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Union Concessions Not Enough to Save 48 Teaching Jobs

State cuts to categorical funds for at-risk programs, bilingual learning and other programs have meant a larger deficit for Dearborn Public Schools, resulting in job cuts.

Two weeks before it must submit a balanced budget to the state of Michigan, the Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education voted to pink slip 48 teachers and two support personnel at its regular Monday night meeting.

The cuts were made to offset $7 million in categorical at-risk and bilingual learning losses at the district–a figure many district officials hoped would change as budget talks continued in Lansing.

District Supt. Brian Whiston said the categorical versus general fund budget numbers have caused confusion in regard to the layoffs.

“We always said that if there were cuts in categorical funding, there would be job losses,” he said.

The layoffs will come from several buildings and at all student levels, and have been organized by seniority as specified in the district’s collective bargaining agreement with the Detroit Federation of Teachers, which represents 1,200 teachers.

Heavy Hearts

Though the teacher layoffs were mentioned only a handful of times at the meeting, the fact that 50 people will lose their jobs weighed heavily on the board, said Trustee Mary Lane.

“I hate having to do it,” she said.

Chris Sipperly, the president of the Dearborn Federation of Teachers, said some cuts were expected among the teacher’s ranks.

“You can’t negotiate how many layoffs will occur," she said, "and we don’t like to see any layoffs."

Still, Sipperly said a $7 million loss in categorical funding was difficult to overcome–but some positions could be restored if the district can prove its use of “best practices” backed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

If the district can meet four of the following five requirements, it could receive $100 more in per-pupil funding, flooding an additional $2 million into district coffers. The district must prove it has:

  • Obtained competitive bidding for at least one non-instructional service
  • Established a financial report card that is available to residents
  • Shared at least one service with another district
  • Have employees contribute a certain amount toward their own health care
  • Required the district to be the policy holder of the employee insurance policy

It remains unclear if the district can meet the final two requirements because it recently for its teachers to the DFT, which will manage the policy. The new health care trust will be managed by the Michigan AFL-CIO Public Employee Trust, which will be the policy holder.

The district will save money on the plan by contributing a fixed amount of $997 per month, per employee to the plan for the life of the labor contract.

Whiston said he believes the district will meet the final two requirements in spirit, if not technically.

“We’re getting a lot of congratulations on our health care agreement, and there are a lot of people in Lansing that think we should get the additional funding,” he said.

Business Services Director Bob Cipriano said the district’s lobbyist and the DFT lobbyist are in Lansing trying to drum up support for the funds.

Even if the extra $100 per student is granted, the district will only be able to restore 18 positions–if all parties agree to re-hire teachers. Bargaining units that have agreed to contractual pay reductions could also be restored if the district receives the funding.

Big Classes a Concern

The staff cuts come at a time when class sizes are getting bigger at the schools.

At –where one teacher will be laid off–nine classrooms have tallied more than 30 students, said Kathleen McCormick, a teacher at the school.

“This is the second year that we went over the 30-student maximum,” she said.

Lane said the big classes were indicative of the fiscal environment faced by Michigan’s schools.

“I taught in a third-world county, and we had classes that had about 16 students,” she said. “I never thought I’d see class sizes this big–not in the United States.”

Whiston said that eight teachers who have not yet been assigned to a school, but have avoided layoffs, will be deployed to schools that present severe overcrowding issues.

Sipperly said she was confident that many of the teachers on the pink slip list will be called back before school begins, but Whiston holds that many of the jobs are lost for the foreseeable future.

“Seven million is a huge amount of money,” he said. “And I’d be surprised if we handle any retirements in significant numbers because of the state incentive that was offered last year. It’s hard to see how all of them could be called back–unless we get a big gift from Lansing.”

