Posts tagged ‘President Obama’

09/19/2012

Romney’s 47% Comment Was Ignorant

Mitt Romney comment that 47% of the voters pay no income taxes, are dependent on the government, and will vote for President Obama no matter what, is not only misleading and incorrect, it demonstrates a shocking political ignorance, or a deep cynicism by a candidate willing to twist, manipulate, and confuse statistics to his strategic advantage.

But what was even worse was the media’s initial response, as it was seriously challenged, showing little awareness or knowledge of the many inaccuracies contained in Romney’s statement.

There are 308,000 million people in the U.S. including 234,000 adults, and 74 million children.

234 million, 18 years of age or older, can vote, if they register, and are not otherwise disqualified due to a felony status.

Of the 234 million, only 55% or 130 million actually voted for President in 2008. 45%, constituting 104 million Americans, failed to vote.

Of the 55% who voted, 70 million, or 53%, went for Obama, and 60 million, or 47%, chose McCain.

With regards to federal income taxes, 162 million households are occupied by 234 million adults.

86 million households, representing 53%, paid at least some federal income taxes, while 76 million, or 47%, paid none.

Romney was wrong in many ways:

1) Many of the 74 million children in the U.S. are dependent on the government, but they cannot vote, and will not vote for Obama.

2) Many of the 104 million adults who don’t vote, receive government benefits, but they won’t be voting for Obama, because they failed to register, or simply are not interested in politics, and won’t show up on Election Day.

3) Of the 60 million who voted for McCain, a substantial number and probably at least half, paid no income taxes. We know McCain received more than half of the retirees, most of whom pay no income taxes. McCain also got votes from people earning more than $50,000, who were able to reduce their taxable income to zero by using mortgage interest expenses and other deductions.

The probable truth is only 25% of those who receive government benefits voted for Obama, as 25% voted for McCain, and 50% did not vote at all.

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06/07/2012

Wisconsin: How to Win Badger State

People scratch their heads upon learning Wisconsinites blew away Sen. John McCain by 14 points when supporting President Obama in 2008, but then gave right-winger Scott Walker 52% of the vote in the 2010 governor’s race, and an even slightly larger margin of 53% in the 2012 gubernatorial recall.

The distinction between the Presidential and Governor’s race is relatively easy to understand, because the issues were different. Since the state’s dominant German-American population was sent to Europe in World War I to fight an unclear battle against the Kaiser, the Badger State has had an antiwar tilt. When Sen. John McCain visited in 2008, he found no friendly military bases at which to push his endless idea of war, and as the articulate Sen. Obama delivered a message that Iraq was a mistake, it was well received. While it is no surprise McCain lost in a landslide, the Democrats must be mindful, the next contest will be much closer, as Romney has none of McCain’s military baggage.

The other factor in the governor’s election and recall survival was the focus on economics. Wisconsinites also have a very deep-seated German-American work ethic. Whether they are socialists, willing to spread the wealth, or hard-core capitalists, they all share the same belief that government must be run efficiently. They do not like seeing or hearing about waste, fraud, or abuse. Since the governor’s contest involved economics, instead of foreign affairs, the race was necessarily much closer than the 2008 contest.

The third factor has to do with political science and understanding it is generally difficult to win a statewide contest using a Madison or Milwaukee-based strategy. While Illinois, with a population of 13 million, can be won by turning out votes in greater Chicago, where 8 million reside, Wisconsin, with a total of 6 million, is not dominated by greater Milwaukee, as it only has 2 million. It was a fundamental mistake to hope Madison or Milwaukee could single-handedly carry the day. It was also a major error to have pep rallies at the end with Jessie Jackson, as he may have unintentionally triggered heavy white turnouts, in Republican dominated Waukesha, Washington, and Ozaukee counties.

