What should this legislature focus on?

Dan Lucas_July 2012_BW

by Dan Lucas

The 78th assembly of the Oregon Legislature will officially start February 2nd.  The Oregon House and Senate will begin considering thousands of new bills. As they work through all of those new bills, what should they focus on? What are the major problems and challenges facing Oregon and regular Oregonians that need to be addressed?

1. The economies in rural Oregon communities. Many of Oregon’s rural communities are continuing to suffer. Jobs that went away when the timber industry was hit with environmental restrictions have not come back. Interim payments from the federal government to offset the impact of those restrictions have all but dried up. Some forms of payments may be needed in the short term, but what’s really needed is something that actually works to restore jobs in those communities.

If it’s not removing very questionable environmental restrictions, then the governor and legislature need to come up with ideas that will work. These communities have seen decades of failed ideas and failed promises – it’s time for something that actually works. As things stand now, Oregon is looking more and more like the Hunger Games movies – thriving and eccentric larger cities with destitute rural communities which are bearing the brunt of the voting decisions made in those larger cities.

2. Education performance in Oregon. According to U.S. Department of Education reports, Oregon has the second-worst high school graduation rate in the country1. That’s unacceptable. After decades of failed programs like Vera Katz’s CIM-CAM, failed leadership and failed promises, the governor and the legislature need to come up with a solid plan that produces defined, measurable results. They then need to be held accountable for those results.

3. Jobs and the number of Oregonians who’ve left the workforce. A May 2014 Oregonian article reported that the labor force participation in Oregon was at its lowest recorded point, “Just three in five Oregon adults are in the labor market, leaving the smallest share of workers and job seekers supporting the population since officials started keeping track in 1976.” The article noted “Job opportunities were so few and far between that thousands just stopped searching.”

Those people who have given up and left the workforce aren’t even reflected in Oregon’s 7.0% unemployment rate – the fifth worst state unemployment rate in the nation. Oregon needs to create an environment that attracts employers and that creates living-wage jobs.

4. Cost of college education. An in-state public college now costs around $23,000 a year. That includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, etc. The Oregonian reported a few months ago that Oregon student debt has doubled in a decade and the majority of Oregon college students graduate with more than $26,000 in debt.

A recent Forbes article noted that in the past 25 years “average tuitions nationwide have risen faster than general inflation and even health-care costs over the same period.” An October 2013 chart from U.S. News & World Report shows how much faster. A good first step for the governor and the legislature would be to determine what is driving up the costs of college tuitions. Why are college tuitions increasing nearly twice as fast as medical costs?

The success of the upcoming legislative session should be measured by how well the governor and the legislature address these four major challenges.

To read more from Dan, visit www.dan-lucas.com

1[UPDATE 1/26/2015] Oregon now has the nation’s worst graduation rate

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Education, Jobs, OR 78th Legislative Session | 98 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Lulzpdx

    Citing yourself isn’t very persuasive you know.

    • .

      Lulz abide, WTF do you know ’tis better, Michael Mooreon?

  • Bob Clark

    The legislature should blow every body’s minds and deregulate back to 1999 rules and regulations. Call it a grand experiment designed to forget the last fifteen years of economic malaise.

    But hell would much more likely freeze over than the continuation of current crony big government big business export driven state owned town type of economic model. So, conserve your energies for possible referendums and initiatives in a last ditch effort to put a check on the egresses of the ever fattening hog called Oregon state government.

    • DavidAppell

      “Ever-fattening,” Bob? Let’s see your numbers.

      In fact, Oregon state government now employes 2.45 people for every 100 state citizens.

      That’s down 13% from its peak of 2.77 in Nov 1995.

      So I’d like to see your data.

      • Dick Winningstad

        You dodge the issue. Increased spending every biennium on the order of 10% is the problem.

        • DavidAppell

          10%, Dick? That’s a lie.

          “When all state revenue is taken into account, including income taxes, lottery money, fees and federal dollars, Oregon government will spend $59.8 billion over the next two years, a 4.6 percent increase from the previous two-year budget cycle.”

          – Oregonian, 7/18/13
          https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/07/oregons_budget_sees_biggest_in.html

        • DavidAppell

          Where is the data showing a 10% increase in spending every biennium? Link(s) please.

