I’m Aaron Greenberg, a rising senior at the University of Chicago and a life-long Californian (and Angeleno). This summer I’ll be adding my voice to the debates that occupy this blog.
I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but it’s my hope that my opinions might help clarify those of “my generation.”
American and California politics often fracture along lines of race and class. But it has become increasingly clear that ‘age’ and ‘generational’ politics are also at work. The discourse of hope, imagination, change, etc. and the image of Obama (itself emulating youth culture’s visual vernacular) clearly distinguish him as the ‘youth candidate’ of the 2000s, following through with young peoples’ excitement over Howard Dean in 2004.
What is it that about Obama that gets us so excited? That makes his culture, personality and politics so appealing? (Even when promises of progressive change prove fickle). If Obama is an image, an avatar for something that “we” can believe in, what sorts of political concerns are behind that belief? Is Obama calling forth his own youth constituency? Or were they there before, waiting for the right candidate?
I hope that my posts — even if they concern only local politics — can help illuminate some of these questions, both as they relate immediately to Obama and to our larger, changing political culture.
From my own experience education and law enforcement (which seem to go increasingly hand-in-hand) are the most important political issues to young people. The political dividing looks something like this: conservatives want to “make government smaller” (reversing the public services they see as “entitlements”), while progressives want to strengthen public services like education in order to fashion a more enlightened citizenry.
The way these things have panned out, conservatives (especially during the past eight years of Bush) have set educational policy. Progressives find themselves again on the defensive. The No Child Left Behind legislation of Bush’s first term has effectively framed criteria for “success” around federal testing standards. Schools that don’t meet those standards are financially punished; those that excel are rewarded.
Match this with Proposition 13 type funding procedures (native to California, now spread across the nation) and the sort of circular poverty takes hold in deep, structural ways. Poor neighborhoods produce underfunded schools that lack the resources to meet federal testing requirements. Meanwhile school curricula aggressively ‘teach to the test,’ threatening once sacred elementary school rituals like the field trip.
What’s politically interesting about a curriculum tailored to tests? (Tests and their preparations created by private publishers).
The Spring 2008 editorial in the magazine Rethinking Schools gets to the bottom of what’s politically and socially so toxic about these teach-for-the-test programs:
“… the standards-tests-punishment trinity has led public schools even further from their democratic promise and turned them into profit machines for multinational publishing corporations and other private interests. And they are a testament to the resistance and search for alternatives that has been building throughout these hard times.”
But there’s even more that progressives need to think about. In reforming and amending legislation like NCLB and Proposition 13, progressives should pretend to be high school students who have spent their entire lives in public education. They need to think about what kinds of attitudes the average high school student will have towards education, and what kinds of attitudes they want public services (i.e. the state) to foster.
For most young people, public education and law enforcement are their two most important contact points with government. In light of the reputation and reality of law enforcement (at least in urban centers), it will be difficult to turn around attitudes toward police — and given the way that policing often violently enforces institutionalized state racism, the state will have to fundamentally change before we could even begin to focus attentions on a kinder, gentler police force.
Public education, given its current form, seems remote from any positive vision of it. How does education today help young people engage with democratic processes? Or even prepare them to be citizens in a multicultural republic? When educators are constrained to a curriculum covering only the most rudimentary lessons, what hope is there for developing an intellectual, creative and most importantly, critical electorate?
Conservatives would say that these aren’t the right questions. They want education private, or only nominally public (i.e. charter schools) because they don’t see government’s role or mandate as covering basic social services. (The most successful conservative activist on this front is anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist, who has said that he wants to “reduce [government] to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” The (mythical) “market” or “competition” are supposed to develop the institutions (medical, educational, municipal) that people need in order to live together. Government exists for inter/national security only. (And even there, given Blackwater’s rise, conservatives are even pushing the limits of their own ideology. Government doesn’t seem to have any role for them anymore.)
Progressives should work for education not simply because it’s such an important function of the democratic state, but because, from the perspective of its beneficiaries (young people) education is their main engagement with that state. It’s uncommon for anyone under 18 (or even 25) to have much involvement with federal employees. Teachers are government’s greatest asset, its most important ambassadors. That’s not to say they should represent an administration’s political line. Instead, they most deeply represent the aspirations of a democratic government that values equality, service and civic engagement.
There are many reasons that public education should focus less on testing and more on a holistic pedagogy — field trips, extracurricular activities, creative arts, physical education, community service, etc. Those are all valuable endeavors on their own. But making school more involved and less like a (testing) prison will also produce citizens who care more about their community. Better schools make better citizens who care about government, and who don’t see it as something to be subverted on the way to “progress.”

