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Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Saturday, March 7, 2009

President Obama puts his money where his mouth is

PHOTO President Obama said he expected a vicious fight over his budget and this weekend he got the first taste of battle.

Listen up. Today, the daddy is thinking about Republican lies and how the corporate media fails to back-check them, fails to ask follow-up questions or call them on their lies. But there's more.

The daddy is thinking of how, first and foremost, the corporate media fails to provide us pertinent information and knowledge in depth, so we can make up our own mind. What they do is tease us with just tit bit of information and then turn it over to two or more political pundits (not journalists) to fight it out like clumsy pro wrestlers. Note that the idea is not to provide us the most accurate information or to help us gain deeper knowledge. The idea is to see which pundit is most adept at political spin, which pundit has the greatest memory for Republican or Democratic talking points until it's time to break for commercial.

Take President Obama's far-reaching and exceedingly different stimulus package. Before Republican and Democratic pundits began, did the news producers take time to explain what's in the stimulus package? Did they let us know if they had even read it?

How was it different from, say, Bush's last budget and, what does it mean for us today and the next generation tomorrow? What are some of the main features? Some additional features that differ significantly from previous budgets? Because President Obama's budget does make such an ideological shift from the previous Republican administration, even Ray Charles could see the wisdom of taking the time to spell out what's in the stimulus package before any "discussions." But not the corporate, electronic media. No, let's bring on the party heavy hitters and let them go at it. That'll keep the viewers watching until the next commercial break. Yes, they know this is the equivalent of professional wrestling. And, yes, they think we're idiots with small attention spans; and they treat us accordingly.

But guess what? The daddy just came across an article from Ruth Conniff (http://www.progressive.org/), managing editor at Progressive Magazine (Not too much that's corporate about them!) and one of the best commentators around. And, fortunately for us, she actually read the stimulus package and-- surprise, surprise-- came up with a different conclusion from Republicans. Moreover, she talks about things in the package that the arrogant pundits on cable programs seem not to care much about: families. Check her out:

Obama's Budget Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is
by Ruth Conniff, March 4, 2009

The ambitious scale of President Obama's budget is exciting for a lot of reasons.

First of all, the President used his first budget proposal to announce a return to the principle of progressive taxation. By rolling back the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthiest, and paying for his ambitious proposals by increasing taxes only on people earning more than $250,000 a year, Obama reverses eight years of government aid to the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. Closing tax loopholes for hedge fund managers and canceling lucrative subsidies for insurance companies and drug manufacturers are part of the same program.

At the same time, the budget takes on our most serious domestic problems with more than a token effort: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a cap and trade program and an ambitious effort to expand access to health care are among the President's most ambitious plans. (How the health care plan will come out is still unclear, with Congress asked to come up with cuts to Medicare and Medicaid's private insurance contracts to pay for the plan.) Significant increases for everything from the Department of Health and Human Services to federally funded science programs also represent a major turn-around in our national priorities.

If Obama seemed to echo some the bipartisan "Third Way" rhetoric progressives grew allergic to during the Clinton Administration in last week's address to a joint session of Congress, his budget proposal is a welcome relief: bold, progressive, and an ideological brush-back to the Republicans.

Nowhere is this more evident than in how the government treats children. Among the most important investments the President makes in his budget is in the area of early childhood education.

During debate on the stimulus package that finally passed both houses of Congress, it looked as though the President's proposed increase for Head Start funding would be cut from over $2 billion to about $1 billion. Instead, the President has restored $1.2 billion in Head Start funding for Early Head Start. Likewise, between the stimulus bill and the budget plan, the Administration increased funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant by $2 billion, and came up with a $600 million increases in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which helps children with disabilities and their families.

The Obama budget plan also makes permanent at $2,500 tax credit to help pay for college, increases food aid and affordable housing for families who are hit hardest in the down economy, and expands children's health care.

"The sun is rising and we feel its warmth," says Sheila Skiffington of the Center for Children & Families--http://ccf.edc.org/aboutus/default.asp-- in Boston, Massachusetts. "On the federal level, the staff we interface with are excited. They want to see these programs succeed." Citing the Administration's commitment to quality early childhood education, and particularly the significant increases for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start, Skiffington says she is very encouraged. Obama gets it that quality early childhood education is crucial, "and that is reflected in his budget," she says.

The investment in child care couldn't come at a more important time, as many states have cut back subsidies for quality child care, even as parents are feeling more squeezed and centers are closing down as families withdraw when they lose jobs and can't afford preschool.

Along with renouncing torture and reopening diplomatic relations with the rest of the world, Obama has scored another moral victory for our country by striving to improve the treatment of our struggling families, and particularly children.

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Restoring funding for Head Start, increase in child care and block grants, tax credit to go to college, increases in funding for disabled children-- the daddy knows: these features of the budget haven't been talked about. But they are changes that families, progressives, and the daddy can believe in.

Managing editor at The Progressive since 1997, Ruth Conniff appears frequently on television shows like CNN's Sunday Capital Gang and PBS's To The Contrary. May of her op-d commentaries have appeared in The Washington Post, New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.and is a voice of The Progressive on many TV and radio programs.

6 comments:

rainywalker said...

I'm sticking with President Obama on this spending daddyBstrong and want it to succeed. The only problem I see is no nation in history has solved this problem throwing money at it. But I'm going to remain optimistic that there will be a country here when all is said and done.

MacDaddy said...

Rainy: Given the Republican characters in the house and in the senate, given how conservative this country is, I think The Prez is doing about the best anyone could do. In fact, he's done better than expected. He's changed quite a bit in little over a month.

rainywalker said...

Yes I agree and to blaim the president would be foolish.

judy said...

hey, daddy, tried to comment on this before, but for some reason, couldn't get the comment link to open. technology! thank you for the link to progressive magazine. it's great! someplace sane to go when i can't take any more words from john boehner and the rest of the (congressional republican) keystone cops.

MacDaddy said...

Judy: Welcome. And, yes, Progressive Magazine is one of the best. Right up there with The Nation. Hey, check the top of the sidebar, become a follower and come back to see me. Blessings.

judy said...

I already follow you, Daddy, another face in your crowd of fans - happy to be there. =)