  • DavidAppell

    “These communities have seen decades of failed ideas and failed promises – it’s time for something that actually works.”

    Interesting — red conservatives looking for government to bail them out and fix their lives.

    But I thought government is evil? Government is wasteful. Government needs to be shrunk until it can be drowned in a bathtub.

    The hypocrisy stinks.

    • Dick Winningstad

      It is government interference that has brought on the malaise. So yes government should stop helping and just leave the people alone.

      • DavidAppell

        “It is government interference that has brought on the malaise.”

        Prove it.

        • Dick Winningstad

          Stopping sustainable logging in the woods. And stopping development of land.

          • DavidAppell

            You didn’t come close to answering my question, but I’ll play along.

            Whose woods?
            Whose land?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Give me a break. I came very close. Logging on federal land has been stopped for all practical purposes. The State has passed laws limiting development. That has stopped groeth in many communities especially rural communities. Perhaps you should enlighten us as to how the government has encouraged growth.

          • DavidAppell

            Those lands are FEDERAL lands. That means they don’t belong to you, or any town, or any Oregon county. They belong to the USA.

            It’s well past time rural communities stop thinking all the land is theirs and start to develop some industries of their own so they can support themselves, instead of expecting continuedlargesse from the federal government.

          • Eric Blair

            Evidently people living in rural counties are worthy of governmental welfare, while those living in cities are not.

          • Dick Winningstad

            The Federal lands are for the people. Not the Sierra Club. Sustainable logging is what should be happening.

          • Eric Blair

            But not just a small percentage of the people, but all people. By the way, members of the Sierra Club have just as much a stake in Federal forests as the lumber industry.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Yes they do. But not a bigger stake than others. Sustainable use is the key not lock outs.

          • Dick Winningstad

            I am waiting for your ideas of how government has encouraged growth.

          • Eric Blair

            How about funding basic research that has made it possible for companies in the United States to innovate and create?

          • Dick Winningstad

            That was happening awhile ago. But not so much now. The Space program was a great source of new technology. Nothing of th esort happening now.

          • Eric Blair

            I asked me how government has (past tense) encouraged growth. I provided your answer. You then, like so many conservative commenters on this site, immediately moved the goal posts. Sorry if the truth hurts.

            While funding for basic science has been cut in recent decades (a huge mistake in my opinion), the government still provides a significant amount of support for basic research. You asked (David), and I answered. Time for you to admit that you hadn’t thought of that and move on.

          • Dick Winningstad

            I was remiss in not positioning the time frame correctly. I was asking what the government today is doing. You read it differently and I should have been more precise in my query. And thank you for admitting that the government has cut way back on basic research. The fact is that vote buying, er social spending, is crowding out the real job of government which is providing for the rule of law, defense, and expanding the economy.

          • Eric Blair

            Since the government is still allocating money for basic research, my point still stands.

            Your hypothesis that Liberals are vote buying is a guess (and a bad one), and not a fact.

            Government is also tasked with providing for the “general Welfare” by the Constitution. It is well within the powers granted to provide help for those that are not able to help themselves.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Eric, read the rest of Article 1 sec. 8 of the Constitution where the general welfare clause is located. The document goes on list the specific ways that the federal government can provide for the general welfare. Vote buying is not there.

            I wish that only people who can not help themselves were helped. That is not the case.

            Raising the minimum wage will force more out of jobs and especially entry level jobs will be fewer. The labor participation rate is lower today than it has been for a few decades.

            Lastly liberals are for more government control of the markets and are demonstrating this very well with the take over of the medical sector, minimum wages, and the finance sector.

          • Eric Blair

            Well.. providing social services isn’t vote buying. Except in the fevered imagination of some Conservatives. Vote buying entails a direct quid pro quo: money for a vote. Or, conversely, our system is nothing but vote buying. When conservatives initiate legislation, why aren’t they accused of buying of vote buy? And looking at the last set of elections, the Democrats are horribly bad at vote buying. Maybe the Republicans bought more?

            Again, why did states that raised the minimum wage in 2014 generally outperform states that didn’t in job growth? The facts simply don’t support you.

