely ignores. Other parts of the Ryan budget have few details about where specific cuts were to fall. What are we to think about where Ryan’s 700 billion was to come from? Would it have been simply from the reimbursements to patients? We might never know, but although apparently neither Kelly nor Ryan is now not going to talk about that part of Ryan’s budget, the cuts were there.

The third problem that Kelly does not acknowledge, or perhaps does not understand, are the impact of the cuts in the Ryan budget to Medicaid. Anyone who does not think there is a connection between Medicare and Medicaid has not had a parent (or perhaps themselves) go into a nursing home. At least in Pennsylvania, Medicaid will not pay for nursing home care until a patient loses all assets down to a few thousand. If Paul Ryan’s budget passes, Medicaid will no longer be capable of paying the large sums of money nursing homes want (thousands a month). That is a serious issue that Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and Jack Kelly will not talk about before the election. Is that being honest to the voters?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Greenwald on Ryan

In the last few months (maybe a year) I have touted Glenn Greenwald of Salon dot com as a liberal critic of President Obama's. Greenwald has castigated Obama over detention issues, drone attacks, the related issue of assassinations without due process of American citizens, prosecutions of whistle blowers, the secrecy of the Obama administration and more. Greenwald give lie to the conservative contention that the media is in bed with Obama.

Yet Greenwald is at pains to stress that he is leaving Republicans/conservatives alone only because one is not President right now. He claims he was just as hard on Bush (I wasn't reading him then).

Today his column was an interesting departure from his recent criticisms of Obama; Greenwald took a look at the divergence between Paul Ryan's and Mitt Romney's bellicose language as well as Ryan's supposed support for small government and their actual records. Rather than review it piece by piece I will leave you to read it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Jack Kelly doubles down on teachers

I think it is really interesting that Jack Kelly so totally missed the Paul Ryan boat with today's column on education. But I will go ahead and just talk about the Kelly column.

Today Kelly attacks schools of education and their place in the education system. He particularly attacks certification, since it keeps mid-career professionals outof the classroom. Now, although Kelly doesn't actually mention unions in this column, we know he is on record wanting to bust all unions, including particularly the teacher's union. But how attractive is a union busted teaching position to an engineer or private sector PhD? The union busted job will have minimal benefits, including healthcare the employee mostly has to pay all the premiums and almost no retirement plan (defined contribution with no employer contribution) and low wages.

The people who will apply for teaching positions that you need no certification for are Tea Party activists and evangelicals. And I think Republican controlled school boards will hire them, despite all that Kelly is saying about qualifications. We should remember the Bush Justice Department favored conservative credentials over actual ability. I believe that will happen with teachers as well.

If it is evangelicals and Tea Party types are the ones who apply and are hired for teaching positions, what will happen. Well, I think how evangelicals will affect things is obvious (if there is a Romeny Presidency, we will see the Supreme Court turn away any challenges on Constitutional grounds). As for the Tea Party types, see if you can find the clause on "self styled educated classes and so-called experts" in the Tea Party declaration of independence.

And Jack Kelly missed the whole Paul Ryan thing