In a Lexington [Ky.] Herald-Leader op-ed piece of 16 November, Al Smith said this: “Whether Tea Partiers, tax-hating, self-styled conservatives or opportunist politicians, the extremists sue to roll back revenues for libraries, scoff at early-childhood education, cheer cuts to food stamps, suppress child care for low-income workers, oppose a minimum wage hike and pray for health care reform to fail. That's the A list. Privatizing public schools and social security, blocking tax reform and ‘freeing up’ Wall Street and the big banks are the B list.”
Smith could have avoided the wordy categorizing of the insensitive monsters by simply using the term republicans. He was alluding to the cuts that have been triggered in the federal budget due to requirements of the 2011 Sequestration Act—the president’s baby—that was supposed to pressure Congress into doing his bidding. It didn’t work.
A bipartisan commission was concomitantly enacted to compose a deficit-reduction template that would satisfy every entity. Predictably, the commission couldn’t do that by the January 2013 deadline for triggering across-the-board cuts despite enormous pressure so the deadline was reset to March 2013—same result, involving $85-$100 billion annually. Wall Street? Obama has awarded it and insurance companies an unconscionable suck-up.
Even worse now, Obama’s rubber-stamp senators and congress-people are screaming over the chaos of the Affordable Care Act and his (their) oft-repeated LIE about what it would not do – cause people to lose satisfactory insurance. Senator Baucus, who slithered the ACA through the Senate in 2010, announced months ago that ADA was a train-wreck, with events since 01 October affirming.
Smith said that “red-state leaders” (translated white racist republicans) dislike Obama just like “1963 Dallas” (white prejudiced democrats) “seethed with hatred of JFK [President Kennedy]”…pretty strong stuff. He juxtaposed President Johnson’s “war on poverty” with a current “war on the poor,” wondering if the latter, fomented by evil republicans, had replaced the former, notwithstanding Obama’s promotion of and signature on the Sequestration Act.
Smith said: “Untroubled about sending hungry kids to school, reactionary forces in Washington have cut food stamps for 875,000 Kentuckians. Over three-fifths of food stamp recipients are children, or adults living with children.” Leading the “reactionary forces” is President Obama, who gladly signed the bill he meant to enhance his power only to find that it backfired and hurt all the people Smith lists. Treasury Secretary Lew called for replacing (actually repealing Sequestration) in October, thus repudiating the president who appointed him.
Smith said: “No longer a place of barefoot feudists, Kentucky abounds with champions for education… .” Barefoot feudists? With this demeaning statement, Smith turned to education, crediting the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 for education improvement, but its main feature comprised payoffs for good test grades, triggering the predictable outcome—cheating on an inordinate level by teachers and administrators…stealing.
Much if not most of KERA has been chipped away, first de facto by actual educators ignoring it and later de jure by the legislatures that finally discovered how bad KERA was. According to the federal No Child Left Behind report for 2011, Kentucky met 13 of 25 target goals (52%). Since 2002, in only one year, 2006-07, was adequate yearly progress made in one subject, math. There was no other AYP in any year. For the sixth consecutive year in 2011, the federal education establishment instructed Kentucky to take corrective action.
In Kentucky’s Common Core tests for 2011-12, reading proficiency for middle and high school students was 51% and 56%, respectively; for math proficiency, 41% and 36%, respectively. The reading and math proficiencies for elementary school students were 48% and 44%, respectively. Two-thirds of high school students are math-ignorant. These figures largely represent the damage accruing to the disastrous KERA throughout the 1990s. The major “academic” thrust of KERA was self-esteem, with 2+2 not necessarily equaling 4.
KERA was a humongous pork-barrel exercise involving the highest tax increase in history at the time. If Smith thinks KERA helped Kentucky education he’s on another planet.
Smith finally wondered who might emerge and how he/she would fix the poverty-gap problem in Kentucky. He offered no suggestions, but the number of jobs lost during the Obama administration (coal, anyone?) will be hard to recoup. The actual unemployment rate of about 14% is damning the economy nationwide.
And so it goes.