            LOL.. the finance sector has fewer restrictions than they did 25 years ago, and look what they did to the economy. In fact, the financesector has proven itself spectacularly incompetent to police itself.

            The “free” market has also failed too many people for to long in the medical sector. Many people simply can’t afford to get sick in this country… until now. Do you know what the number one cause of bankruptcy was for middle class families? Medical bills. Even our outcomes are the top in the world. Up until the ACA, the United States had the most expensive medical care, and didn’t have the best results – most western nations provide health care cheaper, and better. But yeah, lets allow the market do it’s magic. :/

          • Dick Winningstad

            Hmmm…. paying off a constituency with government favors is indeed vote buying. And yes thanks to the large government sector and its ability to hand out favors you can see influential groups doing the opposite, giving money to politicians in various ways for voting on specific bills. Both are vote buying.

            Do you think that minimum wage hikes were the only reason for economic performance of a state? I would posit that other factors overwhelmed the lower job rates as a result of higher wages for entry level jobs.

            The finance sector was taken down by the liberal oversight of the mortgage sector. Once housing prices collapsed over leveraged companies that made bad loans were taken down. And should have been allowed to fail but liberal law makers decided to save them. A strange thing given that liberals are supposed to champions of the poor yet bailed out millionaires.

            Medicine and the cost is a very grave issue here. But this country has historically been the fountainhead of research in medicine. Most of the world medical patents are from the U.S. because there is a profit, and thus incentive, to be made. Do you really think that medical research will continue unabated once our medical sector is sovietized?
            Most western nations do not provide medical care better. If you look at the E.U. as a whole, when compared to the U.S. the two are remarkably similar. When similar regions are compared the U.S. does very well. Look at the U.S., E.U., China, India, and Russia for example.
            The E.U. is doing well because they get to take advantage of the products developed in the U.S. And yes Europe does develop medicines and technology too, but the overwhelming new products come from the U.S.
            As for bankruptcies, taking your assertion as fact, the government could be involved in areas where the market is not doing well. The government builds roads for instance. In the medical sector perhaps the government could be involved with catastrophic insurance rather than the whole pie. Something Pres. Nixon proposed but was rejected by the Dem Congress. My insurance will be going up next year as Obamacare takes hold because the rules will punish my company for giving its employees a so called Cadillac Plan. Forcing my company to either raise our contributions or drop coverage and force its employees to go to the public health plans. Unlike Dem contributing unions or government employees/elected officials that have exemptions.

          • Eric Blair

            “Do you think that minimum wage hikes were the only reason for economic performance of a state?”

            Why no I don’t. But evidently raising the minimum wage isn’t the drag you implied. Funny how NOW you come to a nuanced view. That is very convenient Dick.

            We should compare country to country. England, France, Denmark, Germany, all have better health care outcomes, and lower costs, and provide coverage to all of their citizens. The facts just are not on your side.

            The market has failed the citizens of this country in healthcare.

            And no, the financial sector was taken down by their own greed and avarice. I know it’s more convenient to blame the Democrats, but simply is not what happened.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Eric, $30,000.00/year will slow down business expansion, raise costs of goods, and retard employment making more people dependent on handouts from the government. The government should be looking for the means to increase employment not retard it. Poverty is the default setting of society (to paraphrase another) and society should be working to increase employment not retard it.

            Lastly, a state wide hike to $30,000.00/year will cause more problems for Eastern and Southern Oregon than it will solve.

            No you should not compare country to country as I stated earlier. The U.S. is a region as big as Europe as a whole. Look at the E.U. as a whole and you will see more equality than superiority. To compare Germany to the U.S. . for instance is not accurate. The poor people for the German experience live in Eastern Europe or Turkey. Same for most of Western Europe.

            And no, the medical system has not failed the U.S. otherwise life expectancy would not be increasing and better than most regions in the world. Though the E.U. as whole is in a statistical tie with the U.S., other regions are much further down; Russia, China, and India for instance.

            https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html

            No the financial sector was taken down by bad housing loans mandated by a misguided attempt by the government to make loans to poor people easier. The only result was to ensure bad loans were made until the default rate caught up with the industry. Were there greedy people in the loan sector? Of course. However that does not excuse the government from forcing bad loans to be made through threats and lawsuits.