Lee Jacobsen June 16, 2011 at 10:08 PM
Jon, Regarding your PEDEB comment, if the advertising is correct, and the results are saving money and outperform public sectors for the same cost, thereby saving us tax payers money, then that is a good thing, right? Do you enjoy spending more for services just because they come from the public sector? Regarding the bridge to Canada, why not build them both? One is financed privately and doesn't cost us a nickel, and the other will be covered to a large extent by matching funds from Canada. Both will benefit Michigan in the long run. Actually, the best thing for MI that costs nothing would be having it become a 'Right to Work' state. Unions could still do their thing, but would have to be accountable to their membership, something which now is 'winked at' rather heavily. Here is a site with more info... http://www.rightmichigan.com/story/2011/6/13/113342/103 Income is higher in right to work states. This site discusses both sides http://media.mlive.com/news_impact/other/RTWHari4word.pdf If a businees owner is asked to move the business, if given the choice between a state with more regulations and less regulations, the right to work state wins every time. Workers can still form unions. Workers can also leave and find a better job 'at will'. The govt should stay out of it. For example, Govt has no business telling Boeing when and where it can locate its plants. as long as it follows accepted procedures. Shades of Govt Motors!
Jon Awbrey June 17, 2011 at 01:54 AM
What we are seeing in this country is not really Austerity or an Economic Downturn, but a Vastly Unequal Distribution Of Wealth (VUDOW Economics). Anyone who looks around can see that there is an obscene amount of excess cash floating around, but it's all been sucked up to float the yachts of the One Per Centers while leaving the frog ponds of the peons low-down, dry, and dirty. But if you need sadistics, here's the latest couple of items hot off my newsfeed — Bloomberg.com • “High-Income, No-Tax Returns Jumped in 2008” • http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-14/high-income-no-tax-returns-almost-doubled-in-2008-irs-says.html ❝ The number of people who reported incomes of at least $200,000 and paid no U.S. taxes jumped 79.5 percent from 2007 to 2008, according to an Internal Revenue Service study released today in Washington. ❞ The Feral Conservative • “Teachers and CEOs” • http://open.salon.com/blog/the_feral_conservative/2011/03/12/teachers_and_ceos ❝ What about merit pay for teachers — just like the private sector? Jeffery Immelt was CEO of General Electric and in a ten year period, Jeffery managed to drive the value of the stock so low that his shareholders (the equivalent of a teacher's students), suffered a 58% loss of their investment. What was Jeffery's merit pay for this ten year period? He took home a handsome $125 million dollars. Yeah, old Jeffery is really making sacrifices, just like the rest of us in these hard times. ❞
Frank Lee June 17, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Charter schools are not a free market solution to public schools. A charter by it's very name protects the licensee by providing protection from adverse actions and creates a costly barrier to entry. At best charter schools turn a public monopoly into a public duopoly . Furthermore the only comparative advantage charter schools provide the market is lower labor costs. Evidence shows that the vast majority of charters preform at or below the public schools they replace. Factoring in charters lower labor costs and the fact they attract the students least costly to educate and at the same time leave high cost children to the public system, while providing no reduction in costs to the state. I am not sure how this benefits either the state or the students. Free markets provide choices. Rather than provide charters to well connected corporations, a true free market would allow freedom of movement between all students and all districts. Currently our political system creates a situation where corporations are as much of a distortionary force in markets as public policy. Actually a great deal of public policy is actually written by corporate agents to create market forces that benefits their employers. This is the exact reason why companies like Boeing, General Electric, Exxon, Massey Energy, Dow Chemical, etc etc contribute millions of dollars to political candidates, and think tanks to protect themselves from the effects of free markets, and socialize their risks and costs.
Jon Awbrey June 17, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Lee, If all the ads were true … You have wrapped yourself in a fantasy bubble of wishful thinking, and I'll just have to leave you to it for now. When you talk about things like the blessings of Right to Work laws, it is clear that you are reciting some jingle you read on a blog and that you have no real experience with what you are talking about. I grew up in a State where unions were weak. My father worked in an industry where unions where non-existent. So we lived in a sector of the economy that had a top and a bottom but no middle class. When I came to Michigan on a scholarship 44 years ago, I got to see, for a space of time, what it was like for the kids who grew up in union families. The universities understood back then that their phenomenal growth and strength was due in large part to the union families who were sending their kids to college for the very first time in their genealogies. But at least my childhood experiences in a non-union State prepared me for what I see Michigan becoming today, yet another State Gone South, as they say, with a middle class that is quickly evaporating. Welcome to Michissippi ❢