Sisters of St. Joseph and Hospital Workers

So many of us have a hard time living up to our own values. Here is a story of one example.
The Sisters of St. Joseph have a proud history of fighting for human rights and human dignity and improvement of conditions for working people. But like so many progressives — and people in general — the Sisters of St. Joseph appear to be having trouble living up to these values when they apply to themselves.
A few days ago Julia Rosen wrote a Calitics post titled, Sisters of St. Josephs it’s time to make peace with your workers. I urge readers here to go read that post. Julia writes,

It is a dirty little secret, but often times the more virulently anti-union employers are religious orders that run health systems. Such is the situation with the Sisters of St. Joseph who run the St. Joseph Health System. They have been resisting the efforts of their service employees to join SEIU-UHW for the past three years.

And at Huffington Post Delores Huertes has a post titled, Together We Marched in Solidarity. I also urge readers to click through and read it. She begins,

This week I’m joining St. Joseph Health System workers, Attorney General Jerry Brown, Father Eugene Boyle, actor Ed Begley Jr, and community and religious leaders to call upon the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange to make peace with their workers.

next she makes the important point,

For decades, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange have fought for justice for California’s workers. In the summer of 1973, they marched in solidarity with Cesar Chavez and farm workers during the brutal Grape Strike. I witnessed the Sisters putting their personal safety at risk. They walked picket lines and even went to jail with more than 3500 striking farm workers. I was inspired by the Sisters’ commitment to stand with the farm workers, even in the face of violent provocation.

Yes, it appears that the Sisters of St. Joseph are ready to stand by workers, walk pickets lines, and fight for the rights of workers. But this time they are holding back when it involves their own workers. Huertes continues,

Over the last three years, workers in the St. Joseph Health System (SJHS) who care for the sick and vulnerable in our community, have been working to form a union with S.E.I.U. — United Healthcare Workers West (UHW) so they can have a real say in the decisions that affect their patients, their families and themselves.
But the Sisters, who founded and hold majority control of the Board of SJHS, a $3.5 billion system of hospitals and clinics, sadly are using heavy-handed tactics similar to those used by other major corporations to deny workers a free choice about whether to form a union. SJHS workers have told me directly, that the SJHS management is fighting their efforts and violating federal labor law by threatening union supporters with arrest and job loss – and denying them free speech. Public records show that SJHS has hired some of the most notorious union-busting firms to fight their employees. Meanwhile, government officials have cited SJHS for violating its employees’ basic labor rights, including illegally firing, spying on, and intimidating workers who want to form a union. These heavy-handed tactics leave workers feeling threatened, intimidated and disregarded.

While looking into this I came across a December, 2007 article at the Catholic News Agency, Catholic health workers’ effort to unionize could crowd out Catholics. Please read to article to learn about the subtexts of this unionization battle. From the story,

A political activist in Sacramento [. . .] said the UHW takeover would be a “done deal” if the employees’ demand for a fair election agreement were met.

If you read the story it is clear that the activist mentioned is very much against unionization and supports the Sisters’ efforts to keep the workers from having a unionization vote. But if allowing a vote for a union means that a union is “a done deal” then it means the workers want a union.
Any way you look at it, it is a shame that the Sisters are trying to keep their workers from voting on whether to have a union. The Sisters need to understand that they are role models for their community. They were positive role models standing up for their values when they supported the farmworkers. They can again be positive role models by showing that even when it affects their own interests they are willing to stand by their values and support worker rights and human rights.
It is time that the Sisters of Saint Joseph allow their workers to vote on whether they want a union.