Democrats have to remember winning Wisconsin means playing in all 72 counties, not just Madison or Milwaukee. In the past, with the notable exception of Jim Doyle of Madison, whose father was a federal judge, governors have come from small towns in the northern or western areas. The fact Walker was elected even though he was a Milwaukee County Executive, was because his opponent Tom Barrett, was Milwaukee Mayor, and the voters had no choice.

In the past, Republican Tommy Thompson (1987-01) came from little Elroy, in Western Wisconsin. Democrat Tony Earl (1983-87) was elected from Wausau, in the north. Republican Lee Dreyfus hailed from nearby Stevens Point, in the north. Democrat Patrick Lucey (1971-77) crawled out of tiny Gays Mills, a poor little Crawford County town, four hours from Milwaukee, near the Mississippi. Republican Warren Knowles claimed New Richmond, in the northwest. Democrat John Reynolds (1963-65) hailed from Green Bay, in the northeast. Democrat Gaylord Nelson (1959-63) came from little Clear Lake, in the northwest. Republican Vernon Thompson (1957-59) was from the farming town of Richland Center, in the southwest.

It is too easy to divide and conquer against a Milwaukee mayor. People in little white towns, who have never met anyone like Jessie Jackson, certainly were not even going to listen to his chants. They tend to think all big city people want to do is take their guns away. To neutralize the prejudice, next time, Democrats need a guy like Tom Barrett, only one without the Milwaukee or Madison label, or in other words, one from a small town. If the Republicans slander machine had not had all the problems of Milwaukee to unfairly dump on Barrett’s head, the election may have favored a Democrat.

05/31/2012

Auto Loans: Romney Tries to Hitch Ride

It was funny earlier this month when Gov. Romney tried to take credit for the auto industry bailout that saved Chrysler and GM from a certain Chapter 7 bankruptcy, by providing federal loans in a depressed economy where no money whatsoever was available from private sector banks. I mean it was not just odd that Romney would say what he did, in that sense of the word funny, but truly funny to the point where we couldn’t stop laughing, as we listened to Romney say he supported the auto industry bailout, all along.

Romney must really think we are stupid. As painful as it was, I had watched all 20 Republican debates, just to listen to what the right-wingers were saying. All of their candidates, including Romney, repeatedly stated an opposition to the loans that saved Chrysler and GM. They had no concern for the countless number of jobs that would have been lost, not only at those companies, but at the component part factories that also would have closed.

In the debates, Romney said he would have let Chrysler and GM go bankrupt. (6-13-11) Funds should not have been used to bail out GM and Chrysler, he argued. (10-11-11). The auto bailout was wrong, he insisted, as he opposed the transfer of GM to the UAW, and Chrysler to Fiat. (11-9-11) As the debates dragged on, Romney often repeated his talking points that the government should not have loaned money to GM or Chrysler, and again insisted they should have been allowed to go bankrupt. (12-8-11)

It was only when Romney approached the Michigan primary that he started campaigning differently. Then he said: “No way would we allow the auto industry in America to totally implode and disappear.” (2-22-12). It’s interesting how he changed his tune so quickly. Santorum correctly pointed out Romney was not a principled person, because he favored the Wall Street bailout, but opposed any aid for the Detroit auto workers. (2-22-12)

The truth is Obama inherited an auto industry that was on the verge of bankruptcy, but he refused to let it die. Now, GM is once again the world’s number one automaker, Chrysler has grown, and Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants. The industry has now added 160,000 jobs, and Obama said we will soon be selling U.S. cars in Korea. (1-25-12)

Hopefully, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana will not forget the truth of where Romney stood in their hour of need. Obama deserves credit for saving not only two of our most important auto factories, but also their component part suppliers. And Romney, the next time you totally contradict yourself, which we have come to learn is on a fairly regular basis, please at least try to come up with a lie that is much more plausible. After all, the debates were videotaped.

05/24/2012

Dodd-Frank: What Did The Law Include?