Lee Jacobsen June 19, 2011 at 04:49 AM
Jon, have you any experience in running a business? One where you are responsible for hiring employees, developing a service or product and actually generating enough sales to meet expenses? Or , as many do, are you one that lets 'others' do that stuff? I suspect the latter as if you were involved in a business, you would be aware of all the roadblocks Michigan has put up in the past for business. Something as simple as bidding on a govt building contract is impossible, as they only accept bids from 'union' shops, which costs us the tax payers much more in costs to build the structure, not to mention eliminating the competition factor. What is fair about that? As a non- business person, if you are, you don't care. Not your problem. That is the problem, and why businesses relocate, with their jobs, to other states. Michigan is not as 'nuts' as IL, with their high taxes, and we now have a reasonable business tax, thanks to gov. Snyder. Again, if you don't create jobs, you don't care. Otherwise , you would support MI as being a 'Right to work State' where Unions are still unions, but would have to 'justify' charging the dues to their membership. My plants are non-union (what a surprise!), and my workers love it that way. However, my working conditions may be different than other shops, if so, there is a reason to form a union, right? With Right to work status, that does not change... Is Jeff still CEO? Nope. Dumb mistake hiring him, right? Who did that?
Lee Jacobsen June 19, 2011 at 05:22 AM
Frank, Charter schools provide competition to public schools, something they have not had for a long time and something long overdue. Time will tell, how many years have the public schools had to show they know their stuff? decades. And look at some of the results for all that money spent. 75% of Detroit school folk can't even read. I see it all the time in applicants, coming to the plant with their girlfriends, who help them read the job application. How can they function in a job if they can't read a simple 'work order'? How many teachers in the Detroit System actually send their kids to Detroit schools? Not many .... Why? read this.... http://theblogprof.blogspot.com/2010/12/state-of-public-ed-40-of-chicago-public.html Parents want the best education for their kids, and the public school system is one choice, private is another. Guess what? We now have competition. We know the mixed results of the public school system. Let's see what the private sector can do before condeming them . Private worse than public? Beg to differ here. http://biggovernment.com/kolson/2011/02/10/an-epic-failure-detroit-public-schools/ The standard response is that high cost kids have to be taught by the state. Surely the 'state' can figure a way to teach the 'troublemakers', the private sector can and does. Even the public sector is making an effort. http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/29226269.html Free market would allow free choice, right?
Jon Awbrey June 19, 2011 at 05:46 AM
Lee, I have the greatest admiration for people who create businesses that produce goods, provide services, and create jobs with decent living wages. If a business can improve our quality of life without wrecking the world over the long haul to do it, then more power to it. Some of my best and oldest friends have run small businesses, and what you say echoes their stories about the State of Michigan getting in their hair to the point where they pulled most of it out. No one wants to keep people from engaging in productive enterprise. But productive enterprise depends on maintaining a common environment of public services that everyone can trust will be available on an equal opportunity basis. That means things like applied and basic scientific knowledge, civil and criminal justice, communication, education, public safety, transportation, and the like. Those are essential services. They cannot be maintained on a pay-for-play basis without turning America into a different kind of country than we espouse it to be. It may be one of the failings of human nature to want something for nothing, but no one who stops to think about the consequences of everyone trying to get away with that will want anything other than to pay a fair share. There's the rub — What is fair? There are no easy ways to compute the answer. Heaven knows we have tried all sorts of different formulas over the years. But it's a question we can't avoid — so we have to keep trying to work it out.
Lee Jacobsen June 19, 2011 at 06:23 AM