          • David from Mill City

            Dick, over on the coast are communities that depend on Salmon fishing for their livelihood. How a forests is logged effects the Salmon, who use the rivers and streams in those forests to reproduce. The existing regulations are an attempt to balance the sometimes conflicting needs of of the loggers and fishermen. Having said that a question that does need to be asked, frequently is, are the existing regulations the best way to address the conflict or should they be changed.

            One, related question how much of the problem, is the failure of the Forest Service and the logging companies to meet the letter and spirit of the existing rules and regulation? At the root of most of the anti-logging law suits is the claim that someone has not followed the law. Follow the law and you remove the grounds necessary for a successful law suit.

          • Dick Winningstad

            At last a reasoned response. Thank you. I would agree that logging has to be done in a sustainable manner. I would disagree that shutting down logging is a good solution. The Stimson family owns extensive land in the coast range outside of forest Grove. They manage to take care of the land and harvest ~2% a year and are sustaining the production for their mill. Perhaps the Forest Service should try that and put people back to work.

          • David from Mill City

            Question, how are they doing the logging, removal of selected trees or clear cuts?

          • Dick Winningstad

            That would be for the experts to decide. I would suggest clear cuts as that would provide open ground for new trees. Now in the 1800’s clear cuts were bad as the forest was cut down. Keeping the harvest at 1-2% would make for a sustainable use of the forest along with other users.

          • Eric Blair

            Private ownership of Oregon’s forestlands is 35%. That isn’t enough?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Not when communities are shutting down. Perhaps the federal government should go back to the Gifford Pinchot idea of mixed use. Not locking up the forests.

          • Eric Blair

            And perhaps those communities need to change their focus and not rely on everyone else to bail them out. But I understand, you are just positioning conservatives to buy their vote.

          • Dick Winningstad

            A remarkably conservative sounding reply yet not really. Perhaps the government should go to a mixed use plan benefiting a larger sector of the public with its publicly owned land. Or sell the land to those that can use it better. Locking it up for the use of a few hikers makes no sense.

          • Eric Blair

            There are probably at least as many hikers, if not more, than there members of the community — especially on the east side of the range.

            There is also benefit to the entire ecosystem in allowing forests to grow.

            Yet, in the way conservatives address this issue, they are obviously trying to buy the vote of those communities. Why is it OK for conservatives to buy votes, but not liberals?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Once again you miss the point. Sustainable use not lock outs.

          • Eric Blair

            No, I get your point. But it is still a form of welfare.. workfare if you please. Why is it the federal government’s job to give them public resources to make their living?

            *changing topic a little*

            Can we at least agree that the O&C payments are, and have been, a form of welfare?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Why is it the federal government’s job to lock up resources? Perhaps everyone should be barred from the forests then?

            I would disagree about the O&C payments being welfare. That land was re-conveyed to the federal government after a railroad was not built. The payments are compensation for loss of timber and tax revenue. Perhaps the federal government should give the land back to the private sector so the counties could benefit.

            Or the federal governemnt could follow its own law: According to section 1181a of the O&C Act, O&C timberlands are to be managed for “permanent forest production”

            https://www.oandccounties.com/

            https://www.blm.gov/or/rac/ctypayhistory.php

          • Eric Blair

            I think we’ll just have to disagree on this one. We’ve come full circle.

          • Dick Winningstad

            I agree. You seem to be ok with the federal government violating its own law.

  • DavidAppell

    “Just three in five Oregon adults are in the labor market, leaving the smallest share of workers and job seekers supporting the population since officials started keeping track in 1976.”

    Why is this a problem?

    Perhaps more mothers are deciding to stay at home with their children. More grandfathers retiring early to play with the grandkids. More people going to college and graduate school to learn more.

    There is more to life than work, work, work…,.

    • guest

      Appell-cider twit your fuss dregs!
      Your Methicose dregs tanks resemble a diss aster!

    • Dick Winningstad

      Certainly living on welfare is a liberal goal. But earning a living is a better goal for the individual and the country.

