Hilary Running or Not, Low Income College Students, Tax Numbers, & Sequestered Housing Vouchers

Citizen Wealth Financial Justice Health Care National Politics

New Orleans   Rain chased us all the way through southern Arkansas and into northern Louisiana until Tallulah, a small town at the gateway to I-20 named after the a girlfriend of a railroad engineer that may not have made it to marriage, but achieved some permanence as a way station along the tracks.  Waking up in New Orleans after two weeks, it was nice to hold papers in my hands for a change and “feel the news,” whether I liked it or not, and still find that there are few surprises.  For example:

  • Hillary Clinton:    I am surprised there is speculation about Hillary’s future?  I’ll help solve the mystery.  Hillary should not run, and she will not win, if she runs because, regardless of the damaged Republican brand, you can not run for the future, if you can not escape the past, and inevitably her campaign would be founded on the past. Nonetheless, she will not be able to resist wanting to run, even at 69 in 2016, simply “because it’s there.”
  • Low Income Students & College:      Even less of a surprise were the figures reported in the Times from respected scholars studying what it takes to get qualified, high performing lower income students to apply to elite colleges and universities, that might even be cheaper.  Turns out that if you contact them, they will apply.  Sending our straightforward, simply explanations to such families and students increased the application rate from the high 30% range to the high 50% range.
  • Republican “New” Math Sinking Sales Tax Substitute:    As part of the Republican governor’s ego surge on the path to the Presidency, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal jumped into the ranks of rightwingers trying to punish anyone but the rich and substitute a state income tax with an onerous sales tax that would jump the existing state slice from 4% to 5.88%.  Whoops, someone checked the math and, sorry about that, it would really be 6.25% for the state to try to balance.  Oh, and the money from the cigarette tax would be maybe $100 million or more short, too, according to researchers.  And, the switchover to private hospital management for the public hospitals, well, math again, the feds aren’t sure that qualifies for the Medicare dollars the governor was going to use to convince the privates to do the deal.  So, once again, not surprisingly, virtually no one wants to make the switch any more, including the business buddies, he was trying to toady to.  The powerful tourism industry knows that a 15+% sales tax could hurt convention business. The even more powerful Louisiana Association of Business & Industry doesn’t like.  All of the rest of us who actually care about the beleaguered low and moderate income families in this brokeass state, don’t think our consumer purchases should pay for his folly.  DOA, is my bet, if it ever comes to a vote.  Much like Jindal’s real chances at the White House.
  • Sequester Hits Housing Vouchers:   As the cuts come home, the poor will feel them painfully as well.  Housing authorities across the nation are going to see budget cutbacks.  In New Orleans the housing authority is projecting that the sequester cuts will slice 15% off of the budget.  In starkly painful terms that means that 800 of New Orleans’ low income citizens just saw their expected section 8 vouchers eliminated meaning that their rent subsidies and hopes for better housing just flew our of reach.