Jon, productive enterprise needs a substructure to operate, but at what cost? It is the cost of maintaining those 'essential public services' that is coming to the forefront. Competition should be used to keep the public service costs 'reasonable', and dictating that only union shops can bid on Michigan and Federal projects such as roads, post offices , court houses, etc is not reasonable. Did you ever view the series 'Ice road Truckers'. Some of those drivers drove in India, what a joke that country has for transportation. It is practically non-existant! However, their costs reflect it, and they can make and produce product for 1/10th the cost that I can do the same work. As a result, I can't compete to make auto parts if Ford, or Toyota, bids the same work out to firms based in India. Ditto for S. Korea, Thailand, and other low cost , low infrastructure countries. Our high cost of , as you put it, "maintaining a common environment of public services that everyone can trust" is forcing USA firms to locate in those countries. Otherwise, they lose out to the local suppliers, and , when they do, sales drop, income drops, and there is no money to pay employees anymore. Unlike govt, which can raise taxes or print money, private enterprise must compete, and the lowest quote usually gets the job. So how do we pay a fair share, when in the USA, only 55% are even paying taxes and carrying the other 45% who don't make enough to meet the minimum federal tax bracket?
Jon Awbrey June 19, 2011 at 04:36 PM
Lee, If you will stop channeling “The Rand, Reagan, Rick, Rush, and Ryan Road Show” for a while maybe we can have a real discussion. I've heard these very same lines about “The Government Monopoly” being repeated often enough lately that I can probably pinpoint exactly where they are coming from, to wit, or not, Michigan's own Madison Avenue doublethink tank and all round corporate ideology group for privatizing everything in sight, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, not to mention their fellow travelers in the massive complex of crypto-lobbies that are run by ALEC, the DeVos family, and the Koch brothers. I know a lot of people are fond of repeating the slogans of PEDEB.com. There is indeed a very large and lucrative advertising industry dedicated to designing hooks that will stick in our brains and trip off our lips before we have a chance to chew on them or give them a second thought. But, like a lot of commercial jingles that rule the air these days, we need to pull our heads out and Consider the Source, we need to apply a healthy dose of critical thinking to the Bill of Goods they are trying to sell us. That means we have to do our own research and we need to think for ourselves. There is no patent medicine artificial substitute for that.
Jon Awbrey June 19, 2011 at 05:24 PM
ALEC's Restaurant More information is coming to light about the move by ALEC, DeVos, Koch, the Mackinac Center, and related entities to co-opt our elected officials into serving their corporate ends, namely, to privatize not only public education, but all current public services, indeed, our very government itself. Here is an article that came out this week — Amanda Terkel • “Privatization At The Heart Of Divisive Battles In Wisconsin” • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/17/privatization-wisconsin_n_873871.html ❝ The American Legislative Exchange Council is one of the groups most actively advocating privatization nationwide. It has 2500 legislative members, which is about a third of all state lawmakers around the country. One of its most valuable functions is crafting model legislation that lawmakers can then use to propose real bills in their own states. In the past few years, ALEC-inspired legislation has been popping up with increased frequency around the country. The group just launched “Publicopoly”, a Monopoly-like board game as part of an “initiative to provide solutions for a more effective, efficient government, and a thriving economy”. Visitors to Publicopoly are able to learn about privatizing seven sectors: government operations, education, transportation and infrastructure, public safety, environment, health, and telecommunications. ❞
Jon Awbrey June 19, 2011 at 05:30 PM
There are now several sites where readers can begin getting up to speed on the “starve and supplant” tactics that the ALEC Axis is bringing to bear on several States at once. Here's 3 for starters: Democracy Watchdog Action Network • https://www.facebook.com/democracy.watchdog.action.network Wear Red For Public Ed • https://www.facebook.com/wearredforpubliced Support Bill Cronon • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-Bill-Cronon/163419837045434 Bill Cronon is a distinguished history professor who came under attack when he wrote an article about ALEC and the Mackinac Center, so the people who came to his defense began collecting data about these issues. Related tags at the Daily Kos — • http://www.dailykos.com/news/ALEC • http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Exposing%20ALEC Current updates at the Daily Kos — • http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/06/09/983573/-Exposing-ALECJune-Update-on-ALEC-Activities,-Articles-and-Links • http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/06/15/985433/-EXPOSING-ALEC2nd-Update-with-important-news-and-links
