Like many I was somewhat shocked when the Republican Party did a 180 degree turn on immigration last week. Suddenly, groups of people they had denigrated for decades, especially Latinos, were their best friends. “We want to be your friend” they said in unison. “We want to help you all become citizens and vote for us, because we really like you.” It was a moment of incredibly moving sincerity.
But, whoa, what is this? Matt Schultz, Iowa’s Secretary of State in training, still has a rule out there he is pushing hard to stop the rampant practice of voting illegally. He may have found a case or two in the past. The best way he can find to stop this deluge is to basically target Latinos. Now i am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but isn’t that in direct contradiction to where the national party is suddenly headed? Somebody, get these guys a map, quickly.
Seriously, if you think that the Republicans are changing their attitudes toward Latinos, may I direct your attention to the Matt Shultzes of the world? While the national party will make a splash about their change of heart, the truth is that at the lower levels they are still trying to stop Latinos from voting.
Remember, Republicans can’t win on issues. Latinos I know care about decent jobs and wages, health care, education for their children without putting them forever into debt and many of the other issues that Democrats have been working for for decades. Republicans want the Latino vote, but not enough to really work for it.
Reforming the Schools
I do not understand the school reforms that Gov. Branstad is pushing so hard for. I am not even sure Gov. Branstad does. But he is so sure that they are needed that he is trying to turn the normal course of school funding upside down in order to get them in. Pardon me for being quite suspicious, but when Republicans want something really bad, it usually benefits someone who is rich and hurts society in general.
Since Branstad is a founding member of ALEC and ALEC is basically a lobbying group that works hard to turn government dollars over to private corporations, I have a feeling that the reforms Branstad is pushing will greatly enrich the privatized school crowd and will work to kill public schools. I base that on what “reform” has meant in other states with Republican leadership.
While charter schools and privatized schools claim going in that they have much better results, the truth is that they don’t, even when they hand pick their students. Republicans are trying to make “public” schools have the same bad name that things like “public” housing does. Truth is once again that America’s “public” schools have been and can once more be one of the shining examples of what a democracy can do. The public itself has a vested interest in well educated citizens. Businesses do not.
Lower Income Folks Pay Higher Percentage of Taxes
Well, our friends at Iowa Policy Project and iowafiscal.org have once again done actual research to shoot down one of the myths that runs rampant in our country. Seems that when they actually break down who pays what in taxes, the poor and low income pay a much higher percentage of their income in taxes.
A recent move throughout the country is to shift tax burdens from things like corporate tax and income tax that are more fair to the poor to sales tax which is one of the most regressive of all taxes and is a great burden the poor. Ideas like this are especially hot where Republicans are in charge of both houses of the legislature and the governorship. Thank goodness Democrats control the senate. As I have said before, we are one vote from being Mississippi. That is scary.
Governor Branstad is pushing hard for his Healthy Iowa initiative. Call me a fool, but I would think that such an initiative would include somethingthat would allow people to access health, dental and vision care regardless of income. Universal health care in other words. Until then, Mr. Branstad, your words are empty. Like most Republican ideas for a better society, empty words with no action or money for anyone not already wealthy.
As governor, I am sure you have health care, but way too many Iowans have no access to health care.
Next initiative, back it up with some true action.