Netroots Nation Report

I thought our readers might like to get an insight into how last week’s annual Netroots Nation convention went, and how it keeps the blogging world energized. Here is an inside look at the event. (‘Netroots’ stands for the online, networked, “bottom-up” grassroots of democracy.)
First of all, Austin is like a big, very very very very very very hot Santa Cruz. The daily high temperature was between 96 and 104 each day I was there. The convention facilities were great, and are located right downtown, surrounded by restaurants and the entertainment district. The hotel was next door to the convention center with several other hotels nearby. It’s also near Austin’s famous “bat bridge” from under which hundreds of thousands of bats emerge each day just after sunset.
Two thousand people attended the Thursday through Sunday event. The crowd and speakers were much more diverse than previous years. This is a gathering of all ages and demographic groups, centered around the progressive blogs.
Netroots Nation used to be called YearlyKos. This event sprang up from the large community that had grown up around the DailyKos website, but the gathering itself is a larger Netroots gathering not just associated with that particular site. Hence the change to Netroots Nation.
The first day, Thursday, was set aside for caucuses. There was a labor caucus which really wish I could have attended. There were a few state caucuses. There were caucuses like Native American and GLBTQ, and even a Geek caucus. There were caucuses for websites like MyDD and Firedoglake.
The evening Keynote on that first day was Governor Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic Party, introduced by General Wesley Clark.
Friday the panels and workshops started. Friday and Saturday were arranged with two panel slots before lunch and two after. Each of those slots had THIRTEEN different panels to choose from! And of course everyone wanted to attend at least tow, more likely four of those at any given time. For an idea of what one of these panels was link, here is the description of The Next President and the Law:

Fri, 07/18/2008 – 9:00am, Exhibit Hall 4
A new Democratic president will take office on January 20, 2009, facing a federal judiciary stacked with Republican appointees in 20 of the last 28 years, and a Department of Justice that has been more tied to the President’s policy interests than the impartial enforcement of law. What should the next president do with the courts? What should the priorities be for his attorney general? What legislative initiatives are needed to restore fair access to the courts?
PANELISTS: Cass Sunstein, John Dean, Adam Bonin, Michael Waldman

There were thirteen sessions like this to choose from at 9am, then thirteen more at 10:30am. Then for lunch Markos of DailyKos and former Senator Harold Ford, now head of the right-leaning DLC, had a discussion on stage. I wrote about this at my personal blog, in the post, Harold Ford at Netroots Nation on FISA:

Harold Ford and Markos held a discussion on stage at lunch here at Netroots Nation. I didn’t catch all of it, but at one point Ford was talking about FISA and telecom immunity, along the lines of “If you have a company, and the government comes to you and says ‘If you do this for us it will help national security’ then what can you say?”
I’ll tell you what you can say. You can say, “DO YOU HAVE A WARRANT?”

Then two more groups of thirteen panels at 1:30pm and 3pm, with an evening “Netroots Candidates Event” where what seemed to be fifty candidates for office around the country who the netroots are supporting were introduced. (I spotted Pete McCloskey at this event. McCloskey was a California Congressman who ran against Richard Nixon in the 1972 Republican primaries, and who co-founded Earth Day.)
And then there were the parties… Parties and parties. There were lots of parties. And there were parties.
Saturday kicked off with “Ask the Speaker”. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was on stage taking questions that had been solicited in advance from blogs all around the web, as well as live questions from people attending. Then there was a surprise. One of the questions that came over the speakers was from Al Gore! And Gore walked onto the stage to give a brief talk about climate change and the nature of our politics, and took questions as well as Speaker Pelosi.
Then more panels … The lunch keynote was Lawrence Lessig who talked about the destructive nature of money in politics — whenever money is involved you can’t trust the results, just like with medical research funded by pharmaceutical companies. So of course you can’t trust money in politics.
Then more panels. I put on a workshop titled, “Blogging and the New Green Economy,” described as follows,

This workshop will discuss how bloggers can support and organize around the efforts of environmental justice activists, union leaders and city government officials to help create a new green economy.

(Last year I put on two major sessions and participated in three other panels, and the year before i was also involved with several. So just doing this one was a relief.)
Saturday wrapped up with a keynote speech by Rep. Donna Edwards. This is significant because the Netroots supported Edwards in a primary race against another Democrat who was supporting a corporate agenda. She won, and it has sent a signal to other Democrats that they can start to change their behavior. And now the SEIU and others are planning to run at least ten primary challenges in the next round of Congressional elections. This is a very important development which I wrote about in my post SEIU’s Accountability Project — Making Politicians Do The Right Thing. I wrote,

First, it finally gives politicians whose hearts are with us a reason to vote with us. Second, it tells politicians who don’t agree with a progressive agenda (of reducing corporate power over our lives and restoring democracy to the people) that their time is past, that we will run candidates against them in the primaries and these candidates will have strong support.