Lee Jacobsen June 20, 2011 at 05:47 AM
Jon, you suggest that we take some time and do some real critical thinking about privatization vs the public sector and providing services. Services cost money , right? The public sector can provide services such as garbage removal, bus drivers, changing street lights , janitorial, etc for a known cost. The private sector can provide the same services for a known cost. Which ever cost is less, (otherwise known as competition) should be the choice of the city managers, who are watching out for us, the taxpayers, to get us the best value for our tax dollars. What is so hard to understand about this concept of saving money? It is simple competition through the quoting process. I do it several times each day and if I have the low bid, I get to do the work. City managers should have, and now do, thanks to Gov Snyder, have the power to exercise that option. If the public sector is competent and efficient, they will retain the work by being the low bidder. If not, the private sector gets the nod. Jon, all of the links you have kindly provided neglect to mention cutting spending, or saving taxpayer money. Why is that? Monopolies are the last thing we need right now. The very word means 'no competition' , and without an incentive to save and improve processes on the job, which is true when there is no competition, waste and excess is the result. This is common sense that any child can understand . It is not 'rocket science' . Do you want to save or spend?
Jon Awbrey June 20, 2011 at 05:36 PM
PEDEB.com always *says* Private Enterprise Does Everything Better. Of course it does. That's its main advertizing line and it sells that advertizing line better than it sells anything else. But is that really true? Are most advertising lines really true? I don't think so. Maybe you should investigate how much PEDEB.com spends on advertising compared to what it spends on the fundamentals of actually producing goods and delivering services. Maybe you should investigate how much PEDEB.com pays its CEO and its higher level executives compared to what it pays its other employees, its subcontractors, and its shareholders. Maybe you should investigate how much PEDEB.com spends on hostile takeovers of businesses that it neither knows nor cares anything about maintaining on an even keel, but merely takes over for the sake of driving them into the ground and cashing in on the liquidation of their assets.
Lee Jacobsen June 20, 2011 at 08:32 PM
Jon, you are over fixated on PEDEB the organization, and not on the realities of life. The statement 'Private enterprise does everything better' does not need much advertising to sell the message, it is all around us to see with our own eyes. Examples are everywhere. The USA Post Office is losing money hand over fist. Yet UPS, FEDEX, and other private mail and delivery companies are doing fine, and charging less for their services. I use these private companies every day. That is first hand , in your face, experience and reality, no advertising needed. The private education my child received was excellent, when she entered the public education system, they found that the books used in the private sector for 8th grade were the same as Dearborn High's 11th grade books. It appears that the private sector has done a better job, true? The public sector contruction contractors are all union, and charge double what the same construction would cost in the private sector. I added an addition to my plant last fall, public sector quote $385,000...private sector quote $195,000. The lowest quote was the private sector at $145,000, but I always toss out the lowest quote just out of 'principle'. Again, the freedom of choice and competition. The only way public sector firms win any work is by making laws to eliminate competition. Of course , that would end when MI becomse a 'Right to work' state. So what does the public sector do better ? Higher cost!
Frank Lee June 21, 2011 at 02:00 AM
Comparing the US postal Service to UPS or FedEx is absurd. The postal system absolutely dwarfs FedEx and UPS in size and scope. The US postal system delivers 667 million pieces of mail per day to 147 million different points. The USPS operates the largest civilian fleet of vehicles in the US, every 1 cent increase in gas prices adds 8 million dollars a day in added fuel costs. FedEx and UPS simply deliver the easiest and most profitable aspect of the postal service operations to limited locations. The USPS is obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality, this brings tremendous value to the American economy, and is extremely costly. Simply put for 44 cents you can mail a letter from New York to any point in the continental Us and it will arrive within three days. Lastly Consumer Reports rates the US Postal Service as the least costly method of parcel delivery in the US beating out FedEx and UPS. It is true that the postal service is currently losing money due to declining mail revenue because of electronic transactions and extremely high fuel costs but they are increasing operational efficiencies every day, and providing a service that costs taxpayers who do not use their services nothing. If you were one of the hundreds of millions of Americans who does not have access to FEdEx or UPS services then you would think differently of the operational efficiency of the USPS.
