Thursday, December 12, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
Police checkpoints on sunny summer weekends could take riders who violate motorcycle noise laws off the roads, a reader says.
2003 file photo/The Associated Press
I have long been a proponent of alternative public charter schools, as our present system of educating the youth does not meet the needs of all our children.
Many of our districts are too small to offer Advanced Placement classes in the sciences and math. Other schools cut music and the arts to meet budget demands. A charter school in the visual and performing arts would find eager students.
However, the virtual charter schools whose proposals were denied by the Charter School Commission are not what we generally mean when we use the word "school." Is a teenager at home with his computer when parents are off to work a school?
A virtual school is cheap to run. It requires no teachers or coaches or music and drama teachers. It requires no principals or guidance teachers. It requires no school buildings, expensive to construct and maintain.
All of this makes the private companies drool with greed, as they expect their virtual charter schools to siphon off the public dollars that presently go to the more expensive model to follow the student to the for-profit company.
Society that values workers will have thriving economy
While American economics is floundering in a loss for direction, Australia has a minimum wage of $16.85 per hour. The Australian dollar is at $1.10 U.S. and expected to become $1.70 U.S. by 2014.
Unemployment in Australia is at 5.5 percent. The Australian universal health care system is completely funded by a 1.5 percent income tax.
These structural changes are working for Australia because of some basic economic factors. When workers make a livable wage, they purchase goods and services that grow the economy. When labor has no value, the greatest commodity of a society has no value.
Minimum wage in developing countries is below 25 cents U.S. per hour. These developing economies draw capital investment from developed economies, producing a reduction in the developed economies and producing no benefit to the host economies. This is my deduction about the decline in the world economy.
Trickle-down economics is clearly a failure. China is shifting to a consumer-based economy. Its minimum wage standard is only $2.65 U.S. but is steadily growing.
As labor becomes valuable in China, its economy will grow and become less dependent on exports. I am sure we need structural changes that make labor more valuable and structural changes to provide incentives that prevent capital investments that exploit world labor markets.
Deinstitutionalization puts unstable people on the street
In the Aug. 11 Maine Sunday Telegram, a front-page article ("Maine's safety net for mentally disabled is frayed") indicates that one of the Lewiston arsonists may be put back on the street because the system is frayed and the deinstitutionalization begun 50 years ago by well-intentioned liberals is becoming a disaster.
It shows the hypocrisy of those liberals, as they apparently can live with the risk created by their actions, yet they have a fit over the smaller risk the Second Amendment creates by allowing law-abiding citizens to have guns for self-protection.
There is no doubt that deinstitutionalization has created huge problems with these people who need direction to live. Our cities are swarming with the homeless who would at one time be housed securely at places such as Pineland was.
Many families have given up seeking proper help for sick family members as the system looks the other way. It is not until something horrendous or fatal happens does the authority get involved. By then it is too late!
Yet these same people are outraged that there is a similar risk involved by allowing the constitutionally granted right to bear arms. Does anyone see the parallel between these two risks: one a guaranteed constitutional right and the other just feel-good liberal emotionalism?
The pecksniffery is obvious to those who care to understand and points out just how out of touch our nation has become in its progressive agenda.
George A. Fogg