Then there were parties. And more parties. Lots of parties.
And parties.
Finally, Sunday began with a multi-faith service led by “Pastor Dan” who posts at the DailyKos-associated blog Street Prophets. Following that the keynote speaker Van Jones was introduced by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Newsom was great but Van Jones gave a memorable talk that will be available in video online soon.
A tremendous amount of networking happens at this event. I once called it the largest gathering of people who know each other but have never met. It is events like this one and the Take Back America conference where a new progressive movement is being built. One this that was significant this year was the exhibits, where organizations involved with the Netroots have booths to show off what they are up to. There were quite a number of these this year, which shows that an ecosystem is starting to develop.
Someone caught a photo of me speaking to the California Caucus:
(That’s a really bad shot of CA-46 Congressional candidate Debra Cook in the front.)
There are several blogs (here, here) and diaries at DailyKos with pictures, (here, here, here, here), and a Flickr album I located.

Immigration Questions II

The other day I brought up immigration, asking the practical question of how we would identify people who are here without documentation.

Suppose — just suppose — the people who advocate harsh treatment of non-citizens are successful in their efforts, and our government starts an effort to locate and deport them. How do we identify who is here without authorization? This is a practical question.
Americans are not required to “carry papers.” We do not have checkpoints, and inside of the country we do not have to prove that we are traveling with proper authorization. We certainly do not have to prove that we are citizens. Many of us could never even locate the documentation necessary to prove citizenship if we were, in fact, required to prove it.

One answer that comes up frequently is to deal with the immigration question through employment. The reason people come here is to try to have a better life, which means employment. So this opens up a two-pronged approach. One, attack the undocumented resident problem through the employers, and the other is to help the countries south of us to improve their economies so people are not desperately trying to come here so they can feed their families. (And opening up markets of people who can afford to buy things we make here, by the way.) Meanwhile, employers here are taking advantage of desperate people for their own gain.
So to approach this problem though employment we ask employers here to check for documentation when hiring. This is a natural time to do this, because people already need to show they are who they say they are when applying for jobs. An employer who hires an undocumented worker is the one committing the crime.
But what happens to families and lives if we cause people working now to be fired? What happens to neighborhoods, businesses, already-eroding housing prices, local tax bases, and all the other things that can be affected if hundreds of thousands — maybe even millions — of people are suddenly without jobs and forced to move? Perhaps part of the answer to the problem is to freeze any new hiring of people who are not citizens or have resident status, so the problem at least stops getting worse and ever harder to solve. But it is not a good idea for human and economic reason to punish people who are already living and working here.
The current discussion of immigration is so focused on the word “illegal” and that word helps turn human beings into a faceless, criminal “them.” But it really is human beings, with families and lives just like everyone else.
Please discuss.

Immigration Questions

I want to ask some questions about how to handle our issue of undocumented immigrants. There is very little disagreement that our borders have become unacceptably porous and that we’ve got to change the way we secure them. That being said, how we approach solving the problem of the large number of people who are here already? The debate needs to be a practical and rational one rather than emotional and reactive so we can achieve sound and effective solutions.
Let’s start by asking some practical questions. Some people use the terminology of “illegal” immigrants because the people in question have overstayed a visa (45%) or even crossed the border without passing through immigration and customs. As a result of this terminology — “illegal” — people react more strongly than they might if different words were used or if they had time to consider fully all of the ramifications of this issue.
Suppose — just suppose — the people who advocate harsh treatment of non-citizens are successful in their efforts, and our government starts an effort to locate and deport them. How do we identify who is here without authorization? This is a practical question.
Americans are not required to “carry papers.” We do not have checkpoints, and inside of the country we do not have to prove that we are traveling with proper authorization. We certainly do not have to prove that we are citizens. Many of us could never even locate the documentation necessary to prove citizenship if we were, in fact, required to prove it.
So if we are going to identify people who have overstayed visas, etc. how do we go about it?
This is a simple and serious question that I hope can be discussed here. Please leave a comment with your ideas.
I’ll deal with the next set of questions in my next post.