Jon Awbrey June 21, 2011 at 03:06 AM
In other news … Global Corporations Crush Small Businesses And Then Blame It On The Government • http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/12789 Small Firms Scrape By, But Big Businesses Continue Growing • http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/print-edition/2011/06/17/big-businesses-continue-growing.html ❝ As the Portland Business Journal reports, “Corporate profits may be at a record high, but businesses on Main Street are still scraping by,” said NFIB [National Federation of Independent Business] Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Washington is throwing misdirected policies at the problem, offering tax breaks for hiring and equipment investment, but acting surprised when they don't bear any fruit.” ❞
Lee Jacobsen June 22, 2011 at 05:44 AM
Frank, I agree that the USPS is a great bargain for the price, but it is a 'money loser', taking money that we don't have to mail essentially 'advertising' and magazines , and other items at too low a cost. The mail is a service, and should be at least operated at 'break even'. If that means raising the price, that is one option. Another is to stop Sat service. A third is get more efficient. They are not even close to the efficiency of UPS, and buy charging low fees just to maintain market share, we taxpayers are footing the bill on the losses. If I had a 'benefactor' paying part of my operational costs, my products would always be less than my competitors as well, and Consumer Reports could care less. Name an area where UPS does not deliver in the USA. So much for the hundreds of millions of Americans without access....
Lee Jacobsen June 22, 2011 at 06:09 AM
Jon, Perhaps one of these big corporations will buy me out and then I can retire. For now, the big corporations are too slow, and don't offer the selection and expertise that smaller businesses, such as ACO or similar hardware stores offer. The big box stores cater to the masses, and for specifics and detail stuff for folk who want 'variety', the smaller shops are doing just fine. You are reading too much of your own hype. http://retail.about.com/od/competition/a/big_box_stores.htm I would love to expand, but money from the banks is not readily available, all due to govt policies. Chase bank approves the loan, but govt policy dictates that a govt underwriter insure it. So far, the under writer wants me to use up all of my IRA personal funds first before granting a loan insurance policy. End result, the govt can say banks are approving loans once again. However, the govt fails to mention the little insurance glitch that kills almost every small busines loan. These are not large loans, perhaps $400,000 or so. When larger loans are involved, the 'strings' attached get rediculous. A one million dollar loan from the county requires me to hire 22 folk within two years, at a salary starting at $52,000 . That is one way to force employment. No thanks is the answer from most business, although a friend did do the loan, and let 12 others go to make room for the 22. That was a minor loophole the county missed. Firing , then hiring to get the loan.
Frank Lee June 23, 2011 at 01:19 AM
The idea that the US postal service is some kind of socialist boondoggle is simply lazy rhetoric. The US postal service delivers almost daily to every single geographic location in the United States. Even though UPS and Fed Ex deliver to every state and region, they hardly offer the geographic depth and service quality of the Post Office. Many Americans live in rural areas where UPS or FedEx may offer extremely limited delivery options, but the ability to send packages is almost non existent. Furthermore the options to send packages via private contractors in urban areas is also limited, and inaccessible to people without the ability to drive. Simply put the postal service offers services to every American, everywhere in the US access to mail services at a reasonable cost with minor inconvenience. This comes at a cost. This cost brings tremendous value in communication links, between divergent geographical and class interests. Lastly the increase of postage, the closing of redundant locations and elimination of six day service all proposed by the postmaster general to improve efficiency is being held up and delayed by the vey congress people who also engage in the same lazy rhetorical arguments. The postal service is in no way a model of modern efficiency however it operates under congressional mandates and political considerations that limit it's ability to streamline services. Given these real world considerations it is an extremely effective service and tremendous value
Lee Jacobsen June 23, 2011 at 07:12 AM
