In Dec. 11 IssueRussell County NewsBy Kathy Foley, Columnist
There were several news headlines this week other than the proposed, so-called compromise (capitulation) plan to extend the Bush Tax Cuts that I found particularly eye-opening.
First, the Treasury Department announced the sale of its remaining Citibank holdings, earning the taxpayers a $12 billion profit. That equates to a return of 26.6% over a two-year period.
Not bad. I don't know too many investors who would turn up their noses at that rate of return. In addition, the Treasury has also made a profit on the GM bailout and saved the American auto industry as well as tens of thousands of jobs. Could it possibly be that soon we will be calling TARP a success? Well, of course not. Not if by doing so, it will in any way shine a positive light on President Obama. Even though TARP was passed under President Bush, the anger over it has always been directed at President Obama.
So, I would predict as time goes by and it is seen more and more clearly that TARP may actually have been the correct thing to do, that all of a sudden everyone will be declaring what a wonderful thing it was that President Bush got it passed. That's the way things seem to work nowadays with the Republicans being the master manipulators that they are.
Another interesting news item was the fact that Vermont, for the 2nd year in a row, has been deemed the healthiest state in the Union by the United Health Foundation and Mississippi, for the 9th consecutive year, has taken last place. Kentucky has the dubious honor of coming in only 6 spots higher than Mississippi at #44-not much to be proud of there.
These rankings are based on a number of factors, including the number of residents with health insurance, per capita health funding by the state and the number of primary care physicians available. A large part of the reasons for low rankings include obesity, child poverty and a shortage of primary care physicians. What makes this particularly interesting is that Vermont, under Howard Dean, began implementing sweeping health care reform in 2006 and is arguably the most "socialized" (at least that's how Republicans describe it) of all health care systems in the country. And yet, it is proving to be the most successful.
This begs the question of which side has the best answers for health care.
There are more illuminating facts contained in the state health rankings that may be of interest to Kentuckians, like teen birth rates, for instance. We rank 41st in that category-meaning that only 9 other states have more teenagers giving birth than we do here in Kentucky-and of course, Russell County has more teenagers giving birth than any other county in the state.
So, Russell County can safely be said to be one of the top counties in the country for babies having babies--one more thing we can be ashamed of here. All this info can be obtained at http://www.americashealthrankings.org/.
And lastly, maybe even the most alarming headline was the results of the International Standardized Testing Scores of US students as compared to China and many other countries.
It is appalling and alarming. Out of 65 countries, the US came in 17th in reading, 23rd in science and 32nd in math. The students in China blew away everyone else.
The US came in behind countries such as Hungary, Poland, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, Slovenia and Liechtenstein in science. Aside from China, we are behind Canada, Japan, Iceland, Poland, and Korea in reading, just to name a few. And in math, we are behind all those already mentioned in addition to the Czech Republic, Norway, France and others.
But what are our legislators concerned about? What are they spending their time on? Well, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and all the other Republicans are only worried about making sure the richest of the rich (their political donors) and big business (called "small business" by the Republicans and also their political donors) get to become a little bit richer.
No matter that it has been proven time and again, that giving tax breaks to the wealthy does nothing to stimulate the economy. The proof of that is right in front of our faces right this minute in the current state of unemployment and the economy.
Since the wealthy has had these tax breaks for the last ten years already and if they did stimulate the economy, wouldn't the economy be stimulated by now?
And all of us and our children and grandchildren will have to pay the expense of making sure they get wealthier by borrowing the money to pay for their tax cuts from China and other nations that don't like us very much.
That's what they are concerned about.
I'm going to just come right out and say it. I think McConnell, Boehner, Cantor and most of the rest of the Republicans, are anti-American and verging on traitorous.
Their only concerns are for achieving their own political goals and rewarding their greedy, wealthy friends. The well-being of the country and of the average citizen doesn't even enter their minds except for when they are spinning their lies to convince us otherwise. They are systematically destroying the American way of life as we know it.
If they continue to successfully implement their agenda, instead of worrying about math, science & reading scores, we'd better start teaching our children Chinese-that way, they will at least be able to understand what their oppressors are saying to them when the sell-out is complete and we become the United States of China.