California Fire Smoke Map

We have been having some degree of smoke cover here in the San Francisco Bay area for some time, and today it is particularly bad. I have found a map of smoke coverage for all of California and even Nevada that calculates the coverage at the time you click the map. I can’t seem to embed this map, but it is worth clicking through — especially if you live in one of the affected areas. Here it is:
WunderMap Interactive Radar & Weather Stations : Wunderground Preview Site

Computer Voting Machine Security — Prove It

I have been looking at the issue of computerized voting machine security for several years, and want to write about it today.
Many people have pointed out that there are a number of problems with the new touch-screen voting machines. They fear that these machines can be used to rig an election. Others feel more confident about the machines because they are “hi-tech” and computerized and make voting easier.
Computer experts warn that the machines cannot be trusted. Meanwhile, I have a relative who believes that computers can’t make mistakes, so these machines will guarantee accurate vote counting.
I can give you my position on these machines in just a few words: “Prove it.” Here is what I mean: The standard for trusting the results of an election should be based on what an average citizen can believe about the election results. If the election system that you set up is able to prove to an average citizen that the election results are accurate, then you have the right system in place. Elections are about average citizens making decisions and trusting the results, not about being told by people in positions of authority what has been decided and who our leaders will be. The whole “trust me” thing hasn’t worked out so well in the past so people came up with “prove it” systems so everyone could see for themselves how the elections turned out.
Yes, I have an election system in mind that meets the “prove it” requirement. It’s simple. I say that it simply doesn’t matter what kind of machine (or no machine at all) is used in the voting booth or to count the votes later, as long as the voter can put a printed ballot in a ballot box. (The voter, of course, is expected to look over the printed ballot to be sure it has the right candidates and ballot measures marked. Just like with the old pen or punch card systems.)
Everyone understands printed ballots with marks on them, and putting the ballot into a ballot box. Time-honored methods for holding secure “prove it” elections with ballots have been worked out. At the start of the election day you check the ballot box to be sure it is empty. Each voter gets one ballot, marks it, and puts it in the box. At the end of the day the ballots are counted and the total is reported. Etc. I work in elections and I know the system well. It can be trusted.
If we use touch-screen computers as input devices to help the voter mark the ballot, all the better. This helps prevent mistakes like those in Florida in 2000. When the voter is ready the machine prints out a ballot with clear markings of the voter’s choices. After the machine prints that ballot it doesn’t matter if the machine has been hacked or is just making mistakes because you look at the ballot before putting it into the ballot box. And it doesn’t matter how the count is reported because once you have a printed record of each voter’s intentions, you can count them by hand if necessary. The voters or a trusted representative can watch the counting.
There is one safeguard that I think is very important. You must randomly test the reported vote counts against the paper ballots they are said to represent. And I am very strict about this part. If the count is off by even a single vote it means something is wrong with the counting system and the entire election needs to be counted by hand!
The controversy about touch-screen voting machines started because they do not use printed ballots that can prove the election’s results to the average person! The machines come from private companies. Some of these prohibit anyone – even election officials – from knowing how they count the votes. There is no way at all to check whether the machines are reporting correct results. It is a matter of trusting these companies and not of proving to the average voter that the results can be trusted. We are just supposed to trust that the companies are telling us who won the elections! Remember what I said about being told by people in positions of authority what has been decided and who our leaders will be?
If these machines make mistakes or just break down, there is no way to figure out who really won the election. And if someone is able to rig the machines to change the vote counts, there is no way to know that, either. History tells us that this is a concern. People have gone to great lengths to rig even local elections. So with the huge stakes in today’s election — trillions of dollars and wars — we certainly should understand that highly-skilled and well-funded attempts to dictate election results are likely to occur.
There are a number of ideas for making voting machines more reliable and harder to hack into and change results. One idea is that the public should be able to examine — and experts allowed to repair and improve — the source code for the programs used in the machines. This is called “open source” and the Open Voting Consortium has done a lot of great work in this area. (Send them some a few $$ to help their effort.) Open-source systems will help make the machines more reliable and easier to use and will reduce the chances that someone can try to rig an election. This is a great approach, but in the end it fails the “prove it” test. The average person doesn’t understand the complicated programming involved. And there is no way to prove that the open-source code is the code that is actually running in every single voting machine on election day.
Other ideas involve elaborate security to test and guard the machines. This again fails the “prove it” test. Unless average people can see for themselves that the results are accurate, no security is sufficient.
I say that the system I describe above — involving a paper ballot that the voter can check and put in a ballot box — makes the reliability and security of any voting machines themselves less important because you can “prove it” by counting those paper ballots. You can test a sample of ballots against the reported counts, making it useless to try to hack the voting or counting machines themselves.
California’s Secretary of State Debra Bowen understands these issues and is working hard to make sure that our state’s elections are safe, fair and provable. Let’s hope that the rest of the states can catch up to California.