      • Eric Blair

        No, it’s not. Most Liberals would prefer everyone to find good, meaningful work with decent wages. But, Conservatives like you prefer to believe that Liberals want people to live on Welfare because they are adverse to facts, and find it too difficult to actually understand what Liberals really want.

        • Dick Winningstad

          Is that why liberals are so proud at having 49 million on food stamps? I understand that liberals want people working at government jobs maybe but not productive jobs as they make it very difficult for the private sector to operate. Look at Europe with its avg 10% unemployment rates (EU as a whole) for a vision of our liberal view of economies..

          • Eric Blair

            LOL.. Dick, you understand nothing. Liberals are not proud of the number of people on welfare. I’m not sure where you get that idea from. Can you show me where any liberals are claiming that they get happier with the more people on welfare. Now, don’t confuse that with being pleased that we can help people who need it.

            What lesson do you take away from the average 10% unemployment rate? One of the reasons the EU is hurting, is that many of the members tried austerity measures that further damaged their economies.

            If you insist on believing, and claiming, that Liberals WANT people on welfare, don’t be surprised if you’re mocked and not taken seriously. Or, present some evidence (the number of people isn’t evidence). Quotes from Liberals saying: We prefer to have people on welfare.

            Do teacher makes your job more difficult? How about librarians. Or the police, or firefighters. How about researchers at OHSU, or U of O, or OSU. Your one-size fits all assessment does you a disservice.

          • Dick Winningstad

            If liberals really want people working why are they working so hard to hobble business? Regulations and taxes are making it hard to start or run a business. Why did liberals, during the Obama administration, make it easier to get on and stay on welfare? Why do liberals reward single parent families? Why did liberals, during the recent self described worst recession since 1929, pass laws to take over the medical sector rather than deal with the recession?
            In Europe, the unemployment rate has been historically higher due to their welfare policies. That is not a recent trend. The austerity measures are being tried because the countries are literally running out of money to sustain their welfare programs.
            And yes I would assert that liberals like people on welfare as they get more votes that way.
            Should there be a public sector? Yes. and the professions you listed are needed. Yet any cursory examination of State or Federal budgets will show spending is going to other areas in larger portions.

          • David from Mill City

            Dick, why did the conservatives wreck the economy thus creating a large number of people needing assistance to stay alive? Why did conservatives institute policies that lead to the destruction of poor two parent families thus creating the need for the support that the liberals are providing? As you can see there is more then one way to spin the blame for what is a real set of problems, people who, for what ever the cause, need outside support to survive. Rather then harping on the welfare programs we need to address the causes and problems behind the need for those programs.

            As to why the ACA, because the US Medical System was broken (i.e. high costs, and poorer aggregate outcomes, couple with a high rate of uninsured) and needed to be fixed. The ACA is the first of many steps necessary to fix the system. As to doing more to get us out of the recession the Democrats did what they could in the face of a Republican opposition that seems to based on the mistaken belief that jobs in the US are created by the rich and not in a response to increased consumer demand.

            Europe has a strong welfare system in response to a high unemployment rate, not the other way around as you suggest. If you want a quick and dirty way to check my assertion check out wage rates, if the welfare system was causing the high unemployment rate then there should be high wages being offered by employers fighting to get people off the dole and into vacant positions.

          • Dick Winningstad

            4-5% unemployment during the last GOP administration does not seem too terrible. The last two years of the BUSH II administration saw a Dem take over of the House and that is when the economy went into recession. The first two years of the Obama administration saw the government ignoring the economy in favor of a take over of the medical sector (never let a crisis go to waste, R. Emanuel) along with more financial regulation.
            The trigger was the housing collapse which was brought on by Dem policies making it too easy to get loans for housing.
            Europe, in general, has high (government mandated) wages and makes it hard to fire workers or make improvements if jobs are effected.
            Pres Bush is not blameless given his multiple attempts to work with Dems (medicare upgrades for example) however this current recession is a Dem baby now.

          • Eric Blair

            Yet, you don’t show any nuance in your arguments. You lump all public employees together, and then wash your hands of the whole issue.

            You can assert all you want, but you need evidence and logical consistency to make it work.

            Are Conservative policies geared solely towards getting the most donations from the rich?

