To the Editor:
This may be liberal heresy, but it is true. Republicans are right about many things: “Family Values,” education and jobs. Republicans clearly saw the serious social damage caused by ignoring these issues.
Republicans correctly argue that the breakdown of the family and the increase in single-parent households greatly increases the poverty rate for families. So what is their response? They stop extended unemployment benefits. They cut family planning services and restrict contraceptive availability, thereby increasing out-of-wedlock births. Then they cut food stamps, of which 50 percent or more goes to children. Next they block Medicaid for millions, creating real health and financial hardships for poor and middle class families. This is the single greatest cause of bankruptcy in this country.
School reform has been a rallying cry for Republican for years. Broken school systems and overprotective unions are seen as a problem. To fix these problems they have gone on a crusade to eliminate teacher union, ignoring the fact that the states with the strongest unions consistently have the best schools. The most effective and proven school reform is preschool and assistance to disadvantaged kids. Yet Republicans have fought tooth-and-nail to stop these programs. The most successful universal preschool state is Kentucky; but apparently proven results don't trump politics.
As for jobs creation, Ronald Regan said, “The best social program is a job.” He was right. Most able-bodied citizens on public assistance say they would rather have a job that gives them the dignity that comes with supporting their families. So, how do Republicans go about creating jobs? They give big tax breaks to wealthy, the so-called “job creators,” who invest the extra cash in the stock market. They block attempts to improve our infrastructure. They stop any increase in the minimum wage, which on balance creates many more jobs than it costs.
The key to a good job in the future is a good education. So what do they propose? They cut back funding for public education at all levels but give public money to religious schools. They charge high interest on collage loans and cut back funding for all forms of higher education. And my favorite: make our students share 15-year-old textbooks.
When it comes to family values, education and job creation; Republicans should be judged on what they do, not what they say.