After the crash of 2008, the Democratic Party, led by President Obama, passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act of 2010, and even though all Republicans, including Gov. Romney, instinctively denounced it during the Republican debates (2011-2012), perhaps it would be wise to first examine its many sub-titles, before passing judgment.

CONSUMER PROTECTION FROM BANKS: Title X of Dodd-Frank created a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which can regulate banks, payday lenders, and other financial institutions. Its job is to protect consumers from abusive financial practices by promoting transparency and fairness as to mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and other financial natters.

MORTGAGES REMOVE PREDATORY PRACTICES: Title XIV of Dodd-Frank outlaws predatory lending by reforming mortgages. It requires loan originators to make a good faith effort to verify that consumers reasonably have the ability to repay their loans, when considering 2nd mortgages, insurance, assessments, and taxes. Points and fees are now limited to 3% of the loan.

INVESTOR PROTECTION: Title IX helps those who invest in stocks, bonds, and securities. It protects stockholders from being ripped off by those managing corporations, by requiring the disclosure of all CEO compensation. It makes Credit Reporting Agencies, such as Moody’s and Standard and Poors, provide accurate reports as to the financial condition of businesses. It gives the SEC the authority to impose greater fiduciary duties on securities brokers and dealers. It also addresses the sale of asset-backed securities and creates an office of the Investor Advocate.

FINANCIAL STABILITY IS GOAL: One explicit purpose of the law was to promote financial stability by ending bailouts for entities “too big to fail.” To better monitor the financial markets Title I of Dodd-Frank created: 1) Financial Stability Oversight Council; and 2) Office of Financial Research.

LAW COORDINATES FEDERAL AGENCIES: Dodd-Frank brings together representatives of: 1) Treasury; 2) Federal Reserve; 3) Currency; 4) Consumer Protection;  5) SEC; 6) FDIC; 7) Commodities; 8) Housing Finance; and 9) Credit Union Board.

LIQUIDATIONS INCLUDE INSURANCE AND NON-BANKS: The existing ability to liquidate banks was broadened to include insurance companies and non-bank financial entities. It allows for the orderly winding down of bankrupt firms.

BANKS CAN NO LONGER ENGAGE IN SPECULATION: The Volker Rule prohibits banks from engaging in proprietary trading.

HEDGE FUNDS AND VENTURE CAPITAL REGULATION: The law now regulates hedge funds and private equity funds. Investment advisors, hedge funds, and private equity firms now have to register with the SEC.

DEFAULT SWAPS AND DERIVATIVES REGULATION: Dodd-Frank brought the sale of derivatives out into the open, by requiring that they be traded on the exchanges.

INSURANCE REGULATION: The law allows the monitoring of the insurance industry.

LAW REQUIRES MONEY BE PAID BACK: Dodd-Frank reduced the amounts available under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) (2008) and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (2008) and restricted the use of federal funds.

Dodd-Frank provided protection to consumers, credit card users, mortgage borrowers, and investors, and it gave the government more power to regulate the financial sector, so as to provide greater stability for all of us. The knee-jerk objection to the law by Republicans like Romney simply shows how out of touch he is with real people, and how much he is in bed with Wall Street.

05/16/2012

Antitrust: Tougher Simpler Laws Needed

The problem of banks “too big to fail” was addressed in the Republican Presidential debates, as Gov. Huntsmann argued they set the nation up for a long-term disaster. He noted six banks control 9.4 trillion dollars, or 60 to 65% of GDP, with implicit taxpayer guarantees of protection. While he suggested they be “right-sized,” or reduced to a “proper size,” no one in the Republican Party openly advocated the filing of federal antitrust actions against these institutions, to bust them up.

President Obama should direct his Antitrust Division at the Justice Department to file lawsuits against all banks “too big to fail” to break them up, since they need to be able to go under, without taxpayer bailouts, to protect our system from harm. He should simultaneously ask Congress to amend the antitrust laws so market shares of 10% or more become presumptively illegal. The antitrust exemption for insurance companies should also be ended.