          • David from Mill City

            The pride is in the fact that those 49 million people are not starving, that they have access to some food, which would be the case if there were no food stamps. One of the effects of a $15 minimum wage is those working people who are now on food stamps would no longer need or qualify for them. But until the Minimum Wage is raised to a Living Wage level, the American Tax Payer will continue to subsidize the big box retailers.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Why not raise the minimum wage to $50,000.00 then? Every one will be well off and poverty will be eliminated using that logic.

          • Eric Blair

            LOL. another odd response from Dick. So, it’s either sub-par wages or $50 grand per year? There’s no middle ground? What a ridiculous comment. You’re giving Jack a run for his money.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Eric just taking David’s logic to its conclusion. Eric, How is 30,000/year a middle ground?

          • David from Mill City

            Dick, why should the workers be the only part of our manufacturing system that is routinely expected to provide its services at less then cost? A properly set minimum wage establishes a floor that insures that a worker receives enough in wages to maintain a reasonable yet minimal standard of living. It appears that a minimum wage that falls around $15 an hour does that.

            The major variables are whether we want to return to a single bread winner per family or continue with our present 2 bread winners per, as the former would require a higher rate then the former. And what a reasonable yet minimal standard of living is.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Eric and David, the market should determine wages. For instance a $15.00/hr minimum wage will only raise unemployment as employers shut down, refuse to expand, or move away. A look at Seattle in a few years will show higher unemployment, higher prices, and fewer businesses. Especially hard hit will be young people looking for a fist entry level job. That sector will be severely reduced.
            Again, if you want a government mandated wage, why not $50K/yr then? That is only ~$25.00/hr after all.

          • Eric Blair

            “For instance a $15.00/hr minimum wage will only raise unemployment as employers shut down, refuse to expand, or move away.

            Yet states who raised their minimum wages last year, over-all, outperformed those states that didn’t in job growth.

            The market doesn’t care if people have enough money to live on. It needs intervention in some areas.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Yes intervention of a bit but $30,000.00 per year seems a bit high for a low to no skilled worker.

          • Eric Blair

            And isn’t really enough to feed, clothe and house a family of 4. Many families are trying to make it on that $15.00/hr.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Entry level jobs are for people newly entering the job market or people with minimal skills. If you want more pay get some skills and move up or over to a better job.

          • Eric Blair

            1) Those aren’t the only jobs at minimum wage.

            2) The theory sounds nice, but falls apart when faced with the reality of the situation in which people find themselves.

            Why don’t members of those logging communities train for new skills? Seems like such an easy solution, yes?

          • Dick Winningstad

            Once again, if you want more money then get more skills.

          • Eric Blair

            And, if you’re poor and barely making it, and with children, where do you find the time and money to get retrained? What if you’re already working two jobs to make ends meet? You view is based on a poor understanding of what it is like to be poor in the United States.

          • Dick Winningstad

            Does not the government already supply retraining for the disadvantaged? Does not the government provide assistance for retraining? And does not the population of poor still remain at a fairly constant 12-15% (1975-2008) or so even with government help of multiple sorts?

            I would suggest knocking off the help. Limit the help from government to the truly infirm. Cut government spending, and put in a negative income tax for the poor.

            I’ve not been poor that is true. But I do know a lot of people that worked their way up from meager circumstances. They did it by hard work in their jobs and (secondarily) education.

            https://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0104525.html

          • Eric Blair

            Of course you would. Anecdotal evidence does not prove your point. I know lots of people who have tried but have been stymied. Puts us back to square one, doesn’t it.

          • Dick Winningstad

            I see chose to ignore the rest of the post. So I will ask again; Does not the government provide a lot of help in training already?
            And why so impatient to add another government mandate to the employers when the existing programs are not adequate (seemingly) in your eyes?
            Perhaps a negative income tax in place of the many programs available today would be a better solution than yet another government mandate.

          • Eric Blair

            You sometimes ignore some of the points I make on my posts, so I thought that was how we do it? Or are you like Jack, and hold people to a higher standard than you hold yourself?

            No, the government does not provide a lot of training. They did at one time, although it was not a lot. Now it is effectively non-existent.

            Sorry, I had to ask my wife who is a social worker, and I was going to edit my comment, but I’ll just append it here.