The US postal service does deliver to places that the UPS and Fedex do not bother with, including the North Pole as documented on 'Miracle on 34th St'. As the internet continues to expand, and information is spread via mobile phones around the world, using satellites, the need for the US post office will disappear, just like most of the major newpapers, now mere shadows of what they once were. I suspect the lawmakers will try and harness some means of making big bucks off the internet, already they are trying for sales taxes. Interesting that you mention that the post office is by no means the model of modern efficiency and the reason that this is so is due to government involvement. Government, by its very nature, slows down most operations and streamlining anything is neigh impossible. Of course, they have no incentive to be efficient, they don't care if they make a profit or not. Just wait until Obama Care comes of age, what a mess that will be.
Frank Lee June 23, 2011 at 12:36 PM
You use lazy rhetoric, ad homonym attacks and a refusal to accept reason to justify your ideology. Technology advances at an exponential rate, what it will create or destroy is anybodies guess. That being said you are using weak arguments to justify your political beliefs. The idea that free markets are the single most effective tool to advance society is simply not recognizing what markets are and the purpose markets serve. First you must realize that free markets cannot even exist without the protection and cultivation of a strong and organized political body organized around advancing the common good. This is a historical fact predicated upon the human nature of the strong to pillage weak. No free markets can exist where the rights of the minority are not protected. The ideas that you advance are predicated on three basic assumptions. They are markets are friction less, individuals operate with perfect information, and individuals act honestly and advance their rational self interest. These conditions existed in 18th century Anglo America and thus Adam Smith and his theories on Capitalism. Today we live in a global, technologically advanced marketplace where trade is conducted across oceans between anonymous individuals based on decisions computed by complex algorithms. The conditions that supported free market theory at the time of Smith still exist today, but you must view his ideas through 21 century glasses. Your ideas are simply a veneer to advance a corporatocracy.
Lee Jacobsen June 23, 2011 at 11:17 PM
Free markets thrive under all sorts of conditions, government is hardly necessary to allow it to take place. When the Soviet Union was going strong, the collective for all etc, the govt did allow folk to have a small garden to grow personal crops. Those small gardens fed millions, and the surplus was sold on the black market. The govt farms were failures. Shelves in stores were empty. Only the bureaucrats make out as fat cats. If I have a product that people want, I don't even need the govt money system to do free trade. Bartering has been around forever, and is very popular today. Govt does not like it as it is hard to collect taxes. Here is one site http://www.u-exchange.com/bartermichigan All I ask from Govt is the basics, some decent defense, some basic rules of the road and decent roads, and a set of rules to follow as a society (the Constitution) . The rest, such as health care, making a living, etc I can do on my own. In other words, the less govt the better. The next suggestion no doubt is for the govt to control the Internet. Bad move. Any idea where all that Stimulus money went to?
Frank Lee June 24, 2011 at 01:31 AM
Bartering? Really? We live in a modern global economy and you use bartering as an argument? Good luck with that.
Lee Jacobsen June 24, 2011 at 05:57 AM
If you have done any world traveling, or business in other countries, you would know that bartering is part of the global economy. I probably barter around $150,000 a year in trade, all essentially without tax consequences as goods were traded for other goods. As long as all parties are satisfied with the trading, it saves paperwork and is cost effective. How does it work? I make an amount of parts that you need, such as packaging containers. You , depending on your product, either give me an agreed amount of your product, or give it to someone that I designate to relieve an 'ob' (obligation) that I owe that person. Sounds complicated. It's not. What is scary is that the govt is not involved at all, no paperwork, sales taxes etc. The govt would be in trouble if it caught on, but it is sort of like 'home schooling'. Anyone can do it but few bother. There are web sites that make it easier, but I like to keep it within a 'group'. Bottom line, don't knock it until you've tried it. Last year I traded an old car for a house, we both feel we got the better part of the deal!
Lee Jacobsen June 24, 2011 at 02:38 PM