“Antitrust” arose late in the 19th Century, when big corporations, managed by trusts, operated free of government regulation, and controlled prices by eliminating competition. A populist one-issue Anti-Monopoly Party first appeared in the 1884 Presidential election, and the Democrats soon co-opted their platform.

The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 made monopolies, contracts in restraint on trade, and attempts to monopolize, illegal. In Standard Oil (1911), the Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of Standard upon finding they unreasonably affected interstate commerce, by destroying competition and restraining trade.

Antitrust law was strengthened under the Clayton Act (1914), which in part was to stop companies from becoming monopolistic in the first place, by prohibiting mergers that “substantially lessen competition.” The Federal Trade Commission (1914) was added to investigate antitrust violations, and to seek enforcement.

Problems arose in antitrust prosecutions in terms of how to define “market share.” Are coffee and tea in competition with each other? Are banks and derivative brokers in the same market? Geographic issues also posed problems. What geographic area is involved? Do we examine just Wall Street, all U.S. institutions, or only international banks? How much control leads to a monopoly? While 90% is clearly monopolistic, what about 60%, or market shares of less than 30%?

Since the crash of 2008, it is now time for Congress to revise the antitrust laws to expand their scope, and make the breakup of companies “too big to fail” much easier. They should declare market shares of 10% or more per se illegal, so competition is enhanced, and the risk of failure is reduced.

They should also eliminate the antitrust “exemption” enjoyed by insurance companies. The bailout of the American International Group (AIG), a multi-national insurance corporation, was done because it was “too big to fail.” The nation cannot afford the risk posed by such oversized entities. There is no rational reason for their antitrust exemption and they must be busted up.

It is time to break up corporations without the need to prove anything, except a market share of 10% or more. Since the Republicans will never approve of any regulations, the Democratic Party and President Obama will have to take the lead.

05/14/2012

Gay Marriage: Time for Recognition

While President Obama announced last week he now favors gay marriage, Gov. Romney simultaneously was implicated in a bullying event against a gay student, who was pinned down against his will, so Mitt could cut his hair, despite the victim’s cries for help. Although virtually everyone involved in the abusive incident clearly remembered it, even though it occurred in 1965, Mitt obviously lied, when he claimed he could not recall it.

The issue of gay marriage has now been joined as a topic for the 2012 Presidential Campaign, as Obama is for it, and Romney is against it. In the Republican Debates, Romney said he supported equal rights regardless of sexual orientation, but characteristically adopted a contradictory position, as he said he opposed same-sex marriage. (1-16-12) He explained as Governor he issued gay marriage licenses in Massachusetts, only because his state constitution required it (12-15-11). He agreed with adoption agencies that restrict child placement to homes with only one man and one woman (2-22-12). He wants the Constitution amended to limit marriages to one man and one woman (8-11-11) (1-7-12).

If Mitt Romney and the Republicans win the 2012 election, the policies of other conservatives will also be advanced. Sen. Santorum pledged to push gays back into the military closet by reinstituting “don’t ask don’t tell” (10-25-11). He ran against the U.S. Constitutional framework, and State’s Rights under the 10th Amendment, as he suggested the issue of marriage be governed exclusively from Washington. He wanted to federalize marriage in all states, saying a national law is needed. He argued someone cannot be married in one state, but not in another. He also supported a federal law banning adoption by gay couples (1-7-12).

Newt Gingrich also came out against gay marriage. While he conceded gays should be able to visit friends in hospital beds, or designate them in Last Wills, he opposed gay marriage, as he thinks marriage is limited to one man and one woman. (1-7-12) Gov. Perry also favored a U.S. Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. (1-7-12)

President Obama on the other hand has evolved, and we as a nation have come a long way. Mitt is right about one thing, in the 1960s, the topic of gay rights was very much in the closet. At that time, we all focused on Mary Tyler Moore in a tight black shirt. While I think it was the Laugh-In Comedy Hour that allowed an apparently gay guy named Tiny Tim to play banjo, while singing at a very high pitch, no one verbally connected the dots, and explained he was gay, or that there were people like him, who are drawn to their own sex. Personally, I had absolutely no idea of what gays were all about in the 1960s. The assumption was we were all the same, and had the same drive towards women.

