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Bridge Over Troubled Waters

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Michael A. Fletcher, Staff Writer (not a reporter, apparently) of the Washington Post has a tendentious article in Monday's paper about the new "social program" spending in the Stimulus Bill. The article is tendentious because it begins with what I see as false relationships between the much-needed Economic Stimulus social safety net programs and the massive and "permanent" of programs of Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." The "writer" makes the following comment
All the final numbers related to social spending have yet to be compiled from the 1,100-page bill, but analysts say this much is clear: The measure promises unprecedented increases in support for social programs, many of which have not seen significant funding boosts for decades. And the outlays promise to expand the role of the federal government in the nation's economy -- at least in the short term.
as if he was unaware that the last decade was marked by extremely radical conservative draw-backs from social safety net programs. The quotation begins with the spurious comment that the final numbers have not been compiled. By whom? The fact that Fletcher and the rest of the Republicans have not done their homework is not news! And, btw, the idea that 1,100 pages of bill were dropped de novo on Republican desks is pure, unadulterated bullcrap. The Stimulus bill was on the table for months, and yes changes were made to numbers and words, but you don't have to re-read the whole damned thing each time a word is changed! Enough of this Republican crapola! The paragraph that got my goat completely is this one:
The stimulus increases spending for a wide range of programs targeting lower-income Americans. It raises federal spending for schools that serve largely low-income students from $14 billion to more than $27 billion. Federal support for special education, an area where local school districts have long complained of inadequate federal support, will grow by more than $12 billion. Funding for Pell Grants, which provide college aid for low-income students, will increase by around $15 billion, allowing the maximum grant to increase by $500 to $5,350.
Apparently Mr. Fletcher is unaware of the difference between "social welfare" and "aid to education" and, moreover, is unaware that Pell Grants are used by students of the middle classes as well as those whose family incomes are low. The paragraph has the effect of enumerating for enumeration's sake and setting up the notion that these expenditures are wasteful in some way. We all know the Post has marching orders from its various conservative owners, but band-wagoning with Republican talking-points propaganda is too much. They ought to be ashamed of themselves! And, kudos to Jane Hamsher at Huffington Post today for pointing it out that so much of the DC press corps is so out of touch. JB
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James R. Brett, Ph.D. taught Russian History before (and during) a long stint as an academic administrator in faculty research administration. His academic interests are the modern period of Russian History since Peter the Great, Chinese (more...)

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