Bartering is just one form of trade that relies on a 'common denominator', competition. Bartering is small potatoes in the economic scheme of things, what we should be concentrating on in the state of Michigan is leveling the playing field in competition, especially in govt jobs, specifically construction, where only 'unions' are allowed to bid on jobs. Why is that? Why are we knowingly paying more to have a job done on the taxpayer's dime? Opening the bidding up to all won't hurt the unions, they will just need to sharpen their pencils a little more. What is the purpose? To reduce spending in government through competition, and, ultimately, lower taxes, money needlessly coming out of all our pockets that could be put to better use. Time to make Michigan a 'Right to work State. A link.... http://www.mackinac.org/3354
Jon Awbrey June 29, 2011 at 09:16 PM
What can you do about it? Recall — • http://www.firericksnyder.org/ • http://www.firericksnyder.org/community/all-events-list • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Recall-Governor-Rick-Snyder/113418962065885 Repeal — • http://repealpa4.org/ • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Repeal-PA4-Emergency-Managers-Washtenaw-Area/137390633002568 • http://sites.google.com/site/rejectemergencymanagers/ • http://www.facebook.com/rejectemergencymanagers
Lee Jacobsen June 30, 2011 at 01:13 AM
Now Jon, You aren't interested in reducing spending, or saving money. If you were, the sites you list would not be viable. Just from the titles of the sites, I can see why unions do not like reform. It means they don't get a free ride anymore. Did former gov Granholm establish benchmarks at the start of her term in office to show improvements? Obviously not, since she had none and could not figure out a state budget like Snyder has. Snyder has the benchmarks on line, and the numbers will tell the story. Emergency managers will only act in an emergency, which is when there is no more money to provide basic services, and we can't print it like Obama can. Did you even bother to look at the budget that Dearborn passed, and all the 'pork' that is still in it.? http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/its-time-to-privatize-unemployment-insurance/ If private insurance companies were allowed to compete, instead of govt mandated insurance plans, millions of dollars would be saved. Oh, that's right! You don't want to save money......forgot about that. You enjoy having the govt spend it for you.
Frank Lee June 30, 2011 at 01:48 AM
Posting links to the Mackinaw center is pointless because they have not printed a single study or policy pice that has been peer reviewed. Their research is entirely funded by people and corporations who want to institutionalize economic power into political capital. This is an objective fact, no serious scholar pays any more attention to the anything the Mackinaw Center publishes than the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, or any other opinion based blog. When the Mackinaw Center peer reviews their data then maybe they can be taken seriously. As for Governor Synder yes he has lowered taxes on corporations and then raised them on retirees, he has drastically cut state funding to education, so if you are sending your children to a state college, he has raised taxes on you. His funding cuts to k-12 education took an already broken system and broken it in two. As for benchmarking, big deal he simply balanced the state budget by shifting revenue shortfalls from the state to cities and counties. So he took on big problem and made 100 little ones. Raising taxes on retirees and then sticking it to school boards at the same time lowering taxes on corporations is hardly genius. Im a conserative and I believe in personal liberty and free markets, that being said as a conservative I believe in conserving resources protecting the environment and providing for the common good. The mackinaw center simply publishes trendy social darwinisim masquerading as libertarianism.
Jon Awbrey June 30, 2011 at 02:00 AM
Lee, I can see you have a lot of reading to catch up on this Summer ... First thing off, let's get you up to speed on the facts of life about the “Emergency Mangling” of Detroit Public Schools. Here's a couple of introductory articles from the Huffington Post — Detroit Announces New Authority For Failing Schools (June 20, 2011) • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/20/detroit-announces-new-authority_n_880757.html Michigan Groups Sue Governor Snyder Over Emergency Manager Law (June 22, 2011) • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/22/michigan-groups-sue-gov-s_n_882442.html And here's a couple of reports on the Broad Foundation, that we find behind the scenes of so many current raids on public education and so prominently mentioned in the Governerd's plans, not just for Detroit, but for Michigan at large — Seattle Education Blog • “The Broad Foundation” • http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/race-to-the-top/the-broad-foundation/ Seattle Education Blog • “Eli Broad’s Last Hurrah In Detroit?” • http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/eli-broad’s-last-hurrah-in-detroit/ Yes, it will all be on the test …
Allan Smith July 14, 2011 at 07:40 PM
With "heavy hearts" we say goodbye to teachers, but with "open arms" we hire more administrators. - Dearborn Public Schools new motto See link below: http://dearborn.patch.com/articles/meeting-minutes-district-appoints-staff-discontinues-tb-tests-awards-contracts

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