To The Daily Sun,
After reading Scott Cracraft's broadside against Walmart, there should be no mystery to any one why the cost of a college education now has its highest price tag in history. His rhetoric screams the total disconnect between common sense and logic. Scott derides and demonizes the business model of Walmart and how it might be applied to education. His commentary reminds me of the same egotistical, professor logic Leo Sandy tried so often to peddle to The Daily Sun readers.
Consider for a moment the incredible accomplishment of Sam Walton and Walmart. If there is any symbol that represents what opportunity stands for in America, the success of Sam Walton, and Walmart are it.
What we have from Scott is simply another far left, liberal, academic trash talking one of the most iconic, successful companies on earth. Walmart often offers the lowest prices on tens of thousands of items consumers need to buy every day. The low prices save the less fortunate hundreds of billions of dollars a year lifting their living standards. Walmart accomplishes it with one of the most efficient, low cost distribution systems in the world. If there is one word that defines the success of Walmart it is efficiency.
Not to mention Walmart is about the largest private employer in America hiring millions of people many other companies won't.
It does not take much investigation to understand why academia loathes Walmart. Walmart stands for everything colleges ought to stand fore but don't. Walmart has an entrenched commitment to provide the very best products possible, for the lowest cost possible. While Walmart spent that last 25 years creating the most efficient and cost-effective retail system in the world while colleges and universities tripled costs and for good measure reduced quality.
The U.S. ranks in the bottom half of education performance among all OECD countries. It is hard to find printable words that adequately describe the top-down, macro failure of education in this country. All while education screams for ever more grants and subsidies to cover its gross inefficiencies and ineffectiveness. Money by the bucketful that supposedly makes college more affordable. Another expensive joke on taxpayers by liberals. How can my conclusion be wrong.
Student loan debt now totals a record $1.3 trillion and student loan defaults set new records every week. All the billions of dollars in grant money from the states and federal government to colleges has done is increase tuition. The free money becomes nothing more than a slush fund to increases wages and increase spending by universities.
How has this been allowed to happen? The answer is easy, the solution impossible, made that way by people like Scott. No one is held accountable for failure in education. No one is fired that millions of kids take six to eight years to graduate from a four-year college. No one is fired that millions of kids spend billions of dollars toward college degrees they never get. No one is fried that hundreds of colleges and universities have absolutely horrific graduation rates but are allowed to stay in business. No one is fired, in fact many are actually promoted with higher wages no matter how high or how fast the cost of a college degree increases.
All that plus a national decline in the quality of academic output over the past two decades. Colleges are not interested in lowering tuition because they are not interested in cutting the costs (first labor costs) that produce that high tuition.
It is impossible to understand the horrendous failure of education until you look what's behind it. What stands behind education and its failure are unions. Tell me the last time you saw any teachers union motto that suggested keeping wages down or benefits under control were important to help our kids? Or that unions sought language in contracts that gave management the needed flexibility to better mange and control labor costs to keep tuition down. You will only see those things when hell has both ice and bob houses with people fishing in them.
Or that unions make commitments to output more product within the same time increment with better quality. That is the single, simple accomplishment that separates the incredible success of Walmart from the tragic failure of education Scott Cracraft so embraces to this very moment. Understand, unions only exist to increase costs and produce the lowest quality product in the longest amount of time they believe they can get away with.
Tenured professors will teach the lowest numbers of classes possible. At the University of Wisconsin that is 3.4 classes per week while their average wage is $123,500 for about eight months work plus benefits that drives their total compensation closer to $200,000. All the while your kid is forced to risk bankruptcy for the sake of a degree paying for those professor extravagances few professions get.
Until we demand the same accountability and entrenched commitment to produce the best quality, for the least cost, in the shortest time possible the status quo of failure so loudly defended by Scott Cracraft and every other professor in America will continue to increase college costs and produce ever declining quality at the same incredible pace they have in the past. I guarantee it.
How can the outcome be any different When no one is held accountable and the unions that run education from top to bottom are only interested in doing less, while getting paid more, while handcuffing management to stop it. One sure recipe for continued incredible failure in education.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 June 2015 07:40
To The Daily Sun,
On Sunday, June 28, we suffered severe storm damage at the Belknap Point Motel.
One of the more difficult problems was our swim float broke away from its mooring anchor and drifted beyond my neighbor's property. It got hung up temporarily, likely by the chain in the rocks, but could eventually drift away and cause damage when the wind shifted.
In desperation, I called the Marine Patrol dispatch and asked if they would monitor the situation. I later received a call back from an on-duty officer who offered to retrieve and tow it back to our property. This was beyond my expectation and Elaine and I would like to thank them for their exceptional response.
Belknap Point Motel
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 June 2015 07:31
Americans were perilously close to losing their right to health care when the Supreme Court offered a reprieve. Few were more grateful than the conservative politicians who had been railing against the Affordable Care Act while praying they would not have to face the political consequences of its collapse.
For progressives, guaranteed health coverage is a political triumph, the greatest addition to the social safety net in decades. And Obamacare would not have happened without the man it was named after.
All this makes the current left-wing revolt against President Obama so hard to fathom as well as so unfair. Many on the left are now branding Obama as a toady of big business interests uninterested in the struggles of working Americans. Their stated reason? His support of a trade agreement among Pacific Rim countries.
This is the president who led the country out of the most frightening economic crisis since the Great Depression. He saved the American auto industry — and by extension the industrial Midwest — from collapse. And he did it against an impenetrable wall of right-wing opposition. For several terrifying months, a government bailout of Detroit was by no means a certainty.