In college, in the early 1970s, I met a couple of smart guys on campus, who shared an intellectual curiosity about academic topics, which made them interesting to talk to, but I did not know they were gay, because they were not flaming, and they left me alone, since I was very heterosexual and they knew it.

Some 20 years later, I saw one of them at a class reunion. By that time he had some gay characteristics, and he finally came out of the closet, and told me the other friend we had in college was gay. When I asked how he knew, he admitted he too was gay. I was kind of shocked, but asked what made gays the way they are. Was it genetics or environment? He stated he was gay due to genetics and not learned behavior. It was something in their DNA, he said.

The incident helped me to evolve, because the revelation put a human face on the topic. Today, while I still don’t feel comfortable around flaming gays, at least I understand why they are the way they are. They certainly have no choice. I am sure if they did, they would avoid the troubles that come with being gay, by joining the heterosexual world.

Romney and the Republicans need to change, as many of the rest of us have over time. We have come to grips with the reality gay people are born that way, and it is unfair to blame them for being different, simply by the random chance of birth. It’s is time they were treated as fully equal citizens.

05/10/2012

Housing Crisis: “Easy Credit” Not Cause

While Republicans attributed the 2008 housing collapse to many factors during the 2011 and 2012 debates, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, “easy credit,” and “loans to people who could not afford them,” they never really hit the nail on the head, because they never even mentioned “adjustable interest rates.”

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were not in and of themselves a problem. In the Great Depression, when housing crashed the first time, the Congress responded in 1938 by establishing “Fannie Mae,” the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), which created a “secondary mortgage market” by accepting the assignment of mortgage notes from banks in consideration for cash, so banks could promptly turn around and make more loans. It was good public policy, because it effectively increased the sum of money available for lending, and increased the level of home ownership. There is no reason today to abolish that concept.

After Fannie proved useful, the Republicans in Congress made the mistake of converting it into a “mixed ownership corporation” in 1950, by allowing private investors to purchase its common stock. They also erred in 1968 by making Fannie 100% privately-owned, while maintaining their line of credit to the U.S. Treasury. Since Fannie wanted only lower risk private mortgages, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), was created to accept the riskier notes, made by the FHA, VA, and FmHA. While the privatization of Fannie made it harder to monitor, that mistake did not cause the recent housing meltdown.

Some argued “easy credit” and relaxed lending standards contributed to the crisis, as borrowers were no longer required to put 20% down, or sufficiently prove a credit worthiness. As the crash hit and the values of many mortgages went underwater, many borrowers had little or nothing to lose, and simply walked away from their obligations. While this sounds like a possible cause, if the borrowers had stayed employed, and their interest rates remained unchanged, they would have continued making their monthly payments, and no defaults would have occurred. “Easy credit” allowing people to buy with small or non-existent down-payments had nothing to do with why they defaulted.

Mortgage Notes, containing “adjustable interest rates” which could escalate or balloon to unsustainable levels over time, were the real problem. Notes that allowed “interest only” payments, reduced no principle, and left borrowers in a perpetual state of debt, were also a menace. Once rates jumped upward for borrowers who had no extra cash, breaches were inevitable. Lenders like Countrywide should have been stopped from making such bad loans. President Obama said in his Jan. 25, 2012 speech, mortgages were sold to people who could not afford them, by lenders who knew it, and this is why regulations are needed to prevent financial fraud.

The way to get back to financial stability in the housing market is to outlaw “adjustable interest rates,” and permit only “fixed interest rates.” If borrowers had the certainly of knowing a monthly payment that could never change, defaults would have been limited to only those who lost their jobs, and the downturn in the housing market would have been relatively mild.