Anti-Democracy Conservatives

This column by Newt Gingrich is really bothering me: Bobby Jindal, America’s Most Transformational Governor – HUMAN EVENTS. Near the beginning of the column,

The principles that motivate his Louisiana Revolution are the same pro-innovation, pro-competition, anti-bureaucracy and anti- big government principles that I urge each week in this newsletter – the same principles that are so desperately needed in Washington, D.C.

Let’s take a look at what these words mean.
Pro-innovation. Fine. Pro-competition. Fine. But let’s look at what “anti-bureaucracy” and “anti-big government” actually mean.
In a democracy we have openness and transparency. The use of our money and resources is accountable to the people. And how do we make sure that government is open and accountable? We have careful procedures and oversight in place to ensure that the money and resources are used as they should be used. This means you have to make sure that every i is dotted and every t is crossed before you approve something. Otherwise you get politicians giving contracts to their brothers-in-law, department heads taking trips to luxury resorts, and other corruption that history has taught will always occur.
Conservatives like to complain about “bureaucracy” and claim that corporations are more ‘efficient” than government, but what they are really complaining about is openness and democracy. Yes, it is more efficient to have one executive making decisions and telling us how it is going to be. And yes, it is less bureaucratic to just ram projects through and award them to your friends. But let’s take a look at the results of the conservative revolution in government of the last few years. We have seen so many “no-bid contracts” awarded to well-connected companies, with no oversight and no accountability at all. Reporters who can get past the secrecy have discovered that literally billions upon billions of our tax dolalrs have been stolen, can’t be accounted for at all! This is what the conservatives meant when they said they wanted to get rid of bureaucracy — they meant they wanted to take off with the money!
And what about “anti-big-government?” Just what do they think government IS? The first three words of our Constitution are “We, the People.” THAT is what government is. We, the People make decisions about how we will invest our resources and how we will distribute the return on that investment. Those resources include our minerals, oil, coal, water, as well as our people, companies, laws and intellectual property. We, the People making the decisions.
So when they complain about government they are really complaining that We, the People are in charge. And “big government” means We, the People in charge of more of our own destiny. If they don’t want We, the People in charge — what DO they want? Think about that. The alternative to big government is big corporations making the decisions about our resources, people, oil, coal, laws, etc. That is what this really means. And this has proven itself out, hasn’t it? As we have lived through the conservative revolution, we have seen more and more of the control of our resources and our desitiny shifted away from QWe, the People and into the hands of the few who control the big corporations.
So don’t be fooled by shiny words. When you realize what these conservatives really want you see that it is about taking control away from you and me and giving it to a wealthy few.

The Governor’s Lottery Scheme – Bottom of the Barrel?

Is California’s lottery becoming just one more subsidy for the rich?
When We, the People of California agreed to have a state lottery it was to pay for extra education for our children on top of the existing education budget. It was not supposed to make up for other budget cuts for schools, it was supposed to be extra money to improve the educational system.
This has … migrated. The lottery under the Governor’s new borrowing plan may be fast becoming one more gimmick to avoid taxing the rich and big corporations. (Not to mention paying out millions upon millions in debt interest for years and years to those with the means to loan the state these billions.)
The California Budget Project has a new report, Borrowing Against the Future: Are Lottery Bonds the Best Way To Close the Budget Gap? (PDF file) It is well worth taking a look at. They say the numbers don’t add up, the lottery can’t deliver the needed revenue, the scheme makes it even harder to fix the budget in the future, will have a high interest rate, and has numerous other problems. On a conference call Tuesday with jean Ross, one of the report’s authors, I also learned that the cost over time of borrowing this money will be between $41.5 and $50 billion — way too high. The lottery is largely played by low-income people so efforts to drive up lottery purchases increases their burden and will likely come at a cost of other purchases, thereby sacrificing sales tax revenue to the state.
That there are so many things wrong with this latest borrowing scheme might be a good sign. It might, just might mean that the Republicans are scraping the very bottom of their barrel of anti-government and tax-avoidance gimmicks. After this wild scheme collapses maybe, just maybe they’ll come to their senses.