But that was five minutes ago. What has he done for us lately?
Obama's political skills are notoriously weak. He has not been a great reacher-outer to egos on either the left or the right. Wish it were otherwise, but backslapping is never going to be part of the Obama package.
Foes of a Trans-Pacific Partnership argue that it would ignore environmental and labor standards. Actually, it would impose rules that did not exist before. They say it would let companies sue governments. Actually, they already can (though it almost never happens).
And they portray this accord as hastening the loss of American blue-collar jobs to low-wage countries, such as China. Actually, the purpose is to help its 12 members compete with China.
Fast-track authority to negotiate this deal was eventually passed, thanks to Republican votes. But the mutiny against Obama by his erstwhile allies has left him a diminished presence on the world stage.
No magic wand will bring back the 1960s, when American factories could employ huge numbers at handsome wages. Global competition and computerized manufacturing are here to stay.
The fairest way to address today's reality is to have the economic winners help those not winning. That means programs preparing Americans for the good jobs there are. It means enhanced economic security for those experiencing job loss or stagnant wages (Obamacare again).
Does anyone — other than Obama's sternest Republican critics — recall his success in raising taxes on the well to do? Under Obama, the average federal tax rate on households in the top 1 percent has gone up over 6 percentage points. The rich are paying higher taxes on investment income and for Medicare. And the top income tax rate is now 39.6 percent, up from 35 percent.
Yet some on the left now engage in the kind of Obama conspiracy-against-us talk that has characterized the right.
"The government doesn't want you to read this massive new trade agreement," liberal crusader Sen. Elizabeth Warren writes in her blog. "It's top secret."
Oh? Every word will be revealed for congressional approval or rejection.
Compare that with the recent statement by a blond yakker out of the Fox News factory that Obamacare had been "negotiated in secret". The Affordable Care Act had fewer secrets than Kim Kardashian.
Obama now looks gaunter and grayer than the youthful senator elected in 2008. That tends to happen to presidents after years of political battle. For Obama, though, the road to the finish line has been especially lonely.
(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
To The Daily Sun,
Much has been said and even more has been written about the $11 billion budget here in New Hampshire. Rather than snipe back and forth in a political game of tit for tat, I believe it is more instructive to look at the essence of its basic principles.
First, by reducing the Business Profits Tax from 8.5 percent to 7.9 percent, this new rate places us lower than neighboring Massachusetts. Since 92 percent of our economy is small business, who can argue that this isn't a good idea?
Second, public, charter, and state university funding has been maintained at 2013-2015 levels.
To those who believe that tuitions are still too high, I suggest they research administrative and faculty salaries from top to bottom. The results will stagger the mind.
Third, passage of the Affordable Care Act has had a debilitating effect on state economies since its inception. Because the ACA shifts costs from the non- and under-insured to the non-subsidized full-payers, working Americans have had to shoulder this unfair burden.
By candidly acknowledging fiscal realities here in New Hampshire, I believe it is easier to make the tough but fair choices required in crafting this year's budget. By vetoing it in totality, Governor Hassan and the state Democratic Party are advocating deficit spending in our own backyard which is not the way we do business here in New Hampshire.
Peter J. Spanos
State Rep., District 3
Member, House Finance Committee
Last Updated on Monday, 29 June 2015 09:02
To The Daily Sun,
"It's a beautiful mornin', ahhh. Each bird keeps singin' his own song". Pragmatists are rejoicing due to victory after victory recently. Oh! "I Hear a Symphony." Affordable Care is secure and marriage equality is national. The Confederate flag is finally getting its just desserts and California has wiped out personal-belief exemptions in its new vaccination law. This is big. Governor Brown is expected to sign it. No vaccination? No public schools for you. Your junk science or religion can't endanger the community anymore. Did I mention Pope Francis and his climate encyclical?
June 26 is Confederate Flag Burning Day in America, so don't miss out on the exciting festivities because even latent pyromaniacs are finding their true selves and "Can't Put Out This Fire." You're out of luck if you don't have one of those symbols of racism and treason, though. All major retailers have taken out this white trash memorabilia for good. "Here Comes the Sun!" Flags are coming down, too. Oh Happy Day.
Oh, it gets worse for the people wrong about everything from climate change to feeding a family. On June 5, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down four of Idaho's abortion laws as unconstitutional based on 1992s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which held that a state cannot impose an "undue burden" on a woman seeking to obtain an abortion before fetal viability. A U.S. Appeals Court also rejected Arkansas' 12-week abortion ban based on fetal heartbeat.
Last week, The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a ban on so-called webcam abortions (prescribing RU-486) in the state on Friday, arguing it placed an "undue burden" on women. Why don't these glassy-eyed religious crackpots spend their time on something constructive: preventing unwanted and unplanned pregnancies with more family planning services. Abortion and teen pregnancy rates have dropped significantly over the years largely due expanded access to contraception and family services. Hey stupid, don't attack strategies that work.
I noticed Steve Earle is still doing what he has wanted to do ever since he was a pre-schooler: being a race baiter. Black this. Black that. Blah blah blah. Obsessive compulsive much? Well, no matter, we have to accept the fact that blazing ignorance exists in this world. And Russ Wiles! Did you see how he started out one of his recent letters about Cuba? "Liberals love those who commit evil." Tell us how you really feel! It has to hurt to be wrong on everything.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 June 2015 08:57