05/09/2012

Obama Inherited the Great Recession

The way many Republicans and right-wingers talk about the American economy, one might think the Great Recession of 2008 was somehow single-handedly caused by President Obama, but in case we have forgotten, the crash occurred under the watch of President George W. Bush, and when he vacated the White House in Jan. 2009, he left behind several major economic problems.

OBAMA NOT TO BLAME: While Gov. Romney repeatedly said during the Republican debates, he did not blame Obama for the Great Recession, he dishonesty suggested Obama’s policies were somehow responsible for making it deeper, and causing it to go on longer than it should have.

WHAT WOULD ROMNEY HAVE DONE? But what would Romney have done if he had been President in Jan. 2009? What if he had inherited the Great Recession?

HOUSING CRISIS: The housing market had collapsed, as the value of millions upon millions of homes, all across the country, had dropped to roughly half their previous values. Many suddenly realized they owed far more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. Their residences were considered “underwater.” As the Fed used Monetary Policy to keep lending interest rates low, Obama instituted a homeowners program to allow refinancing at lower rates. If Romney would have been President, he would have taken no action to get private homeowners out from their underwater status. It is just wrong to suggest millions of homes could have recovered from their depressed values in just 4 years.

BANKING MELTDOWN: Banks and some insurance companies were collapsing as the Bush Administration, followed by Obama, did everything they could to shore them up with government bailout loans. While it is now easy to say we should have just let them go bankrupt, the ripple effect of a free market free-fall would have been catastrophic. A hands-off policy would have triggered another Great Depression, with major economic failures in all economic sectors, bringing record levels of unemployment.

AUTO BANKRUPTCY: The recession caused General Motors and Chrysler to lose so many sales, they faced bankruptcy, and no private bank was able to lend them any money. The only option was a federal bailout loan, but Romney repeatedly opposed any financial help whatsoever for the beleaguered auto industry. If he had been President, these major industrial employers would have gone bankrupt, and the ripple effect would have killed thousands upon thousands of additional jobs at component part factories throughout the industrial Midwest. Once again, inaction would have turned the Great Recession into another Great Depression.

WALL STREET CRASH: Obama inherited a stock market that had crashed, and a Wall Street trading system that was dealing in unregulated derivatives, contributing greatly to the problem. While Democrats took action by passing the Dodd-Frank bill to eliminate financial abuses, the Republicans held firm to a hands-off business as usual approach. What would Romney have done?

HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT: When Obama took office, the level of unemployment was literally sky-rocking by the hour. Obama did what any reasonable President would have done, by signing a job stimulus bill, designed to help people get back to work. While the federal government used Keynesian economics through deficit spending to prime the pump, Republican Governors in nearly 30 states did exactly the opposite, which was counterproductive, by laying off people, and making the recession worse.

A pure capitalist total free market response to the Great Recession would have triggered a Great Depression. The history of the 1929 Stock Market crash, and the subsequent four years of inaction under President Hoover, proved that point. Governments must do what they can to help the nation out of a deep recession, and it appears Obama did as good a job as any President could have.

04/17/2012

Mandate Candidate Tax Disclosures

Although the Federal Election Commission requires Presidential candidates to reveal assets and liabilities on Ethics Form 278, there is currently no law mandating the disclosure of tax returns, but there should be. Although it has been a tradition for over four decades for aspiring Presidents and incumbents to release several years of tax returns, Mitt Romney has surrendered only two. The Congress should impose a 7-year mandatory look-back period to correct this type of reluctance.

During the 2008 Republican primaries, Mitt Romney refused to disclose any tax returns whatsoever, and so far in the 2012 race, he yielded only his 2011 return, which showed 20.9 million in gross income, and his 2010 papers, that disclosed another 21 million in revenue. Voters are entitled to many more years from Romney, if he expects to be taken seriously in November.

