WE THE PEOPLE: Three things will last forever

There is hope that the economy is making small steps towardrecovery. The credit for any positive change belongs to the peoplewho put aside political ideology in order to get somethingaccomplished. Governor Cuomo managed to lead our legislature topass a reduced budget on time. He had to give in order to get.George W. Bush stood on an aircraft carrier in a uniform and tookcredit for a mission accomplished which still has notended.

Republicans want to bully the people with fear and pressure to getwhat they want without compromise. The people must be strong andfind persons who can lead them without fear.

We are told that the national debt is too high, unemployment is toohigh and taxation is too high, but we are not given proposedsolutions which provide for people in need or preserve programsthat are good. The Republican mantra — government is bad,government regulation is bad, and taxes must be reduced — is basedon fear.

Corporations are reaping profits and sitting on piles of money.Corporate taxation is lower than ever and the business barons thatcontrol them pay less income tax than the sanitation worker whohauls away their garbage.

An excess of regulation did not pollute the Hudson River with PCPs,decapitate mountaintops in West Virginia or allow dirty electricgeneration plants to pollute our water with acid rain. A reasonablegive-and-take on the important issues is needed but we are notgetting it from Speaker John Boehner.

The economic difficulties we are experiencing are to be expectedafter collapses in the banking industry and the real estate market.Economic recessions are followed by periods of sluggish employment.Ronald Reagan was not demonized by Republicans for raising taxesrepeatedly or tripling the public debt while he was inoffice.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters make a point which resonateswith working people throughout the state: The wealthy one percentof the population should contribute more tax. If the 99 percent canmake do with less and pay more, then the one percent should kick itup a notch, as well.

New York’s millionaire tax represented $5 billion in revenue tothe state which is needed more than ever. I would rather raisemoney that way rather than risking our water supply in the hope ofraising $20 or $30 million in revenue from the risk-filledfracking natural gas industry.

A fair and more sensible legislative districting plan may helpincrease the influence of the regular citizen in the politicalprocess. The state legislature redraws the boundaries of state andfederal legislative districts this year. Ed Koch has been the majorcheerleader for redistricting reform and stated that the 138legislators who pledged to reform the process should be held totheir promise. We will see if Governor Cuomo vetoes anyunsatisfactory plan presented and lets the court system fashion afair remedy.

New York City is spending enormous sums to purchase computers,Smartboards and improved wiring in schools but progress reportsreflect that students are not proficient in English and math.

At this time, perhaps we should spend less on technology and moreon people-ology. Instead of letting go school aides who earn modestwages, we should hire more for use in after school study hallswhere students would have a safe and supportive environmentactually to do homework and schoolwork.

Federal spending would be improved from simple steps like areduction in the nuclear submarine fleet and an addition of eightnew ones instead of the budgeted 12. The same amount of strategicnuclear warheads could be deployed and $25 billion would be saved.We will examine military spending in more detail next week.

Brian Kieran is a community activist who works for the State ofNew York and is a Democrat.

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