            The poor live month to month, day to day. They cannot wait for their tax returns once a year(which frequently go to catch up on bills they are behind on).

            But.. Obama’s pushing for free community college would be a good program, yes?

          • Dick Winningstad

            I’ve looked at the last several replies and I have replied to all your points.
            There are no school loans? No help with childcare? I am skeptical.
            The poor live month to month? I shocked! But that is because they are poor. Right?
            Free community college is not free. Other people will pay for it in the form of taxes or increased federal debt. What would you propose to cut from federal spending to pay for this new benefit?

          • Eric Blair

            Perhaps you should check all of them, but I’m pretty familiar with conservatives cherry-picking their data.

            Yes, month to month, sometimes day to day — so of what use would the negative income tax be? And, who would pay for that?

            My impression was that we were talking about job training, and not just school. No, there is little to no childcare. Be skeptical, that doesn’t change the truth.

            You should probably educate yourself about what it means to be poor in this country, since you seem to operate off of a lot of bad assumptions. I’m sure this issue will crop of soon again.

            We could start by cutting so many of the loopholes that allow huge corporations to pay next to nothing in taxes.

  • Dick Winningstad

    How about leaving us alone? No more laws/regulations. Or as mentioned below, repeal some laws.

    • David from Mill City

      Dick, are you serious? Do you really want unsafe food sold in our markets, insurance companies that do not pay claims, people spraying your home with poisons, employers that do not pay their workers, or the guy that beats you up and takes your watch and wallet go unpunished?

      Laws are adopted, and rules promulgated in response to a real or perceived problem that a portion of the public believes should be to be addressed. Or to put it another way behind every rule and law is a reason for its existence. You and I may disagree about that reason, whether or not it is valid but a reason exists.

      If you have specific laws and rules that you think should be changed or eliminated, please bring them up in this and other forums so the need, effectiveness and adverse impacts of them can be discussed and debated, and where warranted a movement to change them started.

      • Dick Winningstad

        David, I am not advocating no laws. I am advocating a return to less regulation. Make sure the food is safe. Make sure crime is kept to a minimum. Make sure we have roads and sewers. Make sure epidemics are contained and/or eliminated. I am against most regulation beyond that.
        You mentioned there is a reason for most laws. And I agree. But most laws today are not for solving problems but rather to buy votes.

  • My2Bits

    After finding out last year that the destruction of background checks after 10 days was a “policy” and that the Oregon State Police wasn’t sure when/how it was done… I have to wonder what else are they retaining, and if we citizens have a right to witness the destruction of personal data that the state says (by law or otherwise) it destroys or restricts.

    • Eric Blair

      Let me start out be agreeing – government should be destroying information they hold about citizens that isn’t necessary to the efficient running of the government (tax records, etc…). However, why aren’t conservatives as worried about what records are gathered and retained by businesses and corporations about customers? That information should also be destroyed.

      • My2Bits

        I agree with that as well. Most people don’t realize that they are just data-cows for things like Facebook.

        • Eric Blair

          Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon to name a few: the list is long.

  • David from Mill City

    Dan, you are absolutely correct that the cost of a college education needs to be looked at. But we need to go past the costs the student pays and look at the total cost of providing him with a college education. I suspect that some of the increase of a student’s college costs is a transfer of existing costs to the student rather then an overall increase. And that some ofthe problem is the unregulated text book racket.

    Another piece of the education funding puzzle that needs to be examined is the benefit to the public of having a college educated people in our communities and how much should we be paying for that benefit. Clearly the graduate of a Medical School will get great personal benefit from having done so, but it is equally clear that the public also benefits from having another Doctor practicing in the community.

  • David from Mill City

    The jobs goal should be a 2% unemployment rate, with the lowest pay rate being a living wage. Oregon can not reach that level alone, as much work needs to be done at the Federal level. Unfortunately, with a Congress controlled by Republicans, jumping to the tune of their neo-fascist masters, we will be lucky to stay where we are.

    But what we can and should do is make sure that all the jobs that exist or are created are family wage jobs. While we may not be able to get everyone who needs or wants one, a job but we can insure that a person with a job does not need public support.

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