Tags: children, education, Fairness, homeless, opportunity, schools, the economy, Washington DC
This post was triggered by a recent article by Petula Dvorak in the Washington Post, about poor children.
Some years ago, I was the President of a local chapter of a major national and international scientific and engineering society.
The society was holding its annual meeting in a nearby city, and as the nearest local chapter, we were designated to host an Educators’ Day for the K-12 teachers in the area.
The teachers who attended were enthusiastic and interested. They were eager to share their experiences and problems. What they had to say was informative, and sometimes even shocking.
A significant number of the most interested teachers came from Washington, DC, since it neighbored the city (Baltimore) where the meeting was being held.
One of the teachers from DC mentioned that 85% of the students in her classes were from homeless families. Those children mostly lived in city shelters.
The city thought that it had to motivate homeless families to keep looking for a job. It thought that they needed additional incentive to try to cease being homeless. It feared that they might become comfortable and rooted in a particular shelter.
So no family was allowed to remain in the same shelter for more than two or three consecutive months. When that time was up, the family had to try to find another shelter with space for them.
What would that do to a child’s ability to learn? To concentrate? To make friends, and establish enduring relationships with other children and adults?
What would that do to a parent’s ability to find a job, and to get to it each day, on time?
The city’s bizarre thinking is a perfect example of ‘penny wise and pound foolish’. Instead of transitioning families out of welfare, instead of helping the children of homeless families to become well adjusted, law abiding, well educated employable adults, the city’s policy undermined both goals.
Tags: Concentration of wealth, disfunctional politics, Environment, Greed, Halloween candy, M&M, Mars candies, PAC, Snickers, trick or treat, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, weak economy
Now is the season when we stock up on candy to give out to the trick-or-treaters who will come to our door on Halloween.
We will not be buying Snickers nor M&Ms nor Milky Way bars, nor anything else made by Mars. Actually, we won’t be buying Reese’s Cups either, nor any candy made by Cadbury, Kraft, Nestle, or Hershey.
This is not just because those candies taste so blah.
And it is not just because the candies in Halloween bulk packs sold by these companies keep becoming smaller.
It is because of the politics of these companies. They sell many billions of dollars of candy each year, about 40% of it at Halloween. They use their profits to fund political positions that increase the concentration of wealth (a significant cause of our present economic problems), cause economic instability by opposing reasonable regulation, damage the environment (both immediately, and by delaying action on climate change), handicap voting and other rights of social minorities, and retard the public’s understanding of science.
Politically, Mars stands out, so let’s talk about that company.
The Mars brothers quietly throw huge amounts of money at political causes that damage America. They funnel most of their political contributions through PACs, so that their contributions will stay off the public’s radar. They support the greedniks at the deceptively-named US Chamber of Commerce. (Chamber of Greed would be more accurate.)
They are obsessed with ending the Estate Tax, a tax that affects only a tiny fraction of families – families such as theirs.
So we have been stocking up on Halloween candy at organic markets and similar stores. The candy tastes better, is healthier for the kids, and its purchase does not advance political evil.