President Barack and Michelle Obama released eight years of tax returns before the 2008 election. They grossed $240,000 in 2000, $275,000 in 2001, $260,000 in 2002, $238,000 in 2003, $207,000 in 2004, 1.6 million in 2005, $991,000 in 2006, 4.2 million in 2007, and 2.6 million in 2008. Since becoming Commander-in-Chief, he reported 5.6 million in 2009 (only $374,460 in Presidential pay), and 1.7 million in 2010, and his 2011 return. Sen. John McCain also made his tax returns public in 2008.

George W. and Laura Bush reported $936,000 in 2007, $765,000 in 2006, $738,000 in 2005, $784,000 in 2004, $822,000 in 2003, $856,000 in 2002, $811,000 in 2001, and $894,000 in 2000. Sen. Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry also showed us their numbers.

Bill and Hillary Clinton disclosed $417,000 in 1999, $509,000 in 1998, 1 million in 1996, $316,000 in 1995, $263,000 in 1994, $293,000 in 1993, and $290,000 in 1992, in addition to several other returns, all the way back to 1980. Bill’s 1996 challenger, Sen. Bob Dole, also surrendered to the media his tax returns.

George H. W. and Barbara Bush grossed $456,000 in 1989, $452,000 in 1990, and 1.3 million in 1991. His challenger, Gov. Michael Dukakis had no problem releasing his tax returns.

Ronald Reagan reported $345,000 in 1987, $320,000 in 1986, $394,000 in 1985, over $400,000 (illegible) in 1983, $741,000 in 1982, and $412,000 in 1981.

Jimmy Carter reported $270,000 (illegible) in 1979, $254,000 in 1978, and $350,000 in 1977. President Ford also showed the public his tax returns.

Richard Nixon reported $736,000 in 1969, $262,000 in 1970, $262,000 in 1971, and $282,000 in 1972.

02/27/2012

Tech School Students Deserve Respect

While Sen. Santorum is absolutely wrong about a lot of things, including the tone he used while castigating President Obama for encouraging young people to graduate from four-year colleges, he did make a point, as Democrats have in fact drifted recently from the working class, (even though they should be the core of the party), by implicitly diminishing technical school training, though an almost exclusive emphasis on the virtues of four-year degrees.

For President Obama, who worked his way to the top by becoming Editor of the Harvard Law Review, the ticket to success from his perspective was the university system, and while high school students should be encouraged to reach for the stars, as he did, at some point, reality dictates not everyone can be accepted at scholarly universities, many will drop out, only a small number will go into the professions, and fewer still will earn Ivy League degrees.

The best advice for young people is to adopt a dual track as to education. While they should study topics that interest them, without regard to real world implications, they should simultaneously prepare for life, by gaining employment skills, in the event their dreams don’t come true. In other words, history, philosophy, or political science classes are just fine, as long as the student also studies disciplines like accounting, nursing, or engineering, which may more easily convert into real world jobs.

Politicians should recognize there are many jobs that do not, and should not, require four-year programs. We should acknowledge the value of technical schools, and those who attended them.

We need technical schools, so we have an ample supply of trained auto and airline mechanics, electricians, plumbers, cooks, barbers, beauticians, bookkeepers, first-responders, and practical nurses. We need repairmen of all kinds. Can you clean a laptop? Can you fix a furnace, refrigerator, lawn mower, or TV? The list goes on.

While Presidents Obama and Kennedy attended Harvard, and Bill Clinton went to Yale, other Democrats, who studied at public institutions, along with ordinary people, understood the working man a little better. Truman’s only diploma was from Independence High School. Johnson graduated from Southwest Texas State. Carter attended Georgia Southwestern State, and Georgia Tech, before finishing at the U.S. Naval Academy.

President Obama, who should be re-elected, needs to take a couple steps down from the Ivy League mountain top, and mingle a little more with blue collar workers, who should be supporting his re-election bid. The Democrats should never let Santorum, or any other Republican, hijack the issue or those who attended the tech schools.