More on the NC Budget

Thomas Mills takes the same material and does far better than me:

The senate budget cuts teaching assistants for all classes above first grade and eliminates funding for text books. Remember when Republicans used say they just wanted to cut bureaucracy so they could put more money into classrooms? Well, that was bullshit.  They’re giving teachers raises but reducing their classroom resources, so you can say that our kids are taking the hit to cover the tax cuts for the rich that the legislature and McCrory passed last session. 

But it’s not just children. The senate is also “overhauling” (read cutting) Medicaid. They propose taking the program away from the Department of Health and Human Services and kicking a bunch of elderly and sick people off it. Ironically, they say that a lot of those people can get coverage because of Obamacare, the program they’ve done so much to thwart. 

In both these proposals, education leaders and medical providers say the senate is wrong-headed. There is little doubt that people who can least defend themselves will suffer. But this isn’t about helping people. This is about ideology. The senate wants to push responsibility for schools, the sick, mentally disabled and elderly back onto counties, municipalities and families, regardless of how ill-equipped they may be to handle it. 

It’s yet again why I’m a Democrat and they are Republicans. I believe that we, as a society, have an obligation to care for our most vulnerable citizens. Republicans believe it’s every man and woman for themselves. If you’re living in a gated a community, own a vacation home or two and send your kids to elite private schools, that’s a pretty good deal. If you’re already struggling to get by, having to take additional financial responsibility for an aging parent or sick relative could send you straight into poverty. 

My name is Steven and I’m 42

I’ve long been fascinated by baby names, so this 538 post on the age of various names, e.g., the average Steven is 45, the average Fred is 64, hit my sweet spot like a white-chocolate bunny wrapped in twizzlers.  So cool to see a graph of things we inherently know, e.g., these are names for old people:


And conversely, it’s fun to see the new trendy baby names.  E.g., the typical Mason is a scant six years old:


As for me, I was quite clearly born right around the time of peak “Steven” as the median age for my name is 45.  As for my son, David, apparently I’ve given him a relatively old name as it is 46.  Also quite fun to see once popular names that have made a comeback, e.g., Oliver, that have a huge interquartile spread.

Lots more fun stuff.  Check it out.

Photo of the day

Telegraph gallery of never before seen photos from WWI frontline:

A Viscount in the Armoured Cavalry Branch of the French Army left behind a collection of hundreds of glass plates taken during World War One (WWI) that have never before been published. The images, by an unknown photographer, show the daily life of soldiers in the trenches, destruction of towns and military leaders. The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the WWI.

Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener (2nd L) meeting French General Albert Baratier (R), on horseback, as French Marshal Joseph Joffre looks on (2nd R), on the Champagne front, Eastern France in 1915Picture: REUTERS/Collection Odette Carrez

Men: do the dishes and the laundry to help your daughters

So, this is pretty cool research:

Dads who want their daughters to aim for prestigious professions should start by doing the dishes or loading the washing machine, a new study suggests.

The study, to be published in the journal Psychological Science, found that fathers who perform household chores are more likely to bring up daughters who break out of the mold of traditionally female jobs and aspire to careers in business, legal and other professions, CTV reports.

Alyssa Croft, lead author of the study, and a doctoral candidate at the University of British Columbia, said the study suggested “girls grow up with broader career goals in households where domestic duties are shared more equitably by parents.”

I do a decent job, but it’s mostly the dishes and it’s after Sarah is in bed.  I guess I better do more of this while she’s still awake.

What I really wonder, though, is how much of this is correlation versus causation (and despite my best attempts, could not find the article on-line).  Here’s my thinking… liberal progressive dads are more likely to do more chores and to instill these broader values in their daughters directly and through a host of family dynamics.  The chores are just a blunt measure of these values that affect the daughters.  What about families with these ideals where the dads are lazy slackers?  Of course, having these ideals should mean living them.  Anyway, I’m do my part so that Sarah wants to grow up to be a scientist rather than a princess.

Budgets = priorities

The NC GOP is putting their finishing touches on the budget proposal.  Chris Fitzsimon has a nice take:

No matter how many ways Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders try to deny it, the main reason they are struggling to find enough money to give teachers and state workers a meaningful raise next year is the massive tax cut they passed last summer for the wealthy and out of state corporations.

They based their budget projections for next year on a forecast that the tax cuts would cost the state $438 million. And it turns out that was too optimistic…

And while there is a heated debate about what percentage of the population pays more under the plan and what percentage pays less, there is no dispute that the bulk of the tax cut goes to corporations and folks at the top of the economic ladder. The conservative groups readily admit that. Millionaires, for example, received of a break of more than $10,000.

That leads to the inescapable conclusion that McCrory and the leaders of the General Assembly decided last year that the tax cuts for the wealthy were more important than paying teachers and state employees more.

You may not agree with it, but that was the philosophy behind their budget. The tax cuts were so important that lawmakers also cut funding for textbooks and school supplies and human services programs to pay for them.

The state budget is simply a list of priorities. Tax cuts were the priority. They were made first.

Yep.  And as for more priorities, here’s today’s news:

The Senate budget proposal upends the state Department of Health and Human Services by moving to take away its biggest responsibility, Medicaid. At the same time it would cut thousands of elderly and disabled people, and other beneficiaries with high medical bills, from the government insurance plan.

This appears to be a first step Senate Republicans are proposing to cut Medicaid services and shrink the number of beneficiaries.

The budget includes a provision that would have the state health agency develop proposals by next year for cutting optional Medicaid services for elderly and disabled beneficiaries, limiting coverage to only that required by federal regulations or laws.

Cutting health care for elderly and disabled so rich people can pay less taxes.  I swear, these guys are like Disney villains.  And it just won’t matter enough because most voters just don’t pay enough attention and, even then, these are Republican legislators in gerrymandered Republican districts.  And, unfortunately, most Republican voters apparently aren’t so interested in helping those elderly and disabled freeloaders.

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